It’s now slightly over one week after President Muhammadu Buhari and 29 governors across the country were inaugurated. Three of the six states in the South-west-Lagos, Oyo and Ogun, where the April 11 governorship election took place, parade a new governor, Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), and two returning governors-Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun). In neighbouring Kwara State, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed was also elected for a second term. WESTERN POST’s team of Olaolu Bilau, Tunde Oyekola, Sulaiman Salawudeen, Samuel Ogundipe, Adeola Oladele and Kolawole Olayinka recalls the event of last week’s inauguration of the new leaders and track their activities in office in the last one week…
The event was colourful. The Eagle Square in Abuja, which had seized to be the venue of state events during the latter part of former President Goodluck Jonathan reign, in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency, roared alive again. In attendance at the swearing in ceremony were world leaders, former Nigerian leaders and top dignitaries. The man of the moment, President Muhammadu Buhari, emerged at the square with his wife Aisha, and immediately went round greeting the world leaders. After he took the oath of office administered by the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Muhammed, after his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had taken his oath, Buhari mounted an open back G-Wagon and moved round the square, greeting the people and acknowledging cheers. Shouts of Sai Buhari, Sai Baba filled the air. He was to give a profound inaugural address which highpoint was his message to those who might want to control him that they were in for a difficult time. “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” he told them.
The inauguration held on Friday, May 29 over, President Buhari was expected to announce his aides, if not on that same inauguration day Friday, but at least the day after, as some governors did, but mum was the word from the president. But by Sunday evening, May 31, the president made his first appointments. He named the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Sun Newspapers and President Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) Femi Adesina and former President of the NGE and ex-MD of Triumph Newspapers Garba Shehu as his spokesmen. Femi Adesina is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) while Garba Shehu is the new Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity). The President has also approved the appointment of Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure as the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP). Garba Shehu served as the Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. He was the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors 16 years ago. Abdullahi Kazaure is a career Foreign Service official and currently serves in Aso Rock Villa as a Special Assistant (Presidential Matters). The president later sought the approval of the Senate to appoint 15 Special Advisers and it was given on Wednesday, the same day the Senate passed 46 bills.
By Monday, he was expected to resume at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, his office and residence, but he is operating from Defence Guest House where he had been since he was elected. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the president would remain in his “rented house” until the renovation work going on at the Presidential Villa is completed. He also announced that the president would be going to Chad and Niger Republic to discuss with authorities there over how to step up the fight against Boko Haram.
President Buhari has held what was described as successful meetings during his visit to the two countries. He has been busy since then over issues concerning Boko Haram even as the insurgents have stepped up their attacks in the country. President Buhari vowed to track down and destroy Boko Haram, saying five years of the evil sect is enough. He spoke with reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of his visit to Niger Republic. On Thursday he was in Chad to discuss how to tackle Boko Haram in coalition with neighbouring countries. He told reporters after his meeting with Niger’s President Issoufou Mahamadou that the Nigerian Army, which has earned a good reputation across the world, remains a virile fighting force. “I am four days in office today (last Wednesday) and we have already started a process of ending insurgency,” he said.
Buhari’s one week in office has been largely eventful. But two issues seem to colour his sojourn in office so far: his failure to make public his assets declaration and the trending issue on the internet of Baignoire Folle 18-carat white gold diamond ladies’ watch put at $52, 000 won by his wife Aisha on inauguration day, which tended to portray her as expensive. How President Buhari wriggles out of these in the days and weeks ahead would be interesting.