When Bola Ahmed Tinubu took the oath of allegiance and oath of office on Monday, 29th May 2023, as the 16th President of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to end Muhammadu Buhari’s era, the two executive oaths were not new to him. He had sworn to them twice in the past as two-term Governor of Lagos State, first in 1999 and then in 2003.
So when the oath of office was administered on him by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Kayode Ariwoola, at exactly 10:37 am on that day, Tinubu repeated what he had done twice before as Governor, but this time as President saying:
“I, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly to the best of my ability and faithfully in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law. That I will abide by the code of conduct contained in the 5th Schedule of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions. That I will preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So help me God.”
In general and specific terms, taking an oath is serious business. Therefore, we all expect our newly inaugurated President, his Vice, Kashim Shettima and others, including State Governors, to ensure that they remember the promises contained and embedded in such oaths.
These oaths usually flow in with the inauguration speeches and thus President Tinubu used his address to outline the agenda which he had already put across during campaigns, town hall meetings and adverts.
The first major take away from his address was an explosion – “Fuel subsidy is gone”, with the President saying emphatically that the era of fuel subsidy has become a thing of the past. That singular statement caused immediate ripple with instant increase in the price of PMS in filling stations across the country. Although the President came out to say the removal of subsidy was not immediate, it was too late and the matter was not helped by the action of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC Limited to fix and circulate new pump prices across the country, with the minimum being N488/litre for it stations in Lagos as against the old price of N183.
Every Nigerian is still looking up to the president to do the needful as he has promised on oath to do good to all of us citizens.
His inaugural speech spoke on revamping Nigeria’s economy by ensuring budgetary reforms and promises to make electricity more accessible by encouraging various state governments to participate in power generation.
He said: “Our administration shall govern on your behalf but never rule over you. We shall consult and dialogue but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own. We are here to further mend and heal this nation, not tear and injure it.”
He went further: “Our mission is to improve our way of life in a manner that nurtures our humanity, encourages compassion toward one another, and duly rewards our collective effort to resolve the social ills that seek to divide us.”
No doubt there are tough tasks ahead, as the immediate past government did not seem to have fulfilled the promises it made to the people eight years ago. Here lies the expectations on the new government in actualizing the promises in the oath of office and its agenda which looks and sound appealing. But we have seen and heard same before from previous governments.
President Tinubu did outline in broad terms some initiatives that would define the concept of progressive good governance in furtherance of the Nigerian ideal and the principles that will guide his administration:
- Nigeria will be impartially governed according to the constitution and the rule of law.
- We shall defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality that threaten the peace and stability of our country and our sub-region.
- We shall remodel our economy to bring about growth and development through job creation, food security and an end of extreme poverty.
- In our administration, women and youth will feature prominently.
- Our government will continue to take proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies.
- Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence. To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security doctrine and its architecture.
- We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay and firepower.
- We target a higher GDP growth and to significantly reduce unemployment.
- Budgetary reform stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted.
- Industrial policy will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
- Electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well.
- Our government shall review all their complaints about multiple taxation and various anti-investment inhibitions. We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard earned dividends and profits home.
- We shall honour our campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy.
- Rural incomes shall be secured by commodity exchange boards guaranteeing minimal prices for certain crops and animal products. A nationwide programme for storage and other facilities to reduce spoilage and waste will be undertaken.
- The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate.
- Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level.
President Tinubu’s promises were capped with a promise, in line with a section of the oath which says ……. “I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly to the best of my ability…….” when he further promised in his address that: “With full confidence in our ability, I declare that these things are within our proximate reach because my name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and I am the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Yes, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We will hold him to the oath and promises he has made to make the lives of Nigerians better. The first couple of comments and actions have shaken some of us. We hope he steadies the ship and fulfill his promises. We will hold them to him.