Friday 19 May 2023

No Litigation Can Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration, Federal Govt Declares......CSOs finger foreign bodies in plot to stop president-elect | Tinubu, Shettima to get GCFR, GCON honours

The federal government declared yesterday that the inauguration of the incoming Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government will hold as scheduled, saying not even litigation can stop the transition process.

 It recalled that this was not the first time  Nigeria is having disputed elections and the past disputes did not stop inaugurations.

Secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who stated federal government’s position was reacting to moves by certain groups to use legal proceedings to stop the inauguration, including relying on the pending petitions at the presidential petitions court challenging the electoral victory of Tinubu.

Allaying fears about plot to scuttle the inauguration billed to hold on May 29, the SGF assured that most foreign countries, heads of state, presidents and other dignitaries invited for the inauguration of the president-elect, Tinubu, have indicated interests to attend the event.

The SGF spoke yesterday  in Abuja during a world press conference organised to brief Nigerians and the entire world on the programme of activities planned for the 2023 presidential inauguration.

When asked to name the foreign countries and leaders that would attend the event, the SGF noted that  diplomatic privileges does not allow  for  the announcement  of the invited foreign guests, even as he charged the media to  get that information from the embassies and missions of various countries in Nigeria.

He noted that May 29, 2023 will mark the 7th consecutive democratic transition of power in Nigeria, adding that the day will usher in the 16th President of Nigeria.

He said, “The upcoming event is historically significant to this great nation and the international community, particularly Africa because of the democratic values and lessons in nationhood. For these reasons, we have chosen, ‘Nigeria: Better Together’ as the theme for the 2023 transition.”

Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Transition Council (PTC), said the council is charged with the responsibility of facilitating and managing the Presidential Transition. 

He  added that in the course of this process, the PTC established  three main committees namely, Inauguration Committee under the chairmanship  of the SGF; the Transition Documents Committee under  the chairmanship of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation; and Security, Facilities and Intelligence Committee under the chairmanship of the National Security Adviser.

He stated: “In furtherance of the discharging of its function, the PTC also interfaced with leading democratic nations including the United States and the Republic of Kenya, as part of its learning efforts to pick up useful lessons in line with international best practices. It is important to also state that these countries have specific legislations on presidential transition, some of which date back to 1963.

“Let me once again assure Nigerians and indeed the global community of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the seamless transfer of power to President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

CSOs Finger Foreign Bodies In Plot To Stop President-elect

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Peace and Stability Initiative  (PSI), has raised the alarm over plot by Nigerian opposition politicians, in conjunction with an international agency, and some foreign bodies scuttle the inauguration of the incoming Tinubu-led administration.

The plan, according to PSI, is to release a  skewed and stage-managed final report on the recently conducted 2023 general polls in Nigeria, especially the presidential election, with a view to delegitimise the incoming government. 

In a statement signed by its coordinator, Mallam Ali M Ali, the PSI noted categorically that there had been “many insidious plots by some foreign agent provocateurs working in cahoots with their local collaborators masquerading as civil society groups and others to instigate large scale political uprising in Nigeria.”

Giving a hint of the said report, Ali stated that the agents of destabilisation are not relenting in their sinister plots, even with just few days to the May 29 inauguration of the incoming government.

He said, “Intelligence reports indicate a new plot by local opposition elements goaded by  a foreign union to release a harebrained,  skewed and  stage-managed final report on the 2023 General elections in Nigeria, with emphasis on the presidential election. 

“The heavily slanted report, based on the views of biased  observers, will be released any moment from now. It shares the same denunciatory tone like the one released in March.

“The release is deliberately timed to achieve two sinister objectives. One is to dampen the celebratory mood in our country ahead of the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and delegitimise the incoming All Progressives Congress government that will be led by him. 

“Second is to intimidate and hope to influence  the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court that has just commenced the process of adjudicating on the petitions before it.” 

The PSI warned the alleged masterminds of destabilisation plot it described as “busybody, meddlesome international development agency” to stop constituting themselves into an  interloper in Nigeria’s internal affairs because Nigeria is a sovereign state. 

“It is no longer a vassal state, tied to the apron strings of neo-colonialists,  that can be harassed by special foreign interests seeking to cause internal strife. 

“We also view their planned action as contemptuous of our country’s judicial system as all litigations about the general elections are now before our courts for adjudication,” he added.

Restating PSI’s earlier positions that the 2023 general election in Nigeria was the most peaceful, transparent, free and fair election in Nigeria since 1999, Ali recalled that all non-partisan foreign and local observers attested to the credibility of the polls. 

He continued: “Among these are the  Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth Observer Mission and the Nigerian BAfricanar Association. The winner of the election scored 8.7 million votes. The major opposition parties recorded over 14 million votes combined. 

“This speaks to a free, fair, competitive and credible process. Right now, there is an ongoing healthy bid for the Speakership of the House of Representatives. The opposition parties combined have more members than the ruling APC. And this was an election conducted contemporaneously with the presidential election.

 “The latter  through its empirically based findings by 1000 observers   found that 91.8 percent Nigerians rated the conduct of the presidential and National  Assembly elections, despite some lapses,  either as excellent or  satisfactory. Only a negligible 8.2 percent rated the umpire, INEC poor or very poor.”

He further alleged what he termed “the consistent evil agenda of foreign crisis merchants to precipitate huge political conflagration in Nigeria to make it easy for them to continue to plunder our land. 

“The ongoing civil war in Sudan where nations are struggling to get their citizens out of Khartoum with attendant loss of lives and industrial scale destruction is another sad reminder of how external forces have perpetually turned Africa into conflict zone. 

“Nigeria is too big and too important for Africa’s survival, to be used as another cannon fodder for self-serving conflict merchants,” he added.

He commended the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping faith with the transition programme by insisting on peaceful and orderly transfer of power.


Tinubu, Shettima To Get GCFR, GCON Honours

Meanwhile, in a significant development ahead of Nigeria’s presidential inauguration, president-elect, Tinubu is set to be conferred with the prestigious Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR), while Vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, will receive the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

These national honours will be bestowed upon the incoming leaders by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to secretary to government of the federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Transition Council (PTC), Boss Mustapha, the investiture ceremony is part of the programme of events for the upcoming presidential inauguration.

Mustapha further revealed that the inauguration slated for Thursday next week, has as its theme, “Nigeria: Better Together.”

Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja yesterday, Mustapha said  the historical significance of the event for Nigeria and the international community, particularly Africa, is the democratic values and lessons in nationhood it represents.

He provided a comprehensive breakdown of the inauguration’s schedule, which commences with the unveiling of the programme of activities at the press conference and culminates in the inauguration parade, swearing-in, and a post-inauguration luncheon on Monday, May 29, 2023.

He said, “To ensure nationwide coverage, all events will be broadcast live on major television stations and streamed on various social media platforms.

“The Media and Publicity sub-Committee will release detailed information regarding accreditation arrangements for attendees.

“Invitations have already been dispatched to the presidents and heads of government, as well as Heads of International Organisations.

“Encouragingly, many of the invited dignitaries have confirmed their attendance in person, underscoring the importance of this momentous occasion”.

Mustapha also addressed concerns about potential protests against the inauguration by certain opposition groups.

He stated that the inauguration of Tinubu and Shettima will proceed on May 29 as scheduled, notwithstanding any ongoing litigation.

Emphasising the sanctity of Nigeria’s Constitution and Electoral Act, he affirmed that the country’s laws would prevail.

Also, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu (rtd), assured the public that the committee has taken comprehensive measures to ensure the safety and security of all individuals throughout the inauguration period.

Mongunu urged those without official business to stay away from the Eagles Square venue where the ceremony will take place.

The sub-committees involved in the inauguration preparations provided brief updates on their respective activities during the press conference.

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