The speech President Tinubu did not read, By Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.’ Warren Bennis.

I decided to write my own version, a few days to his inauguration, of what President-elect Tinubu’s Inauguration Speech should sound like.

Fellow Nigerians and friends of Nigeria in the world. Today our nation takes a brave and difficult step, but a step we have take with confidence and courage. Today, history demands that we look ahead and not behind us. We are moving into a future we chose with our votes and belief that God Almighty wants us to succeed in reclaiming our destiny to build a great African nation. Today is not about winners and losers.It is about how we can sustain a journey with great faith in our resilience and determination as Nigerians; to move beyond seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Today we remind ourselves we are Nigerians, a people who are passionate about our convictions that nothing is impossible. We had tripped and fallen a number of times in the past, but we got up and moved on, learning humbling and inspiring lessons. Today is not about the next four or eight years. It is about our lives and fortunes tomorrow and the next decades. It is about the next Nigerian generations to whom we owe great debts.


I salute all Nigerians who have shown great confidence in our democratic journey. I salute fellow Nigerians who voted for Vice President Kashim Shettima and I. I make you the solemn promise that we will work to make sure you do not regret your choice.I salute those who did not vote for us, thereby exercising their rights to choose leaders. I promise you that we will work as much for you as those who voted for us.I salute those who contested against us for the Presidency of this great country.I respect your determination and gallant challenge.I have been humbled by your profiles and commitments to win, and I respect your determination to challenge our victory to the end as provided in our constitutions.


This event is not the first page in our difficult journey to retrieve our nation from doubt and despair.The first page was written when a few of us believed we owe an obligation to our nation to step up and be part of a salvaging project which could not fail.I was the one who publicly said ‘Emi lo kan’, but there were over a dozen of us who felt the same way, and worked hard to actualize it.I therefore feel the strong hand of God in our journey so far.The God worshipped by Christians, and the God of Muslims. We will not betray His hand in our victory by elevating one faith over the other, or one region over the other.We will not abuse our Constitution which guaranties rights of all Nigerians to just and fair treatment irrespective of our faith or political inclination.Under our administration, we will recognize only the citizen, and we will respect his and her right to expect that we can run our country with competence and justice, equity and fairness as the basic entitlements of all Nigerians.


I salute President Muhammadu Buhari, his Deputy and the team that worked with them. I salute members of the National Assembly who will come back, and those who will not. I want to assure Members of the Legislature of out firm commitment to respect your mandates, and to treat you as respected partners with who are also committed to re-inventing our great nation.I pledge to show appropriate respect for the judiciary, so that the most basic expectation of the Nigerian, that the provision of justice is the most basic function of the State, will be guaranteed. I salute the international community which stood by, and with us particularly at difficult moments, giving us support and encouragement. We serve notice to the global community that Nigeria is set to reclaim its place as a leading African nation and an active and responsible member of the international community.


Nigerians had trusted our party for the last eight years to make positive differences in their lives.They have trusted us again with their votes and their faith.History will judge President Buhari, and I hope it will be kind to him.He had said himself that he gave his best, although his best had been tampered by the challenges his administration had to deal with. We will pay close attention to those challenges that limited his capacities, and we will learn how to build on successes and avoid mistakes. We will not start our administration by attempting to cover up cracks which developed or grew larger in the last eight years. To do this will be a great disservice to millions of Nigerians who voted for us in the belief that we can address the major difficulties under which fellow Nigerians live, and set the nation along the path of irreversible healing, reconciliation and rehabilitation.I assure you that I have the capacities and the energy to lead our country’s turn-around, and the team we shall announce soon will all be people who will share the burden of providing good governance that all Nigerians will feel.


Fellow Nigerians, the truth is that our country is passing through very difficult times.Any delay in finding solutions, or ignoring continuous reversals in our fortunes will compound these difficult times. We intend to confront the sad reality that no one, rich or poor, in a village or a city, is safe or secure.We shall do this with strong resolve and all the resources we can muster.The fight to reclaim our peace starts today, and every law-abiding Nigerian is enlisted in this defining battle. We will win the battle against insecurity, and it will be a quicker victory if we play our parts and show courage and imagination against evil.


We cannot live in a country endowed with everything to make it one of the richest countries in the world, and then accept as normal, a situation where entire families, and children in particular, go to bed hungry. We cannot continue to tolerate the waste of our great human asset; young Nigerians with little or no faith in their country and their future, feeding on degrading value systems; our best and brightest and strongest departing our country in droves to build other countries because there are no opportunities to grow their own fatherland. We cannot progress with hate for each other in our hearts, shedding blood in skirmishes no one gains from. We cannot continue to live with millions of fellow citizens living in their own country as refugees.We must put an end to millions of out-of-school children.We cannot grow with broken institutions and poor value systems; with elections that look like wars, and electoral processes that cannot convince all of us over their integrity.


We cannot make progress with doubts over the potential of this country to be great, or when we see it merely as a nation of ethnic groups and of Christians and Muslims, rather than a nation of Nigerian citizens.We must restore trust and faith in leaders, and respect for the rule of law by the high and low. The Nigerian must feel he has a stake in governance; that leaders and others in position of trust will not steal our commonwealth, and if they do, they will pay the appropriate penalty.The pride and dignity in politics and public service must be restored, so that the best and most competent can assume responsibility to grow Nigeria into one of the greatest nations in the world.The criminal who takes citizens and communities hostage will not rest under our administration, nor will the insurgent and the irredentist. We can live in a secure and peaceful in every inch of Nigeria, and I pledge to you our total commitment to securing the citizen, communities and the nation, at all cost.


Fellow Nigerians, I ask you to trust me and my deputy and the team I will appoint soon to begin the process of rebuilding Nigeria. I promise you that I will not steal, nor allow to be stolen, one kobo that belongs to the public. We will go to great lengths to make sure that we prioritize integrity and competence in every appointment we make.We commit to hold all public officers accountable. Every part of Nigeria will find space in our administration, and no part will be treated unjustly.


While we expect you to hold us to account, I should place those public officers we meet in place that they are on probation.We intend to raise the bar on integrity and competence extremely high, and we will have no room for those who do not make the mark. The war against corruption and waste will be total and unrelenting, and I serve notice today that we will not draw lines on who or what needs to be questioned, investigated and treated in accordance with laws of the land. I plan to revisit the philosophical foundations of our key public administration and security institutions, their limitations, effectiveness and operations. We will undertake extensive reforms that will include a painstaking scrutiny of the suitability of their leadership and utility. Under our administration, no one should expect to stay in office unless they deserve to, that is, only on the basis of their performance.We will work closely with the private sector, and encourage their optimum values through reforms and other encouragement.


We understand that the nexus between poor governance and insecurity is profound, and we will prioritize good, sensitive governance and positive collaboration with State Governors and influential groups to improve the quality of public policies and reduce poverty and alienation of individuals and groups.Our administration will have no favourites or enemies.


We will be open to ideas on basic reforms and changes in our federal system, and we will listen to all grievances and injuries that may have relationships with our unity and security. What we will not do is to concede to any interest or threats which takes away the constitutional monopoly of the Nigerian State to the exclusive monopoly of the legitimate use of force. Those who will not accept to live under the rule of Nigerian laws should know this: we will not submit to, or compromise with violence against a single Nigerian.


Excellencies, fellow Nigerians, we are acutely aware of the very high expectations of Nigerians for quick results, and we will work tirelessly to address the most pressing challenges which render millions of Nigerians insecure or desperately poor.We will not promise you miracles, but we will not rest until we justify the oaths which Vice President Shettima and I just took.Please pray for us and our nation, and join us in the battle to create a better nation for all of us.


Thank you. May God bless Nigeria.


Article first published by Vanguard




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