Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos governor who is credited with helping increase the revenue base of the city-state, Nigeria’s commercial capital, has been sworn in as the country’s new president.
He took the oath of office from Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola in a colourful ceremony attended by local and foreign dignitaries on Monday in Abuja, the capital. The presidents of Ghana and Rwanda were among a number of leaders from across the continent who were present.
Tinubu, 71, succeeds Muhammadu Buhari, who was ineligible to run again after two four-year terms that began in 2015. Both men are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In his first speech as president, Tinubu promised to run an inclusive government and ensure proper representation of women and young people.
“In our administration, women and youth will feature prominently,” he said.
“Our administration shall govern on your behalf but never rule over you,” he added. “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.”
He also mentioned the need for a “thorough housecleaning” of the country’s monetary policy saying the central bank “must work towards a unified exchange rate”.
The new president, the fifth since the return of democracy in 1999, will have to tackle a struggling economy and widespread insecurity in Africa’s most populous country.
His supporters say he will replicate his success in diversifying Lagos’s tax revenue and increasing its internally generated revenue to the national stage.
But critics say he enriched himself during two terms in office as governor and got his cronies in government to assign him an enormous pension after exiting power. In the run-up to the 2023 vote, there were questions about his wealth, his health – as he slurred during speeches – and his academic credentials.
Tinubu, also a former senator, aided the rise of Buhari – who became the first person to defeat an incumbent president – to the presidency in 2015.