Less than one week to the inauguration of Nigeria’s ‘president-elect’ Bola Ahmed Tinubu, no world leader has signified intention to attend the ceremony.
The United States on Monday night named its delegation for the event, but interestingly the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken was missing on the list. Mr. Blinken had recently called Tinubu, to reaffirm his commitment to strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and the United States. Although that call did not go down well with two major rivals, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, who allege that Mr. Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress stole the 2023 presidential election with the connivance of the electoral umpire, INEC.
The US delegation will be led by Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia L. Fudge.
Other members of the Presidential Delegation include, Mr. David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., U.S. Embassy Abuja, The Honorable Sydney Kamlager-Dove, United States Representative (D), California, The Honorable Marisa Lago, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce-General Michael E. Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, The Honorable Enoh T. Ebong, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, The Honorable Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, The Honorable Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council, The Honorable Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.
Recall that President Joe Biden had yet to congratulate Mr. Tinubu on his controversial election victory, which is now subject of a bitter legal tussle at Nigeria’s Presidential Election Tribubal.
It is also remarkable that no world leader – no leader of any of the G7 countries – will be attending the installation of the president of the most populous black nation and a major strategic and economic partner to most countries in the West.
Meanwhile, events lined up for the inauguration include a lecture titled, ‘Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development’ that would be delivered by former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, on May 27.
Other activities include the Regimental Dinner in honour of the Commander-in-Chief at the Armed Forces Officers Mess slated for Tuesday, May 23; the Valedictory Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Council Chambers inside the Presidential Villa on May 24; Public Lecture and Juma’at prayer at the National Mosque on May 26; Children’s Day Parade and Party on May 27 and an Inter-denominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre on May 28.
Also, the Inauguration Dinner/Gala Night at the State House Conference Centre is billed for May 28 while the inauguration/swearing-in of the president-elect and the vice president-elect will take place on May 29 accompanied by an inauguration parade at the Eagle Square.
There will also be a post-inauguration luncheon strictly for the President with his colleague Presidents, Heads of Government and guests at the State House Banquet Hall after the inauguration ceremony.