President Bola Tinubu says he plans to govern Nigeria with fairness, equity and justice and not to rule over Nigerians.
Tinubu said this in his inaugural address, shortly after taking oath of office on Monday at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, administered the oath of office to Tinubu shortly after Kashim Shettima thad taken his oath of office as Vice President
Tinubu said that as a nation, Nigerians had long decided to march beyond the dimness of night into the open day of renewed national hope.
He commended his supporters and extended his hands of fellowship to those on the other side of the political divide.
“The question we now ask ourselves is whether to remain faithful to the work inherent in building a better society or retreat into the shadows of our unmet potential.
“For me, there is but one answer; we are too great a nation and too grounded as a people to rob ourselves of our finest destiny.
“This nation’s journey has been shaped by the prayers of millions, and the collective sacrifices of us all.
“We have endured hardships that would have made other societies crumble.
“Yet, we have shouldered the heavy burden to arrive at this SUBLIME moment where the prospect of a better future merges with our improved capacity to create that future.”
The president said that the peaceful transition from one government to another was a political tradition.
“The handover symbolises collective trust in God, enduring faith in representative governance and belief in ability to reshape the nation into the society it ought to be,” he said.
He lauded the immediate past president for creditably acquitting himself.
“Here, permit me to say a few words to my predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari. Mr President, you have been an honest, patriotic leader who has done his best for the nation you love.
“On a more personal note, you are a worthy partner and friend; may history be kind to you; for many years, Nigeria’s critics have trafficked the rumour that our nation will break apart, even perish.
“Yet here we are; we have stumbled at times, but our resilience and diversity have kept us going.
“Our burdens may make us bend at times, but they shall never break us; instead, we stand forth as Africa’s most populous nation and as the best hope and strongest champion of the Black Race.
“As citizens, we declare as one unified people devoted to one unified national cause, that as long as this world exists, Nigeria shall exist,” he said.
“Fate and destiny join together to place the torch of human progress in the hand of his administration and it cannot let it slip,” he said.
He said that the torch of unity beamed lights on the path with compassion, brotherhood and peace and must not extinguish.
“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. In this vein, may I offer a few comments regarding the election that brought us to this juncture.
“ It was a hard fought contest; and it was also fairly won; since the advent of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has not held an election of better quality,” he said.
Tinubu said that the outcome reflected the will of the people.
He said, however, that his victory did not render him any more Nigerian than his opponents nor does it render them any less patriotic.
“They shall forever be my fellow compatriots; and I will treat them as such; they represent important constituencies and concerns that wisdom dare not ignore.
“They have taken their concerns to court; seeking legal redress is their right and I fully defend their exercise of this right; this is the essence of the rule of law.
“Over six decades ago, our founding fathers gave bravely of themselves to place Nigeria on the map as an independent nation, the labour of our forefathers must be allowed to wither in vain but to blossom and bring forth a better reality, ” he said.
The president urged Nigerians to recommit themselves to placing Nigeria in their hearts as the indispensable home for all regardless of creed, ethnicity, or place of birth.
“My supporters, I thank you; to those who voted otherwise, I extend my hand across the political divide; I ask you to grasp it in national affinity and brotherhood; for me, political coloration has faded away.
“All I see are Nigerians; may we uphold these fitting and excellent notions as the new Nigerian ideal,’’ he said.
He listed the focal principles of his administration as security, economy, jobs, agriculture, infrastructure, fuel subsidy, monetary policy and foreign policy.