By Aminat Umar Abuja
Muhammadu Buhari, outgoing president of Nigeria on Thursday decorated Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, the incoming president and vice-president respectively with the highest and second highest national honours in preparation to May 29th swearing-in as president and vice-president.
Speaking shortly after his investiture as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) – the nation’s highest honour-and vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima as Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), and handing over of transition documents, Tinubu pledged not to disappoint Nigerians who put their trust in him by electing him their president.
Before conferring the highest national honours on the president-elect and the vice president-elect, President Muhammadu Buhari said he had finished his race well and he satisfied that he would be handing over Nigeria to competent hands in the person of Tinubu and Shettima.
“I have run my course. I am happy that I am handing over to competent hands,” President Buhari said.
Earlier, the president-elect said his election to lead the over 200 million people in the country was a goodwill, which came from a place of trust.
“I am a simple man who is the beneficiary of the support and goodwill of the people of Nigeria. The people have put their trust in us. You have done your part Mr. President.
“Now, that great duty descends on me. I understand the meaning of the honour given to me today and of the task that awaits.
“I must run this race and must do it well. On security, the economy, agriculture, jobs, education, health and power and in all other sectors we must make headway. The people deserve no less. In this, I shall disappoint neither them nor you, Mr. President”, Tinubu said.
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The president-elect recognised that Nigeria’s path may not always be smooth, but believes in the country’s purpose and collective ability to overcome challenges.
He said, “Our way shall not always be smooth. Yet we are imbued with faith in our purpose and a firm belief in our collective ability to overcome the challenges that confront us.”
The president-elect also commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s unwavering commitment to progressive and democratic good governance, recognising him as a leader who took courageous decisions when others shied away.
He specifically thanked President Buhari for designating June 12 as Democracy Day and honouring MKO Abiola with the GCFR title, a decision other presidents were afraid to take.
He said, “President Buhari, you have shown courage in taking tough decisions others avoided.
“One such decision was to recognise the injustice of the annulment of the 1993 election, to designate June 12 as Democracy Day, and to bestow the nation’s highest honour on the late MKO Abiola.
“As much as anyone could, you reached back into history to set the record straight and heal a festering wound.
“The justice you did in this matter lends special meaning to today.”
The President-elect also expressed his gratitude to President Buhari for bestowing the nation’s highest honours on him and Vice President-elect Shettima, promising to carry
“Thank you, Mr. President, for bestowing the nation’s highest honours on my Vice President elect Shettima and me,” he said.
Tinubu also extended his appreciation for the transition documents and the diligent work performed by the transition council led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
While acknowledging the comprehensive scorecard presented in the transition documents, he said, “The documents summarise the immense work of your administration. They constitute an impressive and noteworthy scorecard.”
He further emphasised that the ceremony exemplified Nigeria’s vibrant and true democracy, where one leader honours his successor and ensures a smooth transition of power.
“This stately occasion is living evidence that Nigeria is a vibrant and true democracy.”