Tinubu sworn-in as Nigerian president after controversial elections

Lagos, May 29 (EFE).- Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn-in as Nigerian president on Monday in a ceremony attended by over a dozen African heads of state, after his victory in the Feb. 25 elections marred by allegations of fraud.

“Nigeria will be impartially governed according to the constitution and the rule of law,” Tinubu said during his swearing-in ceremony at capital Abuja’s central Eagle Square.

The All Progressives Congress leader, aged 71, succeeds 80-year-old ex-president Muhammadu Bukhari – from his own party – after the latter had served his maximum two-terms as president.

Tinubu said that Nigeria had outlived predictions of its demise and division, as its resilience and diversity had kept it going.

The ceremony was attended by the heads of state from South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Botswana, Niger, Gambia, Burundi and Chad, among others.

Representatives from China and the United States were also present on the occasion.

Nigerian electoral authorities had announced on Mar. 1 that Tinubu had won the presidential polls with 36 percent of the votes.

However, the results have been challenged in courts by his main rivals: veteran opposition leader Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party – who received 29 percent of the votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (25 percent).

Both Abubakar and Obi have alleged fraud and called for the results to be cancelled, as the vote count witnessed problems in uploading of tallies using the new electronic voting system, which was delayed repeatedly due to what the electoral authorities called “technical hitches.”

In his speech, Tinubu defended the elections as the “best” to have taken place since democracy was restored in 1999, but said he respected his opponents’ decision to challenge the results in courts.

Tinubu, who governed the influential southern region of Lagos between 1999 and 2007, inherits a nation affected by growing security concerns in some areas, where criminal gangs have taken to kidnapping citizens for hefty ransoms, while terror groups and separatist rebels also remain active.

He also needs to tackle economic issues such as the devaluation of the naira, steep inflation and high rates of unemployment. EFE


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