By Emmanuel Ogodo, Abuja
Two days to the inauguration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to mark the 7th consecutive presidential transition since Nigeria’s returned to true democracy in 1999, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory is relatively cold. Ideally, one would have expected that there will be high euphoria among people in the nation’s capital, in anticipation of the iconic event. However, a tour around the capital city suggests otherwise.
This development may not be unconnected with the fact that many residents in the nation’s capital never voted for the president-elect due to be inaugurated. Tinubu lost woefully in Abuja, one of the biggest reasons some Nigeria argue that it will be unconstitutional for him to be inaugurated. Their argument is premised on the constitutional requirement that the president must win 25 percent of Nigeria’s state and the FCT.
Some FCT residents bared their minds on the situation. John Yemi told Emerald News thus: “This year’s presidential inauguration is very different. You can see everywhere is calm; people are going about their normal businesses as if there is no big event ahead. The previous ones I’ve witnessed were not like this. When we’re approaching presidential inauguration like this, people are usually in high spirit, just the way it happens when Christmas, New Year or Sallah is drawing near.”
As part of preparation for the inauguration, Special Juma’at Prayers was held at the State House Mosque on Friday, 26th May. As usual, road were closed in some parts of the city, including phases 1, 2 and 3 of the federal secretariat complexes. The federal government had earlier announced that movements around the Eagle Square, where the inauguration will hold, will be restricted from Friday to Tuesday.
Another resident, Victory Abdul said that Abuja is not lively, ahead of the presidential transition because the president-elect, Tinubu, had failed the legitimacy litmus test during the February 25 presidential election. “You know Tinubu did not get up to 25 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT. So, the acceptability among Abuja residents and even Nigerians at large is very low,” she said.
While Nigerians resident in the FCT are pessimistic about the president-elect, an inaugural lecture is holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, while an Inter-denominational church service will hold tomorrow, Sunday, 28th at the National Christian Centre also in the FCT.
For fear of possible uprising before or during the inauguration, security has been tightened around the city. And as a result of arrival of dignitaries from within and outside Nigeria, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport has been busier in the past few days. Business reports also reveal that some of the big hotels in Abuja are fully booked and are now refusing further bookings as they have fully occupied.
All formalities notwithstanding, the atmosphere in Abuja is generally cold. Perhaps, the weather condition has made it even colder.