As President Bola Tinubu arrived in Lagos yesterday, following his trip to France and the United Kingdom, politicians lobbying for ministerial appointments have temporarily relocated to the Ikoyi axis of Lagos Island to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir with the President.
President Tinubu travelled out of Abuja last week Wednesday to France, where he attended the Financial Pact Summit on “A New Global Financing Pact” and thereafter went to London for what his aides called a private visit.
His plane touched down at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos around 5:08 pm, but he did not come down until around 5.14 p.m. He was welcomed by hundreds of All Progressives Congress (APC) members, who waited for long hours to receive him.
As President Tinubu’s convoy made its way from Ikeja to his private residence in Ikoyi, Lagosians lined the road from Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), enthusiastically waving and expressing their joy.
This is the President’s first visit to Lagos since his inauguration as Nigeria’s 16th President on May 29, 2023.
Upon his arrival at the Presidential wing of MMA, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Acting Inspector-General of Police Olukayode Egbetokun, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Senators and Representatives from Lagos State, as well as party officials warmly received President Tinubu.
The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in conjunction with personnel from the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force also mounted a guard of honour for him, while the standing troupe of the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture entertained guests.
President Tinubu expressed gratitude to Nigerians for the overwhelming reception accorded him in Lagos.
He is scheduled to join fellow Muslim faithful for the Eid prayers today at the Obalende Eid Prayer Ground, located at Dodan Barracks, the former seat of the Nigerian government, according to a statement signed by Dele Alake, a Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy.
Sources close to the President said hotels and apartments close to Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi, where Tinubu’s private residence is located had been fully booked since it was announced that the President would spend his Sallah holiday in Lagos.
The presidency had earlier announced that President Tinubu will spend Wednesday and Thursday, the two days declared for the holiday in Lagos. Though sources said he might not return to Abuja until Monday, the reason his private residence has turned to Mecca of sort for politicians lobbying for appointment.
It was also gathered that the final list of the ministerial nominees is not finalised as various interest groups are still making frantic efforts to convince the President why they should be considered in the new cabinet.
The source said: “I can tell you that the President will submit the name of his ministers to the Senate within the next two weeks and I can assure you that there will be more women and youths in the cabinet as Nigerians have never seen before.”
It was also gathered that the Progressives Governors Forum has submitted names of some immediate past governors to represent their interest in the new cabinet.
Some of the President’s men that may make the cabinet include, former governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna State), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) and Gboyega Oyetola (Osun). It was also gathered that former Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike may be on the list.
It was also gathered that the wife of the late former governor of Oyo State, Florence Ajimobi, is being considered for appointment as the state governor Seyi Makinde was said to have nominated Joseph Tegbe, who lost his senatorial election to represent Oyo South.
Meanwhile, President Tinubu has enjoined Muslim faithful in the country to always remember to show compassion to fellow humans as they celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, urging them to remember those who may not be as fortunate.
This came as he acknowledged that the country is going through some challenges, especially with a struggling economy and simmering security challenges.
“While I acknowledge all of these, I want to assure you that they are not insurmountable. I am working day and night with my team, fleshing out solutions.
“Let us endeavour to multiply good deeds with our kindness to our fellow Muslims and others by helping and supporting the weak and vulnerable in our communities. By so doing, we showcase the values and virtues of our faith,” Tinubu said in a statement.
He said the occasion, coming as the end of religious activities spanning the first 10 days of the Islamic Month of Dhul Hijjah, Eid-el-Kabir is a festival of sacrifice and total obedience to Allah as exemplified in the exceptional action of Prophet Ibrahim.
According to the President, there is no greater sense of duty ever recorded in history outside the ennobling example of Prophet Ibrahim in offering his only son, Ismail as sacrifice to Allah.
“The best way by which we can demonstrate this example is in how we conduct ourselves in relation to our fellow citizens and in our duties to our beloved country.”
President Tinubu urged Nigerians to “imbibe and manifest those values inherent in Prophet Ibrahim’s life, namely: complete devotion to Allah, tolerance, patience, perseverance, selflessness, love and compassion.
He said, “We have started with the decisions taken so far, to reform our economy and remove all impediments to growth.
“As we embrace the present challenges, we must face the future with vigour and Renewed Hope with the confidence that our tomorrow shall be better and brighter.