Tinubu’s inauguration: Lobbyists, others take over Abuja

President-elect Bola Tinubu

President-elect Bola Tinubu

• Air fares go up, hotels packed full, tight security in metropolis


Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice-President, Kashim Shettima on Monday, lobbyists and politicians angling for different positions have besieged Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Tinubu who was declared of the keenly contested February 25 presidential poll, is expected to take over from outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari after his inauguration on Monday.

Tinubu ran and won on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives have also relocated to Abuja and are currently housed in different hotels, pending the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June. Some of the members-elect are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony.

Frontline Reporters has learnt that lobbyists, particularly those who couldn’t visit Tinubu when he travelled to France after his election, are among those laying siege in Abuja.

A member of the Presidential Transition Committee, told Saturday Sun that there are over 10,000 positions to he filled by the incoming administration of Tinubu. He said the positions are in the over 800 Federal Government agencies, boards and parastatals, as well as other management positions.

He said some of the lobbyists have approached members of the Transition Committee to make strong cases on why they should be nominated for various positions. He said the pressure on them has often led them to relocate often.

He said some of the lobbyists usually resume at the private and official residences of Tinubu and Shettima, trying to have access to the duo to lobby for key government positions.

He said: “The lobbying is normal during a transition period. But Tinubu knew this would happen and that was one of the reasons he left for Europe after the elections. If he decides to meet with everyone lobbying for positions, he will run into trouble.

“Some of us as members of the committee have tried to do the best we can do. But we can’t make promises that are beyond us. There are state leaders of APC and when the time comes, loyalty will he rewarded.”

Another member of the committee said Tinubu delegated some of his aides to take the burden off him and attend to the lobbyists who frequent his official and private residences.

He said only a few are lobbying for ministerial positions, adding that board membership and heads of agencies are among the top requests being made by the lobbying APC members who have relocated to Abuja.

Frontline Reporters also visited some A-list hotels within the Abuja metropolis. Staff of the hotels who spoke in confidence, said since the beginning of May, the inflow of guests has increased.

Asked about the identity of the guests, some of them revealed that they’re politicians from different parts of the country. One of the hotel officials revealed that meetings are often held at their hotels, with state governors and lawmakers.

The official informed that the vice-president-elect, Shettima, sometimes attends the meetings late into the night.

He said family members of the politicians have also moved into the hotels, noting that most suites in the A-list hotels have been fully booked, even as prices have been hiked by the owners of the hotels in order to make brisk profits.

Similarly, airport fares have increased, Saturday Sun has learnt. Some travel agents said ticket for a one flight in economy class from Lagos to Abuja ranges from N80,000 to N120,000.

He said the pressure was on the Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano and Borno routes, noting that air fares to these areas have also gone up as a result of the high demands.

Already, security forces have stepped up their presence in the nation’s capital. The security forces comprising the Military, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, have mobilised their personnel and equipment. Both personnel and equipment have been deployed to man strategic locations within and around the city to ensure a hitch-free exercise

The venue of the inauguration, the Eagle Square, has undergone renovation. All hotels, recreational centres and places of worship, headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the three arms zones, and others around the venue of the inauguration are being manned by security agents.

All the entry points into the city are also being manned by armed security men who conduct random search on vehicles.


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