Inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari

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Inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari
Incoming and Outgoing Nigerian Presidents Wave to Crowd Amid Peaceful Inaugural in Abuja.jpg
Incoming and outgoing Nigerian Presidents
DateFriday, 29 May 2015 (2015-05-29)
LocationEagle Square
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
ParticipantsMuhammadu Buhari
Yemi Osinbajo

The inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as the 15th President of Nigeria, and 4th President in the fourth Nigerian Republic took place on Friday, 29 May 2015. It marked the beginning of the first term of Muhammadu Buhari as President following the 2015 general election.[1]

The Federal Government declared 29 May a public holiday.[2] More than fifty representatives from foreign governments were expected to attend the inauguration. The government intended to spend less than 2 billion (US$10 million) for the ceremony.[3]


Buhari won the presidential election by more than 2.5 million votes.[4]

On 17 May 2015, Buhari's campaign spokesperson said that following the inauguration, the President "would simply be addressed as Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria." He would also not prefer to be addressed as "Mr., Alhaji or Mallam".[5] Buhari's official portrait was also unveiled on the same day.[6]

On 24 May 2015, the All Progressives Congress issued a statement saying that outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan was "handing over a nation in deep crisis" and that there was "no electricity, no fuel, workers are on strike, billions are owed to state and federal workers, $60 billion are owed in national debt and the economy is virtually grounded".[7]

On 26 May 2015, the National Union of Nigerian Students issued a statement saying that South African President Jacob Zuma was not welcome due to his "poor handling" of the recent xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals in his country. It also stated that there is "no point felicitating with a people who clearly do not matter much to you" and his visit will only amount to pretence.[8]

On 27 May 2015, Premium Times reported that the ruling People's Democratic Party had deliberately received the bulk of the 5,000 invitation cards as there were plans to allegedly boo the outgoing president. They also didn't want him to be embarrassed and instead give him a "cheerful exit".[9] Following appeal made by many to probe the outgoing administration, President Jonathan during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council, said that any future probe should be "extended beyond [his] administration. Otherwise.. it [would] be witch-hunt".[10]

Suleiman Hashimu walked 750 km from Lagos to Abuja, fulfilling his vow that he had made if General Buhari won the presidency. It took him 18 days to trek the route. He had taken with him ₦100,000 ($500) but only spent ₦3,500 as he was catered for by the people along the way.[11]

Pre-inaugural events[edit]

Date Activity Venue
Friday, 22 May Jumu'ah (Friday) Prayers Abuja National Mosque
Sunday, 24 May Church Service and Thanksgiving National Church of Nigeria
Thursday, 28 May Inauguration Dinner State House Conference Hall

Inaugural events[edit]


The official swearing-in ceremony took place at Eagle Square in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory from 0800 hours (UTC+1).[12] Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed administered the oath of office taken by President elect Buhari. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was sworn in at 10:41 AM. President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in at 10:51 AM after which he delivered his inaugural speech.

Inauguration speech (excerpt)[edit]

Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.

Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan Fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins.

The most immediate [challenge] is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the command and control Centre in Abuja. [It] will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of.

It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million [people] generates only 4,000 MW, and distributes even less.

— Muhammadu Buhari[13]

Inauguration Luncheon[edit]

A luncheon was held at the State House Banquet Hall at midday. President Buhari left the programme midway in order to attend the Friday weekly prayers.[14]

Inauguration Gala[edit]

A gala was held in the evening.


Invitations were sent to 54 African countries and other nations.[1] Outgoing First Lady Patience Jonathan did not attend the ceremony.[15] Former Nigerian Heads of State who were in attendance included General Yakubu Gowon, President Shehu Shagari (ousted by Buhari), General Ibrahim Babangida (deposed Buhari), Interim President Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and General Olusegun Obasanjo.[16]


President Jonathan with Buhari.
Security personnel hold hands to form human chain.
Country Title Dignitary
 Angola Vice President Manuel Vicente[17]
 Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi[18]
 Burkina Faso President Michel Kafando[19]
 Chad President Idriss Déby[20]
 Congo–Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso[21]
 Ethiopia Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegne[22]
 Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo[23]
 Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba[24]
 Gambia Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy[25]
 Ghana President John Mahama[26]
 Guinea President Alpha Condé[27]
 Kenya Deputy President William Ruto[28]
 Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf[29]
 Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta[30]
 Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi[31]
 Namibia President Hage Geingob[32]
 Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou[18]
 Rwanda President Paul Kagame[33]
 Sahrawi Republic Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar[34]
 São Tomé and Príncipe President Manuel Pinto da Costa[35]
 Senegal President Macky Sall[36]
 Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma[37]
 Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud[38]
 South Africa President Jacob Zuma[39]
 South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga[citation needed]
 Swaziland King Mswati III[40]
 Tanzania Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal[41]
 Togo President Faure Gnassingbé[42]
 Zambia Vice President Inonge Wina[43]
 Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe[44]

Spouses of HOSG[edit]

Country Title Dignitary
 Namibia First Lady Monica Geingob[32]
 Tanzania Second Lady Asha Bilal[41]

Government representatives[edit]

Secretary Kerry waves Upon arriving at Eagle Square
Buhari with John Kerry.
Country Title Dignitary
 Algeria Speaker Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa[45]
 Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi[46]
 Cameroon Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali[47]
 China Agriculture Minister Han Changfu[48]
 Côte d'Ivoire Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby[49]
 Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry[50]
 France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius[12]
 Namibia Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah[32]
 Qatar Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud[51]
 Somalia Foreign Minister Abdi Salan Hdaliye[38]
 South Africa Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane[52]
 South Korea Special Envoy Lee Ju-young[53]
 United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond[54]
 United States Secretary of State John Kerry[55]
 Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi[44]

International organisations[edit]

Organisation Title Dignitary
AU emblem.png African Union Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma[56]



Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to attend the ceremony but cancelled following outrage from Kenyans when details of his 84-member entourage was leaked.[57] The Kenyan Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary denied these reports and described the list as fake. Citizen News reported that the two-day trip would have cost at least KSh 20 million (about $200,000) in allowances and airfare.[58] Instead, Deputy President William Ruto accompanied by ten officials, represented the president.[59]

At the inauguration ceremony, Sahara Reporters' Adeola Fayehun asked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe when he would be stepping down.[60] Fayehun asked him if there was democracy in Zimbabwe and that it was time for him to step down.[61] Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba described the reporters as "activists with cameras" and that they "took advantage of protocol restrictions that were imposed on delegations."[62] Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo tweeted that the reporters were "political activists masquerading as journalists who imagine their country as a model of democracy."[63] Moyo also stated that "free countries have rules including diplomatic courtesy not the display of Boko Haram journalism."[64]


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External links[edit]