By Uche Mbah
Uncertainties have beclouded the May 29 swearing day as one of the Political Parties that felt it was unduly excluded from the April 23 general elections has approached the Courts asking that the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari be put on hold pending the determination of the suits challenging his victory.
Hope Democratic party and it’s Presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, have asked that the inauguration be put on hold. They approached the election Petitions tribunal with two pleas-that Buhari should not present himself for swearing in, and secondly, that the Chief Justice of the Federation should not swear him in. Hearing was adjourned to May 22 to enable the respondents prepare for their defense.
It was gathered that the move took the Presidency by surprise, since they were expecting such actions from the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. PDP is already challenging the elections results in Court.
Coincidentally, the Presidency announced that the May 29 inauguration will be low keyed with no foreign dignitaries expected. This critics interpreted as erring on the side of caution as they are not sure where the legal pendulum will swing.
Even though they have been able to allegedly put their loyalists in overseeing positions, hoping for favorable rulings, according to opposition members, it is still not certain how the Judges will rule on individual levels.
Moreover, there were rumors of cold shoulders being given to the second term of Muhammadu Buhari by Nigeria’s traditional diplomatic allies, who have refused to congratulate him on his victory. Buhari’s alignment towards the Arab world and China may not have gone well with Europe and America.
Besides, the politics of June 12 has r,surfaced since the posthumous recognition granted to the widely acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 elections, Moshood Abiola, Late.
With that, June 12 has been chosen as democracy day. Rumors were rife that the inauguration will be on June 12, but that could have constituted a constitutional crisis since by law the tenure of the President ends on May 29.
Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, came with the clarifications that Inauguration will be on May 29, but Democracy day will be on June 12, saying that the diplomatic Community will be expected on June 12-a tacit admission that there is the need to avoid embarrassment of empty diplomatic seats of May 29.
In addition, the main opposition PDP have criticized the central government for suddenly waking up to the importance of true Federalism, insisting that the presidency is trying to buy the loyalty of the populace “after rigging themselves in”.