May 29: Timeline of Past Inauguration Ceremonies in Nigeria Since 1979

May 29: Timeline of Past Inauguration Ceremonies in Nigeria Since 1979

Inauguration ceremonies are the official unveiling of elected political leaders and the commencement of new administration in any country.

Nigerians are not new to such events as they have experienced many since 1979 when the late Shehu Usman Shagari was sworn in as President in the second republic.

On Monday, May 29, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would be sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at an inauguration ceremony slated to hold at the Eagles in Abuja.

Like his predecessors, President Buhari will bow out on Monday, May 29, as the new Tinubu government will be inaugurated. Photo Credit: Goodluck Jonathan/Muhammadu. Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Tinubu’s inauguration will be the seventh consecutive democratic transition of power in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999.

In this article,, revisited the inauguration ceremonies of past Nigerian presidents, venues, dates, and the Chief Justice of the Federation who administered the oath of office since 1979.

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Shagari’s inauguration in the Second Republic

Shehu Usman Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) won the 11th of August, 1979 presidential election. Shagari defeated his closest rival, Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and Nnamdi Azikiwe of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP).

The first democratically elected president of Nigeria, Shagari, was sworn in at an inauguration ceremony held on Monday, October 1, 1979, at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.

The oath of office was administered by the then Chief Justice of the Federation, Atanda Fatai Williams.

Shagari’s second inauguration

Shagari was re-elected president in 1983, and his second inauguration ceremony took place at the same Tafawa Balewa Square in Onikan, Lagos.

As the constitution demands, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Atanda Fatai Williams, administered the oath of office on Shagari for the second time on Saturday, October 1, 1983.

After the December 31st, 1983 coup led by then General Muhammadu Buhari ousted Shagari from power, Nigeria did not experience another presidential inauguration ceremony again until the return of democracy in 1999.

Obasanjo’s inauguration in the fourth republic

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Head of State, who headed over power to Shagari was elected President in 1999 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Obasanjo defeated his closest rival, Olu Falae of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He was sworn in as president on Saturday, May 29, 1999, by the Chief Justice, Mohammed Lawal Uwais, at Eagles Square, Abuja.

Obasanjo’s second inauguration

The same ceremony was repeated four years later after Obasanjo was re-elected President for the second time in 2003. Justice Uwais administered the oath of office on Obasanjo at Eagles Square, Abuja on Thursday, May 29, 2003.

Yar’adua’s inauguration ceremony

The 2007 inauguration ceremony was special as it was the first time a democratically elected president would be handing over power to another elected president. Obasanjo handover to Umar Musa Yar’adua of the PDP on Tuesday, May 29, 2007, at Eagles Square, Abuja. Justice Idris Kutigi administered the oath of office on Yar’adua.

Jonathan’s extraordinary inauguration

Nigeria experienced yet another extraordinary inauguration on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, when President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in after the death of his principal, Yar’adua. As a result of the peculiarity of the event, the inauguration for the first time took place at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, and Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, administered the oath of office.

Jonathan’s second inauguration ceremony

President Jonathan had his second inauguration ceremony after he was elected president under the platform of the PDP on Sunday, May 29, 2007, at Eagles Square, Abuja, and the oath of office was administered by Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu.

Buhari’s inauguration ceremony

The culture of having the inauguration ceremony at Eagles Square, Abuja in 2015 continued during the swearing-in ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, May 29, 2015. Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) won the 2015 election after defeating the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, and was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

Buhari’s second inauguration ceremony

Buhari’s second inauguration took place at Eagles Square and the oath of office was administered by Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

If the Presidential Election Tribunal does not change the declaration made by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring Tinubu of the ruling APC, President-elect, the former Lagos state governor will be administered the oath of office by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Monday, May 29, 2023.

FG releases official programme of events for Tinubu's inauguration

Meanwhile, the federal government of Nigeria has released the order of programme for the forthcoming presidential inauguration ceremony slated for Monday, May 29.

The development was confirmed on the official Twitter handle of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Thursday, May 18.


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