AP - Bola Tinubu became Nigeria’s president on Monday during a period of unprecedented challenges for Africa’s most populous country, leaving some citizens hopeful for a better life and others skeptical that his government would perform better than the one he succeeded. Thousands of Nigerians and several heads of government attended the swearing-in ceremony for the 71-year-old Tinubu in the country’s capital, Abuja. He succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari to lead a country that by 2050 is forecast to become the third most populous nation in the world, tied with the United States after India and China. Tinubu — the former governor of Lagos, which is Nigeria’s economic hub — has promised to build on Buhari’s efforts to deliver democratic dividends to citizens in a country where deadly security crises, widespread poverty and hunger have left many frustrated and angry. And with his election still being contested in court by opposition parties and among many young Nigerians, Tinubu has also pledged to reunite the country.
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In his first comments as president, Tinubu, also from Buhari’s party, declared that “hope is back for Nigeria” and said he would work beyond improving the economic and security conditions to unite a deeply divided nation and ensure fairness and justice for aggrieved groups. Symbolic of a transition of power and loyalty to the new president, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s chief of defense staff, presented old national and defense flags of Nigeria to Buhari and received new ones from Tinubu, who is also the Chief of the Armed Forces.
“We have endured hardship that would have other societies crumble,” said Tinubu. “Our mission is to improve our ways of life in a manner that nurtures our humanity, encourages compassion towards one another and duly rewards our collective efforts.”