paris in spring

Nigeria’s Tinubu back from France, just before his inauguration

By Mathieu Olivier

Posted on May 25, 2023 07:21

 © Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress party in Abuja, Nigeria, March 1, 2023. Ben Curtis/AP/SIPA
Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress party in Abuja, Nigeria, March 1, 2023. Ben Curtis/AP/SIPA

With only a few days to go before his inauguration on 29 May, Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu paid a lightning visit to Paris for another short rest his aides say, before returning to Abuja on 20 May.

Bola Tinubu is certainly no stranger to the Paris region. The Nigerian president-elect was in France for about two weeks in mid-May. Officially, it was a private trip for medical purposes.

According to our sources, the Nigerian, who is to be inaugurated as head of state on 29 May, wanted to carry out a final check-up at the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine before the ceremony.

Discussions on military cooperation

Tinubu, 71, has been followed for many years by doctors at this state-of-the-art hospital, located west of Paris, while his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, preferred London institutions. The future president had already made a medical visit to France on 22 March, returning to Nigeria only at the end of April, more than a month after his arrival.

Highly sought in the French capital, Tinubu was been able to take advantage of his visit to address some key issues of his future mandate, primarily energy – a Nigerian sector whose opportunities attract the eye of French companies – and security.

According to our information, Tinubu was able to meet with senior officials of the French Ministry of Defence, including the Gendarmerie.

The French – whose relations with Buhari have sometimes been difficult and who are currently redeploying their resources to West Africa – hope to find in Tinubu and his entourage key interlocutors to improve military cooperation between the two countries. The president-elect is soon to appoint the new head of the Department of State Security, with the successful candidate potentially forming part of his delegation to Paris.

After returning to Nigeria from Paris on 20 May, he received three days later the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Abuja, whose foundation is particularly active on the continent.

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