A dozen Heads of State present
Investiture: Mohamed Bazoum, newly elected President of the Republic of Niger
In his very first speech, the new president paid tribute to outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou, who has only served ten years in power, a rare occurrence in Africa where presidents persist in staying in power by changing the constitution.
The new president, Mohamed Bazoum, spoke at length about his friend of 30 years, with whom he founded the ruling PNDS in 1990. "The birth certificate of a project of which this ceremony is not the least outcome," he said.
Mohamed Bazoum announced that his future mandate will be in the continuity of what Mahamadou Issoufou has accomplished, with priority given to improving education, and in particular the schooling of young girls, including the creation of boarding schools.
The will to lower the birth rate is one of the challenges of the new president. Mohamed Bazoum was offended in his speech by the fact that Nigeriens have an average of 7 children per household. A direct consequence of polygamy, a concept that President Bazoum clearly rejects.
In this first comprehensive, clear and powerful speech, Mohamed Bazoum spoke of the "vicious circle" in which Niger is locked. The new president also promised to curb corruption, embezzlement, bribery and to show no mercy to corruptors. He warned that "anyone with responsibility in the administration will be held accountable.
In addition, Mohamed Bazoum declared that he will devote his mandate to the fight for social justice.
A dozen African Heads of State
This inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of a dozen African heads of state at the Mahatma Gandhi Center in Niamey. Most of them came to congratulate the new president and reiterate their wish for bilateral cooperation.
Among them, Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Chadian President Idriss Déby and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.
France was represented by its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Turkey was represented by its vice president.
The presence of the heads of state is also highly symbolic, particularly in these times of pandemic.
Indeed, it illustrates the reaffirmation of their common objective, namely, the fight against terrorism in the Sahel zone. This is one of the major challenges of Mohamed Bazoum's mandate. The presence of the heads of state at the inauguration of the new president of the republic of Niger also made it possible, at least symbolically, to congratulate the democratic changeover. With this democratic changeover, Niger has proven that it respects the nation, that it loves its people. This is an increasingly rare attitude in West Africa.
With Mohamed Bazoum, the newly elected president, Niger becomes an example to follow for West Africa and for the whole continent.