By Stephen Angbulu
Almost two weeks after he took the oath of office, President Bola Tinubu is likely to move into his official residence at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa this weekend or next week.
Although the President has been meeting guests at his office, the Council Chamber and the State House Banquet Hall, his official residence lies eerily quiet.
On Tuesday, May 30, the day after his inauguration, Tinubu made his entrance through the quarter guard gate where he inspected a guard of honour and soon commenced talks with key officers such as Vice-President Kashim Shettima; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (who he later appointed as his Chief of Staff); Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele; and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, among others.
Later that day, his motorcade lined up for the short journey to his Asokoro private home where he had been operating since emerging as the President-elect on March 1, 2023.
In the days that followed, the President met the General Security Appraisal Committee, governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress; members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, a foreign delegation, some past governors, traditional rulers and members of the business community, among others.
Each day, he used the quarter guard gate when resuming and leaving office.
Likewise, Saturday PUNCH learned that Shettima had been coming to the office from his personal house and not his official residence, the Aguda House.
Our correspondent earlier reported that former President Muhammadu Buhari vacated the main residence for the Glass House about three weeks before the inauguration of his successor. But sources told our correspondent that the timeframe was too short and therefore delayed maintenance works on the 32-year-old Aso Rock Villa.
A security source, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said, “He (Tinubu) has not moved in because maintenance is still on. And that is because maintenance started late because of the time Baba Buhari left the residence and moved into the Glass House.
“Even though he vacated the main residence a few weeks before handing over, the time was short. If you compare it to Goodluck Jonathan, Jonathan left about a month before Buhari’s swearing in. And so there was enough time for maintenance. That is why Baba Buhari did not waste time to enter the house because it was ready.”
On May 13, a senior State House source revealed to Saturday PUNCH that the residence was being coated with white paint, while some of its sections were being cleaned and fumigated.
However, the renovation, which largely entailed finishing, fittings and the change of some security apparatuses, did not include the provision of new sets of furniture as the new President will determine whether to change the existing ones or retain them.
“You know that most of the structure is white. So, the renovation will involve repainting the stained sections and replacing fittings that have gone weak or bad. The furniture may not be changed. But that will depend on the new President,” the source had said.
However, another Presidency source told our correspondent on Friday that the President was expected to move in “this weekend or early next week.”
“I can confirm that he (Tinubu) has not moved into his residence. But I also know that he may do it this weekend or early next week,” the source said.
Another senior source, who confirmed the planned relocation to our correspondent, said Tinubu was quite comfortable in his Asokoro residence and did not see the need to stay in the Defence House before his swearing-in.
The source stated, “He is quite comfortable where he is. Even when he was President-elect, he only visited the Defence House to hold a few meetings and leave. He didn’t really stay there.
“But he will move into the Villa soon because he is the President. He has to operate from here.”