Seyi Tinubu, the son of President Bola Tinubu, was on Sunday
flown to Kano in a presidential jet to watch the finals of this year’s edition
of the Kano International Polo Tournament.
Witnesses say the presidential jet conveying Seyi Tinubu and
his friends landed in Kano around midday on Sunday. He was said to have been
received at the airport by some officials of the presidency, the Kano State
government and the Kano Polo Club.
He was thereafter chauffeured to the Usman Dantata Polo
Ground amidst tight security provided by gun-wielding detachments of the
Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service.
After the final matches of the two-week tournament were
played and awards handed to winners, the waiting presidential jet then
transported Seyi Tinubu and his party back to Abuja, the nation’s capital,
where he currently lives.
The president’s son attended the event simply to watch a
sport he loves. He is a polo enthusiast and is the patron of the STL Polo Team
in Lagos. He was part of the players that represented the club at last year’s
Lagos Polo Tournament.
His use of the presidential plane for a private event to
satisfy his personal passion immediately triggered a firestorm of criticism by
some Nigerians. Jaafar Jaafar, a London-based Nigerian journalist, brimmed with
anger on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “Here’s Tinubu’s golden child, Seyi,
travelling in a presidential jet to watch polo in Kano… Even if our laws are
vague on this, one thing is clear: this is an offence to the moral code of
Reacting to the journalist’s comment, another user of the micro-blogging
platform, who identified himself as Aliyu, said, “The use of presidential jets
for personal or non-official purposes by public officials can raise concerns
about transparency and accountability. It’s essential for leaders to uphold
ethical standards and set a good example for the public. Transparency and
adherence to rules can help combat corruption and ensure that government
resources are used responsibly.”
“What about the misuse of a special forces unit as his
bodyguards? another X user, Bello Anka, said. “See them in the pictures. The
other day, he went skateboarding in Abuja with them running by his side. This
is just a continuation of the culture of impunity from the previous government,
perhaps on an even grander scale this time.”
But even before Sunday’s Kano trip, the younger Tinubu is
known for travelling regularly and extensively with the presidential jet either
in the company of his father or in those of his associates, a behaviour that
has continued to irritate not a few taxpayers who lament inappropriate
deployment and abuse of a key national asset.
In July this year, he was photographed as he made to board a
presidential jet. His destination and those he was travelling with remained
The controversy over the inappropriate use of the planes in
the presidential air fleet first emerged on January 9, 2020, when Hanan, the
youngest daughter of then-President Muhammadu Buhari, flew to Bauchi,
North-east Nigeria, on a presidential jet, in what was clearly a private trip.
She and the presidency were roundly condemned over the
matter, with Farooq Kperogi, an American-based Nigerian professor, describing
the act as an “unprecedented abuse of presidential powers”.
Recalling what happened during the Buhari era vis-avis Seyi
Tinubu’s Sunday pleasure trip to Kano on the presidential jet, another X user,
Bashar, said, “Buhari merely sought the title of ‘President’ without
understanding or respecting the sanctity of the office. The audacity to let his
daughter, Hanan, use a presidential jet for a mere photo tour in Bauchi was the
beginning of this mockery.
“Now we see Tinubu’s protege, Seyi, hopping on the same jet
for a polo match in Kano. It’s not just about the laws, it’s about ethics,
morals, and respect for the position. Our leaders must do more than just occupy
an office; they must uphold its dignity.”
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