Outraged as South African President shuns handshake with Tinubu at inauguration

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A video showing Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, standing in the back row during the inauguration of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday has sparked a massive online controversy.

The initial video, shared by prominent critic Aisha Yesufu, a follower of ex-presidential candidate Peter Obi, shows Tinubu in traditional Nigerian attire standing in the back row while several dignitaries occupied the front seats. As Ramaphosa, inaugurated for his second term, made his way through the front row, he shook hands with all the dignitaries there, while Tinubu was seen standing uncomfortably, scratching his face.

Critics of President Tinubu seized upon the video, claiming Nigeria had been disrespected and demanding an apology from South Africa. Yesufu, who leads the Obidient online movement (Peter Obi’s supporters), posted on her X.com account, “My people say Pikin wey no hear word for house na for outside dem go disgrace am!” meaning “a child who refuses to listen to advice at home will be disgraced in public.” She added, “Tinubu disgraced once again in South Africa.”

Another critic, activist Madhi Shehu, also criticized the president, alleging that “millions of dollars” were spent on the trip only for Tinubu to be humiliated. Shehu declared, “After spending millions of dollars to travel to South Africa for the presidential swearing-in ceremony, Tinubu was consigned to the back row, ignored in the protocol of handshake, and left in cold-blooded shock. A case of insult and defeat at away matches and despised at home.”

The presidency’s counter video showing Tinubu and Ramaphosa shaking hands aimed to quell the controversy, but the incident has already fueled a heated debate on social media.

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