Thank You For Tolerating Me,’ Buhari Tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, thanked Nigerians for tolerating him in the past eight years he has been on the saddle. Buhari was sworn-in as the president on May 29, 2015, for a four-year tenure and was re-elected and inaugurated on May 29, 2019, for another four years.

Speaking when residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, paid him Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari told those he may have hurt in the course of doing his constitutional duties to forgive him.

The President, who stated that he was counting his days and couldn’t wait to retire to his Daura home town, Katsina state, which he said is eight kilometres to the Niger Republic, said he got all he asked of God and would quietly retire home.

While going down memory lane on how he lost elections three times and ended up at the Supreme Court, he said that it was technology through the Permanent Voters Card, PVC, that came to his rescue in 2015.

He said he considered the Sallah celebration as a good coincidence to say goodbye to the people present at the Presidential Villa for the homage.

According to him, “I think this is a very good coincidence for me to say goodbye to you and to thank you for tolerating me for more than seven and half years now.

“I assure you, I have deliberately arranged to be as far away from you as possible not because I don’t appreciate the love you’ve shown to me, but because I think I’ve gotten what I have asked and I would rather quietly retire to my home town.

“Having been a Governor, Minister and the President twice, I think God has given us an incredible opportunity to serve as your president. And I thank God for that.

“So, please whoever feels I have done wrong to, we are all humans. There is no doubt I hurt some people and I wish you will pardon me. And those that think that I have hurt them so much, please pardon me.”

President Buhari further said, “I am counting the days. Democracy is a good thing otherwise how can somebody from the other side be a president for two terms? My home town to the Niger Republic is 8 kilometres.

“I honestly consider myself very lucky, I was made a governor, minister of petroleum, head of state in uniform, then after three attempts, God through technology and PVC, I became president. I tried 2007, 2011 and 2015 and ended up at Supreme Court three times.”

The President took a swipe at those who said they cannot get justice at the court, recalling that majority of the Supreme Court justices in all the election cases he took to court, despite the fact that they were Hausa/Fulani from the north and Muslims yet he lost.

He said thanks to technology and the permanent voter’s card (PVC), which he said aided him to make it in 2015 to Aso Rock.
In an interview on whether the comment by some people that he was a highly fulfilled Nigerian was true, Buhari said:

“I thank God and as I said, I’m looking forward to returning to my town, as far away as possible from Abuja, so that the incoming government will have the time and space to take decisions, without necessarily having any input from me. I had my eight years and I think I had enough.”

In his message to Nigerians as he was preparing to exit the office, he said, “Nigerians should appreciate the stability of democracy. Look at what we observed in the last election, ten serving governors in their respective states lost the election to the Senate, which means the ordinary Nigerians are appreciating the system and this is good for the country.”

Fielding question on the alleged plan by some anti-democratic forces working to scuttle the transition programme, he simply said, “Well what I have just said now is explicit.”

Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, FCT chapter, Rev. Timothy Amakon, thanked God for using Buhari to transform the nation as well as to maintain peace and development of the country.

He prayed that God will continue to strengthen him even after he leaves office to continue to play the role of an elder statesman. The cleric also prayed that God will help the incoming administration to continue the great work the Buhari administration has started.

He commended the Minister of FCT for the good job he has done and prayed that Christians and Muslims will continue to co-exist peacefully.

Some notable personalities present were Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, service chiefs, cabinet members, presidential aides, traditional rulers, business communities among others.

Speaking in an interview with journalists, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said, “It was a very historic, memorable Eid Fitre celebration visit to our outgoing president. And the takeaway is this president had served Nigeria so far, for over seven and a half years and he did tremendously well.

“The Buhari administration is closing on a very strong note, we have succeeded in reducing, and minimizing the insecurity that we met in 2015. This administration has provided so much infrastructure across the country, as no other administration did before.

“This administration, this President particularly assented to legislations more than any previous president, especially in the last four years. And we are so proud of this administration, that we have been able to achieve so much, and therefore, is a thing of joy for all of us to come and celebrate with Mr. President, the Eid fitre today, Friday.

“And I want to also add here, that the multitude of people from the FCT, the main people are here to see the president and congratulate him, this showed the kind of unity that we have in the FCT people from all walks of life.

“And of course, the rest of us who are supportive of what the president was doing are here to show our gratitude in another way that we are really happy with the way we have been able to be part and parcel of this administration, the very positive manner is really the ninth National Assembly.

“We have done so much to support the administration, and the government and we are so proud of our achievement as an administration, that is what the legislature and the executive arm of government and this President will go home by the grace of God after the 29th of May 2023, a very satisfied person.

“But of course, there are things that we have not been able to do well. The new administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu will come in and it’s going to be a continuity with those areas that we’ve gotten well, and those areas that we have not been able to get well, we’ll rework them, We’ll retool them, we’ll rekindle them and ensure that we continue with the progress of APC administration.
“It is one administration, it’s one government, so to speak, and we’re proud to be part of everything that has happened in the last seven and a half years.”

Asked what in particular the outgoing government has done well, he said, “Infrastructure. You tell me, Is there any part of Nigeria that today does not have one infrastructure development or the other? the southeast has the second Niger bridge, the second Niger bridge was something that defied all the previous administrations, right from 1999, when President (Olusegun) Obasanjo held away. Then late (Umaru) Yar’Adua of blessed memory, then, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

“All the PDP administrations came they went there, they said they broke ground, or groundbreaking, but that was where it stopped. Nothing else happened until the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came. Like joke, people thought it was going to be the same thing. But we have proven everybody wrong.”

Asking if he had any regrets, he said, “No no, no, you can’t say regrets. We can only say there are things that we have not been able to satisfactorily deal with. And this is natural, because one, we don’t have sufficient funds, two, as human being there are areas that naturally whatever you do, you may not get it right.

“But it’s for us to identify those areas, go back and rework them and this administration as it winds up a new one, an APC administration is coming in to take over and by the grace of God will have a national assembly that is also APC. So we will continue to work on those areas that we need to improve. So I am not going to talk about what areas because the time we have here is very limited.”

On how he feels that the Women bill was thrown out under his leadership and the contestation surrounding the leadership of the 10th senate, Dr. Lawan said he was not going to answer the question on whether he has any interest to contest for senate again.

“First of all, when the bills five of them that concern woman were not voted for by the National Assembly. I think naturally, there are things that we assume could happen. But they didn’t happen the way we wanted them.

“But remember that even bills that concern the National Assembly were killed. There are bills that concern the national assembly itself, that did not see the light of day. I felt bad that we could not pass even one. But then we shouldn’t really lose hope we should continue to campaign, we should talk to more and more members of the National Assembly.

“And we should also re-strategize. Maybe the kind of campaign that was undertaken may not be necessarily the one that will give you the kind of outcome that we needed. But I’m very confident that we should continue to campaign for issues that we have not been able to get right.

“Let me give you an example. The Mayor for FCT, almost every constitutional amendment period Mayor for FCT will surface. But it has not been passed. Does that mean that we shouldn’t continue to ask for Major for FCT? No!

And there are issues that concerned the national assembly itself that we’ve not really passed. So I felt bad that we couldn’t pass any of them. But I’m also very optimistic that if we re-strategize, and look at the way we campaign we could get either all of them or some of them passed in the next assembly by the grace of God.

“The party (APC) is not in trouble. This is today’s Sallah, and by the grace of God, most of those people who have travelled for either Umrrah or one reason or the other will be back in the country, including our president-elect, and I’m sure that our leaders will, come together and decide how the leadership of the 10th National Assembly will emerge.

“I’m very confident that the APC members and senators-elect will respect whatever our party and our leaders will eventually come up with, we are praying that we are able to deal with it as decisively as possible, and then keep ourselves united and work together with other parties.

“We have been able to work together with other parties in the ninth assembly in a very bipartisan way, smoothly and seamlessly. And I believe that we can repeat that. And it is very, very essential that we have a very United National Assembly. And I’m very confident that we will do that.”

Further asked whether he was not worried that the opposition will take over the leadership of the 10th Senate given the configuration, he said:

“I don’t think opposition parties are planning to usurp because it is presumptuous that the APC will not be a united party. APC is a united party and the opposition party will simply work with the APC majority for us to have stability because there is no way an opposition will decide who should be the senate president and who should be the speaker.

“It is our party and other leaders that will decide which zone or whoever, and the rest of us in the party will key in and of course, the opposition would have no option but to support.

“I don’t see anything wrong in the opposition talking to us, or we talking to the opposition to ensure that we’re on the same page because we need opposition to ensure that we get most of our constitutional amendments when the time is right, passed. because we can’t have the 73 in the Senate.

“So, you need 73 senators at least for you to have any constitutional amendment. So you would need opposition. That’s why it is very, very critical, it is very essential that you work with opposition right from the beginning. Don’t ever think the opposition should be pushed away. I,only believe in the very bipartisan chamber because it is more productive. It is more stable, it’s calm, and it gives you the kind of outcome that you will never get with a very rancourous chamber. And I’ve seen it, we have done it.”


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