Journalism of Courage

Nigeria is terrific, says excited 77-year-old Buhari



By Kunle Akinsola

President Muhammadu Buhari has described Nigeria as terrific country with antagonists on the sidelines finding faults.

“It is a terrific country, no matter what you do, there are people on daily basis that look for your faults and go to the press, so you have to learn to live by that.

“I think I come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria, you can only try,’’ he said in a special interview to commemorate his 77th birthday.

Buhari, who was the Military Head of State from December 31, 1983 to July 1985, also described the democratic system as too slow.

Answering a question corrupt elements in Nigeria and economic saboteurs, he said: “Well, like I said, I have learned in the hard way. When I came in uniform, I collected those who were leading, took them to Kirikiri and told them they were guilty until they could prove themselves innocent.

“I put based on almost all the geopolitical zones committees to investigate them. Those that were found to have lived beyond their means, the balance was taken and were given to the states.

“But I myself was arrested, detained and they were given back what they have stolen.

“So under this system which is supposed to be more accountable, but it is too slow for my liking, but I have to follow it.’’

On the 2023 polls in the twilight of his administration, Buhari warned those hoping to ride to power on the crest of his anti-corruption stance and other achievements to forget it.

“What I want to promise Nigerians that I will work very hard on is free and fair election.

“All those that are going to succeed in the National Assembly and the Presidency, they better work very hard because I will make sure, using the law enforcement agencies that elections are free and fair, nobody uses his office or his resources to force himself on his constituency.’’

On how he felt at 77, Buhari, responded:“Well I think I feel well at 77.  A lot of those at 77 are on crutches and I am walking on my two feet.’’

Asked about his birthday gift to Nigerians, the President said patience and patriotism.

“That is what we see as rule, nobody can have his own way, we better accept the truth that we are one Nigerians, we keep on building.

“God has blessed us with land and people and resources. We must have the patience to exploit them and leave something for our future generations,’’ said Buhari who contested presidential election thrice and lost until 2015 when he defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Persecondnews recalls that a coalition of parties had amalgamated into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with Chief Bola Tinubu as the arrowhead to wrest power from PDP.

In February 2019, Buhari was re-elected for a final second term which terminates in May 2023.

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