Harry Awurumibe, State House, Abuja
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has given his strongest indication so far that the much criticized nation’s electoral process will be cleaned up once and for all, promising Nigerians that he will bequeath the culture of free and fair elections in 2023 General Elections.
The President used the occasion of his 77th birthday celebration organized for him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja by his aides and top government functionaries including the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha earlier today to make it abundantly clear that the elections in Nigeria will no longer be for the highest bidders.
He also assured Nigerians that gone are the days when candidates use their humongous resources and offices to force themselves on their constituencies, promising that he will work very hard to ensure that the next General Elections will not only be free but also fair.
President Buhari responded to few questions at the brief event thus:
Question: At 77, how do you feel sir?
Answer: “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”.
Q: What is the secret, you look more, stronger, more agile
A: “ I think I come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria, you can only try, 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”.
Q: What is your birthday gift to Nigerians
A: “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”.
Q: What assurance are you giving to Nigerians as you execute your mandate
A: “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”.
Q: What can you tell the corrupt elements in Nigeria and economic saboteurs?
A “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”.