Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday ruled out grooming anyone for now to succeed him when his terminal tenure expires in 2023.
The president told a delegation of the Progressives in Academics (Pro-Acad) who visited him at the State House, Abuja, that grooming a successor now could create a serious problem.
He was responding to a demand by the group urging him to groom a youth that will succeed him in 2023.
Buhari, who is in the early stage of his second term in office and is constitutionally barred from running again, said those expecting him to anoint them as his successor in 2023 should try their own luck.
He added that becoming a president is not a bed of roses.
According to him, those who want to be president should try hard as much as he did before luck eventually smiled on him.
Buhari said becoming a president was not a tea party and recalled all he went through before winning the presidential election in 2015 after three previous futile bids.
“Succession! To me, this is very funny because if I find anybody, I will create more problems for him or her. Let those who want to be president try as much as I did.
“I believe those who are interested need to know that I tried three times and the fourth time, I thank God and technology, PVC.
“Before they announced the result on radio and television, they got the result and they said anybody who disagreed should go to court. Most of my supporters are looking for next day’s meal, they don’t have money to give to lawyers. So, I said God dey!
“So, the fourth time because of technology they couldn’t rig the elections, so I won. So this time around, I tried to work hard,” he said.
Buhari challenged the group to strive hard to correct prevalent intellectual deficiencies in the country.
According to him, undertaking such a move by the academic group has become germane for the development of the next generation.
He also observed that young persons take issues with levity nowadays and added that becoming a president requires hard work.
“I think you have more to do as intellectuals to make sure you correct Nigeria’s intellectual development. It is very important for the next generation.
“A lot of our young people are taking things for granted. Imagine contesting elections three times and ending up in the Supreme Court, it takes a lot of conviction and hard work.
“But people take things for granted; they say I want to be the president. As if I just closed my eyes and opened and I got it,” the president stated.
He also blamed states for the problems arising from the continued practice of the Al-majiri system in the country.
The president also told the scholars that his government had so far pumped N1 trillion into education through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund).
He said the federal government gave N25 billion to the federal and state universities for payment of allowances to lecturers, adding that the social investment programme of the government will be sustained by this administration in the next four years.
“Education remains a top priority for our government. In the last four years, we injected over N1 trillion into education through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) and our needs assessment interventions.
“We also released N25 billion to public universities to pay earned academic allowances to lecturers. Of course, you are all aware of the rot we uncovered at JAMB and many other institutions.
“Our home grown school feeding programme covering more than two million children coupled with our social investment initiative has encouraged many parents to send their children to school and also pay for more teachers in classrooms.
In the next four years, we shall continue with the work to transform the sector bearing in mind our high population growth rate, financial challenges,” he said.