•Says Nigeria’s democracy worth defending
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has blasted opposition parties for creating the impression of incompetent party leadership, and chaotic elections to the international community during the recent general elections in the country.
He also highlighted the success of the 2023 poll at both the national and state levels.
The President, who spoke yesterday at the launch of the book ‘A Promise Kept, A Compendium Of Significant Achievements Of Muhammadu Buhari Administration 2015-2023’, held at the council chambers of the State House, Abuja, said “I think I was expecting too much. When I was in Doha, meeting with some heads of states, I was getting calls from Europe, America and Nigeria, congratulating us on the success of elections.
“The opposition has created the impression outside the country that we are going into a mess because we have incompetent leadership of the party.
“They were overwhelmed that the election came and went and both at the centre and at the states, fantastic.
“How can 10 sitting governors of states lose their constituencies, this has been unprecedented.
“So I congratulate you, the national working committee and others here, that we have really proved that democracy is worth defending.
“Nigerians have understood it now, otherwise how can they vote against their sitting governors stopping them from going to the senate to rest?
“So they were really overwhelmed and I congratulated our political development. Please congratulate your constituencies, it means that even though you have excess money, they will collect and put in their pockets but they will elect the person they trust from any constituency, either House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate until it comes to the president itself. Because it was so transparent, everything was done there in front of everybody. And committee by committee from various constituencies lined up and picked the candidate they wanted.
“So really, we have virtually politically arrived. I congratulate our party.”
President Buhari said he has never been one to revel in surprises despite his 20 years in the military, however, commended the MBO Dynamic Support Group led by Usman Ibrahim, for managing to catch him completely off guard.
His words: “Thank you for surprising me with your generosity and kindness. I think by my profession I spent most of my time that is the military for 20 years, there wasn’t this kind of surprise. If you allow yourself to be taken by surprise you will be virtually overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting this honestly. Especially today when I need to sign few papers because I know on Monday, from the swearing in venue I will fly directly to Kaduna and then I will go to the other side of Nigeria.
“Thank you for surprising me with your generosity and kindness.”
The President stated that the APC has achieved its set objectives as a political party, noting that the last elections were transparent as people voted their choice candidates.
President Buhari said citizens were not influenced by money judging by the outcome of the exercise where serving governors and lawmakers lost their bids for re-election.
The President said what his administration and the party wanted to achieve was to develop a firm political culture.
He reiterated that both President-elect Bola Tinubu and Vice-President elect, Kashim Shettima, possess the required experience to develop the nation having been two terms governors and senators.
He said: “Today, we prayed together with Asiwaju and I congratulated him and I said I am eager to go to other side of Nigeria. I wish him the best of luck.
“I said his Vice President is experienced, a two time governor in his state and then the Senate. And this is how we got the chairman of our party, two time governor in his state and also he has been in the Senate.
“So they are people really from the bottom of the system to the top. When you get experienced people to be in charge, taking important decisions, they will always reflect on their experiences and they can hardly go wrong. So I congratulate you and our party.
“I thank you very much for this major surprise, I think now when I go back I will have time to read some books not just about myself but about other issues.
“I assure you, I have been counting the days, I am looking forward to Monday very desperately. I will use the weekend to sign some of the papers so that from Eagles Square, I will fly to Kaduna and eventually go to Daura. Thank you very much.”
Shettima euologied and reflected on the Buhari’s administration which he said inherited a country that was left in tatters.
Also speaking, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, described the president as a politician stepping aside but not tired.
“You worked hard tirelessly to build the nation and make it better for all of us,” he said.