By Lawrence Olaoye
President Mohammadu Buhari has described Nigeria as a terrific country.
Fielding questions from newsmen at the sideline of his 77th birthday at his private residence yesterday in the Presidential Villa, the President said his government would work assiduously to ensure free and fair polls to ensure that only candidate with the people’s mandates get to power.
Asked what kept him going as he continues to look younger and stronger even as he ages, Buhari said “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.”
On the assurance he intended to give to Nigerians going forward in his second term, he said “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.”
Asked his birthday gifts to Nigerians, Buhari 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.”
On his message for corrupt elements and economic saboteurs, the President 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. 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.”