The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday declared that his government would not take the foot off the pedal in delivering the gains of democratic rule to the people.
Speaking during his meeting at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja with executive members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), President Buhari assured that infrastructure, security, and economy will remain the focus of his administration.
He added that the gains already recorded in several sectors will be consolidated before handing over on May 29, 2023.
On the Northeast, the President said he has received first-hand information that the security situation had improved over the years, and his government will support efforts targeted at rebuilding infrastructure and re-orientation on education.
He said according to a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina: “I am very grateful for your visit to the Presidential Villa, and I agree with you on some of the observations you have made. The question of insecurity is most important to us because unless a country or institution is at peace, it will be difficult to manage.
“I just came back from Adamawa and Yobe States. During the visit to both states, I listened carefully to what the people and officials had to say. And they all said the situation had improved since 2015, especially in Borno State.
“Boko Haram was just fraudulent and a plot to destroy Nigeria. You can’t say people should not learn; the people need to grow intellectually.”
Why We Are Able To Get Loans
President Buhari said creditors see Nigeria as credible and loan worthy which is why the country has been able to secure loans for infrastructural developments.
“We are credible, that’s why the countries and institutions agreed to support our development with the loans,’’ he stated.
The President stressed the need to break the over-reliance of the government on oil and develop other areas while dealing decisively with saboteurs who are destroying the oil installations across the country.
He pointed out that the destruction of oil facilities slowed the generation of revenues, and the government would be harder on saboteurs.
“If you look at the economy, we are trying hard to rely more on ourselves. Nigerians rely more on agriculture for livelihood, and we are putting in our best to enable more people, and diversify,’’ the President noted.
Nigeria Must Remain United
Buhari said some of the challenges faced in the past, which include coups and counter-coups, and civil war, had prepared Nigeria for survival.
“We thank God that Nigeria is still one,’’ he said. “We should not forget that more than a million died for the nation to survive.’’
The President noted that he had been part of Nigeria’s history since 1967, fighting in the civil war, serving as governor, minister, Head of State, Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, contesting presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011, before winning in 2015.
“We should thank God, and we should reflect on these things and thank God more,’’ he added.
The Bishops’ Statement
In his remarks, the leader of the clerics and President of the CBCN, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, commended the President for reforms in the electoral system, particularly, the signing of the Electoral Bill into law.
He said all hands must be on deck for the success of the 2023 general elections.
“We commend and congratulate you for the efforts the government has put into ensuring real improvement in our electoral system and processes, especially your signing into law the electoral bill.
“Please do not relent in making sure that INEC and other relevant agencies of government carry out their serious duties to conduct peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections,’’ he said.
You Can Do More
Ugorji however charged President Buhari to do more even in the few months left before his administration hands over.
The clergyman called for more attention in the area of insecurity in the country, and improved economy.
“The main crux of our message to you today is one of fervent appeal and strong encouragement. Your tenure of two terms as President, Commander-In-Chief of Nigeria, is drawing to an end. But we believe a lot can be done to turn things around for the better in the about four months left of your presidency before you step down in May 2023.
“We have seen some signs that the government is not entirely incapable of tackling the sad state of insecurity in the land, which has consumed thousands of innocent Nigerians across all religions, creed, and ethnic groups,’’ the cleric noted.
The Catholic Bishops presented a souvenir to President Buhari, containing a letter of encouragement and prayers for the forthcoming elections.