President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he can’t wait to go home after eight years of serving the Nigeria as president.
Buhari who expressed this desire during the final Sallah homage by Muslim faithful to his residence at the presidential villa, Abuja, described said he is lucky to have led Nigeria in various capacities as governor, minister, head of state and president.
He thanked the residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for tolerating him in the last seven and half years.
“I can’t wait to go home…I deliberately arranged to be as far away as possible from you people. I have got what I have asked and will quietly retire to my home town in Daura,” Buhari said, adding that he considered the Sallah celebration a good coincidence to say goodbye and to “thank you for tolerating me for eight years.”
The president who noted that he was already running a countdown to his exit acknowledged the benefits of democracy, just as he wondered how it would have been possible for someone like him who hails from the outskirt of the country to become president.
Buhari stated: “I am counting the days. Democracy is a good thing otherwise how can somebody from the other side be a president for two terms? My home town to Niger Republic is 8 kilometers.
“I honestly consider myself very lucky, I was made a governor, minister of petroleum, head of state in uniform, then after three attempts, God through technology and PVC, I became president. I tried 2007, 2011 and 2015 and ended up at Supreme Court three times.”
The president also took a swipe at those saying they cannot get justice at the court, recalling that even though all the Supreme Court justices in all the election cases he took to court were all Muslims from the North like him, he still lost.
He praised the deployment of technology and the use of permanent voters card (PVC) in the country’s electoral process, stating it was for this reason that he was able to make it in 2015 to Aso Rock.
Buhari continued: “I think this is a very good coincidence for me to say goodbye to you and to thank you for tolerating me for more than seven and half years now.
“I assure you, I have deliberately arranged to be as far away from you as possible not because I don’t appreciate the love you’ve shown to me, but because I think I’ve gotten what I have asked and I would rather quietly retire to my hometown.
“Having been a Governor, Minister and the President twice, I think God has given me an incredible opportunity to serve as your president. And I thank God for that.
“So, please whoever feels I have done wrong to, we are all humans. There is no doubt I hurt some people and I wish you will pardon me. And those that think that I have hurt them so much, please pardon me.”
On his part, minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, noted that in few weeks the president will conclude a very successful administration under which the FCT witnessed tremendous transformation infrastructure-wise.
He thanked the president for appointing him as minister, saying it is one position he would cherish forever.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of a giant Sellah greetings card to the president.
Some notable persons present were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; secretary to government of the federation, Boss Mustapha; chief of staff to the president, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; service chiefs, cabinet members, presidential aides, traditional rulers and members of the business community, among others.
Future Of Democracy In Nigeria Bright – PMB
Also, President Buhari said yesterday that the future of democracy as a system of government is bright, adding that as he prepares to leave office in a little over a month, he feels satisfied and duly assured that Nigerians will defend the system against all threats.
Speaking to reporters shortly after observing the Eid prayer, marking the end of the 30-day Ramadan fasting by Muslims, Buhari said, “Nigerians appreciate the stability of democracy. The outcome of the elections, in which more than ten governors failed to make it to the senate sent a clear message that ordinary Nigerians know the power of their votes and how to use it.
“Nigerians cherish democracy. They have shown their love for it and will defend it against real or perceived threats. They will continue to vote one way or the other depending on their preferences”.
President Buhari assured that the May 29 hand over date remains sacrosanct, adding that “God willing, nothing will stop it.”
On His plans after leaving office, the president said he feels fulfilled that God had made it possible to serve two terms of four years each and looks forward to an orderly handover.
Abdulsalami Rallies Support For Incoming Administration
Meanwhile, former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), yesterday rallied support for the incoming administration of president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying now that elections have come and gone, everybody should embrace peace for the development of the country.
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He made the call after observing the two rakaat’s prayer to mark this year’s Eid-el-fitr at the Minna Central prayer ground.
At the Sallah prayer which was attended by the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago; Niger State deputy governor-elect, Yakubu Garba and a former governor of the state, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the former Nigerian leader said irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliation should give their support to the next government.
“Let’s try and see how we can support the incoming administration,” Abdulsalami said, urging all Nigerians to give peace a chance to enhance rapid development of the country that would command the respect of all.
He maintained that peace is the pre-requisite for any meaningful development, noting that without peace the much needed economic and political development of the country would continue to be a mirage.
While saluting the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and World over for celebrating Eid-el-fitr, he also advised them to imbibe the practice and what they have learnt during Ramadan fast.
Sultan, COAS, Others Felicitate With Muslims At Eid-el-fitr
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto and the president general of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday called on Muslims across Nigeria to pray for the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
He further admonished them to imbibe the teachings and all they have learnt during the Ramadan in their daily activities so as to live as true Muslims beyond the period of Ramadan.
Abubakar, in his Eid-el-Fitr massage to Nigerians released in Sokoto, said, “As mankind, we appreciate the Almighty Allah for the gift of life and good health to be among those that will celebrate this great day.”
Sultan Abubakar also emphasised the need to pray for newly elected leaders that will take over the mantle of leadership in the country for success of their administration.
“Politicians seeking redress in courts should take the outcomes in good faith and support whoever emerges for the sustenance of peace, unity and development,” he advised.
He appealed to Muslims in the country to live in peace with all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation.
Also, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, felicitated with officers, soldiers, civilian staff and their families as they celebrate Eidil-el-fitr.
The COAS, in a message signed by the director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, extended his gratitude and appreciation to Almighty God for His mercies, guidance and protection to the troops of the NA as they strive to professionally discharge their constitutional duties amidst the contemporary security challenges across the country.
Stating the significance of the occasion, General Yahaya noted that Eid-el-fitir is a significant festival in the Islamic Calendar that marks the end of the glorious month of Ramadan.
He added that the festival brings a reminder on the virtue of loyalty, obedience and sacrifice which Prophet Mohammad Peace be Upon Him embodied stressing that these virtues are akin to the hallmark of professionalism in soldiering.
The COAS urged troops to recharge themselves with the virtues of pity, love sacrifice and commitment contained in the tradition of the prophet Mohammad, adding that the coincidence of the spiritual month of Ramada with 40 days Lent period observed by the Christian faithful is pointer that the year 2023 will be great and prosperous.
APC Urges Love For Fellow Citizens
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday called on Nigerians to show more love to fellow citizens across religious, ethnic and social divides.
The party made the call in its goodwill message to the nation in commemoration of the Eid-el- fitri celebrations marking the end of the month -long fasting exercise observed annually by Muslims all over the world.
“As we celebrate, may we show more love, respect, compassion, empathy and tolerance towards our fellow citizens irrespective of religion, ethnicity, and social circumstance and to demonstrate greater faith and hope in our country’s future of assured greatness especially with the Renewed Hope agenda of the incoming administration of our President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, the message stated.
The statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Barrister Felix Morka, expressed hope “that the lessons of this holy season will strengthen our resolve to pursue and attain higher and transcendental ideals, and help us rededicate to more wholesome and patriotic living.”
Morka stated that Ramadan, which is one of the five major pillars of Islam,” is a sacred spiritual obligation, requiring abstinence, self-purification, discipline, reflection, gratitude and rededication to the will of the Almighty Allah”.
PDP Urges Justice, National Regeneration
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on Nigerians to use the occasion of Eid-el-fitr to pray and work towards justice, equity, fairness, and good governance in the country.
In a statement signed by the national publicity secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the party urged Nigerians to reflect on the essence of Ramadan and reawaken the virtues of selflessness, honesty, fair-mindedness, mutual respect, forgiveness, love and compassion for one another.
The PDP expressed sadness that Nigerians are still under siege by terrorists and subjected to a life of fear, misery and excruciating economic hardship occasioned by the inexcusable misrule of an incompetent, insensitive, heavily corrupt and manipulative leadership in the last eight years.
“Our party is, however, optimistic that with fervent prayers to God and determination of the citizens, our nation will triumph in the collective quest to entrench a God-fearing leadership that is derived from the free Will of the people as expressed at the polls,” the statement noted.