“I Am Eager To Go” – Buhari Reveals Next Move
The national and state elections of February 25 and March 18 have shown Nigerians that they have the power and the free atmosphere to free choose their leaders and representatives, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
He expressed satisfaction with his role in the election process, which according to him, was without meddlesomeness or any form of interference.
The President spoke while hosting the outgoing United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, at the State House in Abuja.
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According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said with just-concluded elections, Nigerians have proven to be capable of deciding who leads them without anyone telling them what to do.
He also added that the Naira redesign and cash withdrawal policies helped in curbing vote inducement (vote buying).
Buhari, who expressed satisfaction with remarkable passion towards democracy exhibited by Nigerians through the choices they made in the Presidential/ National Assembly and the Governorship/ State Assembly elections, said Nigeria’s democracy has truly matured.
The statement reads: “People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do. I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election. But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”
The President commended the ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in the Nigeria-U.S. relations under her watch in the last three-and-half years.
After listing some of the challenges faced by Nigeria in her strives to unite the diverse communities and achieve national development, Buhari expressed his appreciation of the role played by the U.S.
The President said he enjoyed working with the envoy wished that she had more time to stay in the country.
Responding to a question posed by Ambassador Leonard, the President said he planned to be a “big landlord” back at home, working on his farms and tending his more than 300 animals. “I am eager to go,” said the President.
Leonard also said she was happy with the progress recorded in the Nigeria-U.S. relations during her tenure.
She listed the institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware, including war planes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters; cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and COVID 19 response as some of the feats attained.
The outgoing envoy gave assurances that U.S. will continue to assist in the strengthening of Nigeria’s health sector.
She expressed her gratitude and that of the U.S. government over the role being played by President Buhari in ensuring regional security and strengthening of democracy as a system of government, citing his strong response against the recent surge of coup-d’état in West Africa as worthy of commendation.
According to her, there are still more things the President could do, citing the need to urgently remove petrol subsidy as one of such things.