Politi­cians pre­oc­cu­pied with elec­tions but se­cu­rity, econ­omy bother me –Buhari

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Olalekan Ade­tayo and Ka­marudeen Ogun­dele

PRES­I­DENT Muham­madu Buhari on Mon­day said Nige­rian politi­cians were cur­rently pre­oc­cu­pied with the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

He, how­ever, said un­like other politi­cians, the na­tion’s se­cu­rity and econ­omy were what con­cerned him.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his Spe­cial Ad­viser on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the Pres­i­dent made his po­si­tion known at a bi­lat­eral meet­ing he had with the Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter, Theresa May, at 10 Down­ing Street, Lon­don, as part of his on­go­ing of­fi­cial visit to the United King­dom.

“We cam­paigned on three ma­jor is­sues – to se­cure the coun­try, re­vive the econ­omy and fight cor­rup­tion.

“We have elec­tions next year, politi­cians are now pre­oc­cu­pied with the polls, but I am both­ered more about se­cu­rity and the econ­omy,” the Pres­i­dent was quoted as say­ing at the meet­ing.

While in­sist­ing that there could never be progress with­out knowl­edge of where the peo­ple were com­ing from, Buhari said it was a mis­take to stop the teach­ing of his­tory in Nige­rian schools.

“Peo­ple ought to know how they ar­rived where they are. It was a mis­take for us to have stopped the teach­ing of his­tory as a sub­ject in schools, but we are re­turn­ing it to the cur­ricu­lum now,” he said.

Buhari com­mended Bri­tish com­pa­nies like Unilever, Cad­bury, and many oth­ers which he said stood with Nige­ria through thick and thin, not­ing that even dur­ing the civil war, they never left.

He, how­ever, asked for more in­vest­ments in the coun­try.

The Pres­i­dent also briefed May on his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s strides in agri­cul­ture, which he said had put Nige­ria firmly on the road to food self-suf­fi­ciency.

He said, “I am very pleased with the suc­cesses in agri­cul­ture: We have cut rice im­por­ta­tion by about 90 per cent; made lots of sav­ings of for­eign ex­change, and gen­er­ated em­ploy­ment.”

On ed­u­ca­tion, Buhari said more in­vest­ment was be­ing made, be­cause “peo­ple can look af­ter them­selves if well-ed­u­cated.”

Ad­dress­ing the Prime Min­is­ter on cli­mate change and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, Buhari stressed the need for in­ter-basin wa­ter trans­fer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.

He also made a case for the recharg­ing of Lake Chad which he said was now about 10 per cent of its orig­i­nal size.

Buhari said recharg­ing of the lake would re­duce the num­ber of youths com­ing to Europe to in­crease so­cial prob­lems.

May was said to have promised that Britain would con­tinue to work with Nige­ria in the ar­eas of train­ing and equip­ping the mil­i­tary.

She was said to have been par­tic­u­lar about ab­duc­tion of young school­girls by Boko Haram, not­ing that Britain would con­tinue to give Nige­ria the needed as­sis­tance.

‘Stop lament­ing poor econ­omy’

The Ek­iti State Gover­nor, Mr Ay­o­dele Fayose, has how­ever told Buhari to stop be­hav­ing like a “weep­ing Pres­i­dent” by lament­ing about what his pre­de­ces­sors failed to do.

He also told the Pres­i­dent to stop blam­ing past lead­ers for the in­abil­ity of his ad­min­is­tra­tion to ful­fil his cam­paign prom­ises.

The gover­nor said this in a re­ac­tion to a state­ment cred­ited to the Pres­i­dent while re­ceiv­ing some mem­bers of the Buhari Di­as­pora Sup­port Or­gan­i­sa­tion in Lon­don.

The gover­nor in a state­ment is­sued in Ado Ek­iti on Mon­day by his Spe­cial As­sis­tant on Pub­lic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and New Me­dia, Lere Olayinka, said it was shame­ful that the Pres­i­dent had for­got­ten that he was also among the past lead­ers he was blam­ing for the coun­try’s eco­nomic prob­lems.

The state­ment said, “The neg­a­tive foun­da­tion laid by the likes of Pres­i­dent Buhari caused the prob­lems of the coun­try.

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