President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians living in the United States and Canada that if he wins next year’s election and spends another four years in office, he would leave a difference in the office.
At a meeting with members of the Nigerian community on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, he regretted that the elite allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged for the 16 years of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rule without raising a voice in consternation.
“They didn’t say a word, under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund) we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt. Since then, roads were not done between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word. In 1983, military officers gathered and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, I told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted. But after I myself was detained, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elite complained about that?” he said.
The president was further quoted in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, as saying, “Three times I contested elections, three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.’
“It was mainly the ordinary people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency. Even pregnant women on the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country,” he added.
The diaspora Nigerians in their scores drawn from various fields expressed the wish to come back home and contribute their quota, to which the president replied: “You are contributing to this great country (America). If you want to help back home invest in education in your constituencies. If you educate people, they won’t accept nonsense from anybody.”
Buhari said the administration he leads has by and large kept faith with its three key campaign promises; to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.
“I’ve tried to do my best since I came,” he stressed, adding: “Security-wise, we are better. Boko Haram still conducts cowardly attacks, but the insurgency is not the same as it used to be. They are terrorists, and have nothing to do with religion. We will continue to deal with them. Ask people in the North-east, especially in Borno State, they will tell you they can sleep with two eyes closed now.”
The parley was organised by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters.
Representatives of US chapter of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) also presented awards to President Buhari in appreciation of his performance, urging him to do more.
Meanwhile, the president has welcomed the pledge by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to help Nigeria tackle the Boko Haram insurgency through sound education among other things.
During a bilateral meeting Thursday with the OIC Secretary-General, Dr. Youssef Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Buhari underscored the importance of education in purging the mind of wrong indoctrination, particularly on religion