If you like, call me Baba Go Slow, says Buhari

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - John Ameh, Abuja

THE Pres­i­dent, Major Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari (retd.), says he will up­hold the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion (as amended) in pur­su­ing the poli­cies of his regime “whether you call me Baba Go Slow or not”.

Buhari stated this when he re­ceived res­i­dents of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory led by the Min­is­ter, Muham­mad Bello, dur­ing the tra­di­tional Christmas Day homage at The pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja.

Be­fore re­ceiv­ing the FCT res­i­dents, he had ear­lier on Wed­nes­day with Vice-pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo.

The VP had pre­sented Christmas gifts, in­clud­ing a card to his boss.

Buhari said his administra­tion would fo­cus on the pro­vi­sion of in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially roads, power and rail­way trans­port, not with­stand­ing any crit­i­cisms it had faced.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Nige­ri­ans will not care about who is the Pres­i­dent or in gov­ern­ment so long as they have good in­fra­struc­ture.

The Pres­i­dent said, ‘‘This administra­tion sin­cerely be­lieves that if you get in­fra­struc­ture right, most Nige­ri­ans will mind their own busi­ness. They may not even care who is in gov­ern­ment.

‘‘But when you deny them in­fra­struc­ture, then there is noth­ing they can do.”

He thanked Nige­ri­ans for vot­ing him into of­fice twice, say­ing it was proof they sym­pa­thised with him.

He added, ‘‘But I can as­sure you that I thank Nige­ri­ans very much from the bot­tom of my heart.

‘‘When I trav­elled to all the 36 states be­fore the elec­tions, what I per­son­ally ob­served and the num­ber of Nige­ri­ans that turned up in ev­ery state to see and lis­ten to me, were more than what any­body can pay or force.

‘‘What I saw made me be­lieve that the ma­jor­ity of Nige­ri­ans un­der­stand and sym­pa­thise with me.

“I swore to hold this of­fice by the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Fed­eral Repub­lic of Nige­ria, whether you call me Baba Go Slow or not.

“I will be dili­gent in serv­ing this coun­try du­ti­fully.”

On the del­e­ga­tion were re­li­gious lead­ers across Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam, tra­di­tional rulers as well as groups like the Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria.

Some of the no­table faces were the Catholic Arch­bishop of Abuja, Ig­natius Kaigama, and the Imam of the Abuja Na­tional Mosque, Dr Mo­hammed Kabir.

Speak­ing ear­lier, the min­is­ter thanked Buhari for the sup­port the FCT had re­ceived from his regime since 2015, es­pe­cially in pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity and in­fra­struc­ture.

Bello also re­viewed 2019, re­call­ing that as of 2018, many peo­ple pre­dicted doom for Nige­ria.

How­ever, he said the year came and passed with the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions con­ducted and Buhari’s regime in­au­gu­rated for a sec­ond term.

He spoke fur­ther, “We thank God for bring­ing us this far, we started 2019 with a lot hope and a lot of chal­lenges.

“A year ago when we came, we had elec­tions be­fore us. We were

faced with a lot of chal­lenges from within and with­out from par­ties that never wished the na­tion well.

“By the grace of God, cam­paigns were com­pleted suc­cess­fully; by the grace of God, in­au­gu­ra­tion was done suc­cess­fully; by the grace of God, we cel­e­brated June 12 as our new Democ­racy Day.

The Min­is­ter of Nige­ria Delta, Godswill Ak­pabio, who was also at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, com­mended the regime for the cor­dial re­la­tion­ship it had es­tab­lished with the Na­tional As­sem­bly, re­sult­ing in the speedy pas­sage of the 2020 bud­get.

•Fun-seek­ers at Ele­gushi Beach on Vic­to­ria Is­land, La­gos… on Wed­nes­day. Photo: Stan­ley Ogidi

•Some chil­dren at a Christmas party in Aguda, Ogba, La­gos... on Wed­nes­day. Photo: Odu­tayo Odu­sanya

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