Daily Trust

2019: Shine your eyes, Buhari tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that only people of conscience are in-charge of governance at all levels as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections.

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His spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted him as making the call at the Presidential Villa in Abuja Tuesday while receiving members of the Buhari Support Organisations led by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs, Col. Hameed Ali.

Buhari, who is seeking reelection, urged Nigerians to reject those bent on dividing the nation along religious and ethnic lines, warning that they do not mean well for the country.

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‘‘I have said severally that we do not have any other country than Nigeria and we will remain here and salvage it together.

‘‘We have nothing to regret. Absolutely nothing. God has given Nigeria everything. We are rich in human and material resources. Let us keep on praying to God to put people of conscience in-charge at all levels,’’ he said. 

The president said saboteurs; who mismanaged Nigeria’s economy in the past, through fraudulent electricity projects and misuse of revenue earnings from oil; had no love for the country.

He stated: ‘‘I challenge anybody to check from Europe, America and Asia; between 1999-2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil per day at an average cost of 100 USD per barrel and it went up to 143 USD.

‘‘When we came it collapsed to 37 – 38 USD and later was oscillating between 40 and 50 USD.

‘‘I went to the CBN Governor, with my cap in my hand, and asked if we had savings. He told me we had only debts, no savings. Some of the roads were not repaired since the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) days.

‘‘I don’t care the opinion you have about Abacha but I agreed to work with him and we constructed roads from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Benin to Onitsha and so on. We also touched education and health institutions.

‘‘One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion USD on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?’’ the President said. 

On the mismanagement of the economy by previous administrations, Buhari noted that the perpetrators lacked imagination and plans for the development of the nation.

 ‘‘Sometimes, I wonder about those who can afford to send their children abroad for studies and yet continue to sabotage the economy, I wonder what kind of Nigeria they want their children to return to and work. There is a lot of lack of imagination.

‘‘If you are working for the country, then you shouldn’t be misappropriating and misapplying public funds the way people did,’’ he said.

Buhari noted that under his watch, the 2016 and 2017 budgets recorded the highest appropriation and releases in capital projects, with over N2.8 trillion disbursements in two years.

On the activities of the support group, Buhari apologised for not rallying them before announcing his intention to seek re-election in 2019 during a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress on April 9, 2018.

He thanked members of the group for their resolute support to him as a Presidential candidate in 2015 and all through his term in office, adding that their voluntary sacrifices were an indication of their trust and belief in the great future of the country.

The leader of the BSO, Ali, was quoted as saying that the group and majority of Nigerians were passionate about a second-term for President Buhari because of his integrity, honesty, love and patriotism.

He noted that Buhari had entrenched fiscal discipline and prudent management of resources, improved the nation’s security and delivered on his promise to revamp agriculture, as a major revenue earner for the country.