President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that his journey to politics and even as a military officer has been tourtous and challenging, saying, he has suffered in his efforts to serve the country.
President Buhari stated this when he received the delegation of residents in Abuja led by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, who paid him Sallah homage in his official residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He advised Nigerians to shun politics of sectionalism and individualism so as to make the country great, stressing that Nigeria is blessed with enormous resources scattered in all parts of the country.
He also said that he started and completed the Ramadan fast despite the apprehension in some quarters as a result of his health condition, enthusing that he was feeling healthier and more determined to steer the ship of the country.
The President said he was working hard for the collective interest of the country and that enough had been invested into the country to ensure it remained one entity.
He said, ‘I am very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy who knows what is in the heart and not by mouth, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times. This country is blessed on human and material resources.”
President Buhari who expressed joy over the turnout of Abuja residents to pay him homage noted with dismay that the nation’s resources in the past 16 years had not been managed well by previous administrations.
According to him, “What we realized between 1999-2013 as I have always said we have never realized it. It is on record that we were producing 2.2 million barrels per day on the average, at the cost of $100 per barrel.
“It went up to $143 per barrel and then I think it stabilized between $80 and $90, Nigeria has never received so much money and we thank God that we have survived the crisis in no time.
“It is amazing that we are here because we tried four times, we ended up three times at the Supreme Court and it is no joke. I have suffered for this constituency just like I suffered in the Military. I walked from the northernl border to the sea virtually on foot, because every culvert and bridge were blown up, so we had to walk and carry our luggage.
“I think we have invested so much in this country and we will continue to pray that we stay together and let us develop the necessary confidence, work together as a people, this country is great. Let us work together so that we can save a lot more and exploit more of the resources that were abandoned so many years ago.
“I am very grateful to the ministers and church leadership that came to say happy Eid-Filtri to those of us that have been fasting. A lot of people asked me not to fast on health grounds I can default I refused because I know the value in fasting, I cannot miss it once I can do it.
“Last year, I didn’t (fast) because I was on health vacation but this year I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be much more healthier to give me the time that I need to attend to national issues.
“Please in your constituencies, emphasize what I said about 30 years ago, we don’t have another country except Nigeria. We may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do. Even those that had gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there.
“I wish all the resources they had, they had deployed it here, it would have been much better. So thank you very much and please try to persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism.”
Refering to the Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda, who represents FCT in the senate, the President said, ”This opposion leader maybe next election we will try and abduct him from his party, he seems to be enjoying so much at the Senate that he seems to be putting on weight by the day.”
President Buhari also commended the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is now the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the July 14 election in Ekiti state, stressing that the former minister did a great job in the ministry.
He said, “Here I have to digress and wish my former minister of mines and steel, Fayemi, well. He has been a very hardworking minister, because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil.
“But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed. Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead again his state. I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable.
“We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicizing of our petroleum resources.”