The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Saturday in Katsina, said Nigerians would be more “grateful to God” if they “knew what other countries in Africa are passing through”
This was as he said the emergence of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress was “purely democratic.”
He said there was no need for him to interfere in the APC’s process of choosing a presidential candidate knowing the competence of all the aspirants in the race before the primaries.
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this during his Sallah homage to the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman.
The statement is titled ‘How Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu emerged our flagbearer in APC, president Buhari.’
Buhari, who said he is grateful to Nigerians for their support for the APC in 2015 and 2019, noted that he had a rich experience in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 presidential elections, travelling to all the 774 local councils in the country, and in 2019 visiting 36 states.
“They say he who wants to serve should be ready for the responsibility of leadership. Three times I wanted this position and three times I ended up at the Supreme Court. For that reason, in terms of experience, I have gathered a lot. I visited 774 local councils in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
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“I feel privileged that Nigerians elected me in 2015. Since then, we have been doing our best to tackle the challenges, with God helping us. We are not alone. If only we knew what other countries in Africa are passing through, we will be grateful to God, and protect our country. Other African countries are passing through a lot.
“As leaders, we are doing our best, and will keep doing our best to improve the situation. I am praying that the Almighty God will give us more strength and wisdom to protect our people, and fulfill our promises of ensuring wellbeing,’’ he said.
The President also boasted that the emergence of Tinubu and Shettima as flag bearers of the APC was “purely democratic,” and a “reflection of the will of party members.”
He noted that there was no need for him to interfere in the process that brought Tinubu to the fore as the All Progressives Congress standard bearer because all presidential aspirants were equally qualified and the party would make the right choice.
According to him, “When the Independent National Electoral Commission signaled parties to elect their presidential candidates, we had 30 aspirants, mostly ministers in my cabinet and governors.
“I told each of the aspirants to go and do their best. One particular governor, in his wisdom, came to meet me and asked who they should vote for at the party convention, checking if I had a preferred candidate.
“There was no need for interference, knowing the competence of all the aspirants. They went and elected Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and he picked his running mate, Sen. Kashim Ibrahim process for the 2023 elections. I am praying that we will have peaceful and successful elections.”
The President said the openness and fairness with which the election convention and the nomination convention of the APC were conducted should be seen as the affirmation of the spirit of fairness and openness with which the 2023 general elections will be conducted..
In his remarks, the Governor Masari of Katsina State thanked the President for his foresight in closing the borders across the country to promote local production of food, which led to self-sufficiency.
He said the lockdown during COVID-19 epidemic would have been more devastating if Nigeria was depending on other countries for food, noting that many countries and their citizens suffered more.
Masari noted that many countries in the Sahel like Niger, Chad and Mali were struggling, with some having no stable government, admonishing that social media had empowered many people to put out mischievous and false reports.
While thanking the President for his foresight, wisdom and patience, the Emir urged the President to pay more attention to security and infrastructure.
Usman, in his remarks, made four demands to the President: the immediate implementation of the Cancer Research Center which had been appropriated for by the federal government; the commissioning of the Rimi windmills as promised by the Minister of Power two years back and the resumption of work on Katsina-Kano dual carriageway and the Kano-Maradi rail track.