President Muhammadu Buhari has accused Nigerians of being silent for the 16 years in which the country was mismanaged by the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Buhari, who spoke today, Friday, when he had a meeting with the Nigerian community in the United States of America Thursday on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, regretted that the elite allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged for 16 years without as much as raising a voice in consternation.
“They didn’t say a word. Under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund, of which he was Chairman), we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt. Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word.
“I was called Baba Go Slow. Those who were going fast, where did they get to?
“In 1983, military officers gathered, and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elite complained about that?
“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.”
The President asked Nigerians, include top flight professionals, drawn from fields like medicine, engineering, sports, the arts, investment, academia, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing, and many others to come back home, and contribute to the change that is making headway in Nigeria.
“You are contributing to this great country (America). If you want to help people back home, invest in education in your constituencies. If you educate people, they won’t then accept nonsense from anybody.”
President Buhari said that 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 have 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 put together by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Nigerian professionals who were drawn from different parts of the United States and Canada.
Representatives of USA chapters of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization (NIDO) presented awards to President Buhari in appreciation of his performance, urging him to do more.