President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that the next four years of his administration will be tough.
He spoke in Abuja on Friday when members of the Federal Executive Council visited him and held a special session at the Presidential Villa to congratulate him over his re-election.
Buhari said the focus of the administration remained fighting corruption, insecurity and improving on the economy.
The President didn’t hide his feeling in saying that he doubted if all the FEC members would have come to see him had he lost the February 23 presidential election.
He recalled that during the campaigns for the poll, he toured the 36 states of the federation to demonstrate to the opposition that he was healthy and fit to perform any task as President.
The President said, “On my last lap of four years, I think it is going to be tough because people are being forgetful. That was why wherever I went, I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and institutions. If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place.
“On the economy, unemployment is a problem of this country as a whole. More than 60 per cent of the youth need to be kept busy. I realised that God heard our prayers. It had been two good rainy seasons and we had the foresight to get the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Central Bank of Nigeria to try and give soft loans to farmers so that everybody that is educated and looking for white-collar jobs and cannot get it, can go back to the land. We are lucky the rainy season had been good. He added, “I think we are also lucky that through the governors in some states like Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Jigawa and Ebonyi in particular, we don’t import rice but we have savings from rice in terms of foreign exchange which we put in the budget and use for infrastructure.
“That is a very good thing because the oil sector is becoming very difficult to predict. It is becoming unpredictable and depending on it makes us materially insecure but thank goodness, agriculture has come to save it and people are appreciating it.”
The FEC members were led to the meeting by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The SGF spoke about the President’s “uprightness” and “sincerity”, saying that the re-election meant that the nation had accepted him to lead them again for another four years.
Meanwhile, a former governor of Borno State, Mr Ali Modu Sheriff, said on Friday that but for the activities of Boko Haram, the state would have given Buhari two million votes during the poll.
The President had scored 836,496 votes in Borno State to beat the PDP’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who got 71,788 ballots.
He stated, “I don’t know why the PDP are grumbling where the registered voters are more than two million and we only gave the President 830,000.
“As a governor, the President got over a million votes in Borno; why didn’t they complain then? They are just crying foul for nothing. This election was the most transparent election that ever took place in the history of Nigeria and I stand to be corrected. They should just embrace peace.”
On why the people voted for Buhari, Sheriff said, “He is there for the Nigerian people, he believes Nigeria should be better than where we are.
“He had very simple message at the campaigns, that we have started fighting corruption, building the economy and lives of Nigerians need to be improved. The message resonated with Nigerians because for instance, I did not go to my village for four years before the 2015 elections. Boko Haram had occupied all our local government areas in Borno but today, you can drive to any part of Borno.
“So whatever the people of Borno did for Mr President last Saturday, we are only saying thank you for what he has done. If the atmosphere was clearer, Borno would have produced two million votes.”
Atiku and the PDP have alleged that the ruling party colluded with INEC to inflate votes in Borno and other states. As a result, the opposition party called for fresh poll in Borno and other states.
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