President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned leaders of the various labour unions in the country to desist from distracting his administration as he was committed to fixing infrastructure to make the economy vibrant again.
He stated this on Thursday when he played host to the executive committee members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at the State House, Abuja.
He also took a swipe at striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), saying he would rather appeal to them not to encroach on the right of students to quality education and early graduation.
He said contrary to critics of his administration, there was no part of the country lacking in infrastructural development brought about by his government in the past three and half years.
He said, “In three and half years, we have improved tremendously on what we met. We are trying to do infrastructure.
“No matter which part of the country you come from, you will see the efforts we are making in terms of roads; we are trying to fix rails, we are trying to do power, through the use of gas and solar.
“If you note what we have done in these three and half years, you will not regret voting this administration into power.”
President Buhari also stated that Nigeria was doing very well in agriculture as the country was about to attain food sufficiency and security.
On the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), I assure you that I will speak with the lecturers’ body “so that they don’t encroach on your efforts to qualify in time”.
President Buhari said he had explained in details while presenting the 2019 budget estimates, the earnings and expenditure and therefore expected the elite to understand the position of the government on certain issues.
He added that it was the responsibility of the government to look after the employed as well as the unemployed.
The president urged the youths to start preparing themselves to lead the country.
“There is a tendency for you to think that you can do better than anybody, but it is very good for you to know the facts that leadership entails,” he admonished them.
He assured NANS leaders that having been in positions of leadership at various stages in life, and with the experience, he meant well for Nigerians and, indeed, workers and should be allowed to fix infrastructure so that more Nigerians could be taken out of the poverty cycle.
“I am totally loyal to this country. Whatever I do is in the interest of the ordinary people, especially those who do not have the benefit of being educated like you, and are just trusting whoever is leading them,” he said.
President Buhari also expressed gratitude to the students for appreciating some of the things his administration had been able to put in place and called on them to mobilise support for government, as it strove to make Nigeria a better place.
Earlier in their remarks, the students, led by the president, Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan, expressed appreciation of the efforts of the administration, especially in the transformation of the transportation sector as well as the decimation of terrorists in the North-East.
They, however, requested the government to intervene in the incessant strikes in the education sector; involve more youths in governance, and look into the plight of students in different institutions who had been expelled for “political” reasons.
Also, while inaugurating the women and youth presidential campaign team at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, the president appealed to Nigerians to renew his mandate for another four-year term to enable him consolidate on his modest achievements.
According to the president, his re-election bid was premised on the need to sustain ‘change’ so that all systemic distortions could be corrected and Nigerians allowed to enjoy the fruits of being citizens under the banner of freedom.
He said since women and youths constitute the highest beneficiaries of the social welfare programmes under the current administration, it behoves on them to offer the same support they gave to the government in 2015.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome members of the newly constituted Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team and all my supporters to this inauguration.
“Today’s gathering has once again reminded me of our political struggles over the years and the support I enjoyed from you all. My association with you has been for very long and is characterised by loyalty to the cause of change.
“I am happy to tell you that we have made numerous landmark achievements and the change remains unshaken and continues until we return Nigeria on track to assume its rightful place among the comity of nations.
“The Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team being inaugurated today was constituted to support the Presidential Campaign Council which I chair.
“This shows the importance with which we view the role of women and youths as the backbone of the Nigerian electorate. As such, they should be the drivers of our campaign, more so, they are the major direct and indirect beneficiaries of our social investment programmes.
“In carrying out this assignment, I expect from members of this team the same loyalty and support which you exhibited in 2015. Let us remind Nigerians about our plans, our good work and achievements: Tell the people why they should give us another four years.
“Our dream is to sustain change so that all systemic distortions can be corrected and we can enjoy the fruits of being Nigerians under the banner of freedom. It is also our hope that our unborn children will inherit a better nation”, he said.