Says this is his last outing for the Presidency
=Says he didn’t touch any kobo while in office
=Challenges other candidates now and before to say same
By HENRY UMORU
ABUJA— IT was a solemn moment, Wednesday, as the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, broke down in tears while lamenting the problems confronting the country.
The venue was the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Buhari broke down in tears at the event organised by the party to mark the end of its presidential campaign. Buhari wept intermittently as he managed to conclude his 12 page address.
Vice presidential candidate of CPC, Pastor Tunde Bakare, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, ex- Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) who were on the high table as Buhari sobbed in between words were also moved to tears as they used their handkerchiefs to control sipping tears.
Ife Oyedele, a member of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the party, however, wept profusely throughout the period Buhari spoke.
The emotions created by Buhari’s sobs inevitably led to the abrupt disruption of the question and answer session with newsmen that was scheduled to follow.
In his speech, Buhari had said that the 2011 contest would be his last pursuit of the presidency stressing that while he occupied the office of military head of state, he never touched a kobo of public funds. He thus challenged other presidential candidates who had occupied public office to a public attestation of his claim.
“After being head of state, I am sure I could easily have retired into a life of comfort and ease as an elder statesman, as a contractor or as a beneficiary of anyone of the nation’s many generous prebendal offerings.
But that is not what I wish to do with my life. And so, if I don’t take any of these alternative courses of action, it should be clear that I am not in this for the love of office or for pursuit after personal glory or in order to achieve some personal goal. Far be it from me that this should be.
I need nothing and I have nothing more to prove. I am in this solely for the love of my country and concern for its destiny and the fate of its people. And that is why, despite the many disappointments along the way, I am still in the struggle and will remain in it to the end. I have decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to fighting for the people of this country-until their right is restored to them.
Buhari who urged the electorate to guard and protect their votes in next Saturday’s election, warned, “You must maintain your presence during the counting and collating of the votes and the announcement of the results.
Because you haven’t done this in all cases, they have already started turning your victories into defeats. The massive rigging that took place last Saturday is unacceptable, and you must not allow a repeat performance next Saturday.”
The Presidential candidate who titled his briefing as “Creating Hope for the Future,” said, “Today is exactly 18 weeks since I declared my intention to contest the presidential election; and I must say it has been a very memorable period of time for me. As always, being on the campaign trail has been for all of us a most educating experience.
“For me this campaign is doubly significant. First, because it is an election in which more clearly and more unambiguously than the previous two in 2003 and 2007, our victory is assured, as evidenced by the unprecedented turnout by the people and spontaneous popular acclaim all over the country.
“And, second, because this campaign is the third and last one for me; since, after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president.
“As a Nigerian, I already know as of fact that for a vast majority of our people electricity and potable water remain unavailable and unaffordable. I have been told of how uncountable numbers of children drop out of schools because their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees and how many more go without school all together.”
Expressing gratitude to the nation, Buhari said: “That is why I wish to seize this opportunity to express my gratitude to you, the people of this country for your constancy in keeping faith with the nation despite all these problems; and I must, especially, thank you most warmly for your unprecedented, massive show of support to our cause, as expressed by your constant presence on the scene.
“This demonstration of support and your determination to midwife and support change are a cause of concern for the enemies of democracy, progress and national unity. And I must also thank you for answering our call to you to register en masse for the election. I am very glad to say that you have done this. Now, you must take matters to their logical conclusion.
The CPC Presidential Candidate said: “My primary mission in the service of Nigeria as president is to provide the requisite leadership for the actualization of our collective vision _ by example, by action and by sacrifice.”
These for me shall remain articles of faith in my conduct as a public servant. To actualize this vision and achieve the mission, I will be guided by the following three principles: creating opportunity for all Nigerians, demanding responsibility from all Nigerians, and forging a strong and virile communal spirit among all Nigerians.”
“This is a vision that should draw us together as a people and not pull us apart as enemies; a vision that will improve leadership and not seek to deify leaders; a vision that will enrich the system and not steal from the country and impoverish it; a vision that will develop our potentials and not destroy us as a people. This is my vision for Nigeria. I believe it is a vision whose time has come. We must, therefore, as a people, work hard to create this new Nigeria of our dream.
‘’Fellow patriots, the seed of our future is in our today. As we prepare to enter into the second decade of the new millennium, more and more of our people will be looking up to the leadership for solutions to the problems of their daily lives. These are demands we must strive hard to meet. I joined politics and particularly this presidential race to respond to this need.
“While we will strive to work closely with all anti_corruption agencies, we are however going to lead by example. We will endeavour to build and promote honesty in our polity, so that public properly is treated as a sacred trust in our care for which we will be held accountable.
“Never again should the people of this nation have to tolerate the rape of their nation, the pillage of their resources and the consequent destruction of their nation. In order to succeed in this, as in all other national endeavours, we need unity to end the destructive divisiveness along the people of our dear country. I would therefore like to call upon you to close your ranks and stand proudly as Nigerians, because there is pretty little that can be achieved without unity.
“Unity is needed within the party, between our party and other parties; it is in fact needed among all the political parties within the country, and it is needed between political friends and foes. We need unity of purpose to defeat the enemies of the people, to be able to successfully attack problems and to be able to deepen the roots of our nascent democratic culture.