By Nwafor Sunday
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained in clear terms his motives as Nigeria’s president. He reiterated his main objective in contesting elections four times and ending up in Supreme Court three times, before he finally won the election in 2015.
Receiving retired army generals, admirals, marshals and former military governors/administrators in a courtesy call at State House, Abuja, on Monday, the President opined that he wants to do his best for Nigeria.
His words, “God has made this country great. We have human and material resources, and may God continue to give us the right leaders. My objective is very clear, and I will continue to do my best.”
Recalling what he said in his days as military head of state that; “We have no other country but Nigeria. We will stay here and salvage it together,” President Buhari noted that even if one was blessed enough to send children for training abroad, “after such training, they will still have to come back here.
“We must, therefore, give our best for our country. The patriotism imbued in us by the military will ever remain relevant. Let’s do our best for this country.”
Describing Nigeria as “a fabulous country,” the President said if it were not so, “the country could not have survived the damage done to it materially and morally in the past,” glorifying God that after 30 months civil war, with over two million lives lost, “we are still one country.”
President Buhari prayed that Nigeria would not lack people who can exploit its human and material resources, adding: “The higher you go in Nigeria, the hotter it becomes, and not the other way round. But I can’t complain. I tried so hard to be here three times, ending up at the Supreme Court. So, I can’t complain over anything I am going through now.”
He described the military as an institution that gives amazing opportunities to know the country, its different peoples and cultures, “and I am very grateful that you have claimed me back as one of your own. I was governor of North-east, which is now six states, Minister of Petroleum for over three years, head of state; I was arrested and detained, but did not lose my rank, because nothing was found against me.”
Leader of the delegation, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, who was military governor in Borno, and later military administrator of Lagos State, said the retired top officers thought it right to visit the President, “to say that you have represented your constituency very well. You announced a simple three-point agenda upon assumption of office namely security; fighting corruption, and the economy. You have kept your words as an officer and a gentleman.”
Gen Marwa added: “We the retired armed forces officers, representing 99.9% of our colleagues say that we are proud of you; proud to be associated with your administration; and proud to witness this era of Nigeria rising again under your able leadership. We support you fully and totally in the presidential elections next week and will do whatever we can within the law to contribute to your emergence as the victor in the election in order to take Nigeria to the next level.”
The most senior of the retired officers, Vice Admiral Jubrila Ayinla, a former Chief of Naval Staff, who said future generations would acquit President Buhari “most creditably,” added: “On behalf of the generals here today, I congratulate you on the tremendous work done by this administration, and wish to state unequivocally that we are proud of you and fully behind you in the presidential elections next week. We pledge our full support and continued loyalty.”
The delegation was made of one Vice Admiral, two Lt-Generals, 15 Major Generals, two Rear Admirals, eight Air Vice-Marshals, 12 Brigadier-Generals, three Commodores, nine Air Commodores, and 17 former military governors/administrators, among others.