Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has for the umpteenth time recalled that he contested elections four times and ended up in Supreme Court three times, before he finally won the election in 2015, all because he wanted the best for Nigeria.
President Buhari said this when he met 71 retired army generals, admirals, marshals, and former military governors/administrators who visited him at State House, Abuja.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement quoted Buhari as saying, “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.”
He recalled that in his days as military head of state, “we had no other country but Nigeria. We will stay here and salvage it together,” noting that even if one was blessed enough to send their 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.”
The President described Nigeria as “a fabulous country,” adding that if it was 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 people and cultures, “and I am very grateful that you have claimed me back as one of your own. I was governor of (defunct) North-Eastern State, 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.”
The leader of the delegation, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, who was military governor of Borno State, 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 on assumption of office namely security: fighting corruption, and the economy. You have kept your words as an officer and a gentleman.”
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. (The Sun)