The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari made the rare appearance talking to the press for years since he took power in 2015. Several incidents have taken place and he never found it worth to talk to the press. There has been many calls from every strata of the Nigerian society calling him to speak on insecurity, mass killings and kidnappings and many more and he has not spoken but give prerecorded speeches.
The taciturn and almost reclusive president finally granted an interview to Arise Television and online television owned by ThisDay newspaper.
Below are excerpts from his time with the Arise journalists.
“Dividing Nigeria to piecemeal is not any solution. It’s a wrong signal to all investors. So each Republic will become a paradise? How do we share what United us? What we have done together within such a record time? I’m surprised Nigerian elites watch these uniformed lots to make criminal statements everyday. We are all better off as Nigerians”
Your Government borrow more?
“The previous earn more with nothing on ground. Did you ask them where they kept our money? If I knew where, may be I would not borrow. They sold oil at $100, we sell at $25 sometimes. They wasted money on power, no light, no road, no rail. We are the ones constructing bridges, building roads and rails. Today, I’m commissioning Lagos Ibadan Railway, I will commission Lagos Ibadan Expressway later, I will commission more across the country. No country can survive without infrastructures…..”
“Two South West governors came to me to say cattle rearers are destroying farms in their states, I asked them what happened to the grassroot security panels from Traditional Rulers to Local Governments who meet regularly to identify the root of their problems and identify crooks within their environment and apprehend the criminals, Who destroyed this system? Go back and fix it, give your people sense of belongings. I don’t like it when people campaign to become governors and people trusted them with their votes and after winning, they can’t perform, they’re trying to push responsibilities to others. ……..we have three tiers of Government, Federal, State and Local. We have killed the Local Government totally. We will send N300m as allocation to a Local Government, one Governor will ask the LG Chairman to sign that he collected N300m but he will give him N100m and the Chairman will keep quiet…..is that how we will continue?”
“I am particularly impressed with the South-South leaders regarding their stand about Nigeria. Both their elders and youths. None told me what they said, I listened to them myself and their message was clear. God bless them all…”
“My statement about speaking language is very simple. It is meant for all criminals in Nigeria. What it means for the IPOB is that I will go after them through the military and police and rid them of their criminal tendencies. I have no regret whatsoever…..”
“That IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere.
“And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and property, I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.
“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”
“Take the North West for example, people with same language and culture are killing themselves, stealing each other’s properties. Imagine the madness. Well, I have now told the military and the Police to be brutal. From now, we will speak the language they understand and in the coming weeks, you’ll get exactly what I am saying………”
But there are some senior officers that will leave because of new Service Chiefs?
‘Yes, in the military, only those who are always with the troops lead the troops”
“……..You’re saying someone who had gone through military and police training all his life should not be appointed to lead the military or police department he works with just because we must balance appointments? What are you saying? The system didn’t restrict anyone from joining the military or the police, and if you decided not to join, we will not force you but you too will not force us to bring someone who is not qualified in training and experience when it comes to leadership of these institutions just because we want to balance some appointments……..”
“APC have no other strategy to win elections apart from mobilising people from bottom to top as seen in our party membership registration and we will continue to bring more people in. The party leadership has requested for 30 more days in which a date for convention will be set. Politics is about the people. By end of this month, we will have all our programmes from now till I will leave in 2023…..”
“APC will continue to run Nigeria after my tenure. So, Abati, tell anyone who wants to be Nigeria’s President in 2023 to join APC….”
When are you going to unban Twitter….?
“We are not there yet. I keep that to my chest…”- Muhammadu Buhari
What will be your legacy?
“I will accept whatever verdict Nigerians pass on me. I hope they will be fair…”- Muhammadu Buhari on Interview with The Arise TV panel