President Muhammadu Buhari has chided Nigerian elite for remaining silent in the face of alleged misrule of the country by the Peoples Democratic Party between 1999 and 2015.
He said while they allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged for 16 years without raising a voice in consternation, they had been accusing him of being too slow.
According to a statement on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at a meeting he had with the Nigerian community in the United States of America on Thursday in New York.
The meeting was held on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly holding in New York.
Buhari said he had taken Nigerians as his constituency because of the way they had been standing by him, saying this was the reason he had been conscious of them.
The statement quoted him as saying, “They (Nigerian elite) didn’t say a word. Under the Petroleum Trust Fund, we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt. Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word.
“I was called Baba Go Slow. Those who were going fast, where did they get to?
“In 1983, military officers gathered and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elite complained about that?
“Three times I contested elections; three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.’ It was mainly the people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency. Even pregnant women in the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies, and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country.”
Buhari told the Nigerians living in the US that if he wins the 2019 election and spends another four years in office, he would leave some difference in the office.
The Nigerians in the US and Canada who met with the President in their scores, were top professionals, drawn from fields like medicine, engineering, sports, arts, investment, academic, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing and many others.
The President added, “If you want to help back home, invest in education in your constituencies. If you educate people, they won’t then accept nonsense from anybody.”
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