President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed not to circumvent the Nigerian Constitution to have a third term in office.
“I swear by the holy Qur’an that I will uphold the constitution of the country, and by that, I must relinquish power in 17 months’ time,” Mr Buhari, a former military despot, pledged. “I will go, God’s willing. I hope whoever is coming after me will try to do the three things I tried to do.”
He also noted that he would devote his remaining time in office to tackle the worsening deterioration of insecurity and grinding poverty in Africa’s most populous nation.
“One, to secure the country. If I leave the country unsecured, it cannot be managed,” the president asserted. “Secondly, the economy. We have a lot of people who are unemployed.”
On Thursday, Mr Buhari made the vow while inaugurating the Muhammadu Indimi Centre for Distance Learning and an International Conference at the University of Maiduguri.
Speaking on his regime’s efforts to tackle the hordes of bandits, Boko Haram, ISWAP and Niger Delta militants, Mr Buhari revealed that he had militarily and politically engaged the recalcitrant elements separately.
“I have ordered and started receiving military hardware from the United States, military aircraft, helicopters and armoured vehicles, and we are going to be very, very hard on them (bandits),” explained the Nigerian president.
“It is the same people stealing other people’s property and killing here and there. What for?” noted Mr Buhari. “In the South-South, somehow they (militants) believed had a case, and we told their leadership the truth when they came to visit me. When they sabotaged the oil pipelines or the wells, the land get polluted, the fish move further into the ocean, and the ordinary people cannot farm, and most of their people are farmers and fishermen.”
According to Mr Buhari, the Niger Delta militants’ disruptive action is self-inflicted pain.
“They can neither fish nor farm. So who are they hurting, other Nigerians or their own people?” the Nigerian president further reasoned. “It is just common sense, and maybe they listened to that, and they have left the pipelines alone.”
But the bandits in the North were not that malleable, Mr Buhari lamented.
“But the problem now is the North-West as I said, same people, same culture. We are going to deal with them,” he pointed out.
Stressing the need to fix the economic crisis in the country, he urged Nigerians “to please tell the less informed that in Africa, we are the biggest country, and we are potentially the richest.”
He further stated that Nigerians should utilise “this gift from God to empower our people, our region and our continent instead of wasting our time.”
Mr Buhari admitted his previous ignorance about Nigeria’s economic viability in the agricultural sector.
“Only 2.5 per cent of Nigerian arable land is being utilised. I didn’t know this when I was a governor. I was also minister. I was a head of state, but to be honest with you, I didn’t know until when one professor told me,” Mr Buhari acknowledged.