Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reviewed the 2015 election that brought him in as President saying the singular act of his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, conceding defeat even before the formal announcement of the election result was unprecedented and un-Nigerian.
Speaking at a farewell meeting with his media support group, Buhari Media Organization (BMO), at the State House, Abuja, the President recalled how elated he felt when his predecessor, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, “called me at 5:25 that evening to say congratulations.
“I said pardon me Mr. President? He said yes, I called to concede and congratulate you. That was equally very un-Nigerian.”
President Buhari also likened the sacrifices of the BMO members to that of past leaders, citing in particular, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and himself, recalling that in the period of the civil war, he walked the way on his two feet from Makurdi in today’s Benue State to the shorelines of the sea.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to walk on the path of duty if we really want to see the country achieve new heights.
To this extent, the President showered praises on the members of the BMO, for volunteering their time and energy throughout the eight years of his administration “without salary, letter of appointment or any formal rewards, describing their sacrifices ‘very un-Nigerian.’”
By this, the President said the BMO had given him inspiration and hope for a better Nigeria in the future.
He said: “I am so happy for all that you have done to support my administration. I don’t have enough words to thank you individually and collectively. I occasionally read your outbursts and often wondered what type of Nigerians are these? The sacrifices you have made for our success is beyond measure.”
The President described Nigeria as being a lucky country given the natural resources available to it and its vast population, saying, “we don’t even know how much resource we have. A major part of Africa’s natural resources are domiciled in this country.”
He spoke of these endowments, making comparisons with countries he had been to on military training, citing a particular one where people who died of hunger overnight were cleared off the streets by refuse collectors and, in his words, “people just moved on with their daily lives even in the face of these cultural shocks.”
Chairman and Coordinator of the BMO, Niyi Akinsiju, earlier in his speech, said “as your administration ends on May 29th, 2023 we wish to state unequivocally that you have made the country proud and posterity will judge you favourably.”
On his part, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, informed the President that the group was the same media committee that worked for him in the 2015 elections, itself an amalgam of the media assets of the candidates that ran with him in the party primaries that he asked him to keep.
On behalf of the group, the Presidential spokesman thanked the President for the opportunity he gave them to serve during the period of his eight-year leadership of the country, noting that throughout this period, the BMO sustained itself through voluntary assistance by non-governmental organizations.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja