Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he would leave office when his tenure ends on May 29, 2023, and warned against campaigns for tenure extension, saying he swore to serve in accordance with the constitution.
The President was speaking at a meeting in Makkah with a select group of Nigerians resident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he just ended a visit.
According to a statement titled, “President Buhari Says I Will Leave On 29 May 2023, Warns Tenure Extension Campaigners To Desist,” signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari told the Nigerians: “I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I will serve in accordance with the constitution and leave when my time is up. No “Tazarce’’ (tenure extension).”
Buhari adds: “I don’t want anybody to start talking about and campaigning for unconstitutional extension. I will not accept that.”
Shehu said the President also promised to provide support to increase the role of technology in the nation’s elections, arguing that the introduction of the card reader and electronic register was God’s answer to his prayers, having been cheated of his victory in three previous elections.
“After the third so-called defeat, I said, ‘God Dey’. My opponents laughed at me but God answered my prayers by bringing in technology. At that point, nobody can steal their votes or buy them,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
The President also said he would continue to abide by the constitution in all its ramifications, adding that he will at all times supervise and deal with his ministers on the same basis.
He also assured that he would improve the welfare of Nigerians: “In the balance of 18 months or so left of my time, whatever I can do to improve the life of Nigerians, I will do it for the country.”
The President commended Diaspora Nigerians in the Kingdom for representing the country well and projecting its good image.
Shehu said Bhari used the opportunity to urge citizens at home to be fair to his administration at all times, asking the critics to compare the security situations in the North-east and South-south in 2015 and how things have improved as of now.
He quoted Buhari as saying, “My problem is the North-west where people are killing and stealing from one another. I had to be very hard on them and I will continue to be very hard until we put them in line and bring back order.”
He said President Buhari urged Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia to remain law-abiding and do nothing to derogate from the many years of friendly and mutually beneficial relationships between the two countries.
A leader of the community, Dr. Abdulkadir Maikudi, who spoke on behalf of the group, requested the President to assist the privately-run Nigerian International School in the Kingdom by equipping it to provide science and technical education.
At the meeting, the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal, and the Consul-General in Jeddah, Ambassador Abdulkarim Mansur attested to the good conduct of the nearly 1.5 million Nigerians there.
According to them, “Nigerian professionals are doing well and projecting a good image of our country.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja