Since leaving office on May 29, 2023, the former president of Nigeria, Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, has revealed a number of things in his latest interview with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). In a teaser which was posted on X (formerly Twitter) on November 19, 2023, Buhari said that he did not miss being president much, when he was asked what he misses from his time in office. Of course, Buhari had in December 2022 said that he would not miss his time in office because he was being “harassed.”
In a documentary that was screened at a private dinner organised by his family and close associates to celebrate his eightieth birthday, he had said that some people made attempts to undermine his administration. The documentary was tagged “Celebrating a Patriot, a Leader, an Elder Statesman.” He also said that he was trying his best, yet it was not good enough for Nigerians. In his words, “There are people around that think they can intimidate me to get what they want instead of going through certain systems to earn whatever they want to earn.”
Visitors still go the extra mile to see the former president.
Still in the recent interview, Buhari revealed that he still gets visitors from various parts of the country despite living as far away from Abuja as possible. According to him, some charter buses come and see him from time to time, and he would have relocated to Niger Republic if the borders were opened. That dream is unfeasible now as the military junta in the landlocked Francophone country has closed its borders to Nigeria.
Also, he said that there is no evidence to prove that his government was, at any point, hijacked by a cabal. If there was truly any cabal, Nigerians should have pointed it out. “Why didn’t they talk?” he queried. He also said that he never interfered with the jobs of his ministers and had no evidence of anybody doing anything wrong while being allowed to go scut free. He maintained that he never allowed anybody to deliberately use public resources for themselves, but only allowed them to do their job as he understood it. Also, he noted that if he were to be president again, he would not do anything differently.
Most difficult quest of his admin was to secure the country.
Further, he remarked that Nigerians are over-impressed by materialism. According to him, this was what caused the difficulties in garnering the support of many influential persons in 2003, 2007 and 2011 when he contested the presidency and lost. “We get so impressed by our material things and sometimes ruthlessly don’t care how you make the money… you should be rich, have a fantastic house, flashy cars, and go overseas regularly,” Buhari said. He said that the difficulty occurred because Nigerians seem to be more impressed by material success rather than being honoured by the less privileged.
Then, on the issue of insecurity, the former president said that the country is lucky to be in control of large swaths of lands in the North East where the dreaded Boko Haram group operates. “I achieved security because without security nothing else can develop,” he said. When asked about the most difficult quest of his presidency, he asked the interviewer to enquire from the then governor of Borno how hard it was. He said that most LGAs were being controlled by Boko Haram and they were doing as they wished. So, the first thing he did was to secure the state or the country and to earn the trust of the citizens.
Nigerians should have fought corruption, he said.
Finally, the interviewer asked Buhari to comment on the fact that people believe that he was surrounded by corrupt people. “Well, this is not my problem,” he said, adding that Nigerians should have fought corruption because it was not his to fight. This is concerning as the premise of his campaign especially for 2015 was built on anti-corruption. He then acknowledged that although he ran for the Presidency thrice and finally won in 2015, unfortunately he did not quite achieve all he had set out to do within his tenure.
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