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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday x-rayed his performance in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, during the last Presidential election, where he lost to the main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, describing FCT as a “necessary evil” to his administration
The President who spoke when he received residents of the FCT on Sallah homage led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said he was in possession of results of all the constituencies, noted that he was pleased that the only Senator representing the FCT was “ put far away” from him in the seating protocol arrangement.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Philip Aduda) and I told him that his constituency did not vote for me. So I was very pleased that when they made the arrangement they put him very far away from me. I have all the results of all constituencies.
“I am not threatening FCT because to make FCT secure is to make myself secure and the Vice President. I think they are necessary evil that was why they decided to vote for PDP.”
The President however commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo his number two man, who he said, “knows what we are going through very quietly. I am very pleased that you came.”
“I appeal to you to remain exemplary so that those under you will know that the country is doing very well. If you break down and complain, the impact will reverberate all over and then government will not be popular and whatever efforts we are making will not be appreciated.”
The President used the occasion as usual to go down the memory lane, to speak on his long journey to Presidency from 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
He described them as “days of very interesting political developments” which he said enabled him to visit all the 774 local government areas in the country.
“First port of call whenever I visit any local government was to visit the community leader for understanding and support,” he said.
“I am very pleased that Nigerians understand me that although I was a governor, minister of petroleum and one-time head of state, people know I don’t have a lot of money to give.”
“So when I went round, I smiled and greeted them and I think it has helped, because, by the time I went to campaign for my second and last term constitutionally, I visited all the states this time around, some two states in a day, I thank God for giving me the stamina to do it. What impressed me most was the turn out in all the states and FCT,” president Buhari said.
He added that the number of those who turned out were more than what anyone could afford to pay or force to come and listen. “So I am very pleased that a lot of Nigerians have voted me, sympathized with me for what I went through between 2003 and 2019.”
“I went to court up to Supreme Court and in 2011, I went to court for eight months. And in the last one, God answered our prayers and gave us victory, and brought in technology through the permanent voters card. And INEC said whoever is aggrieved should go to court,” he said.
The President used the opportunity to advise his supporters against high expectations from his office.
“You all know as much as I know that most of my supporters are looking for the next day’s meal. We don’t have money to give. In 2011 I said ‘God dey;’ in 2015 God brought technology PVC and that is how we won.”
Vice President Osinbajo who led the group reminded the President how good God had been to him, saying: “God almighty has been extremely good to you and to our government. I recall about two years ago when I had to host this particular event because you were away on medical leave at the time.”
He said that God had been so good, and that not only did he bring Buhari back healthier than when he left, but has also been gracious enough for him to have a second opportunity to lead Nigeria. “I thank the almighty God for you and for all of us who have been a part of your government and who have been a part of what God has done in our midst.”
Osinbajo noted that the period of the fast is always a very good time because “first of all usually all of my friends who are usually very badly behave, behave themselves much better.”
“I pray and hope that the good behavior that they maintain during the fast will continue even for the next four years and beyond because I think we all need that.
“Our country as it is today, is at a threshold of greatness, you have said so many times. Any situation where something great and something important is about to happen, usually you will have very many and negative opposing voices that want to keep that thing from happening.
He expressed the hope that Nigeria would achieve its “breakthrough that we have been praying for and hoping for all these many years.
“And this is why many challenges are going on. Challenges around security, religion, people who are stoking up ambers of lagoon, religious grievance and ethnic divisions and all that.
“But this gathering is one of those gatherings that we are at liberty, political leadership, religious leadership to demonstrate to our people that this country is a country of one people, the Nigerian people. They may be different in their faith, ethnicity but we are one people? We are one and unity people.
“I want to commend all our leaders who are here for making this tradition, that we will come together – Christians, Muslims, and people of different faith to demonstrate that this country is a united country. And that those who will want to stoke up ambers or division we will not allow them to do so.”
Osinbajo, while urging the leaders not to allow the rhetoric of religion to supersede the rhetoric of unity, said they must also speak up and “seek ways that will unite our country.
“We cannot keep quiet because there are so many negative statements being made everyday and sometimes we ignore those statements and say these are people who have no understanding. But if we allow these negative statements to continue then they will define our country and will define the situation of our country.”
The homage was attended by the FCT Permanent Secretary Christian Ohaa,Former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.
Others included the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, and the Director General of Department for State Service (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Civil Defence FCT Command, Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi and Senator Philip Aduda, Senator, representing the FCT.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja