While speaking with Nigerians in South Africa on Monday after the conclusion of the African Union (AU) Summit in Johannesburg, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly stated that his age would limit him from doing certain things.
According to Punch, Buhari stated, “I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor, just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do.”
He reportedly stated that despite his advancement in age however, his administration would make a difference, and that what brought him to his current position was his love for Nigeria.
“Our government is determined to secure the country, manage the economy, create employment and fight corruption. Some articulate writers have said if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. This APC administration intends to kill corruption in Nigeria. We will do our best, I assure you,” he said.
Here are some other remarks he is said to have made (excerpts):
“After being in the military for 25 years, and getting to the highest rank and becoming Head of State and under unusual circumstances, as Head of State, I went straight to detention for three-and-a-half years. So, those who accuse me of locking them up, I too have been locked up; so what?…
Why did I join partisan politics in spite of that [his military background]? When I went home people knew that I have no money and I thought they will leave me alone, but they didn’t.
They were coming to me asking me to do this and do that. I found out that the only way I could do it is by joining partisan politics.
And maybe if I speak even if I’m not a member at any level, people will listen to me.
But then I joined the opposition (the All Peoples Party). I didn’t want any political office at first, if I wanted, I would have joined the PDP(Peoples Democratic Party) then and maybe I would have got to where I am much earlier. But then, I wanted to go with the opposition.
The second thing that finally convinced me to join partisan politics was what happened in the Soviet Union. You know the Soviet Union was an empire in the 20th century that collapsed without a shot being fired.
Everybody went home, there was confusion. Now, there are 18 countries out of the old Soviet Union…
We have a system in Nigeria. No matter what you say about the British colonialists, they built institutions for us, unfortunately we have destroyed those institutions.
When (Barack) Obama came to Africa, he went to Ghana; he refused to come to Nigeria. And he said Africa or developing countries should have strong institutions instead of strong leaders.
If he was in Nigeria, he would have known that it was strong Nigerians that destroyed the strong institutions. And paradoxically, maybe another strong Nigerian will come and revive the institutions and make them strong again.”