Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that after successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, he is now healthier to attend to national issues.
He added that even though he was advised not to fast due to ill-health, he refused to abstain because he knows the benefits of fasting adding that having missed that of last year due to ill-health, he didn’t want to miss the opportunity this time around, more so when he was up to it.
Buhari spoke when he received a delegation of Federal Capital Territory, led by the Minister, Mohammed Bello who came to pay him the traditional sallah homage.
The delegation comprised lawmakers, religious leaders, cabinet members, security chiefs, presidential aides as well as few privileged FCT residents.
While noting that the delegation was larger than that of last year, Buhari said, “I’m very grateful to the ministers and church leadership that came to say happy Eid-Filtri to those of us that have been fasting. A lot of people asked me if on health grounds I can default, I refused because I know the value in fasting, I cannot miss it once I can do it. Last year, I didn’t because I was on health vacation but this year I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be much more healthy, to give me the time that I need to attend to national issues.”
Buhari had last month traveled to London between May 8 and 11, to see his doctors. That medical trip made it the third in 2018 alone, the first being the nine days visit just before the recent Commonwealth Heads of government meeting in that country and the second, during the technical stop over in London on his way to Nigeria from his recent visit to the United States on the invitation of President Donald Trump.
President Buhari also used the occasion to appeal to Nigerians to shun individualism and sectionalism, reiterating his position 30 years ago, that Nigeria belongs to all hence the need to salvage it together.
He told his guests that, “Please in your constituencies, emphasize what I said about 30 years ago, we don’t have another country except Nigeria, we may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do. Even those that had gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there. I wished that all the resources they had then they had deployed it here it would have been much better. So thank you very much and please try to persuade your constituencies to work much harder, away from individualism and sectionalism.”
The President reiterated that despite the fact that he met little or no resources, his administration has worked hard to stabilize the economy, insisting the nation is blessed with natural resources to pull through.
He said, “I’m very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy who knows what is in the heart and not by mouth, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times.
“This country is blessed in human and material resources. Here I have to digress and wish my former Minister of Mines and Steel, Fayemi, well. He has been a very hardworking Minister, because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil. But from the days of mining of tin, columbine, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed. Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead again his state. I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable. We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicizing of our petroleum resources.
“What we realized between 1999-2013 as I have always said we have never realized it. It’s on record that we were producing 2.2 million barrels per day on the average, at the cost of $100 per barrel. It went up to $143 per barrel and then I think it stabilized between $80 and $90, Nigeria has never received so much money and we thank God that we have survived the crisis in no time. It is amazing that we are here because we tried four times, we ended up three times at the Supreme Court and it is no joke. I have suffered for this constituency just like I suffered in the Military, I walked from the Royal border to the sea virtually on foot, because every culvert and bridge were blown up, so we had to walk and carry our luggage.
“I think we have invested so much in this country and we will continue to pray that we stay together and let us develop the necessary confidence, work together as a people, this country is great, let us work together so that we can save a lot more and exploit more of the resources that were abandoned so many years ago.”