I have no interest in who emerges my successor me —Buhari

January 6, 2022
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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said he is not interested in who becomes the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), as he is open to the emergence of anyone. 

He made the declaration in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday, having been asked about his interest in the candidate. 

Asked if he is not going to be interested in who succeeds him, he said: “No. Let him come, whoever it is. 

“The only important thing (is) I made sure that on record, nobody should ask me to come and give any evidence in any court. Otherwise, whoever it is, he will be in trouble. Because all the important things are on record. I made sure about that. Important issues are all on record.” 

Pressed on whether he has any favourite in the APC, he added: “No. I wouldn’t because he may be eliminated if I mention it. I better keep it secret.” 

President Buhari spoke further on why he did not sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, saying that it did not provide options for political parties to choose their candidates. 

Responding to a question on it, he said: “Personally, I don’t support direct primaries because I want people to be given a choice. You can’t give them one option and think that you are being democratic. Let them have the three options.” 

He named the options as direct, indirect and consensus. 

When asked if he will sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill if the National Assembly returns it with the areas he does not like omitted, he said he would. 

According to him, “I don’t think I told them what I don’t like. All I said (is) there should be options. We must not insist that it has to be direct. It should be consensus and indirect.” 

When asked if he would sign the bill if the National Assembly provides room for options, President Buhari answered: “Yes, I will. All I will like is that there should be options. 

“You can’t dictate to people and you say you’re doing democracy. Allow them other options so that they can make a choice. A constituency can come together and say ok, we pick Mr A.” 

The president once again rejected the notion of state police as the solution to the nation’s mounting security problems, as he expressed fears that it may be abused by governors. He referenced the relationship between states and their local governments which, he suggested, may not be at a good level. 

His remark came amid the push from certain quarters in the country to decentralise policing, which has already led to the setting up of regional security outfits by some state governments. 

Responding to a question on the issue, President Buhari retorted: “State police is not an option. Find out the relationship between local government and the governors. Are the third tier of government getting what they are supposed to get constitutionally? Are they getting it? Let the people in local government tell you the truth, the fight between local governments and the governors.” 

The president advocated a bigger role for traditional rulers in bringing peace to communities as, according to him, the royal fathers know who is who in their localities. 

Buhari dwelt on reports of farmers/herders clashes in the country and wondered why there should be such occurrences among people that he observed used to coexist peacefully. 

He explained: “For example, there were two governors that came to see me about problems… Oyo State and one other state… because the herders were in their forests but the animals were going into the neighbouring farms and eating the crops; I said, as far as I know, the farmers and herders have been co-existing in Nigeria for generations. “Let them go and ask the local leadership what has gone wrong, why the break in communication between the local leadership and the herders.” 

Speaking on the traditional rulers, he added: “The role of traditional rulers must not be undermined, because in their areas they know who is who, even by families, not to even talk of individuals. 

“So, we have to revert to that system for us to have effective security in the localities.” 

Asked about his view an interview in May 2018 about governors demand for state police, he said: “I want the Nigerian Constitution to be consulted first and see what it says. If it says they should be allowed, then they should be allowed but don’t forget, how many times did we have to release money to states in the name of bailouts to enable them pay salaries? 

“How many states are able to pay their workers in time? And you add the police to them? People should look at this matter very well.” 

Speaking further on why he was not convinced about the idea, President Buhari added: “No, I am not convinced. We should have solved the cur- rent insecurity in the NorthEast and South-South by now. Can the states be able to shoulder the burden of the police? “You cannot just give someone guns and ammunition, train him and refuse to pay him, you know what will eventually happen.” 

Buhari also spoke on the detained self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, saying that given the way he insulted his administration from abroad, he will account for his actions. 

When reminded that some Igbo elders had requested for the release of the secessionist agitator, he said he will not interfere with the judiciary as Kanu will have the opportunity to defend himself. 

President Buhari however did not rule out political solution to the matter, saying that it will depend on if Kanu behaves himself. 

He said: “There is one institution that I wouldn’t dare interfere with. That’s the judiciary. Kanu’s case is with the judiciary. 

“But what I wonder is when Kanu was simply in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I never thought really he want to voluntarily come and defend himself on the accusations he has made. 

“So, we’re giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system and not to be abusing us from Europe as if he is not a Nigerian. 

“Let him come here with us and then criticise us here in Nigeria, let him be listened to. 

“But people who are saying he should be released, no, we cannot release him.” 

When asked if there’s no possibility of a political solution, he added: “No, there is possibility of political solution. If they behave themselves, all well and good. But you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems against your country and think you never have to account for what you have been doing.” 

On the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, he said he is aware of the pains they are going through. “I’m absolutely aware of it. But as I said, look at the vastness of Nigeria, only 2.4 per cent of the arable land is being used. We realised it rather too late. But we have to go back to the land.” 

The president told youths in the country to use their education and exposure to improve themselves and not see them as tickets to depend on government. 

“I wish when they go to school; when they work hard; when they earn their degree, they don’t do it thinking that government must give them jobs,” he noted. 

“You get educated because an educated person is certainly better than an uneducated person, even in identifying personal problems. So, education is not just meant to hang on to the government to give you jobs and then what the colonialists indoctrinated in us to believe – have a car, have a house; start work by 8:00 a.m. and close by 2.00 p.m.” 

The president also reiterated his government’s resolve to tackle banditry in the North-West. 

“So, I think the only language they understand – we have discussed it thoroughly with the law enforcement agencies; the security chiefs, the Inspector General of Police – is to go after them; the terrorists. 

“We labelled them terrorists, are we are going to deal with them as such,” he said.

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