President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday laid into elites who he said were silent and allowed the mismanagement of Nigeria.
Buhari said this during a meeting with the Nigerian community in the United States of America on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He hailed ‘ordinary Nigerians’ who supported him and blamed the elite that allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged for 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration without as much as raising a voice in consternation.
“They didn’t say a word.
“Under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund, of which he was Chairman), we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt. Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word,” Buhari noted in a statement signed on Friday by his special adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The President also took a swipe at those who referred to him as ‘Baba Go Slow.’
He further blamed elites who he said had remained silent since 1983 when corrupt politicians that were jailed by his administration were later set free after he was put in detention.
“I was called Baba Go Slow. Those who were going fast, where did they get to?
“In 1983, military officers gathered and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence.
“We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elites complained about that?
“Three times I contested elections; three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.’
President Buhari then hailed people he described as ‘ordinary Nigerians’ who voted him into power and stood by him.
“It was mainly the ordinary people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency.
“Even pregnant women on the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies, and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country.”
Buhari also promised that if he wins the 2019 election, and he spent another four years in office, “I will leave some difference in that office.”
The diaspora Nigerians who were in the interactive meeting with the President include top-flight professionals drawn from fields like medicine, engineering, sports, the arts, investment, academia, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing, and many others.
He told them that, “You are contributing to this great country (America). If you want to help back home, invest in education in your constituencies.”
President Buhari said the administration has kept faith with its three key campaign promises; to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.
“I’ve tried to do my best since I came. Security-wise, we are better. Boko Haram still conducts cowardly attacks, but the insurgency is not the same as it used to be. They are terrorists and have nothing to do with religion,” he said.