Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, reflected on the recent general elections in which he secured a second term and said it still baffles him where he got the stamina to tour the country on campaigns.
The president also admonished those who called themselves leaders at various levels against putting up straight faces, especially in this period of economic travails, noting that such posture could pass a wrong message to those governed.
He used his re-election campaigns to buttress his point, saying the crowd that thronged his campaign grounds in each state he visited still intrigued him.
According to Buhari, he couldn’t have engaged in vote buying if he were to muster the financial strength to mobilise those crowd to vote in his favour.
Buhari spoke at the State House, Abuja, while playing host to some residents and political leaders of the Federal Capital Territory, led by the Permanent Secretary, Ohaa Christian, who came to pay him Sallah homage on the occasion of the Eid-El-Fitr festivities.
Also speaking on his experience in the recent polls, Buhari seized the opportunity to mock Senator Phillip Aduda of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, who sat by his right hand side.
He said irrespective of the fact that FCT residents may not have voted massively for him, he owed it a mandate to secure the FCT as that would be ensuring protection for himself and the vice president.
He said: “I want to appreciate the number two man (Osinbajo) of the country because he knows what we are going through very quietly. I am very pleased that you came with this very powerful constituency.
“I want to 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.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Phillip 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.
“During my long journey to this place, 2003, 2007, 2011, those were interesting political developments that enabled me visit all the local government areas in this country, all 774 local government areas. First port of call whenever I visited any local government area was to visit the community leader for understanding and support.
“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 turnout in all the states and FCT. The number of those who turned out was more than what anyone can afford to pay or force to come and listen. So I am very pleased that a lot of Nigerians have voted me, sympathised 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 voter cards. And INEC said whoever was aggrieved should go to court.
“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.