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OPINION: Buhari’s Last New Year Message




Fellow Nigerians, warm seasonal greetings to you all!

It has given me great delight to deliver this new year address, one that represents my last as your President and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces. Following the recent global celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ the year 2023 will dawn on us in the next intervening hours from now. How time flies!

I shall be brief but blunt and brutally frank in this intervention, a special end of the year message. Allah has been very kind to me (especially now that he has restored my health!). At 80 and still kicking strong I cannot but be grateful to Allah.

In the last seven and half years I took the mantle of leadership as the duly-elected President. I still remember the popular celebrations on the streets in our major cities as the then ruling party, the PDP, lost the presidential poll. But above all, the grace and patriotism with which the then incumbent and statesman, Goodluck Jonathan, accepted his defeat without any demonstration of rancour or grudges. We salute his patriotism, statesmanship and democratic belief.

The general elections in our country are scheduled to be held next February. The presidential poll is going to produce my successor who will be sworn-in next year’s May 29th. The processes leading to this majestic democratic tradition are on course. And now the electioneering campaigns toward the general elections are still on. Candidates are criss-crossing the lengths and breadth of our vast great country campaigning for your votes.

Honourably and responsibly I would be bowing out gracefully leaving Aso Villa for my modest house in Daura. Unlike my predecessors I have not found it expedient using state funds to build breathtaking edifice for myself. I look forward to taking my deserved retirement next year. I miss my cows and they miss me in turn!

About 18 candidates are vying strongly for the highest office in the land. Our party, the APC, are participating actively in the said elections. Our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is poised to win the presidential poll thereby replacing me on this executive seat.

As I said before, I would leave Nigeria better than when I met her. Long after our departure from the scene Nigerians would remember our efforts at national salvation.

My ‘brother’, Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP is having his last shot at the presidency. Like me in the past he had been gunning repeatedly for the office and coming short of the big prize. We wish him luck this time around even though the statistics and exit polls indicate clearly that Asiwaju BAT will trump the opposition!

Read also:OPINION: The Origin And Meaning Of Christmas!

The PDP, the party through which Atiku is vying for the powerful office, is divided down the middle. The centre can no longer hold; the falcon no longer dances to the tune of the falconer! Politics in Nigeria can be sweet and bitter at the same time. The rebel group, the so-called Integrity Group of five renegade Governors, have thrown the chances of the party under the bus! They are presently in London seeking a way to harm Atiku electorally!

In the APC we cannot but rejoice for their disunity and confusion in their camp!

Peter Obi of the Labour Party is blindly climbing a mountain literally too high and too powerful that attaining the summit is akin for one wishing to be in heaven yet afraid to die! He is blinded by ambition rather than any positive result emanating from any feasibility study. The ‘Obidient’ movement, filled with Internet nerds and hackers, cannot possibly perform any electoral revolution. The ‘Obituarists’ can afford to continue dreaming!

Omoyele (I prefer ‘Omoyeye’) Sowore is known to be good at attacking constituted authorities believing ignorantly that invectives or ability to talk down on anyone could lead to his victory at the polls. Another uncharitable surprise awaits him at the polls next year. He remains a political lightweight in a political battle with heavyweights! His policies and programmes are at best utopian; they are vacuous! We see him as a rabble-rouser without a political base.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso from Kano is on the ballot to negotiate the best future political career after the winner must have emerged. In his Kano State I got two million votes in both 2015 and 2019! So I have no doubt that the APC would definitely give him an electoral bloody nose come February. Winning the presidency is, of course, a herculean task, more tasking than a gubernatorial victory.

Dear compatriots, for the past seven and half years we have made remarkable progress. Economically, socially and politically we have deepened the system producing effective results. Under my watch this administration has performed relatively well! We have tackled egregious corruption head-on stepping on powerful toes. Without let or hindrance we have recovered billions of Naira and millions of Dollars our unpatriotic and fraudulent politicians had stolen in the past!

We have dutifully fought terror to a standstill and done excellently well in terms of infrastructural development. Terrorists and bandits and kidnappers are now boxed to a corner that many are surrendering their weapons and being reintegrated into the decent society. Terrorism is best fought with the strategy of carrot and stick!

When we came in (in 2015) Nigeria was at crossroads security-wise. We were challenged security-wise. Many abandoned projects littered the landscape. The PDP and their President then were busy ‘democratising’ corruption and eating cassava bread! Leadership was left to rot and the system broken! They had squandered billions of Dollars on power generation and distribution but darkness prevailed! Ordinarily, heads would have rolled upon our assuming office but we elected to let peace reign!

They promised to build a second Niger Bridge and other key projects but delivered them on paper! The first phase of the second River Niger Bridge had been completed and commissioned by this administration!

We have added some megawatts to the national grid without making noise about it. We have signed into law the electoral act that would ensure a free and fair and transparent poll next year. I can go on and on citing our groundbreaking achievements but historians would do justice to that after our exit from the stage.

Fellow Nigerians, whatever has a beginning in this life must surely have an end. We are approaching the end of this administration. We have done our very best. We have delivered on our core promises! I retire with my head held high, my conscience untroubled! We have tried to deliver justice and steadied the ship of state in a highly volatile situation.

We have revolutionized the agricultural sector making it proudly possible for our people to feed themselves. We make bold to declare that we have impacted positively on the living conditions of our people. Our policies and programmes are meant to ameliorate the living standards of our people. We meant well!

The criminality in the system cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. We acknowledge it but add that it is not of our making. We are confronted with hardened criminals (some cannibals, others sexual predators and satan incarnates!) hell-bent on sabotaging our efforts! The terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and glorified separatists are all united in their criminal nefarious efforts to make the system ungovernable!

No one can ever divide our country! Or cause chaos and anarchy in the system. Nigeria remains indivisible; tongues and tribes may differ but our strength lies in our unity in diversity! I met Nigeria united and I will leave her united!

May Allah, in His infinite mercy, bless our dear country and prosper her! Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR)
President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces

AUTHOR: Ozodinukwe Okenwa

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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