President Muhammadu Buhari stunned his guests on Monday when he confided in them that he considered fleeing the country if this year’s harvest had failed.
Speaking while playing host to traditional rulers from the six geo-political zones of the country at the new banquet hall of the presidential villa, Abuja, he stressed the need for tinkering with the constitution to strengthen the urge for Nigerians to live together.
The royal fathers were at the presidential villa on a courtesy call on the president following his recent return from months of medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
His words: “We know our limitations. We have to continue to strengthen our constitution, to strengthen the resolve of our people to live together, work together.
“We are lucky that last year and this year the rainy season is good. If it were not good, I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to.
“But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians the rainy season last year was good and this year with the report I’m getting it is good.
“We thank God for that otherwise there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”
Buhari restated that his administration met an empty treasury when it assumed power in 2015, noting that he would however continue implement policies and programmes for the benefit of the people.
He stressed the importance of security for national development and encouraged all Nigerians to cooperate with government in this direction.
The president counseled Nigerians to see the large population as an advantage to be well utilized.
Speaking at the occasion,
Chairman of the Southeast Traditional Council, Eze Eberechi Dick, pointed out that the region prayed for the president’s recovery from illness and will continue to pray for him as he carries out his obligations to the people.
He however advised the president to tackle the problem of bad roads in the country, saying: “Our hearts are full of joy that you are back. You shook our hands when you came in and that shows you believe in one Nigeria. We prayed for you and you are back. We prayed for you because your agenda for Nigeria is good.
“As your children when we cry it is for you to ask us to stop crying; that you will fix whatever is making us cry – like our bad roads and we believe you will do something about them.”
Also speaking for the South-South, King of Nembe, Edmund Dakouru, noted the commitment of government to the well being of the country but urged the president to fix the economy.
“We know there is tension here and there but as traditional rulers we don’t eat politics,” he said, adding: “The economy has to be fixed. Coming from the region that produces the mainstay of the economy, even though the country will soon diversify the economy; before we diversify let’s protect the one that we still have.
“We are pleased to work for peace and stability of the region so that we can all see the benefits of the commodity.”
Speaking for the the North East, the Lamido Adamawa, Barkindo Mustapha, told Buhari: “God brought you back to Nigeria and we are all very happy. We will continue to pray for God to strengthen you more and give you the courage to continue to do more for the country”.
On his part, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who spoke for the North West, said the traditional rulers identify with Buhari’s commitment for national security.
For the North Central, Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Buba Gyang, thanked God for bringing the president back to the country healthy.
He advised against playing politics with the president’s health and commended his efforts on security and agriculture.
The royal father regretted the latest Fulani herdsmen attack on Ancha village in Plateau state, saying that incident occurred at a time it was believed that peace had returned to the area.
He commended the president for ordering the security agencies to fish out those responsible for the attack which killed about 20 persons.
On behalf of the South West, the Oni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also thanked God for the safe return of Buhari, saying: “We will continue to preach to our people that we should continue to foster peace in our country, we will continue to caution our youths against hate speeches.
“We cannot leave the development of the country all to the government but we have to work hand in hand. We assure you that we support all your initiatives.”
In his remark, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, thanked God for bringing the President back in sound health.
He urged him to take control of the leadership of the country and pledged the royal fathers’ support.