President Muhammadu Buhari had an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Wednesday.
During the chat, the president had so much to say about his government, the nation’s economy, and the security of Nigerians and their properties.
Below are 10 major key points Buhari made during the interview at the State House:
1. State police not an option
For President Buhari, state police is not an option for the nation. According to the president, rather than think state policing, the nation must begin to rectify the relationship between local governments and the governors.
He believes the rift between the governors and the lowest tier of government is a major cause of the security breaches as these cadres of government are not properly synchronized to stamp out criminality.
Buhari said the nation must also not undermine the role of traditional rulers because in their areas “they know who is who, even by families” and as such can point out the bad eggs within the community.
2. Kanu: We cannot release him
Regarding the case of the embattled IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, President Buhari ruled out the option of a pardon.
Buhari asserted that Nigerians know that he does not interfere with the judiciary.
“Let him be listened to. For those who are saying that we should release him, no we cannot release him,” he said.
“There is a possibility of political solution; if people behave themselves, all well and good, but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problem against your country and thinking that you will never have to account for what you have been doing. Let him account for what he has been doing.”
3. We will deal with them as terrorists
While reacting to a question raised about banditry, the president vowed to flush out criminals ravaging the country’s North West region, saying the government has already taken steps in that direction.
“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,” the Commander-In-Chief declared.
4. I will sign Electoral Bill if…
Following his earlier concerns regarding the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, President Buhari affirmed his readiness to assent only if the National Assembly makes the necessary adjustments.
He said such changes must include the addition of consensus candidates, indirect primary options to the mode of selecting a candidate for an election, as against the initial direct mode as the only option to conduct primaries by political parties.
According to him, Nigerians must be given more than one option for their practice of democracy to be certified true.
5. Anybody that will help Nigeria’s infrastructure is welcome
Speaking about loans from China, the president while defending his government’s decision, said anyone willing to help Nigeria’s infrastructure is welcome.
“We take that (loans) where it is necessary. I told you now of something, what it is used to be between Lagos and Ibadan alone not to talk of the rest of the country,” he said.
“But we got the Chinese to help us in the rail and the roads, how can we turn that down? If we had turned that down, maybe between Lagos to Ibadan, you will have to walk.
“So the Chinese are welcome, anybody that is prepared to come and help us and our infrastructure to do the roads, the rail, and power will be welcomed.”
6. Failure comes to my mind when I hear PDP
When asked what comes to his mind when he hears the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President said all that he sees is a failure.
It, however, does not come as much of a surprise because the president has always blamed the opposition party for where the country is today.
7. I am absolutely aware of Nigerians’ sufferings
On the plight of the Nigerian people, Buhari said at the interview that he is absolutely aware of the suffering and pains Nigerians go through to feed themselves and their families under his administration.
“I’m absolutely aware of it (the suffering of the people),” he said. “But like I said, look at the vast population of Nigerians, only 2.5 percent of the land revenues are being cultivated.
8. Nigerians must return to farm
While proffering a way out of the economic hardship experienced by many Nigerians, the president maintained that the people have to go back to the farms.
“We realised this rather too late, but we have to go back to the land (agriculture),” the president opined.
He added that “what we have done so far as I said, we have achieved some success. But the most important is the farm, machinery, and infrastructure.”
9. Education not an automatic ticket to govt jobs
For President Buhari, Nigerian youths must use their education and exposure to improve themselves and not see certificates as tickets to depend on the 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,” Buhari 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 am and close by 2 pm.”
10. I won’t disclose my preferred successor’s identity
Unlike many of the major political office holders in the country completing their term, President Buhari said he won’t disclose who his preferred successor would be.
In responding to a question about who his preferred candidate was, the president replied with a smile, “no, I wouldn’t say because he may be eliminated if I mention. I better keep it”.
When asked if he was interested in who eventually succeeds him, he responded, “No. Let him come, whoever it is.
“All important things, I’ll make sure that they are 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 important things are on record.”
The president said his legacy is to try to make sure that his government conducts itself with integrity which entails stopping all the stealing as much as the system can allow and stopping misappropriation which he says for Nigerians is very important.