Amid several unresolved socio- economic and security challenges, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, said he is leaving office fulfilled. He said also that he is eager to return to his hometown Daura, in Katsina State.
Buhari reiterated this when he granted audience to the Muslim community in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by its Minister, Mohammed Bello, to mark the 9th and final Sallah homage by the president at the presidential villa, Aso Rock, Abuja
For the president, this has become a regular statement since last year, July, when he said that he was eager to return to his farm, handed over to him by his forefathers, in Daura.
The President had at an audience he granted to some elected local government council chairmen from Katsina State, declared that he was eagerly looking forward to return to the farm in Daura.
The President also described himself as a lucky man to have presided over the nation’s affairs for eight years.
The Sallah homage is used by incumbent Presidents to receive and host Muslims resident at the nation’s capital, led by the Minister of the FCT.
The President also holds similar events for Christians during special occasions such as Christmas and Easter.
Buhari, who used the opportunity to appreciate Abuja residents for hosting him, said he is lucky, to have led Nigeria in various capacity – governor, minister, head of state and President.
Buhari also applauded “democracy” for providing him the opportunity to rule the country.
“I am counting the days. Democracy is a good thing otherwise how can somebody from the other side be a president for two terms?” Buhari said.
The President while also acknowledging his closeness to the Niger Republic said “From my home town ( Daura) to Niger Republic is 8 kilometers”.
” I thank the residents of Abuja for tolerating me in the last seven and half years,” he said.
“I can’t wait to go home…I deliberately arranged to be as far away as possible from you people. I have got what I have asked and will quietly retire to my home town in Daura.”
He said he considered the Sellah celebration as a good coincidence to say goodbye and to “thank you for tolerating me for eight years.”
“I honestly consider myself very lucky, I was made a governor, minister of petroleum, head of state in uniform, then after three attempts, God through technology and PVC, I became president. I tried 2007, 2011 and 2015 and ended up at Supreme Court three times.”
The president took a swipe at those who said they cannot get justice at the court, recalling that all Supreme Court justices in all the election cases he took to court were all from the north and Muslims and yet he lost.
The President also acknowledged the relevance of technology and the permanent voters card (PVC), to ensuring free and fair elections, adding that he “was able to make it in 2015 to Aso Rock” through the help of the two systems initiated by the then Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
“I think this is a very good coincidence for me to say goodbye to you and to thank you for tolerating me for more than seven and half years now.
“I assure you, I have deliberately arranged to be as far away from you as possible not because I don’t appreciate the love you’ve shown to me, but because I think I’ve gotten what I have asked and I would rather quietly retire to my hometown.
“Having been a Governor, Minister and the President twice, I think God has given me an incredible opportunity to serve as your president. And I thank God for that. So, please whoever feels I have done wrong to them, we are all humans. There is no doubt I hurt some people and I wish you will pardon me. And those that think that I have hurt them so much, please pardon me.”
The outgoing Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, in his remarks, noted that in few weeks the “President will conclude a very successful tenure”
He said under the Buhari administration, the FCT has witnessed tremendous transformation infrastructure wise.
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He thanked the President for appointing him as minister, saying it’s one position he will cherish forever.
He described Philip Aduda as a bridge builder despite being in the opposition party.
The highlight of the event was was the presentation of the a giant Sellah greetings card to the president.
Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, FCT chapter, Timothy Amakon, thanked God for using Buhari to transform the nation as well as to maintain peace and development of the country.
He prayed that God will continue to strengthen him even after he office leaves office to continue play the role of an elder statesman.
The cleric also prayed that God will help the incoming administration to continue the great work the Buhari administration.
He commended the Minister of FCT for the good job he has done and prayed that Christians and Muslims will continue to co-exist peacefully.
Executive Director Al-Halbbiya Foundation Adeyemi Faud, also confirmed that Christians and Muslims live peacefully in the FCT and commended the cordial relationship between residents of the federal capital of different religions.
He also commended the state of security in the city.
Aduda on his part congratulated Buhari for a successful tenure and thanked God for granting him wisdom to led the nation.
He commended Buhari for tolerating everyone including the opposition.
He prayed for good health, wisdom and long life for President Buhari so that he will always be available to provide wise counsel.
Some notable personalities present were Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, service chiefs, cabinet members, presidential aides, traditional rulers, business communities among others.