The immediate past President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has recalled some controversial events that occurred under his administration.
In an interview after stepping down as Nigeria’s leader approximately half a year ago, the former President expressed his support for the contentious naira redesign policy during the final stages of his tenure.
He emphasized that his endorsement aimed to safeguard his integrity and to convey to the Nigerian populace that achieving success requires perseverance and dedication, without any quick fixes.
Buhari stated these while appearing on a state-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) program on Monday night where he argued that Nigerians were a difficult set of people to govern.
According to him, most of the citizens know the right thing to do but would mostly refuse to do so, because they think they know better than the person on the saddle.
When asked about the integrity of many of his aides during his eight years in power, Buhari said “It is their problem “, querying what people who criticized him fiercely had done at their levels to fight corruption.
I Could Have Ran Out Of Nigeria
Speaking further during the interview, the former president reiterated that his administration tried as much as possible to be accountable.
Buhari said he was still being ‘harassed’ by people who throng his home daily, noting that if the border with a nearby country had not closed, he would have run out of Nigeria by now.
He added, however, that he was glad he now wakes up anytime he likes. The former president said he doesn’t miss anything after leaving government.
“God allowed me to serve my country, but I did my best. But whether my best was good enough, I leave for people to judge, “ he stressed.
When asked whether he achieved what he set out to achieve after trying to be president four times, Buhari acknowledged the insecurity in Borno State and the northeast when he took over, saying that Boko Haram had been largely degraded at the time he was leaving government.
“Nigerians are extremely difficult. People know their rights. They think they should be there, not you. So, they monitor virtually your every step. And you have to struggle day and night to ensure that you are competent enough,“ he said.
The former president also said he was too preoccupied with local matters to be bothered with foreign issues as president. He said his biggest challenge was securing the country.
Buhari said he did not try to compete with Nigeria’s wealthy class by acquiring land, houses, and cars during his time as Nigeria’s leader, explaining that it was the reason he was “living in peace” after exiting government.
Buhari alleged that there were many attempts to set a trap for him by some individuals who presented him with certain opportunities, but that he avoided the trap because he knew that once they knew he had been compromised, they would take advantage of the situation to milk the country.
He added that they would rather become his boss. He stated that God helped introduce technology in 2015 which enabled him to win the poll because God had seen the grueling pains he experienced after each loss during the times he contested for the presidency.
“Instead of people expressing sympathy, people laughed at me because I didn’t have money, because I couldn’t buy influence in any form, either from influential people or others. And I said ‘God dey’. And he sent the Permanent Voter Card (PVC). Meaning you now have only one vote,“ he stated.
Naira Redesign Policy
Commenting further on the controversial naira policy, Buhari said: “Whether Nigerians believe it or not, we are an underdeveloped country. And in that sort of situation, there’s materialism and sometimes ruthlessly they didn’t care how they made the money.
“I still feel that the only way I could deprive these people was just to make sure that my integrity became unquestionable…I think as a developing country we still have a long way to go.
“The motivation (for introducing the policy) was to try and make Nigerians believe that there is no shortcut to successful leadership.”
Besides, he explained that he wasn’t shocked that he was taken to court by governors from his party at the time to reverse the policy.