The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 14 presidential election, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday said he was not surprised at attacks on his person by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party leaders.
He also said that Nigeria could not afford another four years under a PDP-led government.
He explained that a party which had failed to deliver on promises it had been making to Nigerians for almost 16 years, would have nothing new to offer if given another four years.
Buhari said this while receiving in audience a delegation of members of the Peoples Democratic Movement who were in his office to adopt him as their candidate for the 2015 presidential election.
According to him, whether or not the Nigerian elite is willing to admit it, the 2015 elections represent a watershed in the nation’s political history.
He said, “What you have said summarises the problems of this country. You have looked carefully and found out that this year, 2015, whichever way politicians and the elite look at it, is another time or watershed in our political system.
“If we get it wrong this time, and allow the PDP to go again for the next four years, this country is going to be in trouble. Right now, with the unfortunate event of crumbling oil price, the economy is really in a mess. Coupled with insecurity, it is only a country like Nigeria that can survive and get out of this situation we are in. A lot of countries will just disappear either from the map or from the political equation of nation states. But Nigerians are so resilient to the extent that there are international personalities who could not understand why Nigeria still exists.
“There was a former UN Secretary General who said that if he retires, he will go to Nigeria because, according to him, what is happening to Nigeria, no other country can go through it and survive.”
Buhari added, “The 16 years of the PDP has been hell. Remember that we use to have Nigeria Airways, Nigeria Railways, Nigeria Shipping Line. Try and find out how much we have spent on power in the last 16 years from the vast resources we accumulate over that period because the price of oil went up to 142 dollars per barrel.
“What did we do with that money? We said that we paid debts with billions of Naira. If that amount was put into infrastructure such as power, roads, railways, farming etc, the amount of job it will create would be enormous. Today, some of our youths have become danger to the society because of lack of jobs. I hope the elite will properly document these 16 years as presenting the worst leadership this country has ever witnessed.”
Buhari noted that for Nigeria to develop, there must be a conscious effort to plan for the youths who, he said, constituted 65 per cent of the nation’s population.
He also said that the decision of his opponents to resort to personal attacks did not come to him as a surprise because “this is Nigeria.”
The candidate said, “I am not surprised. This is Nigeria, if people are serious about this (certificate) issue; they ought to have listened to the legal adviser of INEC.
“This is the fourth time, I’ll run for this office and INEC by law have got those documents. They (INEC) said they have got them. Anybody who has any different idea should go to court. They are now in court, let them remain there.”
Buhari also commended the PDM for coming out to join him in his quest to rescue Nigeria.
He told the delegation that he was delighted that the political family which former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was leading had formally declared support for him.
He revealed that he had tried to get them on board through Atiku who he described as “your senior colleague, the Turakin Adamawa.”
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Bashir Ibrahim, who is also the national chairman of the party, said the delegation took the decision to support Buhari at a National Executive Committee meeting.
He said, “The NEC of our party, at its meeting of January 22, 2015 noted that the party has no presidential candidate for the election of February 14. It considered and accepted the need to support a candidate in order to save Nigeria for imminent collapse and give it a new lease of life.”
Meanwhile, the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation has alerted the nation’s security agencies of a plot to use thugs to embarrass Buhari.
According to the APC campaign, the plot is aimed at disrupting the campaign rally of its candidate scheduled to hold in Taraba State on Wednesday (today).
This was contained in a statement issued by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the Campaign organisation.
It was signed by its Director, Mallam Garba Shehu. He said the APC Campaign got wind of a plan to use thugs to throw stones and sachets of water at the Buhari team when it visits the state.