President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday asked politicians in the country not to meddle with the wishes of Nigerians when it comes to choosing their leaders irrespective of political party or religion.
The president stated this at the presidential villa when he received the report of the National Security Summit held on May 26, 2021, by the House of Representatives.
Receiving the report from a team of members of the House led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, President Buhari urged leaders to respect the people, from the lowest to the highest, “so that it becomes a duty to them (the people) to pay back to the leadership.”
Respect for the people, according to the president, should come in allowing them “to choose who they like as their leaders, irrespective of political party or religion.
“We are a lucky country and should congratulate ourselves, despite challenges that could have torn us apart,” a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying.
Describing the event as “a remarkable occasion,” President Buhari restated his determination to serve the country to the best of his ability, recalling his visits to the 36 States during the campaign for 2019 elections.
He noted: “The number of people that turned out to see me, some waiting for 10 hours in the sun, was more than anyone could buy, or force. They just wanted to see who this Buhari was.
“People wonder why Nigerians accept me, despite not being rich. I wonder, too. I felt I just have to serve Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of my ability.”
Commending the 9th National Assembly for its cooperation with the Executive, he said he tried very hard to get the 8th Assembly to do same for the sake of the country, “and I didn’t succeed much. But time has proved me right.”
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila thanked the president for endorsing the security summit conducted by the House.
“You were part of it from the very beginning and you were to have declared it open, if not for the exigencies of duty,” the Speaker told the president.
Gbajabiamila explained that the summit became necessary after lawmakers were bombarded daily by their constituents on the security challenges facing the country, “and motions after motions were moved by the lawmakers.”
A committee of 50 lawmakers, across party, religious and ethnic lines, he said, was set up to plan the summit, “and Mr President was very eager and enthusiastic about it, showing the importance you place on security.”
Gbajabiamila said the report was a product of inputs by traditional rulers, scholars, independent thinkers, and security chiefs.
He further noted that the report contains seven recommendations that require legislative action, and about 19 that will be implemented by the Executive.
“Thank you Mr President for what you have done so far to douse tension and for Nigeria to remain one. It’s about all of us, not just the executive, the legislature or the judiciary. And Nigeria will work, by the grace of God,” the Speaker submitted.