On Thursday President Muhammadu Buhari visited Maiduguri the Borno State capital to commission some projects in the state.
It is instructive to note that since Buhari assumed office in 2015, Borno was one of his favorites places to visit as he always feel at home in the state .
On Thursday, , the President’s plane landed at the airforce base in Maiduguri just before noon.
Remarkably, from the airport to the various locations he visited to commission projects, it was filled with residents chanting Sai Baba. If you think the President’s popularity has waned , you got another think coming .For Borno residents , president Buhari could do no wrong .
The first port of call was the commissioning of Oriental Energies Resource Ltd Hanger the airport.
In a courtesy call at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, Dr Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El Kanemi, the president said more cooperation among elites in the country, with a commitment to inform people on realities and mobilize for development will help in resolving the challenges facing the nation.
The President said the elites owe it to the people to inform, guide and shape opinions since they had more access and knowledge on the economy.
“What our country needs now is the continued cooperation of the elites. They know the problem of the nation.
“It is good that they educate the less informed about the realities,” he said.
In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, said the state had started experiencing a new lease of peace, with many people returning to their farms and businesses.
According to the royal father, the state had also enjoyed many infrastructural developments since 2015, thanking President Buhari for taking special interest in the people of the state.
Similarly,President Buhari also commissioned the Tijjani Bolori Memorial Secondary School and the first fly-over in Borno State, Custom Roundabout (3.5km) with a stretch of 10 km Gamboru Ngala Road constructed by the state government.
The president also commissioned the Muhammadu Indimi Distance Learning Centre and an International Conference Centre donated to the University of Maiduguri by business mogul, Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi.
The president after the commissioning at the University of Maiduguri,said his administration will keep giving its best for the development of the country until May, 2023, reiterating that he will handover as stipulated by the Constitution.
The President said, “ I know I swore by the Constitution, and I will leave in 17 months. I pray that the person that will take over from us will also follow the targets of securing the country and building the economy.
“Without securing the country, you cannot grow the economy.”
On security in the North West, he said it was sad that the people who lived together, sharing same culture and outlook for a long time would start stealing, kidnapping and killing one another.
The President said the military will come down hard on the North West to stabilise the situation, having procured more hardwares.
“I am highly impressed with what I have seen at this state of the art Centre for Distance Learning and Auditorium sited here, the University of Maiduguri. I am told that this international conference hall has 1,300 seats. The high quality standard of this edifice is major contribution by Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi. This intervention will benefit not only students from Borno and the North East but also students from all parts of Nigeria.
“For the Oriental Energy Resources Hangar which I commissioned, it will welcome and offer support services to aircraft and pilots involved with Humanitarian Air Services,” the President noted.
President Buhari also commended Prof. Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno, for the work he had done in two years, noting that he was in the state earlier in June to commission developmental projects.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum appreciated the President for honoring the state, adding that Alhaji Indimi’s contributions to the development of the state showed he loved his people.
“Words cannot convey our gratitude for the statesmanship, “ he said.
Governor Zulum said the state had recognised the contributions of Alhaji Indimi by renaming the Damboa Road after him, now Alhajji Muhammadu Indimi Road.
In his remarks, Alhaji Indimi said he was motivated to build the Distance Learning Centre and the International Conference Centre to encourage education in the state.
“I believe the centre will help in delivering training and skills as well as encourage those who will be taking lessons from remote places,” he said.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Aliyu Shugaba, thanked President Buhari for honoring the invitation anf Alhaji Indimi for the contribution.
Similarly just before the president departed Maiduguri, he addressed troops of Operation Hadin Kai at the Airforce Base .
He urged troops of Operation Hadin Kai to remain steadfast as they go into the final phase of the campaign against insurgency and other forms of criminalities.
He said the entire nation remains grateful for the gallantry displayed in ensuring gradual return of peace to the North East, while condoling with families that have lost loved ones, and the wounded.
“I urge you also to stay focused to achieve our strategic end-state which is the defeat of all adversaries and restoration of an economically viable North East Geo-political Zone and other parts of the Country where Nigerians are free to go about their activities without fear or harassment,” he said.
President Buhari assured families of soldiers who paid the supreme price for the nation and the injured that the Federal Government will cater for their needs, recognizing their sacrifices for all Nigerians.
While noting threats posed by criminals through the employment of Improvised Explosive Devices, he said substantial resources have also been directed at procuring equipment for explosive ordnance disposal.
According to President Buhari, similar attention is being given to Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Assets.
“These measures and the platforms being received would accord you the necessary reach, fire power and protection to project force across the Theatre and bring the fight to a logical and successful end.”
President Buhari told the troops that at the onset of the administration he emphasized the need to rejuvenate the Multinational Joint Task Force, which was in realization of the fluid and transnational nature of current threats and their propensity to hibernate in neighbouring countries.
“I therefore urge you to continue to further strengthen your cooperation with the militaries of the other countries under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force in order to further optimize the mutual gains for our respective national security.
“As we step up the military efforts, our administration has remained conscious of the efficacy of the employments of other lines of effort in our drive to ensuring the return of lasting peace to the North East Region.
“The North East Development Commission continues to make giant strides at improving the economic and social welfare of Nigerians in the region.
“I am also happy with the increased level of cooperation between the good people of Borno State, other stakeholders and the security agencies. I urge you to continue to cooperate with other security agencies with a view to ensuring a full return to normalcy.”
He assured that the administration would continue to work with all well-meaning stakeholders including friendly nations, civil society organizations as well as other credible non-governmental organizations to bring peace to all troubled areas across the nation.
President Buhari expressed deep appreciation to the Government of Borno State for its continuous cooperation with the Federal Government in multiple spheres.
Adding, “This has been critical to the furtherance of our mutual efforts at restoring peace to the State.“
I particularly commend Your Excellency, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, for your untiring commitment and cherished collaboration with my administration for the overall good of the people of Borno. Yours is a good example of the inherent benefits that are accruable from conscious positive interaction between the Federal Government and states.”
He also commended the Minister of Defence as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and the heads of all other security agencies for forging a common front of collaboration and cooperation which continues to enhance operations.
It was gratifying to observe some of these examples of collaboration during the Research and Development Exhibition at the recently concluded Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference and the launch of locally constructed Seaward Defence Ship at the Naval Dockyard.
“I urge you all to stay the course towards ensuring that we become self-sufficient in the production of our defence equipment in no distant future.
‘To my dear troops, as your Commander in Chief, I am mindful of your selfless sacrifices which in some cases have entailed paying the supreme price. The nation owes you a debt of gratitude for your commitment, dedication and unalloyed loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Our Government will continue to work with your respective heads to ensure that your welfare receives priority attention and that our wounded comrades are given the best medical care possible,” the President assured.
The President said the manpower challenges which have limited the rotation of some units from the Theatre would be addressed by concerted efforts to increase recruitment and ensure that the remaining units due for rotation were relieved as soon as practicable.