Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari today released the videos from his meet with passionate volunteers in Lagos this week. The meeting held on Tuesday, 23 December.
He spoke with clarity and wit about issues ranking from the economy and stablilising the naira, to politics of issues, to his stewardship at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). He also repeated his call for peaceful elections and for citizens to protect their votes.
Of particular interest however are his statements on misplaced priorities in government spending and his government’s success in fighting domestic terrorism, a very important point in history to remember as Nigeria battles Boko Haram.
As reported by a blogger, Joachim MacEbong, who was at the event:
One part of Buhari’s time in the military that has to be spoken about a lot more, is his decisiveness in dealing with enemies of the Nigerian state. He recounted an episode when Chadian troops killed Nigerian soldiers, during the regime of Hissene Habré. This was despite the fact that Nigeria was giving petroleum products to Chad.
“Unfortunately for him, [Habré] those soldiers were under me”, Buhari said, to laughter from the audience. It was one example of his dry humour that would come to the surface a few more times.
As for Maitatsine, he describes a problem that kept recurring after the leader of the group was first exiled by the Emir of Kano, then returned and was killed by the police. “I flew into Adamawa as head of state, and that was the last you heard of Maitatsine,” he said.
Buhari goes on to explain his role in events like Nigeria’s ‘observer’ status in the OIC, the so-called $2.8 billion ‘missing’ funds during his time at the NNPC, his time at the PTF, the famous 53 suitcases (which was apparently just luggage), and so on.
The Petroleum Trust Fund was much like today’s SURE-P. Pump prices were going to be raised, but the Abacha government needed someone the public could trust to manage subsidy savings.
Buhari recounted how the first N2 billion of the N53 billion spent by the PTF was in Lagos, on projects like the Iju Waterworks. According to him, 12, 000 kilometres of roads were done by the PTF.
As a former military ruler, some are concerned with what Buhari might get up to if he becomes President, and whether his military instincts will take over. He describes his moment of conversion to democracy as when the Soviet Union collapsed without a shot being fired.
For someone whose military career went on against the backdrop of 5 coups, one of which he was on the receiving end of, it must have been a Damascene moment for him.