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“Nigerians who went out are trying to come back”: 4 takeaways from Buhari’s Sallah speech


“Nigerians who went out are trying to come back”: 4 takeaways from Buhari’s Sallah speech

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday hosted some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by the minister, Mohammed Bello. Among those who paid homage to Buhari were clerics, lawmakers, religious leaders, security chiefs, some cabinet members, among others.

Some takeaways from the president’s speech during the visit:

He defied his doctors’ advice: According to Buhari, who continues to recuperate from health issues that kept him out of the country for several months last year, he was advised by his doctors to sit out the just-concluded Ramadan fast on health grounds. He said he rejected the advice. The president claimed that due to his participation in the one-month fast, he is now healthier to handle national issues.

“A lot of people asked me if on health grounds I can default, I refused because I know the value in fasting. I cannot miss it once I can do it. Last year, I didn’t because I was on health vacation. But this year, I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be much more healthier to give me the time that I need to attend to national issues,” he said.

Nigerians who emigrated abroad are now trying to come back: Here’s what he said: “Please in your constituencies, emphasise what I said about 30 years ago. We don’t have another country except Nigeria. We may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do. Even those that had gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there. I wished that all the resources they had then, they had deployed it here. It would have been much better.”

It is unclear if the president arrived at this conclusion based on data available to him. However, the trend shows the reverse. Most Nigerians are bent on leaving the country. An NOI (Nigeria Health Watch) Poll found that 8 out of every 10 medical doctors in Nigeria are currently seeking work opportunities abroad. Another survey by CLEEN Foundation/Afrobarometer found that one in three Nigerians (mostly the ypung and educated) have considered leaving the country for one reason or another. With countries like Canada aggressively seeking talents and manpower, there appears to be another wave of brain drain from Nigeria.

Shun individualism and sectionalism: “Please try to persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism,” said the president.

The main opposition PDP recently accused Buhari of being parochial and sectional. The president’s comments on Friday turned those accusations around, advising Nigerians to shun a vice which he has been repeated;y accused of.

Support Fayemi but politics is unpredictable: President Buhari digressed from his speech to endorse the aspirations of his former minister of solid minerals, Kayode Fayemi, who is vying to win the governorship election in Ekiti.

“I have to digress and wish my former Minister of Mines and Steel, Fayemi, well.  He has been a very hardworking minister because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil.

“But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed. Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead his state again.

“I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable. We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicising of our petroleum resources,” he said.

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