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Buhari rejects tenure extension campaign

By Idowu Abdullahi

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned Nigerians, particularly his supporters to desists from campaigning for his tenure extension, insisting that he would be leaving office after his second term elapse in 2022.

The president who swore to vacate the Presidential Villa when his tenure ends on May 29, 2023, noted that he would only be staying in office for the constitutional guaranteed years for elected officials and that he would strive to ensure the culture was respected.

Aside from assuring Nigerians to bow out at the appointed time, Buhari said that he would work assidiously in bequeathing free, fair and credible election system legacy, noting that he would ensure no contestant suffers his fate during the previous three elections before eventually winning the fourth time.

“I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I will serve in accordance with the constitution and leave when my time is up. No “Tazarce’’ (tenure extension). I don’t want anybody to start talking about and campaigning for unconstitutional extension. I will not accept that,” the president said on Friday at a meeting in Makkah with a select group of Nigerians resident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he just ended a visit.

Buhari also tacitly expressed support to efforts to increase the role of technology in the nation’s elections, arguing that the introduction of the card reader and electronic register was God’s answer to his prayers, having been cheated of his victory in three previous elections.

“After the third so-called defeat, I said, ‘God Dey’. My opponents laughed at me but God answered my prayers by bringing in technology. At that point, nobody can steal their votes or buy them,” the president added.

Buhari, who ended his visit to the Kingdom with the Friday Prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah said that he would continue to abide by the constitution in all its ramifications and he would at all times supervise and deal with his ministers on same basis.

He gave assurances at the meeting that in the balance of “eighteen months or so of my time left, whatever I can do to improve the life of Nigerians, I will do it for the country.”

The president commended diaspora Nigerians in the Kingdom for representing the country well and projecting its good image. He also used the opportunity to urge citizens at home to be fair to his administration at all times, asking the critics to compare the security situations in the North East and South South in 2015 and how things have improved as at now.

“My problem is the North West where people are killing and stealing from one another. I had to be very hard on them and I will continue to be very hard until we put them in line and bring back order,” he said.

Buhari, however, urged Nigerians living in the country to respect the laws, remain law-abiding and do nothing to derogate from the many years of friendly and mutually beneficial relationships between the two countries.

A leader of the community, Dr. Abdulkadir Maikudi, who spoke on behalf of the group requested the president to assist the privately-run Nigerian International School in the Kingdom by equipping it to provide science and technical education.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal, and the Consul-General in Jeddah, Ambassador Abdulkarim Mansur attested to the good conduct of the nearly 1.5 million Nigerians there. According to them, “Nigerian professionals are doing well and projecting a good image of our country.”

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