Following the intense presidential campaign and the victory in the March 28 presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari’s year was rich in events, speeches, meetings and trips.
As the leader of Nigeria celebrates his birthday today, December 17, Naij.com has gathered 73 memorable quotes by President Buhari.
On corruption and economy
1. We will stop corruption and make the ordinary people, the weak and the vulnerable our top priority.
2. Any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for president to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.
3. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration.
4. This generation of Nigerians, and, indeed the future generation, have no country other than Nigeria; we shall stay and salvage it together!
5. We cannot build an economy where corruption is the working capital.
6. We will be a compassionate government, for out of compassion arises the truest forms of wealth and progress a society can attain.
7. No longer shall illegal flows of massive sums leave these shores to finance other economies. While our people languish in poverty, we effectively give financial aid to nations that is not justified. I am sick of this. It must stop. The money saved will finance jobs, health care and the provision of social safety net for the needy, weak and vulnerable of our land.
8. We shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism – the evil of corruption.
9. We shall send corrupt politicians to Kirikiri.
10. I will stabilise global oil price.
On Boko Haram and insecurity
11. Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of.
12. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces, but victory cannot be achieved by basing the command and control centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued.
13. But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.
14. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police.
15. They have to prove to us that the girls are alive, they are well, and then we can promise we can negotiate. We will negotiate if we certify that the girls are alive.
16. For now the armed forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations.
17. There are many reasons why vulnerable young people join militant groups, but among them are poverty and ignorance. Indeed Boko Haram – which translates in English, roughly, as ‘Western Education Is Sinful’ – preys on the perverted belief that the opportunities that education brings are sinful.
18. The misappropriation of resources provided by the government for weapons means the Nigerian military is unable to beat Boko Haram.
19. Stop killing our people.
20. If you are starving and young and in search of answers as to why your life is so difficult, fundamentalism can be alluring. We know this for a fact because former members of Boko Haram have admitted it: they offer impressionable young people money and the promise of food, while the group’s mentors twist their minds with fanaticism.
21. You shall be able to go to bed knowing you are safe… Insurgents would soon know the strength of the collective will of Nigerians.
22. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well-compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.
23. We stand united in our pledge to resist terror in Nigeria – not just through military means but also through the power of opportunity and the hope of a better future for all.
24. I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country. (Note: the call was made in August 2001 and, apparently, concerned only areas where Muslims predominated).
25. Religion is a personal affair. If you want to visit Mecca or Jerusalem do it with your personal funds. Sponsorship of religious pilgrimages is illegal, unconstitutional and lack of fairness.
26. Because they can’t attack our record, they accuse me falsely of ethnic jingoes; they accuse me falsely of religious fundamentalism. Because they cannot attack our record, they accuse us falsely of calling for election violence – when we have only insisted on peace. Even as Head of State, we never imposed Sharia.
27. I urge Nigerians to put aside religion, politics and all other divisions to crush the insurgency.
28. Religion must never be used as an excuse to divide us, oppress others or gain unfair advantage.
On the former government
29. Whatever one’s views are, Nigerians must thank former President Jonathan for not digging-in in the face of defeat and thereby saving the country untold consequences.
30. I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are.
31. President Jonathan has nothing to fear of me; we might not agree on the same methodology of governance… He is a great Nigerian leader, who made it possible for democracy to thrive. I will extend my hands of fellowship to Jonathan and his team.
32. This campaign is the third and last one for me. I will not offer myself again for election into the office of president. (Note: the promise was made before the 2011 presidential election).
33. It is up to the people. If you choose correct leadership, there won’t be any need for the military regime. The opposition has united this time to back one candidate to challenge the PDP in the presidential poll. The military came in when it was absolutely necessary and the elected people had failed the country.
34. There shall no more be a ruling party; All Progressive Congress (APC), will now be your governing party.
35. You are all my people; I will treat you all as mine. I will work for those who voted for me, voted against me and those who didn’t vote at all.
36. If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.’
On the military past
37. I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future.
38. I have heard and read references to me as a ‘former dictator’… I take responsibility for anything that happened under my watch.
39. I bear no ill will against anyone on past events. Nobody should fear anything from me. We are not after anyone. People should only fear the consequences of their actions.
40. A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.
41. Let us put the recent past behind us and forget our old battles.
42. The phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.
On Nigeria’s future
43. I assure you, if I become president, the world will not have to worry about Nigeria as it is now.
44. We have all the attributes of a great nation. We are not there yet because the one commodity we have been unable to exploit to the fullest is unity of purpose.
45. This generation of Nigerians and indeed the future generation have no country other than Nigeria, we shall stay and salvage it together!
46. Our long night is over and a new dawn has come… Democracy and rule of law will be put in place.
47. Along the way there will be success and setbacks; mistakes will be made but we will not take you for granted.
48. The work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.
On governance and public service
49. As far as the constitution allows me, I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.
50. Every new government inherits problems. Ours was no different. But what Nigerians want are solutions, quick solutions not a recitation of problems inherited.
51. Our government set out to do things methodically and properly.
52. Change does not just happen. You and I and all of us must appreciate that we all have our part to play if we want to bring CHANGE about.
53. We must change our lawless habits, our attitude to public office and public trust. We must change our unruly behavior in schools, hospitals, market places, motor parks, on the roads, in homes and offices. To bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens.
54. The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government.
55. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviled governance today.
56. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account.
57. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.
58. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system.
59. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.
60. Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick-start these enterprises.
61. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure. No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less.
62. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.
63. There is nothing strange, except that I said those who bought the electricity companies and the workers must work accordingly. From 1999 to present, Nigeria’s money, totalling $20 billion, not Nigerian naira, but US dollars, was spent on Nigeria’s electricity. So the companies involved in whatever way, we have been begging them to come back and work because there may be a time when the push comes to shove on how such monies were spent, the companies must execute the project or refund to Nigeria her money.
64. The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.
On Niger Delta amnesty
65. The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place.
66. What is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants […] The Niger Delta militants started it all.
On self-determination of people
67. As we engage in these annual debates, we need remind ourselves of the principles that led to the founding of the United Nations. Among those are peaceful coexistence and self-determination of people. In this context, Mr. President, the unresolved question of self-determination for the Palestinian people and those of Western Sahara, both nations having been adjudged by the United Nations as qualifying for this inalienable right must now be assured and fulfilled without any further delay or obstacle.
68. The corporate existence of Nigeria as a single entity is not a subject of debate and will not be compromised.
69. Justice is justice, whether it’s done in Africa or elsewhere in the world. The important thing is let justice be done, whatever evidence the prosecution has in Senegal. I think they should – you should proceed to make it available to the world and prosecute him according to international law on human rights.
70. I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.
71. I said within this month. Therefore, I still have three weeks. As such, hold back your question until after three weeks, when September ends without me doing that.
72. What is wrong if I make you the secretary (of the federal government) because I have confidence that things will go normal?
73. The civil service provides the continuity, the technocrat. And in any case, they are the people who do most of the work. The ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise, for the politicians to make a lot of noise. But the work is being done by the technocrats. They are there, they have to provide the continuity, dig into the records and then guide (those of us) who are just coming in.