Transcript Of Buhari’s Remarks At His Meeting With Nigerians In South Africa In Johannesburg

Transcript Of Buhari’s Remarks At His Meeting With Nigerians In South Africa In Johannesburg
June 17 07:58 2015 Print This Article

This is my first time of attending these type of meetings (AU) and they go on and on until about 1 in the morning. And then you are suppose to start in the morning again. So many people are just… looks like we are all Nigerians wherever we are. Everybody is repeating what the other speaker has said instead of to keep their mouth shut. Anyways is a great experience.

I have listened to the address paraphrased by the counsel general, I’m pleased that wherever Nigerians are whether in South Africa or Saudi Arabia or Europe or Alaska for that matter, you’ll make an impact both positive and negative.
There is no way 160 million people or more cannot make impact wherever they are. We have so many cultures and nationalities.
At a point I was very frightened don’t know how many of you kept records. I was afraid Nigeria might be like Somalia. The Somalis are the same people they are all Muslims but because the elites are self-centered, selfish, they have succeeded to make Somalia a war country for the last 20 years.
For that reason I said Nigerians are much more vulnerable, we have so many nationalities no matter how you look at it, Hausa-Fulanis, Kanuris, Ishekiris, Yorubas, Igbos. We are actually people of different cultures but since 1914, we have merged inspite of religion and culture, married across, produce children and only crazy people caan think of balkanising Nigeria. But we are not short of crazy people that is the frightening part of it.
But I assure you that after being in the military for 25 years, and getting to the highest rank and becoming head of state and under unusual circumstances. As head of state I went straight to detention for three and half years so those who accused me of locking them up, I too have been locked up so what?
In April 2002 when I decided to join Nigeria’s partisan politics, I said it in my ward in Daura, I didn’t know the number of Nigerians that went to Daura from all over the country. I know I invited few but I told them that I myself and those who knew me in the military if they said I will join Nigerian partisan politics I will say no. But there I was I found myself in it.
Two fundamental reasons I will tell you was that one, when I went back home after being a governor of now six states – Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, and Gombe. I was the governor then, then petroleum minister under obasanjo for three and half years, then head of state, then chairman of PTF. And the most irritating thing was that of all these positions I have held before, people didn’t remember, they only remember my days  of PTF because I bought bedsheets and put in hospitals and some x-ray machines and some buses for the schools. The remember me more as chairman of PTF than as a former head of state, than a governor or a minister of petroleum. Inspite of the fact that it was during my time that I signed the contract for Warri refinery, Kaduna refinery, more than 3,500 lying pipes and more than 20 depot, we got the tankers off the road, we saved lives, we saved fuel, we save the road itself. But from 1999 till date PDP has mess it up. That is why Nigerians decided to vote me.
In spite the fact that they say money is working from primaries to my election is a proof that Nigerians know what they want once they make up their minds. You can give them the money, some refuse to take it, some took it and said it is our money and they do exactly what they wanted to do.
So why did I join partisan politics in spite of that? When I went home people knew that I have no money I thought they will leave me alone, but they didn’t they were coming to me asking me to do this and do that. And  I found that the only way I could do it is by joining partisan politics. And maybe if I speak even if I’m not a member at any level, people will listen to me.
But then I joined the opposition, I joined APP (All Peoples Party). I didn’t want any political office at first, if I wanted I would have joined PDP then and maybe I would have gotten to where I am much earlier. But then I wanted to go with the opposition.
The second that happened that finally convinced me to join partisan politics, was what happened to Soviet Union.
You know the Soviet Union was an empire in the 20th century that collapsed with a shot being fired. Everybody went home, there was confusion. Now there are 18 countries out of the old Soviet Union.  They were more advanced than the western countries in science because they wanted to go to space specifically in 1957, and they had  more nuclear war heads and delivering system than Warsaw. And they had organised their societies and they had much less crimes and they got jobs for people. When people had no jobs they got one for them.
And that was when I decided and I believed that the best form of governance is multi-parties democracy with a big caveat, election must be free and fair. And that was why I was in trouble.
I moved from APP to ANPP to CPC, eventually to APC.
I contested in 2003, spent 30 months in the courts and ended up in Supreme Court. I contested in 2007, spent about 20 months in the courts, ended up in Supreme Court. I contested in 2011 and spent about eight months in the courts, all ending up in Supreme Court. Why was I doing it? I know the reason I believed in it! I told you I believe in this system, that election must be free and fair.
In all those cases from High Court to Supreme Court, we sent people to the field, they found out why the elections were not fair, they came to the court and gave evidence but in the end, they will say oh well! There were some flaws in the elections but PDP has won. At last the PDP has lost!
I have gone to this extent to tell you that when you make up your mind about anything positive, don’t be discouraged! Keep on trying!
How I wish I became head of state when I was a governor, just a few years as a youngman, now at 72, there is a limit but to what I can do. But what brought be there I think mainly is because I love this country. I was in the war front for 30 months during our civil war, I lost a lot of loyal people to me, I lost a relative,  a lot of Nigerians did too. We lost about two million Nigerian livess just to keep Nigeria one. So nobody should come now and tell us rubbish! We are going to remain one country God has given us another opportunity to reorganise this country. Those who work hard, the society will pay them back.
And please those of you who have the opportunity to come here and represent us, make sure you are always aware that you are representing Nigeria. The ambassador is the official representative of Nigeria here but you are all ambassadors of Nigeria and this needs a lot of patience, a lot of restrain and a lot of self respect and self pride.
I listened to the President of South Africa, he spoke to us at length at xenophobia, in the draft I was given, I cancelled xenophobia and replaced it with civil-disturbances.
You all know how they came to where they are. For how long was South Africa under apartied, at least black South Africans were reduced to virtually nothing! And the Murtala/Obasanjo regime were classified as frontline states only God knows how much of Nigeria’s money were sent to these people to support them. And you know Namibia, Zambabwe, South Africa, Angola, it is in the history of Africa and the world that Nigeria was responsible for virtually financing the destruction of apartied in Southern Africa. 
I refused to speak from this draft speech because I wanted to speak to you from the bottom of my heart, please keep Nigeria’s pride close to your heart, make sure you behave yourselves. If you find yourselves here obey their law, where you don’t obey their law you will have to bear the consequences. 
I’m told they are 83 Nigerians in prison, I don’t know what they have done but I spoke to the President of South Africa this afternoon. He wants to come to Nigeria. There are issues he knows to talk about, I will certainly talk to him, I hope our ambassador will send a comprehensive report about the court cases, about those who lost properties during the disturbances. And at that time I will attempt to ask him about our $9.7 million which was not correctly transfered. 
We have a system in Nigeria. No matter what you say about the British colonialists, they built institutions for us, unfortunately we have destroyed those institutions.
When Obama came to Africa, he went to Ghana, his first trip, he refused to go to Nigeria. And he said Africa, or developing countries should have strong institutions instead of strong leaders. If he was in Nigeria, he would have known that it was strong Nigerians that destroyed the strong institutions. And paradoxically, maybe another strong Nigerian will come and revive the institutions and make them strong again.
I met Obama, President of France, Chancellor of Germany, Prime Minister of Japan and so on and so forth, members of the G7 anyways, they invited me and I went. They are all anxious to help Nigeria to tackle insecurity especially in the north east and of course us the technology. 
We are getting are facts together, our logistics requirements and so on. For the north east, the Lake Chad Basin Commission – Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin, have tried to come in. We have developed headquarters in Njaminah, a Nigerian General is heading it, we have dedicated a number of troops ourselves and the location where they will be and be the end of July they will be in place and then we will make sure that since Niigeria was a battle ground we eliminate Boko Haram.
In the South the abductions and the money being taken we will reduce that as well.
I could recall when I was in secondary school or a junior officer, when it was Christmas and New Year businesses close virtually in the north especially in Kano because Kano was the center, all the Ibos would have gone home for Christmas and New Year but now at least two third of them don’t go. Because they will either get abducted or their wives, children or their parents and demands they wiill make for their release will be much more than their capital. 
And I went round Owerri about a couple of years ago, I was shown some houses that were built for almost N100 million but the owners don’t sleep in their houses. When they go to Owerri, they check into a hotel with their families. They will go into their houses during the day and run back to the hotel’s by 5pm and lock themselves up. What is the use? 
That is why the APC’s fundamental campaign, the discussions we made where three things that were identified. We have to secure the country, then sufficiently managed it by making sure the economy is put right and youths are employed, and then try and then try and kill corruption. I didn’t say this first, they are people before me who articulated that is article writers, who said if we don’t kill corruption in Nigeria, corruption will kill us. 
So this APC’s administration intend to kill corruption in Nigeria, we will do our best I assure you.
So haven spoken off the cuff, I’m pleased with what I have told you, being Nigerians I can assure you that the three cardinal points of securing Nigeria, efficiently managing it by trying to build the economy again, generate employment and then deal with corruption, God willing we are going to do them and we will succeed. 
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