Updated: March 5, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday fired back at his critics and members of the opposition as well as a host of other allies who recently abandoned him, saying that the combined efforts of defectors and their backers “will not distract his administration from the good work it is doing for the benefit and development of Nigeria”.
According to the Nigerian leader who would be facing re-election in February, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has the full understanding of Nigeria’s challenges and is encouraged by the support of Nigerians in addressing them.
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The President spoke at a lunch with some APC Governors accompanied by some members of the National and State assemblies and commissioners, a spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a statement to Today News Africa in Washington DC.
Why it matters: Nigerians go to the polls in February and opposition has been rising against Buhari. Reports have said foreign powers and former Nigerian leaders have urged him not to run based on his poor performance. But Mr. Buhari has defended himself and his administration, saying he has done well, is fit and deserves another mandate.
‘‘We are always encouraged when all our constituents are happy with the work we are doing and our genuine efforts to make sure that what we campaigned for in 2015 is still very much in our minds and we have not lost focus,” Buhari said.
‘‘In terms of security, economy and the fight against corruption we have maintained focus. Even the opposition with all their resources cannot fault our identification of Nigeria’s priorities and the efforts being made to better them.
‘‘We will continue to do what we ought to do in the leadership position God has placed us and we thank the constituents for the support,’’ he said.
On the defections within the major political parties, the President reiterated his earlier message to them: ‘‘for those who have decided to change camp for whatever reason, we wish them good luck.’’
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State commended the President for his great efforts in the keeping the nation together through visionary leadership.
He noted that President Buhari had remained focused and unshaken by situations and circumstances, adding that ‘‘it shows that your administration is approved by God.’’
Okorocha told the President, ‘‘we are here to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing you as Nigerians are very very pleased with you.
‘‘We also want to inform you that we had wonderful and peaceful Sallah celebration across the country because of security of lives and property you have guaranteed in our nation.’’
Governor Okorocha was accompanied by the Governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Kano and Niger States.