President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja that his administration will do everything possible to protect them despite voting against him during the February 2019 presidential election.
He gave the assurance while receiving residents of the FCT that paid him Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari said he would continue to protect the seat of power because any negative thing that happens to the place would also affect him and the entire residents.
The President also pleaded with political leaders, especially his supporters, not to complain against his administration to avoid sending negative signals that would make his government unpopular.
He said: “I want to appreciate the number two man of the country (Vice President Yemi Osinbajo) because he knows what we are going through very quietly. I am very pleased that you came with this very powerful constituency.
“I appeal to you to remain exemplary so that those under you will know that the country is doing very well. If you break down and complain, the impact will reverberate all over and then, the government will not be popular and whatever efforts we are making will not be appreciated.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Philip Aduda) and I told him that his constituency did not vote for me. So, I was very pleased that when they made the arrangement, they put him very far away from me. I have all the results of all constituencies.
“I am not threatening FCT because to make FCT secure is to make myself secure and the Vice President. I think they are a necessary evil and that was why they decided to vote for PDP.”
Reflecting on his three earlier attempts to win the presidential elections, he said:
“During my long journey to this place, 2003, 2007, 2011, those were interesting political developments that enabled me to visit all the local governments in this country, all 774 local governments.
“First port of call whenever I visit any local government was to visit the community leader for understanding and support. I am very pleased that Nigerians understand me that although I was a governor, minister of petroleum and one time head of state, people know I don’t have a lot of money to give.
“So, when I went round, I smiled and greeted them and I think it has helped. Because by the time I went to campaign for my second and last term constitutionally, I visited all the states this time around. Some two states in a day. I thank God for giving me the stamina to do it.
“What impressed me most was the turn out in all the states and FCT. The number of those who turned out is more than what anyone can afford to pay or force to come and listen. So I am very pleased that a lot of Nigerians have voted me, sympathized with me for what I went through between 2003 and 2019.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo insisted that Nigeria was on the threshold of greatness, noting that the security and religious challenges facing the nation was evidence that something great is on the way.
He said: “First let me congratulate you on this very solemn occasion that marks the end of the Ramadan.
“I want to say that God Almighty has been extremely good to you and to our government. I recall about two years ago when I had to host this particular event because you were away on medical leave at the time.
“But God has been so good; not only did he bring you back healthier than when you left, but has also been gracious enough for you to have a second opportunity to lead our great. I thank the Almighty God for you and for all of us who have been a part of your government and who have been a part of what God has done in our midst.”
He hailed leaders that attended the homage that had become a tradition during the festive period.
“So, I want to urge all our leaders here that we must not allow the rhetoric of religion to supersede the rhetoric of unity. We must also speak up, we must seek ways that will unite our country.
Osinbajo lauded President Buhari for the leadership he had shown in the past four years and in his second term.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Christian Oha, prayed that all the sacrifices during the Ramadan would be acceptable by God.
Those present at the homage: Prof. Shehu Umar Galadanci, Murshid Abuja Central Mosque, who said the Muslim prayer, former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, Chief of Defence Staff General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Others were: the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and the Director General of Department for State Service (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Civil Defence FCT Commandant, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi, the former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu as well as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele.