President Muhammadu Buhari says after the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, he is “healthier to attend to national issues”.
He said though he was advised not to fast due to ill-health, he rejected the advice because of the benefits attached to fasting.
Buhari said having missed that of last year because of his health condition, he did not want the situation to repeat itself.
Buhari spoke at the presidential villa in Abuja when he received a delegation of federal capital territory (FCT) led by Mohammed Bello, the minister of FCT.
The delegation comprised of lawmakers, religious leaders, some cabinet members, service chiefs, presidential aides and some FCT residents.
“I’m very grateful to the ministers and church leadership that came to say happy Eid-Filtri to those of us that have been fasting,” he said.
“A lot of people asked me if on health grounds I could fast… I refused not to because I know the value in fasting, I cannot miss it once I can do it.
“Last year I didn’t because I was on health vacation but this year I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be healthier and also gave me the time that I need to attend to national issues.”
Last year, Buhari spent over 150 days in London, treating an undisclosed ailment. He has also visited his London doctors on three known occasions in 2018.
He told his guests to appeal to those in their constituencies to shun individualism and sectionalism.
He reiterated his position that Nigeria belongs to all, hence the need to salvage it together.
“Please, in your constituencies, emphasise what I said about 30 years ago. We don’t have another country except Nigeria we may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do.
“Even those who left the country are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there. I wish that all the resources they had then, had been deployed here… So, thank you very much and please, persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism.”
The president said despite meeting “little or no resources” when he took office, his administration has worked hard to stabilise the economy.
“I’m very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy who knows what is in the heart and not by mouth, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times,” he said.
“This country is blessed on human and material resources. Here I have to digress and wish my former minister of mines and steel, Fayemi, well. He has been a very hardworking minister, because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil. But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed.
“Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead again his state. I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable. We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicizing of our petroleum resources.
“What we realized between 1999-2013 as I have always said we have never realized it. It’s on record that we were producing 2.2 million barrels per day on the average, at the cost of $100 per barrel. It went up to $143 per barrel and then I think it stabilized between $80 and $90, Nigeria has never received so much money and we thank God that we have survived the crisis in no time.
“It is amazing that we are here because we tried four times, we earned up three times at the supreme court and it is no joke. I have suffered for this constituency just like I suffered in the military, I walked from the royal border to the sea virtually on foot, because every culvert and bridge were blown up, so we had to walk and carry our luggage.
“I think we have invested so much in this country and we will continue to pray that we stay together and let us develop the necessary confidence, work together as a people, this country is great, let us work together so that we can save a lot more and exploit more of the resources that were abandoned so many years ago.”