By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that he had planned to run away from the country if the agricultural harvests were not good last year and this year.
The President hinged his intended action on the premise that he had inherited a badly managed economy in 2015, where windfall from the sale of crude oil was squandered without a thought for the rainy day.
Buhari spoke at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa when traditional rulers from across the country paid him a courtesy visit.
The delegation of the traditional which cuts across the six geopolitical zones was led by the Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers, His Eminence, Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad 11 and his Deputy, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi.
Buhari told his bemused guests that while he contemplated relocating to another country, he was in a quandary as to which country in particular to escape to.
His words: “We know our limitations we have to continue to strengthen our constitution, to strengthen the resolve of our people to live together, work together.
“We are lucky that last year and this year the rainy season is good. If it were not good I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to.
“But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians the rainy season last year was good and this year with the report I’m getting it is good. We thank God for that otherwise there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”
According to the President, the picture of the nation’s economy he painted after assuming the reins of government as president was the gospel truth, noting that nobody should deceive Nigerians on the management of the nation’s resources prior to his emergence as president.
Thanking the royal fathers for the visit and the continuous prayers of their subjects for his quick recovery while he was away on medical vacation in London for over three months, Buhari promised that he would re dedicate himself to pursuing programmes that would deliver improved living condition to Nigerians.
The President also told the royal fathers to ensure that their subjects put an eye on public resources in their domains, adding that “we have to continue to strengthen our institutions and ensure that our people work and live together.”
In his introductory remarks before he selected one traditional ruler each from the six geopolitical zones to address the President, the Sultan of Sokoto noted that they had visited the seat of power to express their gratitude to God for healing and transforming Buhari and bringing him back to drive the affairs of the country.
He said beyond felicitating with the President, they had visited to use the occasion to tell him to tighten his beld in order to be able to confront the many challenges facing the country presently.
According to him, the goodwill speeches by the traditional rulers representing the zones and the prayers of all Nigerians for the President’s good health should serve as a tonic that should spur him to tighten his belt the more to satisfy the needs and aspirations of the populace.
Taking his turn, the Ooni of Ife said they would continue to support the President by fostering peace and harmony in their different domains, even as he cautioned against hate speech.
He promised that the South West obas on whose behalf he spoke would support all the initiatives of the Buhari administration.
“We should continue to foster peace and harmony for dear country. We caution against hate speeches. We can’t leave everything for government, we must join hands to support government. We’ll support all your initiatives,” the Ooni said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, thanked God for Buhari retrun to Nigeria in good health, saying “we assure you of our loyalty and preparednes to do everything to promote peace and unity in the country”
King Jaja of Opobi who spoke for the South South royal fathers said the President should do all in his powers to bring down tensions in different parts of the country, especially the South South.
Taking his turn on behalf of the North Central, the Gbom Gwom Jos drew the attention of President Buhari to the last weekend attacks in Bassa Local Government of Plateau State that left about 20 persons dead.
He stressed the need to step up efforts in the area of security so that the benefits of economic diversification can be enhanced.
“Agriculture will not find its proper definition in the face of insecurity,” he noted.
The North Central traditional ruler also warned that it is immoral to play politics with issues of health and security, calling on all and sundry to put heads together for peace to reign.
The South East representatives, Eze Eberchi Dick from Abia State told Buhari to do something urgent about the deteriorating state of the roads in the region.
He remarked that the South East region had been praying for the President like all other Nigerians because Buhari remains their President.
The Lamido Adamaw, speaking for the North East zone summarized his remarks with a Muslim prayer for stranght to President Buhari to take the country to an enviable height.