President Muhammadu Buhari has asked those who describe him as “Baba Go Slow” to explain what those faster than him were able to achieve with their speed.
A terse post on the Presidency’s official handle quoted Buhari as saying this during a meeting with Nigerians in the Diaspora on Thursday, in New York, where he had travelled for the 73rd Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA73).
The quote read, “Sometimes people call me ‘Baba Go Slow.’ Those who were going fast –where did they go to?
“President @MBuhari, at a meeting with Nigerians in the Diaspora yesterday, in New York.”
Some Nigerians had branded President Buhari “Baba Go Slow” following his government’s initial slow pace to governance.
It took Buhari about six months to appoint his ministers after assuming office in 2015 and Nigerians are divided over whether or not Mr. Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) has delivered on the change promised them.
Buhari, many of who’s supporters describe as a man of integrity, a description that has continued to suffer punctures due to alleged corrupt acts involving members of his cabinet and appointees, apparently wants to know where leaders said to be faster and who ruled Nigeria before him ended up.
President Buhari also had harsh words for Nigerian elites he said are accusing him of being slow but did nothing during the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According him, these elites did not raise their voice against alleged PDP misrule between 1999 and 2015, but have turned around to accuse him of being slow in governance.
The President said:“They (Nigerian elite) didn’t say a word. Under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund, of which he was Chairman), we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt.
“Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word.
“In 1983, military officers gathered and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elites complained about that?
“Three times I contested elections; three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.
“It was mainly the ordinary people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency. Even pregnant women on the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies, and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country.”
Buhari also told his audience that if he wins the 2019 election, he would leave some difference in the office of President at the expiration of his second term tenure.
The Nigerians, who were drawn from different fields, including medicine, engineering, sports, the arts, investment, academia, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing, and many others, expressed their willingness to return back home.