President Muhammadu Buhari says the system of government currently being practised in the country is “too slow for my liking”.
The president said this while fielding questions from reporters after receiving some of his aides and close friends who visited him at the presidential villa in Abuja in commemoration of his 77th birthday.
His comments comes at a time his government is being accused of not having regards for the rule of law.
Last week, PUNCH started prefixing Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s. It also began referring to the Buhari administration as a regime, saying it would continue doing so until this government “purges itself of contempt for the rule of law”.
But while commenting on his experience as a head of state and now as a democratic leader, Buhari said: “Well, like I said, I have learned in the hard way. When I came in uniform, I collected those who were leading, took them to Kirikiri and told them they were guilty until they could prove themselves innocent, I put based on almost all the geopolitical zones committees to investigate them.
“Those that were found to have lived beyond their means, the balance was taken and given to the states. But I myself was arrested, detained and they were given back what they had stolen. So, this system which is supposed to be more accountable, is too slow for my liking, but I have to follow it.”
The president said he felt good about his health status at 77, adding that many his age are on crutches “but I am walking on my two feet”.
Buhari said he has accepted the fact that no matter how hard he tries, some people would find faults in his government.
“I think I come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria, you can only try, it is a terrific country, no matter what you do, there are people on daily basis that look for your faults and go to the press, so you have to learn to live by that,” he said.
“What I want to promise Nigerians that I will work very hard on is free and fair election. All those that are going to succeed in the National Assembly and the Presidency, they better work very hard because I will make sure, using the law enforcement agencies that elections are free and fair, nobody uses his office or his resources to force himself on his constituency.”