President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not choose or groom his successor for the 2023 presidential election.
He made the remark on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa when he received members of a group, Progressives in Academics (Pro Acad) on a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He was actually responding to one of the requests made by the members of the group.
The spokesperson of the group, Dr Bolariwa Bolaji had earlier called on the President to commence the process of grooming his successor, who would take over the mantle of leadership from him in 2023.
Bolaji said: “We are delighted having you and in another four-year time you would want to go and rest – then who takes over from you? We are suggesting that you bring a vibrant youth among those who have shown interest; bring them in so that you start saddling them with responsibilities and you will be watching them over these next four years so that when you want to leave the circle you would have vibrant youths to hand over to.
“This is one of the ways the gains of this government can be made to be continues – so that there will be continuity in what you are doing.”
However, President Buhari said he would rather stay away from identifying anybody as his successor so as not to create problems for such a person.
He said: “On the issue of succession – I think if I identify anybody I will create problem for him/her.
“So, I will rather keep my mouth shut. Let those who want to be President try as much as I did and I believe those who are interested know that I tried three times and the fourth time I thank God and technology- before, they just go to the television and the radio stations to read the result and then they say, anybody who disagree should go to court and must of my supporters are looking for their next meal So I said, “God dey’.”
Recalling his three previous failed attempts, he said that to become a President takes a lot of hard work.
He said: “Succession, to me this is very funny. Because, if I do find anybody, I will create more problems for him/her. Let those who want to be President try as much as I did. So the fourth time because of technology they couldn’t rig the elections, so I won. So this time around I tried to work hard.
“So I think you have more to do as intellectuals to make sure you correct Nigeria’s intellectual development, it is very important for the next generation.
“A lot of our young people are taking things for granted. Imagine contesting elections three times and ending up in the Supreme Court, it takes a lot of conviction and hard work. But people take things for granted; they say I want to be the President. As if I just to closed my eyes and opened and I got it,” he said
Speaking on the issue of education and the Al-majiri system in the country the president said: “People have gravely criticizing the Federal Government for the Almajiri but that is the responsibility of state governments which means state governments are not doing their jobs… People don’t seem to care about what the constitution have done,” he added.
The President went on “Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for progress, they decided not to go back to the dark days of impunity and corruption.
Education remains a top priority for our government.
“In the last four years, we injected over N1 trillion into education through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and our needs assessment interventions. We also released N25 billion to public universities to pay earned academic allowances to lecturers. Of course, you are all aware of the rot we uncovered at JAMB and many other institutions.
“Our home grown school feeding programme covering more than ten million children couple with our social investment initiative has encouraged many parents to send their children to school and also pay for more teachers in classrooms.”
The President said that in the next four years, his administration will continue with the work to transform the sector bearing in mind the high population growth rate, financial challenges and security issues especially those grossly affected areas.
“Simply put our focus and agenda can only be sustained if we have educated and secured society.
“Therefore, we have no choice but produce more engineers, technicians, doctors, nurses and the teachers. To achieve this, we shall continue to seek your advice and guidance. I am pleased to note some of the ideas you proposed, this submission is timely as we prepare for the next level,” he said
Earlier, the Convener of Pro-Acad, Dr. Bolariwa Bolaji, noted that there is need to accredit secondary and primary schools in the country to address infrastructural deficiencies.
He urged the President to intensify effort towards taking Al-majiris off the streets.
The group also called for redenomination of the Nigerian currency, in order to strengthen the naira.
Furthermore, the group urged the President to revoke oil well licences issued to individuals, adding that such licences should be given to state governments.