President Buhari was in the news for different reasons this year. Here are some of his most memorable quotes for 2017.
Like a boss, President Buhari had something to say at these defining moments of our national life.
Pulse takes you through President Buhari’s top ten quotes of 2017.
President Muhammadu had travelled to the United Kingdom for a medical vacation. While there were rumours that the President was sick, the trio of Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed; Buhari’s spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu and others dismissed the rumours.
Phone conversations and photo-ops with President Buhari were also staged in a bid to quell growing speculation that Buhari was critically ill or on life support.
However, upon his return, Buhari told members of his cabinet and his political party that he could not recall ever being so ill at any point during his lifetime.
“I couldn’t remember being so sick since I was a young man, including in the military with its ups and downs,” he said at a meeting with government officials on Friday, March 10, 2017.
At the end of his nine-minute speech, President Buhari said that he deliberately came back towards the weekend "so that the vice-president will continue and I will continue to rest".
President Buhari’s Independence Day speech on October 1, 2017, was described by many as ‘dictator style’.
Many had said President Buhari spoke to Nigerians like a father who travelled (he actually did), came back and met his house in a mess. Imagine the anger.
A little history.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was released and he had wasted no time in continuing with his agitations.
Kanu flouted all his bail conditions and soon began to incite some Igbo youths against the government.
President Buhari had expected the leaders in the Southeast to call Kanu to order.
“I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through (during the civil war of the ‘60s). Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly”, Buhari scolded.
During President Buhari’s prolonged medical trip in London, a group, Our Mumu Don Do, began a daily sit-out to demand his return to the country or resignation as Nigeria’s leader.
Some members of the group in London had stormed President Buhari’s Abuja House to demand his resumption or resignation on the night of Friday, August 19, 2017.
Did their protest work?
Well, President Buhari returned to the country the next day.
During a meeting with Governors at the presidential villa on Friday, August 26, 2017, Buhari wondered if the protesters were “stuck there with Brexit”.
The president said if those Nigerians eventually sell off their property in the UK, they should bring the proceeds back to Nigeria as the country was in dire need of the money.
“In fact, some groups in London came and sang the national anthem and asked that I should go back home, indeed I have come back home,” Buhari declared.
He had more.
“I hope those who went there are not stuck there, they will come back and join us. Those that are stuck there with the Brexit I hope they have weighed the implications that it won’t affect them including those that have property there, those who are not paying tax here, I hope when they sell their property there they will bring some of the money here. We need it very badly here,” the President announced.
During his 2017 Independence Day speech, President Buhari urged Nigerians to not only keep their whistles handy, but also blow it whenever necessary.
“Fighting corruption is a bottom to top operation,” Buhari began. “I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption,” Buhari declared.
Safe to ask at this point: Do you have a whistle?
After long silence on the Libya Slave trade issue, President Buhari finally addressed the matter.
Speaking at a session with the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on the sidelines of the African Union-European Union Summit, President Buhari described that matter as appalling.
These were his words:
“It is appalling that some Nigerians were being sold like goats for a few dollars in Libya,” Buhari said.
“After 43 years of Gaddafi, why are they recruiting so many people from the Sahel, including Nigerians?” Buhari asked.
“All they learned was how to shoot and kill. They didn’t learn to be electricians, plumbers or any other trade,” he said with dissatisfaction.
Speaking at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, Buhari expressed sadness over the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Buhari said: "The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994. We fully endorse call by Sec-Gen on Myanmar to halt ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure safe return of displaced Rohingya. In all these crises, the primary victims are the people, the most vulnerable being women and children.”
Citing lack of internal democracy as his reason, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar resigned his position as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku also accused President Buhari of dissociating himself from the chieftains of the party.
In a reaction, President Buhari condoled with the APC national chairman, John Oyegun over Atiku’s exit.
“Accept my sympathy for losing a senior member of your party,” Buhari told Oyegun at the Ama Pepple-led National Minimum Wage Committee in the Villa on November 27, 2017.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo did a good job during President Buhari’s absence from the country.
President Buhari did not sweep this under the carpet.
“The efforts by the vice-president are commendable,” President Buhari said with that proud father feeling.
He continued: “He used his intellect to run all over the place. I was seeing him 24 hours on NTA. I congratulate them and I allowed him to come and see him to thank him personally for what he has done.
“I thank you very much for the national approach in your leadership. Those who are leaders at political level and those who are chief executives in their respective states. I had so much time to watch television--NTA. I heard so much information about the states,” Buhari added.
Nigerian music stars, Ayo Balogun (Wizkid) and David Adeleke (Davido) got a presidential congratulatory message from President Buhari.
Wizkid and Davido had won the "International Best Artiste" and "Best African Act" respectively.
"President Buhari joins the teeming fans of the artistes in Nigeria and all over the world in celebrating the highly deserved and meritorious recognition, which saw WizKid winning 'International Best Artiste award, while Davido picked the 'Best African Act," the statement said.
"The President affirms that both singers have showcased the rich talents in the country, and brought pride to the nation through their many songs and performances, commending their dedication, hard work and charity works.
"President Buhari also calls on the upwardly mobile artistes to be cautious and mindful of likely distractions to their careers, urging Wizkid and Davido to serve as ambassadors of the country and role models to upcoming musicians," he added.
Again, in this year’s Independence Day speech, President Buhari called IPOB and other groups seeking for the breakup of Nigeria ‘irresponsible.
These were his words:
“Recent calls on restructuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.
“As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about two million lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through”, the president said.
He also reiterated this point at the inauguration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2018 emblem and appeal fund held at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We must, therefore, cast our minds back at the events that led to the civil war, the immense human capital loss of the tragic war, and resolve that never again shall we allow our dear nation, by our actions or inactions, to experience another war,” Buhari said.