Anti-graft war: Democracy too slow for my liking —Buhari
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, said democracy was too slow for his liking.
Buhari said this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at a short ceremony where his aides and some members of staff presented a card to him on his 77th birthday.
The President compared the current anti-graft war to the one he prosecuted as a head of state between 1983 and 1985, and admitted that he had learnt the hard way that the current democratic system was different from when he first came in 1983 as a military ruler.
As head of state, Buhari within few months in 1984 tried and jailed Second Republic governors such as Olabisi Onabanjo (Ogun State); a former Anambra State Governor, Jim Nwobodo, who was jailed for 22 years and an ex-governor of Imo State, Sam Mbakwe.
Buhari recalled with nostalgia how he quickly jailed those who stole money from the country and returned the recovered funds to the respective states in good time, using the various committees he set up.
Buhari also recalled that when his first regime was toppled, what he got in return was that he was arrested and put in prison.
“Well, like I said, I have learned in the hard way. When I came in uniform, I got those who were leading, took them to Kirikiri (Maximum Prisons) 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 was given to the states.
“But, I myself was arrested, detained…So, under this system (democracy), which is supposed to be more accountable, it is too slow for my liking, but I have to follow it.”
Buhari however said he would do everything within his powers to guarantee free, fair and credible polls in 2023.
Buhari stated that this would include using the security agencies to contain any threats to the electoral process by those who might want to force themselves on Nigerians.
Buhari preached hard work as the only option to succeed at the polls, saying that whoever planned to be President or contest election to the National Assembly must work hard.
He said, “What I want to promise Nigerians is that I will work very hard on free and fair elections.
“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; that nobody uses his office or his resources to force himself on his constituency.”