By Patience Danjuma
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said Nigerians were accepting that his administration was doing its best, even if they were doing so grudgingly.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while receiving The Gambian President, Adama Barrow, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari recalled that he took over from a party that had been in power for 16 years.
He added that during the period, the country earned huge amount of revenue, which he said was unprecedented in the history of the country.
He said his administration had studied the problem of unemployment in the country, which he described as one of the biggest challenges.
The President said his government was working hard to change the narrative.
He said, “Sixty percent of the 180 million people are under 25 years. They all wish for a secure future. Those of them who are educated feel they are more qualified for employment.
“We have studied the problem and are doing our best to stabilise the situation.
‘‘We took over from a party that had been in power for 16 years. During those years, the country earned an unprecedented amount of money as revenue, never seen at any time before.
“It is noteworthy that, no matter how grudgingly, the people are accepting that we are doing our best.”
The President expressed disappointment that he and other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States had to use strong-arm tactics to get Yahya Jammeh, the former Gambian president out of office after failing to win re-election.
“We had to go through those actions because it was the only option for Nigeria and ECOWAS,” he said.
Buhari recalled that in spite of all entreaties, the former President refused to accept the outcome of the election he superintended which was widely accepted as credible.
“We thank God for the role He allowed us to play in the Gambia. We believe in multi-party democracy. In Africa, it is absolutely necessary but for the system to work and one to come out of it clean, there is need for patience.
‘‘Patience on the part of leaders is also necessary in view of ethnic and religious diversities that prevail. Leaders must be patient, hardworking and resourceful,” he said.
Buhari said if African countries could get the institutional structures of democracy working properly, the continent would emerge from the process of development successfully.
He urged the Gambian leader to uphold the legacy of free and fair elections which he described as the biggest guarantee for democracy.
At the end of the meeting, the President announced that representatives of both countries will deliberate and advise the leaders on how best to strengthen the existing level of cooperation between the two states.
Barrow said he came to thank Nigeria and its leader in person for ensuring the completion of the democratic process in his country, which had stalled back then following the refusal of Jammeh to accept the election results.
The Gambian leader said his country received the support of Nigeria in many spheres, citing education, administration, justice and security sectors and requested Buhari to continue to be of assistance.
“We will never forget Nigeria for the help it has rendered to us since independence,” the visiting Gambian leader said.
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