President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that he is more concerned with tackling the myriad of security and economic challenges in Nigeria than preoccupy himself with the forthcoming 2019 election.
President Buhari’s position resonated as he held bilateral talks on his administration’s three-pronged focus with British Prime Minister, Theresa May at 10, Downing Street, London.
“We campaigned on three major issues, to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption,” said the President.“We have elections next year, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy,” he stressed.
President Buhari, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday commended British companies like Unilever, Cadbury, and many others, “who have stood with Nigeria through thick and thin. Even when we fought a Civil War, they never left.
“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria. We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.”
President Buhari briefed Prime Minister May on the strides in agriculture, which he said has put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture,” he said, adding: “We have cut rice importation by about 90%, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”
On education, President Buhari said more investment was being made, because “people can look after themselves if well educated. In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.”
Prime Minister May, in her remarks, said Britain would continue to work with Nigeria in the areas of training and equipping the military. She was particular about abduction of young schoolgirls by Boko Haram, noting that Britain would continue to give Nigeria needed assistance.
The Prime Minister said the Buhari administration has “been making good progress on the economy,” and urged it to maintain the focus, despite approaching elections, and increase in political activities.
On education and climate change, she declared: “Good grounding in education is good. It is important to equip young people for today’s world. It is also a good bastion and defence against modern slavery. The issue of the environment and climate change is very important, because of its impact on many countries in the Commonwealth. Stability at home is important, to curb illegal migration.”
Prime Minister May, who commended President Buhari for the much he has been doing on improving trade and business for Nigeria, noted that it was also time to boost intra-Commonwealth trade.