- President Buhari said he is not focused on 2019 elections
- The president told Theresa May that he is more interested in delivering his promises to Nigerians
- He said his administration has done well in the economy and security
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is more focused on the economy and the security of the country and delivery of the dividend of democracy to Nigerians.
The president made this comment during his bilateral meeting with British prime minister, Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street on Monday, April 16.
In a statement by Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, President Buhari said while other politicians are focused on the 2019 elections, his focus is on the promises he made to Nigerians and achieving them. He commended British companies that have invested in Nigeria and called for more investments.
May in her remark commended the Buhari administration in the growth recorded in the economy aspect of the nation and called for more focus. She also called for more development in the education sector and said they would continue to support Nigeria especially in the fight against terrorism.
Read the statement below:
The three-pronged focus of the current administration resonated through the conversation, as President Muhammadu Buhari held a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister, Theresa May on Monday 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 preoccupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy," he stressed.
Recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, President Buhari stated: "People ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward. It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now."
He 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."
Climate change and environmental issues also came up for discussion, and President Buhari brought up the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.
According to him: "The Lake Chad is now about 10% of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe. But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit. I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently. Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe."
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.
In a previous report by Legit.ng, the United States president, Donald Trump, invited President Muhammadu Buhari to a meeting at the White House on April 30, 2018.
According to a statement released by the US government, Trump is expected to discuss issues such as promoting economic growth and fighting terrorism with Buhari, The Nation reports.
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The statement read: "President Trump looks forward to discussing ways to enhance our strategic partnership and advance our shared priorities: promoting economic growth and reforms, fighting terrorism and other threats to peace and security, and building on Nigeria’s role as a democratic leader in the region."
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