I never knew I’ll lead Nigeria, says Buhari

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Saturday, in Abuja, said he never knew he would lead Nigeria let alone lead it twice as a military Head of State in 1983 and for two terms as a civilian President from 2015 to 2023.


According to Buhari, “As students, we were told that we were the leaders of tomorrow. I never knew that I would one day lead my country, much less lead it twice as a military officer and as a civilian,” Buhari told a delegation of about 40 children he hosted at the Council Chamber of the State House to mark his last Children’s Day celebration as President.

He also launched his comic book highlighting seven roles children can play in building the nation.

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Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, revealed this in a statement he signed late Saturday night, titled: “President Buhari hosts children at State House, unveils his comic book on children’s role in nation building.”

Shehu informed that Buhari expressed fulfilment in interacting with the children on the cusp of his exit from office after his eight-year Presidency, stressing that children are the leaders of tomorrow.

The President who encouraged the children to be good citizens before becoming leaders said, “God spared my life to grow up from a child to an adult. As students, we were told that we were the leaders of tomorrow. I never knew that I would one day lead my country, much less lead it twice as a military officer and as a civilian.

“Therefore, I would like to say that among you, there are future councillors, lawmakers, governors, and presidents. But you must first be good citizens before you become leaders.”

Reminding the children of their ultimate destiny, he said, “The country is going to be in your hands one day. We are not going to import foreigners to come and run our country. We must do that ourselves.

“When we say the future of the country is in your hands, we are not doing you any favour. It is a fact of life. That is why I find it satisfying that I am having this interaction with you.

“I am privileged to be standing in front of a new generation of future citizens and leaders to whom we hope to bequeath a country they can be proud of and a country they will take higher in the comity of nations when it is their turn to serve their fatherland,” Buhari stated.

While asking the children what kind of Nigeria they want, the former military ruler underscored the importance of honesty, patriotism and unity in building a peaceful and prosperous nation.

“When I talk about a country full of honest people and patriotic citizens, I am not talking about some aliens. I am talking about you.

“The future starts with you. If you are going to be honest, it starts today, not when you get into public office or become a Managing Director. If you are going to be patriotic, it starts today, not when you have finished school,” he said.

In the comic book titled, “How To Make Nigeria Great,” the President outlined seven lessons from the publication that will help shape the future of a great country.

The lessons include – believing in God and loving Nigeria, understanding and respecting our differences, living by the rules, thinking for the community, embracing good values, seeing government money as our money, and being good children at home and in school.

Buhari expressed gratitude to the children for spending time with him and concluded his speech by reiterating a statement he made about four decades ago: “I said something in 1984 and I will end this speech by repeating it, ‘We have no other country but Nigeria. We will stay here and salvage it together.’”

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