President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not be hanging around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), after May 29, 2023, in order not to meddle in the affairs of the office of his successor.
The president gave this indication when he hosted residents of FCT, led by the Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello, who paid him the traditional Christmas Day homage on Sunday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
At the last Christmas Day homage with the FCT community, the president reiterated that he would return to Daura, Katsina State, his hometown, at the end of his tenure.
According to him, his decision not to make Abuja a permanent abode is to allow his successor a free hand to operate and run the affairs of government.
The President also told members of the FCT community that he had not built a new house in Daura or anywhere and hoped to live in his same house, of many years.
President Buhari also used the occasion to commend the FCT Minister, saying he retained the cabinet position for so long because of his honesty and hardwork.
According to the president, he is aware that the office of the Minister of the FCT is burdened with requests for land allocation from highly placed Nigerians, who often disposed of their allocations for financial gains and other priorities.
He shared an anecdote of how someone close to him asked him to speak to the FCT Minster to allocate him a plot of land; quoting the person as saying ”I will sell it and use the money to marry another wife”.
The president said: ‘‘I was overwhelmed by the priority of some people who need a plot of land not to develop it but to sell it and marry another wife.
‘‘I don’t know how the Minister copes with such people who are extremely serious about such things.
”And I think about 45 per cent of those who have been given land allocation in the FCT have sold it and didn’t develop it according to the laid down criteria (master plan).’’
Buhari thanked Nigerians for supporting his administration, recounting that during electioneering campaigns in the build-up to the 2015 and 2019 elections, he had travelled the length and breadth of the country seeking their support.
In his remarks, the FCT Minister expressed delight that the Christmas homage had returned after two years suspension due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
He prayed God Almighty to grant the President a peaceful and healthy retirement.
The Vice Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT, Rev. Stephen Panyan, who represented CAN National President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, commended the president for doing his best for the country.
He prayed that the president would bequeath a legacy of fairness, justice, inclusiveness and management of diversity to Nigeria.
The religious leader reassured the President of the support of the Christian community to all his programmes to bring progress and prosperity to Nigeria.
“At the twilight of your administration, we want to reassure you that the Christian community will continue to fully support you and pray that God will bless your efforts and that your desire to see the alleviation of the suffering of the citizens of this nation will begin to yield fruit.
‘‘May the Lord bless your work and see to the manifestation of your very noble desires,’’ the CAN leader prayed.
Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT and Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, declared that the nation’s capital had enjoyed religious harmony in the last seven and half years because of the good leadership of President Buhari.
He also lauded the president’s record on press freedom, freedom of expression and human rights.
He noted that in the midst of a barrage of criticisms of this administration, the President had never ordered the arrest, incarceration or harassment of any journalist or political opponent.
Adeyemi appealed to the President to use his good offices to ensure fairness and equity in the process of electing the next Governor of Kogi State, as witnessed in the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC primaries produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as candidate and Sen. Kashim Shettima as running mate.