President Muhammadu Buhari has launched his bid for re-election in 2018 in far-away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire when he solicited for votes from the Nigerian community during an interactive session late Tuesday night.
The president is currently attending a two-day European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in the West African country.
After apologising for coming late to the session, President Buhari told the gathering that he had to wait for the two governors on his entourage to accompany him to the meeting so that they will convince their people to vote for him in the future.
“First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting.
“This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” Buhari stated.
The president also reiterated a line in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 when he stated he will be for everybody and not for nobody.
He said this was the reason for supporting Akinwumi Adesina to emerge as the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led administration.
Buhari was reacting to Adesina’s remark earlier expressing gratitude to the president for the support he received in his bid to emerge as the AfDB president.
“The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB.
“I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I am for everybody and I am for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me,” Buhari said.
President Buhari also told the gathering that he just received “a beautiful piece of information” from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu which he was never aware of. He thanked Tinubu for the information which he did not disclosed.
“I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you,” he said.
The AfDB president in his speech revealed that the the Nigerian economy picked up soon after Buhari’s health challenges appeared over, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.”
“I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength.
“Mr. President as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick.
“I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index.
“It is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to from the African Development Bank commend you, Mr. President, and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that.
“I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security.
“I think that securing our borders is very very important, thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area.
“I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that. We put in $250 million to support the North-east of Nigeria rebuilding. I know you were criticized for rebuilding but I don’t see anything wrong, if things get destroyed they have to be rebuilt and the African Development Bank has contributed $250 million towards that,” Adesina disclosed.