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Nigeria, Wednesday 24 February, 2015.
Nigeria’s opposition party, All Progressive Congress, presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Retired) has promised to curd waste in government spending if elected president in the coming presidential poll. He made this statement in London over the weekend.
General Muhammadu Buhari who said he will maintain a modest lifestyle as President also said he will resuscitate Nigerian Airways, the proscribed Nigeria national carrier, He said all aircraft in the presidential fleet will be brought under Nigerian Airways “One of the major killer of our economy apart from corruption is Waste. Our scarce resources are being plundered away very carelessly and unnecessarily wasted. Let me give an instance, presently, there are more than 6 aircraft in the presidential fleet. What do you call that? Billions of naira is budgeted every year for the maintenance of these aircraft not to talk of operational cost and other expenses. You may want to ask what a Nigerian President is doing with so much aircraft when a Prime Minister of Britain fly around using the same public aircraft like an ordinary Briton. Go and check and compare with that of any developed country in the world, the office of the Nigerian President is a very expensive one in-spite of our high level of poverty and joblessness”.
Buhari frowned at the gross waste of scare resources by the government ministries and agencies wondering why a Minister will charter private jets for official use with 48 million Dollars “Despite all these, you still find a Nigerian Minister spending about 10 billion naira to charter an aircraft for just one year. Now, for me, when we come into office, all these waste will be blocked and properly channeled into our economy. We intend for instance, to bring back our National carrier, the Nigerian Airways. We shall do this by bringing all the aircraft in the presidential fleet into the Nigerian airway and within a year increase the fleet into about 20”.
General Buhari who emphasized that there was no difference between the leaders and electorates wondered why the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shouldn’t fly on public aircraft. “Why should Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public? Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds? Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional? “Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot developed our university to compete with the foreign ones?”. Why and why must our people be servants to the foreigners in the midst of plenty? I can go on and on”.
Muhammadu Buhari, who is on a short visit to the United Kingdom, is expected to hold meetings with key members of the British political establishment and interact with some global institutions with stakeholder interest in the affairs of Nigeria. However the supporters of the Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) believes that Buhari’s visit was to seek medical attention to his deteriorating health occasioned by the stress and rigors of the presidential campaigns, claiming that General Buhari is terminally ill.
Reacting to the claims of ill health Buharis said “I came here in the UK and I chose to trek just to make sure I sent a message back home to some people who wish us dead.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential candidate concluded by saying that the struggle to save Nigeria is a collective struggle and not his alone “This is not my struggle, it is our collective efforts to save Nigeria from those who have failed us for 16 years.”
Ehis Agbon, Abuja, Writer/Journalist