The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), has welcomed the endorsement of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it will convince more Nigerians to vote for him and his party.
Buhari said this on Wednesday night during an interview with CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Christine Amanpour.
Obasanjo had on Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya during an interview with the Financial Times of London at the launch of his controversial autobiography entitled, ‘My Watch,’ expressed support for Buhari.
When asked by Amanpour what he thought of Obasano’s endorsement, Buhari said, “It would certainly bring more supporters to us and more confidence again to us for those who are sitting on the fence.”
This, he said, was “because General Obasanjo is highly respected and as far as the Nigerian nation is concerned, there is no serious issue that can be discussed without people seeking his opinion and listening to it.”
In the course of the interview, Buhari disagreed with President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party on the reasons behind the postponement of the general elections.
Although the ruling party insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission was not prepared for the elections, Buhari maintained that INEC was forced by the military to delay the elections even after insisting it was prepared.
Despite his disappointment, he explained that since the action was constitutional, the APC had asked its supporters to obey the law and remain calm but resolute.
Asked about the Boko Haram insurgency, Buhari restated his belief that the military had been unable to overcome the insurgents because resources meant for the military had been misappropriated.
He cited scuttled plans by the National Assembly to probe the funding of the army over the last three years and interviews granted to the foreign media by soldiers, who he said, claimed that they had to fight without proper weapons, to back his view.
He said, “The National Assembly attempted to conduct a hearing by getting the budget approved by the National Assembly over the last three years and inviting the service chiefs to come and tell them why the weapons were not procured and sent to the soldiers under competent leadership and that hearing was scuttled.
“So, it showed the misapplication or misappropriation of the resources provided by government and says why the Nigerian military was unable to defeat Boko Haram.”
Regardless, Buhari said the military was competent to tackle the insurgency.
If elected as president, he said achieving that goal would not be “too difficult.”
“I believe this problem will not be too difficult for the APC government because we know the Nigerian military is competent. It is a question of making sure that the money voted for equipment and training is properly utilised,” he said.
The APC’s presidential candidate also said corruption had to be tackled “because there are serious citizens of this country that (have) said unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”
In endorsing Buhari, Obasanjo had said, “The circumstances he (Buhari) will be working under if he wins the elections are different from the one he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature – he knows that. He is smart enough. He is educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”
And Buhari expressed a similar view when asked if he had changed.
The former military dictator, who admitted that some of the things his regime was accused of had a degree of accuracy, insisted that things would be different.
“I think I would be judged harshly as an individual that what happened during military administration can be extended under multi-party democratic system,” he said.