Former military Head of State and one of the leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) on Saturday adduced reasons for his acceptance of the centenary award.
The former military ruler, who many widely believed would turn down the award, due to his perceived opposition to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led Federal Government, said he received the award from President Goodluck Jonathan at Nigeria’s centenary anniversary because of its significance.
Buhari said this in an online interview with Sahara TV.
He was honored alongside past Heads of State and Presidents under the category of “outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development”, at an elaborate and colorful ceremony, which held last Friday inside the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, however, refused to state whether or not a past leader should receive such an award if there had been disclosures of his wrongdoing while in office, when asked if a former military dictator, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, whose inclusion in the list raised not a few eyebrows, deserved such award.
He described the issuance of the centenary awards as “the beauty of the system” inside Nigeria, adding that bestowing leaders with awards should “not be a difficult thing”, if past leaders declare their assets, before and afterwards.
He took a swipe at the Jonathan administration saying it was not doing enough in the fight against corruption in the country.
He said if there is sincerity, fighting corruption is not a difficult thing.
He said, “If Nigeria is serious about finding which of its leaders at which level is corrupt or not, it’s not a difficult thing.
“This PDP government with President Jonathan has a problem of fishing out corrupt officials”.
On why members of the elite society are perceived to be against his ambition to become Nigeria’s president in a democratic setting after his last time out as military ruler in the early 80’s, Buhari said: “they know (the reason) why”. According to him, order and accountability in public office are some of the things he desires to see happen, adding that government does need economic partners, who share his view of de-riding corruption in government.
The three-time presidential candidate declined to state whether he would contest the presidency or not in 2015, although, he confirmed that his supporters within the APC are insisting that he should join the race.
Should he bow to pressure and run, it will cast doubts on his integrity – a virtue the Daura-born general cherishes so much – after he publicly declared that the 2011 presidential elections would be the last time he would ever vie for the highest office in the land.
On the threat by Boko Haram to eliminate him, Buhari said he could not care less as the government has provided him with adequate security.
“I am not bothered by them (targeting me)”said the general because the “government has given me adequate protection”.