PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari revealed yesterday that he shunned advice from concerned Nigerians who asked him not to observe this year’s Ramadan on the grounds of ill health.
He said that after skipping the 30-day fasting exercise last year because of his poor health, he felt that he was strong enough to observe it this year, and did so without skipping a day.
Addressing residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who paid him a Sallah homage at the Presidential villa, President Buhari said he had derived more health benefits from observing the fasting and refusing to follow the advice of those who asked him not to fast on health grounds.
He said: “A lot of people told me that on health grounds, I could default. But I refused because I know the value of fasting.
“I cannot miss it once I can do it. Last year, I didn’t (fast) because I was on health vacation.
“But this year, I have done it, and I thank God because it has helped me to be much healthier and to attend to national issues.”
The President made a fresh case for Nigerians to shun individualism and sectionalism and work towards a united nation.
He emphasised the need for all hands to be on the deck to salvage the nation.
“Please, in your constituencies, emphasise what I said about 30 years ago: ‘we don’t have another country but Nigeria,’ “ he told the delegation led by FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello.
“We may as well remain here and salvage it together. There is nothing else we can do.
“Even those who have gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there.
“I wish all the resources they had, if they had deployed them here, it would have been much better.”
The President, who noted that the country is blessed with abundant human and material resources, said it was painful that the immediate past Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had to resign his appointment to contest the governorship seat of Ekiti State.
He said: “Here, I have to digress and wish my former Minister of Mines and Steel, Fayemi, well. He has been a very hardworking minister, because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil.
“But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed.
“Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead his state again.
“I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic, but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable.
“We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the Executive Council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicising of our petroleum resources.
“What we realised between 1999 and 2013, as I have always said, we have never realised it.
“It’s on record that we were producing 2.2 million barrels per day on the average at the rate of $100 per barrel.
“It went up to $143 per barrel and then I think it stabilised between $80 and $90.
“Nigeria has never received so much money and we thank God that we have survived the crisis in no time.
“It is amazing that we are here because we tried four times, we ended up three times at the Supreme Court and is no joke.
“I have suffered for this constituency just like I suffered in the military.”