The Secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal has asked those nursing the ambition of running for president in 2019 to shelve the idea.
Addressing pro-Buhari protesters under the aegis of ‘Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria’, the SGF declared that President Buhari would exercise his statutory right to seek fresh mandate in 2019 and would win, thereby spending eight years in office.
Appraising the present administration, he noted that President Buhari never anticipated the enormity of the challenges facing the nation before his assumption of office but assured Nigerians that his administration was determined to changing the fortunes of Nigerians for the better.
He said: “I am here to thank you for the support you have rendered this government.
“As a government, we are encouraged by your support. It is this type of support that encourages the president to do more. We want to assure you that this government is on top of the situation. As much as we understand the challenges that we are facing, there is no cure without medicine. It is for no reason that quinine is very bitter, but after you have taken it, you get well.
“Buhari didn’t anticipate the problem that we are in. I am sure you are all aware, the people who caused this problem are the ones now challenging the government. I tell you that they will fail in the name of God. In fact, they have failed.
“You are aware of the economy the president inherited, the economy in which revenue had virtually collapsed. The infrastructure is nowhere to be seen. Roads were in deplorable state, schools were dilapidated, hospitals were abandoned.
“The people who caused it are not worried at all. Shamelessly, they accuse the president of not performing. And in fact, some of them wished him dead, but I can assure you that by the grace of God, he will outlive all of them.
“I assure you that by the grace of God, in the next one year, Nigeria will have a booming economy. We know what they were doing to sabotage government’s efforts at bringing Nigeria back to economic prosperity. The president is also aware. They will fail.
In his remarks, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the initial move by security agents to prevent the protesters from gaining access to the main gate of the Presidential Villa was caused by lack of communication.
“There was a communication gap at the Villa gate because the police there did not know who was coming and I hope we will learn from this.
“You people put this government in place and you want to show support for what the government is doing, nobody has a problem with this. So, we welcome your demonstration, we welcome your support because this is what will keep the government strong.”
Convener of the rally, Mr Moses Abdullahi, blamed the poor state of the economy on bad leadership which he claimed became manifest since the inception of democracy in 1999.
“Our message today is simple- we will not give up on this administration so soon, considering how rotten we were for 16 years.
“If for nothing else, we all are also responsible for keeping mute all the while. As we believe, President Buhari means well, then we must make him see that we will not be deterred in our support for him to make things right.
“We have come out in our millions across Nigeria to tell our president that Nigerians completely support his administration and we will do whatever it takes to make sure his plans to make our lives better is achieved,” he said.
‘’We will stand against any person or group that tries anything whatsoever to derail this administration, and we will be very vocal in our stand that President Buhari is our president and he will rule us until things change for good.
‘’Our passion for a better Nigeria is stronger than our thirst for quick measures that will not stand the test of time.”
The group further enumerated the achievements of the Buhari administration in the area of economy, security and the fight against corruption.