Muhammadu Buhari, the immediate past president of Nigeria, has noted that Nigerians are a very difficult people to govern, as according to him, they think they should be the ones in charge.
Buhari however, maintained that he did his best for Nigeria as president, but conceded that it’s left for the people to judge his performance.
Buhari who handed over to Bola Tinubu on May 29 this year, after eight years in power, spoke in an interview with NTA on Monday.
“God gave me the opportunity to serve my country, but I did my best. But whether my best was good enough, I leave for people to judge,” Buhari said.
“Nigerians are extremely difficult. People know their rights. They think they should be there, not you.
“So, they monitor virtually your every step. And you have to struggle day and night to ensure that you are competent enough.”
The former president also said Nigerians are over-impressed by materialism because Nigeria is an underdeveloped country.
This, he said, made it difficult for him to garner the support of many influential persons in 2003, 2007, and 2011 when he ran for the presidency and lost.
“Nigeria, believe it or not, we’re an underdeveloped country. We get so impressed by our material things and sometimes ruthlessly don’t care how you make the money…you should be rich, have a fantastic house, flashy cars, going overseas regularly,” Buhari said in the retrospective interview.
Reminiscing his three unsuccessful attempts at the presidency, he said “I found myself struggling to gain support because Nigerians seem to be impressed more by material success rather than be honored by the less privileged, we’re a fantastic initiative.”
Buhari said although he ran for the Presidency thrice and finally won in 2015, he did not quite achieve all he had set out to do within his tenure.
Speaking about rumours of a cabal hijacking his presidency from the early days of his administration, Buhari said “it must have been”, adding however that he was not sure anyone who broke the law was allowed to “walk away”.
On the controversial naira redesign policy which led to cash shortages before and during the general election, Buhari said the move was imperative to check those who had stashed ill-gotten money.
“Whether Nigerians believe it or not, we are an underdeveloped country. And in that sort of situation, there’s materialism and sometimes ruthlessly they didn’t care how they made the money,” he said.
“I still feel that the only way I could deprive these people was just to make sure that my integrity became unquestionable… I think as a developing country we still have a long way to go.
“The motivation (for the policy) was to try and make Nigerians believe that there is no shortcut to successful leadership.”
The ex-president also spoke about how technology made him win the 2015 presidential poll after previous futile attempts.
“Instead of people expressing sympathy, people laughed at me because I didn’t have money, because I couldn’t buy influence in any form, either from influential people or others. And I said ‘God dey’. And he sent the Permanent Voter Card (PVC). Meaning you now have only one vote,” he said.
Buhari also said he was not sure he achieved all he set out to achieve as Nigeria’s leader from 2015 to 2023, adding however, that he does not miss being out of office.