ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his desire to welcome President-elect Bola Tinubu to the State House as President upon his swearing-in on 29 May.
The President assured that the 29 May handover date to a new administration remained sacrosanct when he spoke over the phone with Mr. Tinubu.
The duo exchanged Eid greetings to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Messrs Buhari and Tinubu thanked God for seeing the day and prayed for the stability and the wellbeing of the nation.
The Nigerian leader, who had earlier observed the Eid-el-Fitr prayers in Abuja, fielded questions from reporters, assuring that democracy has a bright future in Nigeria.
The president said his conviction was based on Nigerians’ disposition to defend democracy against all threats.
“Nigerians appreciate the stability of democracy. The outcome of the 2023 elections in which more than 10 governors failed to make it to the Senate sent a message that Nigerians know the power of their votes and how to use them.
“Nigerians cherish democracy. They have shown their love for it and will defend it against real or perceived threats.
“They will continue to vote one way or the other depending on their preferences,’’ he said.
The President later hosted residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), led by the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, where he asked for pardon from those he might have hurt while discharging his duties as President while serving his two terms (2015 – 2023).
This year’s Sallah Homage marks Buhari’s final outing as president on a Sallah Day, before handing over on May 29.
Mr. Buhari said he accepted all the complaints and criticisms in good stead, knowing it was part of the leadership he prayed and asked from God.
“God gave me an incredible opportunity to serve the country. We are all humans, if I have hurt some people along the line of my service to the country, I ask that they pardon me.”
The President, who has less than 37 days in office, recounted his leadership roles in the country for more than 40 years.
Mr. Buhari had served variously as a military officer, military Governor, minister, and Head of State, and returned as a democratically-elected President in 2015.
He had earlier on 20 April, sent a goodwill Sallah Message to Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-el-fitr celebration to mark the end of the 30-day Ramadan fasting season.
In the message, Mr. Buhari said the outcome of the 2023 elections was in line with his pledge to leave a legacy of free and fair elections in the country.
The President also hosted the outgoing Ambassador of Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Nigeria, Luong Quoc Thinh, offering him best wishes in his next assignment.
“In your three years’ tour of duty here, we have virtually lived together. Congratulations on a successful term,” he said.
He thanked the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for its support in areas of security and economic development, expressing the wish that bilateral relations between the two countries would continue to grow.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Thinh congratulated the Nigerian President on the successful 2023 general elections, and the widespread victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial and State Assembly polls.