He touched on some of the legacies of his administration while speaking to Friends of Africa Coalition on “Strengthening Democracy and Elections” at the mayor’s office in Newark, New Jersey, US, yesterday.
He said the 2015 general elections in Nigeria had potential for major crisis and that the campaigns leading to the elections almost polarised the country into Christian v Muslims and North v South divide.
His words: “Some pundits even from here in the United States said that those elections would spell the end of Nigeria and that we would cease to exist as a nation because of the polls. That is where the leadership question comes into play.
As a leader, I considered the people’s interest first. How do I manage my people to avoid killings and destruction of properties? With the interest of the people propelling all the decisions I took, we were able to sail through.
Indeed, we sailed through because I refused to interfere with the independence of INEC, having appointed a man I had never met in my life to run it. My philosophy was simple. For elections to be credible, I as a leader, must value the process more than the product of the process.
I am proud to say that while I took over a Nigeria that was the second largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $270.5bn in 2009, I handed over a Nigeria that had grown to become the largest economy in Africa and the 24th largest economy in the World with a GDP of $574bn.
I inherited a Nigeria in which the trains were not working, and handed over a Nigeria in which citizens can safely travel by trains again. I inherited a Nigeria that was a net importer of cement, and handed over a Nigeria that is a net exporter of cement.
In 2009 the richest Nigerian was the 5th richest man in Africa, but I handed over a Nigeria that produced the richest man in Africa. These are but a few of the parameters that illustrate some of the economic transformations we engineered during my term in office.”…. but I jst don’t like bragging…. Cc: This Day