President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said Nigeria survived its past abuses only by the grace of God.
The President said this in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“Some of the things I saw here were unbelievable. I still shudder and wonder how a country can survive under such abuses. It is only by an act of God that we survived,” he said.
According to the statement, President Buhari made the comments when he received his supporters under the auspices of the Governance Support Group at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He, however, said his administration had ushered in a new era of accountability and responsibility by auditing and correcting the many wrongs of the past which he said had crippled the economy.
The President said they have also created an exclusive class and promised to consolidate on the reforms he had initiated for change in the country.
He told his supporters that he was not oblivious of the personal risks and investments that brought in the government, citing the appointment of Mr Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation as most deserved because of his steadfastness.
“I want you to maintain your steadfastness. We have gone through the worst of the times. We lost elections three times and I learnt a lot along the way,” he told the group.
President Buhari said after losing in three elections and pursuing cases up to the Supreme Court, he learnt that ethnicity and religion had no place in Nigerian politics, but personal interests prevailed.
He further thanked his support for their love and support for his administration, even in the face of the challenges some of them went through.
The President said he remains “eternally grateful’’ for all the personal and collective sacrifices that culminated in winning the 2015 elections, assuring them that all the efforts would never be forgotten.
“I can never forget your sacrifices and I am grateful for all. You never gave up when things were bleak, and we needed to survive. I can’t express my gratitude enough.
“In spite of the environment you found yourself, you kept believing and pushing. Some of you were really exposed to risks. My consolation is that you voluntarily threw in your lot with me.
“Some of you exposed yourself so much, and I knew it. I urge you to still stick to your principled ways of doing things and our country will be the better for it,” he said.
In his response, Chairman of the group, Honourable Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, commended the President for the bold initiatives in restoring security, tackling corruption, and setting the economy on a more predictable path.
Nwajiuba said the group would continue to support and advise the President on areas that needed more attention, which include engagement with party members and supporters, empowerment of Nigerians and the fight against kidnapping among others.