President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, said the Ajaokuta Steel Complex would provide 500,000 estimated jobs for Nigerian youths. The president revealed this during his one-day state visit to Kogi on Thursday.
He also spoke of the determination of his administration to position Kogi as an industrial hub and a solid mineral power base.
He explained how the federal government resolved all legal entanglements that had bogged down the progress of the steel complex. According to him, the project stands to benefit the people of the state immensely.
The president had earlier hosted the leadership of the FCT and representatives of the FCT community, who paid him Christmas homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at the beginning of last week. During the Christmas homage, Buhari lauded the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, for exhibiting the virtues of transparency, honesty and integrity while managing the affairs of the FCT.
According to the Nigerian leader, he deliberately appointed Bello as FCT minister and refused to redeploy him because of his good character. He said Mr Bello proved to be a better financial and human resources manager.
Mr Buhari also told his guests that he would not be hanging around the FCT after May 29, 2023, to avoid meddling in the affairs of the office of his successor.
Mr Buhari reiterated that he would return to his hometown Daura in Katsina, at the end of his tenure, explaining that his decision not to make Abuja a permanent abode is to allow his successor a free hand to operate and run the affairs of the country.
The president also told members of the FCT community that he had yet to build a new house in Daura or anywhere and hoped to live in his old house of many years.
On Wednesday, Mr Buhari also inaugurated the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) newly acquired Estate in Idu-Karmo, Abuja. At the event, Mr Buhari said the accommodation would enhance productivity and coordination of activities of the agency’s staffers, given the increasing number of personnel to face new challenges and responsibilities.
He also used the opportunity to charge security agencies involved with various support services in the 2023 general elections to maintain a high sense of professionalism, demanding that the agencies handle the distribution and monitoring of classified materials and other logistics “professionally and in accordance with standing operation (sic) procedures.”
While reiterating his earlier directive to security agencies to remain apolitical, the president said they must desist from behaviour that could bring shame to their organisations and the country “by compromising the democratic process.”
On the same day, the Nigerian leader praised the newly promoted commander of the Brigade of Guards, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Usman, describing him as an outstanding officer serving the nation with great zeal.
Mr Buhari, assisted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, and the commander’s wife, Rekiya Usman, decorated the officer with the rank of major-general.
Shortly after the Presidential Villa ceremony, Mr Buhari recalled his tumultuous military career marked by coups, counter-coups and detention.
He described Mr Usman as a very lucky officer to have risen to the height of his military career with distinction and without hiccups.
The president also expressed sadness over the passing of George Obiozor, the president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide. He commiserated with Mr Obiozor’s family, Imo and Ndigbo, at home and in the diaspora.
Mr Buhari said the contributions of the unique leader and strong proponent of peace and a stable polity, who also held other strategic public positions, would not be forgotten.
On Friday, Mr Buhari hosted Senate President Ahmad Lawan at the State House, Abuja.
Mr Lawan revealed that the president would sign the 2023 appropriation bill on Tuesday. He also told journalists that Mr Buhari discussed some national issues with him, including the president’s recent additional loan request, the legislature’s support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the general elections and the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
Mr Buhari on Saturday paid tribute to the late ex-Pope Benedict XVI, a Catholic leader regarded for his selfless leadership and renowned learning as a theologian.
He commiserated with Pope Francis, the Catholic Church and other professed Christians mourning the demise of the pope emeritus. Mr Buhari lauded the deceased for his dedication to advancing inter-faith dialogue and peace. Mr Buhari noted that the late pontiff would be remembered as a true servant of God.
The president concluded the week under review with his regime’s last New Year message released by his media aide Garba Shehu on Saturday. Mr Buhari reassured Nigerians that their collective will and votes in the 2023 elections would be fulfilled.
He thanked the almighty God who saw Nigerians through 2022 and allowed them to see another year.
“It is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, reposition, and move forward in the new year,” Mr Buhari said.