Former President Muhammadu Buhari has opened up on why he endorsed the Naira redesign policy spearheaded by the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
Speaking in a televised interview on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Monday night, the former President stressed the Naira redesign policy was also to show Nigerians that there was no shortcut to success.
“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.
“…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 introducing the policy) was to try and make Nigerians believe that there is no shortcut to successful leadership,” Buhari said in his first interview after exiting office about six months ago.
Besides, he explained that he wasn’t shocked that he was taken to court by Governors from his own party at the time to reverse the policy.
Buhari said he allowed people to do their jobs when he assigned tasks, stressing that if he was given the same chance he wouldn’t do anything differently under Nigeria’s current system.
He argued that Nigerians were a difficult set of people to govern, maintaining that they know the right thing to do, but would mostly refuse to do so, because they think they know better than the person on the saddle.
Buhari said he was still being ‘harassed’ by people who throng his home on a daily basis, noting that if the border with a nearby country was not closed, he would have run out of Nigeria by now.
He added, however, that he was glad he now wakes up anytime he likes. The former president said he doesn’t miss anything after leaving government.
“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.
“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,” he said.
He argued that some Nigerians attempted to set a trap for him by trying to ambush him with certain opportunities, but that he avoided the trap because he knew that once they knew he had been compromised, they would take advantage of the situation to milk the country. He added that they would rather become his boss.
On the Ethiopian/Nigerian Air debacle at the tail end of his administration, Buhari said that if there was any shortcoming he had, it was giving people the free hand to do their work.