Nigerians are “happy and thrilled” about President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style and personality, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.
The top official said Mr Buhari’s popularity is evident from the votes the president garnered during the presidential election in February.
Mr Buhari was, earlier on Wednesday, sworn in for a second term of four years in office, following his victory at the polls.
He was declared the winner with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who polled 11,262,978 votes. Mr Abubakar is challenging the result in court.
In an interview on Monday, Mr Mustapha described Mr Buhari’s victory as “hard-earned”. He said it was a reflection of the satisfaction the people have with the president.
“We worked very hard for it. In 2015 I was his director of contacts and mobilisation so I know the amount of work that was put in it.”
The SGF said the president’s men envisaged Mr Buhari’s victory but did not give their candidate as much clear victory.
“We had certain assurances because of how well he has done in the three and a half years leading to the general elections that held in February. We were confident that he was going to win. I was pleasantly surprised that he won with a much larger margin this time than even in 2015.”
He said the electoral victory was a testimony that “the people of this country are quite happy and thrilled about his leadership style, his integrity and his sincerity of purpose”.
Mr Mustapha described Mr Buhari as “a man that has no other agenda but the pursuit of the good of the people of Nigeria.”
The SGF said the Buhari administration has acquitted itself creditably by delivering on its 2015 campaign promises.
He listed the areas of progress to include the government’s anti-corruption campaign, containing security challenges, and diversification of the economy.
On fighting corruption, the government’s administrative head said no government in the history of Nigeria has made as much recovery of proceeds of crime as the Buhari administration.
The government, he said, has also implemented measures to block leakages of government revenue, including through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Security, he said, has improved from the situation in 2015 with the terror group, Boko Haram, routed from territories it hitherto held.
“Today I got a new figure that shocked me. The governor of Borno state said at a meeting that in 2015 22 out of 27 local governments in the state were under the occupation of Boko Haram. Even in Maiduguri metropolitan, they had a major presence. Today I can report to you, not a single local government is under the control of Boko Haram.”
Mr Mustapha also cited relative peace in the oil-rich Niger Delta region as another achievement of the Buhari administration in the area of security.
He said the government was doing its best to best to tackle other security challenges bedevilling the country, especially rural banditry and rising kidnapping in the North West region.
Despite Mr Mustapha’s commendations, many Nigerians have criticised President Buhari for the current insecurity across Nigeria. Hundreds of people have been killed or kidnapped by criminals in different parts of the country in the past few months.