Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former army general Muhammadu Buhari (L) speaks during a press conference in Kano, northern Nigeria, on January 21, 2015. Nigeria's main opposition candidate today rejected claims about his eligibility to run for president, accusing the ruling party of trying to divert attention from its own failings. The February 14 vote is expected to be close-run, with the possibility of the PDP being dumped out of power for the first time since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999. AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR

President Buhari in an interview with BBC Hausa on Tuesday said the Constitution allowed him full control over the choice of his closest officials.

In response to persistent criticism over his appointment of mostly Northerners in his Ministerial team, the President finally opened up to explain that many of the people he had chosen as Ministers are those who had traveled the long journey with him on his way to becoming president and whom he believes he can trust with the tasks given to them.

He said ““If I select people whom I know quite well in my political party, whom we came all the way right from the APP, CPC and APC, and have remained together in good or bad situation, the people I have confidence in and I can trust them with any post, will that amount to anything wrong?

He however gave the assurance that he was not ignoring any section of the country in his choice of appointees but maintained that some of his choices will be people he is close to and whom can trust  with specific posts regardless of their region of origin.

He further defended his choice of  appointees by saying “I have been with them throughout our trying times, what then is the reward of such dedication and suffering?

“They did not defect because of positions, they did not involve themselves in the pursuit of personal gains and they accepted their fate throughout our trying moments”

He said those are the best type of people he felt he could work with in that he can be confident of their ethics.

President Buhari described the criticisms against his choices as “The nature of Nigerian politics” but also reminded his critics that the constitution allows him the freedom to choose whosoever he feels he can best work with without the approval of the Senate.

He said in conclusion to the matter,  “If they will do justice to me, as an elected Nigerian president, let them look at the Constitution a Nigerian president works with, there are people who will closely work with me that don’t need to be taken to the Senate”

Jummy Ariyo

September 2015

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