President Muhammadu Buhari says in spite of the security challenges facing Nigeria, other countries, especially, in Africa, still believe in the country’s immense potential.
Buhari congratulated Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on his recent election as President of the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF), in his capacity as Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, also cheered on the selection of the Ekiti governor as FORAF president, saying the honour is beyond him as an individual but for the entire country.
The election was held after a conference in Casablanca region, Morocco, at the weekend.
Speaking yesterday while hosting a delegation, which included Fayemi, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, and their Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, at the State House, Buhari said, “In spite of the security challenges we have, it is good to see that other countries still believe in our potentialities.
“Congratulations for doing justice to Nigeria. We thank you.”
Buhari also thanked other countries that queued behind Nigeria to elect one of its citizens as FORAF president, saying it is a good show of brotherhood and solidarity.
Earlier, Sule told Buhari the conference was well-attended by governors and participants from about 22 African countries, where regional issues were discussed, and memorandum of understanding (MOUs) signed on different areas, like agriculture, mining, education, scholarships, and many others.
The Nasarawa State governor stated that while Nigeria, from West Africa, clinched the presidency, vice presidents emerged from South Africa, for Southern Africa; Kenya, East Africa; Morocco, North Africa; and Cameroon for Central Africa.
Fayemi, who will relinquish the presidency to the next NGF president at the expiration of his tenure as governor next month, said the idea of FORAF was for sub-nationals to become engines of growth, “And reduce pressure on central governments.”
He added that FORAF was a unifying force for states (called Regions, Counties, or Provinces in other countries) “to create a globally respected continent.”
The governor said Nigeria’s election was a testimony to the huge respect Buhari enjoyed in Africa.
“Other countries simply withdrew their bids once they saw that Nigeria was interested in the position,” he disclosed.
Tinubu, in his congratulatory message, praised Fayemi for enjoying the trust and confidence of his peers across Africa, who deemed it fit to make him their leader. He added that the Ekiti State governor had always demonstrated capacity and competence in handling responsibilities entrusted to him.
The APC presidential candidate said of Fayemi, “I am particularly happy that his peers across the continent found him worthy of this rare honour, which goes beyond him as an individual. Dr. Fayemi’s emergence is another resounding recognition for Nigeria’s preeminent position in Africa.
“I have no doubt that Dr. Fayemi will justify the trust and confidence in him by his peers and provide credible leadership for the fledging organisation as it seeks to play its role in the development of our continent.”