President Muhammadu Buhari has warned contractors and businessmen who have enjoyed government patronage against bribing him and other top government officials including ministers.
Rather, he advised the affected contractors to be alive to their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) through which they can give back to the immediate community where they operate.
This is just as the president’s son, Yusuf Buhari, was named the new Talban Daura by the Emir of Daura, Dr Umar Faruk Umar.
The president, according to a release issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, gave the warning Friday while on a visit to the Emir of Daura by urging businessmen, contractors and other privileged Nigerians who are beneficiaries of government patronage to always engage in CSR, instead of seeking to favour individuals with gifts.
President Buhari said pointedly: “I don’t want your cheque. Go and assist our communities instead of trying to return kickbacks to public officers, including my office.
“We don’t want cheques from anyone or organisation as returns or influence of any kind. Let them remember their corporate social responsibilities,” he said.
The president noted that he would love to visit Daura more frequently, but for the high cost of presidential movements and exposing security personnel to the weather, assuring his host that his heart remains with the people.
He said: “We are known for farming and I have my farm here. I could come every two weeks and no one can stop me. But the cost of the movement is high. I would rather that it be used to better our schools, clinics and hospitals.”
President Buhari said the grace of God had kept Nigeria together as a country in spite of differences that led to a 30-months civil war.
According to him, “We want to thank God always for keeping us together as a country. From January 15, 1966, the country was thrown into political crisis. We had a 30-month civil war that resulted in the loss of about a million lives.
“We still thank God for keeping us together. We remain grateful to all those who showed interest in our unity and progress. May God continue to bless them.”
The president, who recalled fond memories of his visit to the palace as a military Head of State, expressed happiness that the warmth and hospitality of the traditional institution had been sustained over the years.
In his remarks, the Emir of Daura thanked the president for always creating time to visit his hometown and the palace despite the tight schedule.
“Your visit to Daura reflects your good character which we are very proud of. I can assure you that men, women, children, marketers and artisans are always pleased to receive you and they will be praying for you. Today is not for speeches but for appreciation. We have been blessed so much as a community because you are the leader of the country. You have brought honour to our domain.
”As a community, we have benefitted a lot with increased traffic of people and organisations coming to help us here. We know it’s because of you. May the good Lord always go before you and behind you, and remove all obstacles from your path,” he added.
The emir enjoined the president to remain focused on getting results particularly in securing the country.
He said: “Nigeria is lucky to have you at this time. I am not saying it to please you, but if you had not been in power it would have been very difficult. I doubt if we will be here today.”
Emir Faruk also publicly announced the conferment of the title of Talban Daura on the president’s son, Yusuf Buhari.
According to him, a date would be announced for the installation ceremony of the president’s son, which might likely be before his marriage.
The emir also announced the creation of a district in the community of the president, with headquarters in Dimurkol.
He said the installation of young Buhari and creation of the district was to further extend and deepen the long relationship between the palace and the family.
The royal father said the decision was in agreement with the kingmakers in the Daura Emirate Council.
During the presidential visit, the palace used the opportunity to clarify the difference between two titles, Talban Hausa, given to the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde and Talban Daura designated for Yusuf, the president’s son.
The palace explained that Daura, as the linchpin of the Hausa society had conferred titles that have bearing on the Hausa Kingdom and those that are specific to the Emirate.