By Chesa Chesa
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has advised President Muhamadu Buhari to concentrate on governance despite the temptation of focusing on his re-election campaign.
May said that Britain was very concerned over the abduction of school girls by Boko Haram insurgents and promised that the United Kingdom (UK) would continue to work with Nigeria in the areas of training and equipping the military.
She spoke on Monday at a meeting with Buhari in her official residence at 10, Downing Street, London.
The Prime Minister observed that the Buhari administration had “been making good progress on the economy,” and urged it to maintain the focus, despite the approaching elections, and increase in political activities.
On education and climate change, May declared: “Good grounding in education is good. It is important to equip young people for today’s world. It is also a good bastion and defence against modern slavery.
“The issue of the environment and climate change is very important, because of its impact on many countries in the Commonwealth. Stability at home is important, to curb illegal migration.”
She further commended Buhari for his efforts to improve trade and business for Nigeria, noting that it was also time to boost intra-Commonwealth trade.
Buhari had told his host that he was less concerned about next year’s general elections in Nigeria than other politicians.
The President had announced his decision to seek a second term in office hours before he jetted out to the UK on an official trip last Monday
Buhari said: “We campaigned on three major issues: to secure the country, revive the economy, and fight corruption.
“We have elections next year, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy.”
Recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, the President regretted that History as a subject was stopped in Nigerian schools, but promised that it would be remedied.
“People ought to know how they arrived at where they are, if they would move forward. It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of History as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now,” he stated.
He commended British companies such as Unilever, Cadbury, and others, “which have stood with Nigeria through thick and thin. Even when we fought a Civil War, they never left.
“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria. We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.”
According to a Presidency statement, Buhari briefed May on the strides in agriculture, which he said, had put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.
“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture,” he said, adding that “we have cut rice importation by about 90 per cent, made lots of savings of foreign earnings, and generated employment.
“People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”
On education, the President said that more investment was being made because “people can look after themselves if well educated. In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation,” he said.