It was a very jovial President Muhammadu Buhari at the traditional Sallah homage paid by residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that narrated how he narrowly escaped being mobbed yesterday at the Eid prayer ground in Abuja.
This is even as he admitted that with the youths surging forward towards his convoy, it was clear that, the heavy security around him notwithstanding, only God guarantees protection and not mere mortals.
The delegation was led by the Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Obinna Chukwu. Recalling his experience earlier at the prayer ground located on the Airport Road during the Eid-el-Fitri prayers the President said some youths who were desperate to catch a glimpse of him almost overwhelmed security operatives protecting him.
Amid laughter, Buhari told his guests how he had to hold tight to his flowing gown (agbada) and quickly rushed into his car.
He added that with what happened to President Ronald Reagan of the United States, it was clear that only God can protect leaders.
He said anybody armed with a sharp knife could have caused havoc in that kind of riotous situation.
Buhari said, “I thank you most sincerely for fulfilling the tradition of greetings for whoever occupies this place. I thank you very much for your loyalty to the country, as represented by our institutions and to the system.
“Today, during and immediately after the prayers, I think I was bombarded by the youth who almost overwhelmed the security, and I had to hold tight to my gown to get to my car.
“I was advised to enter the car from the ADC side and I refused. I went across trying to wave to the wild youth who wanted to see me.
“On an occasion like this, it shows that after what happened to President Ronald Reagan, it is only God Almighty who protects leaders because in a mob like this, anybody with a sharp knife can get access and do a lot of damage.
“So, all the policemen twho were deployed and soldiers since six o’ clock in the morning before I came out two hours later in the rains, cannot protect you, only God protects. I hope God will continue to protect us.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who also joined the delegation commended the President for giving an enabling environment for people of different faiths to co-exist in the country.
While assuring that the Buhari’s government will leave a country where the children and grandchildren will be proud, he said the President was fulfilling his electoral promise that no religion would be given undue advantage over others under him.
Osinbajo assured Nigerians that they would soon be enjoying the good of the nation that will be made possible by this administration.
“Our country is one with a great potential. We should contribute our quota to its development and in no time, we will see a great change. All of us will enjoy this nation. Even our children and grandchildren will enjoy the good of the land,” he said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Chukwu, urged all Nigerians to be their neighbours’ keepers and continue to work for the peace of the country.
He said he led the delegation to pledge their unalloyed support, loyalty and commitment to the President and his administration.
He later presented Sallah gifts which included a giant greeting card, a photo frame and a mat designed in the national colours.
Top government officials, members of the National Assembly, National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, Christian and Islamic Clerics as well as presidential aides were among the delegation.