President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he rejected advice given to him to refrain from participating in the just-concluded Ramadan fast on health grounds.
He, however, said having participated in the one-month exercise, he was now healthier to handle national issues.
Buhari spoke when residents of the Federal Capital Territory led by the Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, paid him the traditional Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The delegation comprised lawmakers, religious leaders, some cabinet members, security chiefs, presidential aides, among others.
Buhari recalled that last year, he was unable to take part in the annual spiritual exercise because of the ill-health that kept him away from the country for about 100 days.
The President said, “I am very grateful to the ministers and church leadership that came to say happy Eid-el fitr to those of us that have been fasting.
“A lot of people asked me if on health grounds I can default, I refused because I know the value in fasting. I cannot miss it once I can do it.
“Last year, I didn’t because I was on health vacation. But this year, I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be much more healthier to give me the time that I need to attend to national issues.”
The President also appealed to Nigerians to shun individualism and sectionalism.
He restated his position that Nigeria belongs to all, hence the need to salvage it together.
The President added, “Please in your constituencies, emphasise what I said about 30 years ago. We don’t have another country except Nigeria.
“We may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do. Even those that had gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there.
“I wished that all the resources they had then, they had deployed it here. It would have been much better. So, thank you very much and please try to persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism.”
The President reiterated that despite the fact that he met little or no resources, his administration has worked hard to stabilise the economy.
He insisted that the nation is blessed with natural resources to pull through.
Buhari said, “I am very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy who knows what is in the heart and not by mouth, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times.
“This country is blessed in human and material resources. Here, I have to digress and wish my former Minister of Mines and Steel, Fayemi, well. He has been a very hardworking minister because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil.
“But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed. Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead his state again.
“I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable. We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicising of our petroleum resources.