President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that Nigerian elite have never been in support of his political ambitions. He said they should thank ordinary citizens for making him a leader and, therefore, saving everyone from acute leadership failure.
The president said the elite have always pushed a candidate they believe would be amenable to their political and economic interests, but Nigerians saw through their selfishness and settled on him without preconditions.
"They want to impress and they try to dictate the terms for government," the president said during an interview aired on NTA Monday. "I contested three times before I won the fourth time. The elite should thank the rest of other Nigerians who voted for him (me)."
Mr Buhari said Nigerians supported him massively during the campaign, a gesture that moneybags could not have been able to procure.
"People trooped out to see him on the campaign trail, which means that the elite had always been in the minority. "Nigerians understood me," the president said.
Mr Buhari said he travelled across the country during the course of four election cycles, building alliances and familiarising himself with the grassroots.
"There is no local government in Nigeria I have never visited between 2003 and now," Mr Buhari said.
The interview comes two days before Mr Buhari would be sworn-in for a second term of four years. The Nigerian leader won re-election on February 23 with nearly four million votes, according to the electoral commission.