President Muhammadu Buhari has confessed that due to the problems inherited by his administration, he once felt like absconding soon after assuming office.
Buhari was speaking at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday during a parley with Senior Executive Course No. 38 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.
The president said that since 1999, successive governments led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made unprecedented huge oil revenues, but had nothing to show for it.
He said: “For 16 years and eight consecutive governments of the other party, you know that there was unprecedented revenue realised. Oil production which can be verified was 2.1 million barrels per day. Between 1999 and 2015, the average cost of each Nigerian barrel of oil was $100 per barrel. When we came it fell to less than $30 per barrel and is now hovering between $40 and $50.
“Actually, I felt like absconding because 27 out of 36 states in Nigeria cannot pay salaries and we know they have no other source than to depend on salaries to pay rent and do other things.
“I asked if there was any savings and I was told there was no savings. I asked what they did on agriculture, power, rails and roads. There was nothing. You know more than I do because you move around. I have not been moving around since after elections but you do. How many of the trunk A roads are still good enough? How much power do we have although there are some elements of sabotage?
“I was told the money was used to import food and fuel. I didn’t believe the answer and I still do not believe it. A substantial number of people in the East eat garri and groundnut; in the West they eat pounded yam, cassava, vegetables; in the North, they eat tuwo which is made from any of the grains: millet, sorghum. They eat it in the night and warm it in the morning and eat it and take fura in the afternoon. How many of those people can afford foreign food?
“Then they said I should check out the petroleum sector. The legislature dedicated 445,000 barrels per day for internal consumption and that is just 60 per cent of our requirements. I said ok what of the 40 per cent? The marketers that are bringing it just present documents, papers are just stamped and monies are taken away.
“This is the type of things that the Nigerian elites are doing to our own country. When you go back, look at your colleagues and encourage them to be truly Nigerians.” President Buhari said the economic recession was not limited to Nigeria as the situation was far worse in other countries.
He also insisted that the current economic crisis in the nation was not the making of his government, but a consequence of mismanagement in the past decades.