President Muhammadu Buhari is not about to stop blaming his predecessors in office for Nigeria’s current socio-economic crisis.
He insists that blaming those who steered the affairs of the country from 1999 to 2015 when he took over is inevitable if only to remind them that they ought not to have taken things for granted the way they did.
“I know I’m being accused in the papers of passing the buck. But passing the buck is sometimes absolutely necessary to remind people who take things for granted,” Buhari said at the public presentation of a pictorial book Buhari: A New Beginning and Conversation themed: Creative Youth as Drivers of the Change Agenda, at the Presidential Villa on Thursday night.
The conversation featured seven youths exchange ideas and highlight challenges in the creative industry.
Buhari said: “My dear countrymen especially the youth, you have a fantastic country. God has endowed Nigeria with human and material resources.
“I’m going to bore you with what we met. I know I’m being accused in the papers of passing the buck. But passing the buck is sometimes absolutely necessary to remind people who take things for granted.
“When we came in by some unfortunate coincidence… I screamed to high heavens because I had promised a lot while seeking vote.
“I said where are the savings? There were no savings. There was no infrastructure.Power, rails, roads, there was none. What did we spend the money on? I was told buying food and petrol…
“Where were the billions going? We conducted a study and found out that the oil marketers were committing fraud on at least one third of what they were importing, which is about 25 per cent of our foreign exchange.
“The youths must watch our elite.The condition we found ourselves, it is unpatriotic for anybody to pretend that economically we have not had a problem.
“We have gone into the farms, I congratulate some of the governors and by the grace of God by the end of this government we will be exporting rice and grains. So all the money alleged to have been used to import will be available to sustain development.
“I have bored you with this long explanation because there are things that could be hidden from you by those that have mismanaged the country in the last 16, 17 years.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled the country in those 17 years starting with Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007), late Umoru Musa Yar’Adua (2007 – 2010), and Goodluck Jonathan (2010 – 2015).
Buhari pledged that his administration would set the ball rolling in terms of providing security, industrialization, manufacturing and food security.
“I said it more than five years ago and I still mean it, we have no other country than Nigeria.We will stay here and salvage it together,” he said.
Buhari also promised that his administration would improve funding for creative industry in the 2017 budget with a view to creating employment opportunities.
He said that the improved allocation will provide the requisite infrastructure for rapid transformation of the creative industry in the country.
He asked the youths to partner with the administration in its efforts to diversify the economy and ensure a corrupt-free society.
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu harped on the need for Nigeria to leverage on its youths as the fulcrum for development.
Tinubu, who was represented by Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, said that the youths were instrumental to the electoral victory of the APC in 2015.
He said: “We must create opportunities for them, empower them and carry them along in the policies we formulate.
“I am happy this government, through the office of the Vice-President, is involved in various programmes aimed at the youth,’’ he added.
Tinubu bought 300 copies of the book written by Buhari’s personal photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo for distribution to youths at the presentation.
During interactive session, selected youths highlighted contributions of creative industry to socio-cultural and economic development as well as challenges facing the sector.
Cobham Asuquo, a multi talented Artist, spoke on the unifying strength of music amongst Nigerians while Arts Curator, Aderele Shonarewo, identified the enormous potentials of the visual arts in addressing unemployment and ensuring wealth creation.
Ishaq Sidi Ishaq, an Actor and Film Director stressed the need for Nigeria to give priority to the film industry.
He said that Nigeria’s film industry has been rated second in the world.
A fashion designer, Ms Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi identified poor electricity supply and inadequate infrastructure as some of the challenges frustrating the development of the nation’s fashion sub-sector.
The event was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, some governors, traditional rulers, business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and many other personalities. The Nation