Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
Amidst growing allegation of non-performance, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said that considering the condition in which his administration met the country, allegedly without savings and the economy vandalised, “we have not done too badly.”
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving some members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation, led by Mr Charles Sylvester.
Buhari noted that Nigeria was gifted with tremendous human and natural resources, but regretted those past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s resources to improve a lot of Nigerians.
“Failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve a lot of the people,” the President said.
He added that “wicked people” plundered the country, “and kept Nigerians poor.”
Buhari said the damage done to the Nigerian economy in the years of plunder was massive, and that government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.
He, however, admitted that it was impossible to identify and recover all.
“If they had used 50 percent of the money we made when oil prices went as high as $143 per barrel, and stabilised at $100 with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their business.
“You could almost grow food on our roads, as they were abandoned. The stealing was so much, and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly.
“I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country,” the President said.
He commended members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation for deciding to identify with the country when they could have stayed abroad where they are comfortable.
“I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused; we will do our best to justify it,” Buhari said.
Sylvester was quoted as saying that members of the group were happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far.
He said the same God who healed the President when he was sick would grant him victory in 2019.
He said, “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account.
“We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy General.
“We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy.
“The same God who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals.
“We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and the second term is when you will build the enduring structure.” (Punch)