President Muhammadu Buhari says he felt like “absconding” after seeing the enormity of the challenges facing the country when he assumed office in May 2015.
He was speaking on Thursday during a parley with participants of the Senior Executive Course 38 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) at the state house in Abuja.
He again blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Nigeria’s economic woes.
Buhari said: “For 16 years and eight consecutive governments of the other party… there was unprecedented revenue realised, the oil projection which can be verified was 2.1 million barrels per day. From 1999-2015 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 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.
“And I asked any savings? I was told there were no savings. And I asked what have you done on agriculture, power, rails, roads? 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 (federal) roads are still good enough?
“How much power do we have although there are some elements of sabotage. I was told the money was users to import food and fuel. I didn’t believe the answer and I still don’t believe it. Until now substantial number of people in the east eat garri and groundnut, in the west pounded yam, cassava, vegetables, in the north 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 dinunu 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 to the refineries 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 for our own country. When you go back look at your colleagues and encourage them to be truly Nigerians.”