By Williams Anuku, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that elites in the country have resolved not to acknowledge the efforts of his administration in repositioning the country despite the plunge in revenues but chose instead to harass him.
The President expressed this regret in his comments during a lunch with the governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held in his residence on Saturday after revalidating his membership of the party in his Daura ward in Katsina State.
The President pleaded with the elites to be fair in their assessment of his performance by taking cognizance of the state of the country’s economy when he took over power in 2015.
He said “The problem is that I will like, especially the elites, to please be reflective. When we came, where we were, the resources available from then and the condition of the infrastructure. I was contrived to go over it several times to tell Nigerians that between 1999 and 2014, let them check with the NNPC, let them check with the Governor of Central Bank. The daily production was 2.4 million barrels per days and the average cost was a hundred American dollars per barrel.
“So for these years, daily Nigeria would earn having 2.4m times 100 dollars everyday. But look at the condition of infrastructure, you know this better than I do. I know I went to every local government of the country in my three consecutive attempts to become the President. You know the road more than I do. You know the condition of the rail, the railway was dead. Now look at it everywhere we go, what did they do with all these monies?
When we took over in this administration, production went down to about half a million barrels per day, the price collapsed. We had to do what is called a bailout, wherever we got the money from. Upon all the money from 1999 to 2014, we have to give you money from the Centre to pay salaries. No! Nigerian elites are not interested in rating the competence but they are interested in harassing us with all efforts we are making.”
The President urged the governors who are in charge of their constituencies to make efforts to convince the elites to give his administration the due relevance and respect it deserves insisting that it is working so hard with limited resources.
Commenting on the APC registration and revalidation exercise, the President charged the Caretaker Committee members to ensure the return of the party to the people by using the bottom-up approach.
“No more crowning from Abuja downward. Let the people know this and appreciate it that they are in charge of their constituencies and they are in charge of the party. Without any incentive they must come out and defend the party at any level so that we, you and the party will feel secure and comfortable because the old time of putting hands in the pocket is over because the money is no longer available,’ he added.
He pointed out that the appointment of the Yobe state governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the Chairman of the APC National Caretaker Committee was in order because he had served as the party’s Secretary for a long time and so was knowledgeable about all the challenges facing the APC.
The APC Caretaker Chairman and Yobe state governor in his comments thanked the governors and other party stalwarts at the lunch for finding time within their busy schedules to attend the meeting.
He told the President that the party was proud of his achievements in salvaging the economy and dealing with the challenge of insecurity in the country.
He said, “In line with the mandate given to us by the National Executive Committee of our great party under your leadership, it is to review this party bottom up.”
“In line with that, we started with reconciling some aggrieved members of our party across the country and then we started the process of this registration by the printing of materials to ensure that the materials are being distributed across the country. We set up a mobilization committee under the chairmanship of the governor.”