– President Muhammadu Buhari says he wonders why he came to power at this economic -challenging period
– The president said with God’s help, the country will experience better days
-The president addressed Nigerians in London on the state of the economy
President Muhammadu Buhari has wondered why he came into government at this period of economic challenges but expressed optimism in the success of the administration with God’s help.
The Punch reports that the president said this on Friday, February 5 when he was addressing the members of the Nigerian community in the United Kingdom in London.
President Buhari said he always wondered why oil, which used to sell for over $140 per barrel, would reduce to $30 per barrel during his time as president and why he wasn’t in charge when the country was financially buoyant. He said he however continue to pray to God to be merciful to the over 170 million Nigerians.
“With the problems we have in this government, I sometimes wonder. At least, this time around, I asked for it, I prayed for it, I went round the country and I asked for it. But the first time under the military, I allowed the military to take decision.
“But I say why me? Why is it that it is when they have spent all the money, when they made the country insecure that I returned?
“Why didn’t I come when the treasury was full? Oil price was over $140 per barrel and when I came, it slipped down to $30. Why me?
“I keep on praying to God to pity Nigeria and its over 170 million people who are exposed to climate change, illiteracy and poverty.”
Buhari said his administration had succeeded in mopping up over N2.2trn as of January through the Treasury Single Account arrangement. He explained that although it was introduced by former president, Goodluck Jonathan, he didn’t know why it was not implemented.
“You know the condition we are in now. I am sure with demands from home, in spite of what your effort is, you know we are really in trouble.
“We have tried to impose what we call Treasury Single Account. The reason is simple. This government did not initiate it; it was initiated by the previous government. But it was so unpopular to the bureaucracy, so the previous government for its own reasons, could not impose it.
“But when we came and we found out that we were broke, we said this is the way to do it.
“I will tell you two examples to convince you. Firstly, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had more than 45 accounts. Ministry of Defence had more than 70 accounts. Tell me which Accountant-General can trace all these accounts?
“So, we imposed TSA. By the end of December, coming to January 2016, we mopped up more than N2.2trn which would have been used through bureaucratic system to raise vouchers and sign cheques so that they don’t go into the next budget.”
The president applauded the United States and Britain for preventing the previous administration from rigging the election. He recalled that Samdo Dasuki, the national security adviser had urged the service chiefs to tell the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that they could not guarantee safety during the polls. He said Professor Attahiru Jega, the chairman of INEC had guarantee 60 percent free and fair election at a point when the country had only managed 45 per cent.
“Then we insisted that election must be done according to the constitution.
“At this point again, I must hasten to thank the United States for sending the Secretary of State, Kerry, to go and read the riot act to the previous government and speak to Prof. Jega, the Chairman of INEC and speak to us as opposition that the US would not tolerate any election outside the Nigerian constitution.
“They maintained the pressure from that date until after the election and the formation of the new government.
“I think Nigerians honestly should thank the US for this. The same thing with Britain, they used all their experience and their powers to make sure that the Federal Government did not rig the last election.
“We thank God, we thank these super powers and we thank technology. Why we thank technology is because of the permanent voter cards and the card readers.”
Meanwhile, the president has handed over power to Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president while he is on a short vacation, a move that has generated reactions from Nigerians.