President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concerns on the dilapidated economy of the country with just 24 days to his inauguration.
Speaking yesterday at a meeting with Governors and Governors-elect under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, the President-elect identified surfeit of salaries owed to public workers and a ragged economy as a major headache that his government will inherit.
He however, expressed great confidence that his administration will tackle these problems as bad as the situation may be, The Sun reports.
General Buhari also urged Nigerians to give him time when he takes over power to address the challenge.
He said that there is no going back in stabilizing the economy, fixing the security challenge and rebuilding the infrastructure.
In his words, “this time around, to bounce back with the issue especially with the backlog of salaries which are of immediate concern to individuals and states, I think we should look for a better way to address the issue. We have to think of how to persuade people to give us a chance to organise the economy immediately and get these problems fixed.”
He however regretted that despite the quantum of resources that came the way of the country as a result of increased oil revenues, salaries of workers were still being owed saying, “For this to be corrected please give the incoming government a chance.”
Recounting his ordeal as the head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under the regime of late General Sani Abacha, Buhari likened the current situation to the time when the country was at cross roads.
He said ,“Here, I will like to recall what happened during the Abacha regime which led to the emergence of PTF. The Abacha regime was a military regime and it thought that the only way to solve the problems facing the government was to increase the prices of petroleum product. But they were not taking Nigerians for a ride. They would have said that if Nigerians decide to riot, they have the guns and so they can have their way. They decided to tell Nigerians that they were going to increase prices of petroleum products and the money we get, we will put aside for development. That was how PTF came. Thing to pay salaries”.
The President elect also noted that while security remained his first agenda because if there is no security, there would be no development, he will move fast to stabilize the economy.
He restated that there was need for the public to be patient and support the incoming government. He pleaded “gives us a chance to stabilize the security. The expectation is too high and I have started nervously to explain to people that Rome was not built in a day”.
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Commending leaders of APC for overcoming all the land mines that were laid on their way during the formation of the party, he recalled “during the merger, APGA and DPP wanted to come in, but we felt that if they are allowed to come in at that time, they might be used to frustrate the merger, so we asked them to stay action until after the merger. So we advised them to just be observers.
“We decided that the nine major people that were leading the Legacy parties should lead us to the first major convention where the new party will then elect its new leadership. These nine people were the National Chairmen, the National Secretaries and their Treasurers. The next step was what earned us respect. I had thought that all INEC Commissioners were our enemies and they said no take the documents for the registration back because you need presence in all the geopolitical zones of the country. There were lots of efforts by the PDP to frustrate our emergence as a party.”
Meanwhile, following a directive by the president-elect to the governors on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) to forward the names of candidates, the submission of names for ministerial slots in the incoming government is currently on-going.