Economy still in bad shape, Buhari tells 36 governors
Barely four days after the National Bureau of Statistics posted its third quarter report on the economy, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday that the economy remained in a bad shape.
The President had held a closed-door meeting with state governors at the Presidential Villa on Friday, amid expectations that it was to finally resolve the lingering dispute on the National Minimum Wage.
Findings indicated that hours to the Friday meeting, the governors, under the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had met on Thursday night before proceeding to the Villa meeting with Buhari.
However, speaking with State House correspondents soon after the meeting with Buhari ended, the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulazeez Yari, disclosed that the President complained to them that the economy was still in a bad shape.
He stated that Buhari urged Nigerians to still tighten their belts and prepare for tougher times ahead.
According to Yari, Buhari opened up to the governors during the 30-minute meeting, telling them that “the economy is in a bad shape and that we have to come together, think and rethink on the way forward.”
Pressed further to speak on the details of the discussions with the President, Yari declined, but stated, ”(The President) talked to us in a manner that we have a task ahead of us; we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction.”
At the meeting, Yari said Buhari continued to blame the state of the economy on the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party rule and how the present opposition party allegedly wasted national resources on profligacy.
The governor added that the President later informed them that he would still use the 16 years of the PDP as the focus of his 2019 re-election campaign.
The governor spoke further, “He (Buhari) wondered about what happened in the past; that for the 16 years of the now opposition party, the PDP in power and with oil at 2.1million barrels per day at an average of $100, many infrastructure are in bad shape.”
- Warns that 2019 elections will be harder than previous polls
Incidentally, Yari recalled that Buhari recently said that he would no longer complain about the PDP’s 16 years in office, but that it appeared the President had done a rethink.
Yari said, “He is going to open a vigorous campaign and these are key issues that he is going to raise with Nigerians so that they can weigh their choices.”
He added that Buhari wished himself (President) and all candidates for the 2019 polls best of luck, but reportedly admitted that, ”it is not going to be easy; it will be harder than before.”
However, the NGF praised the President for the interventions he made in the past, which helped the states to pay accumulated salaries and allowances to workers.
“When Mr President came on board, 27 states out of 36 could not pay salaries; some for 13, 12, eight and five months respectively,” he added.
Buhari has admitted not fixing the economy – PDP
Meanwhile, the PDP on Friday said that Buhari’s admission before state governors that he had failed to fix the economy was contrary to his campaign promises in the 2015 general elections.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said that by asking Nigerians to tighten their belts, Buhari had admitted that the nation’s economy had terribly worsened under his watch and that he has no solution to the nation’s economic realities.
Ologbondiyan said, “Mr. President by this statement has admitted that he is tired and that the task of running a competitive economy such as ours is way above his capacity.
“If President Buhari had heeded wise counsel from Nigerians and the international community to hands off critical sectors of our economy and allow competent hands to manage them, our economy would not have gone into a biting recession, for which he is now asking Nigerians to tighten their belts.”
He added, “Nigerians must hold President Buhari directly responsible for the official flops, harsh economic policies and humongous corruption in his regime, which led to the collapse of our once robust economy, turned our nation to the poverty capital of the world with the worse form of hunger and starvation to the extent compatriots now consider suicide mission and slavery as options.
“Most reprehensible is that Mr. President wants Nigerians to tighten their belts at a time he, his officials and associates are swimming in very expensive lifestyles.”
He stated that Nigerians across the board had made enough sacrifices in accommodating Buhari administration.