The Presidency on Friday said Nigerians must learn to bear
the pains of an economy in recession because that was the way to go if the
country must be fixed.
It also insisted that the nation’s woes were caused by the
mismanagement that characterized the administration of former President Good
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and
Publicity, Garba Shehu, said these in an opinion article titled “What is
President Buhari doing with the economy?”
Shehu faulted those who hold the view that the President
should forget the past and concentrate on how to reposition the country.
He said the present administration must keep a fiery memory
of the past so that it does not repeat past mistakes, adding that the future
must be built on the foundations of the past.
He said, “To avoid repeating the past mistakes, Nigerians
must come to terms with what went wrong with the past, how bad things were,
what was done wrongly, what the past government should have done, before we
come to what needs to be done to right those wrongs.
“Believe me; episodes from the Jonathan era can fill books,
and other possibilities, such as courtroom drama thriller.”
He attributed the current pain, which he said was inevitable
to the mismanagement of the past.
He added, “The current pain is due to the mismanagement of
the past. What Nigeria is currently experiencing was inevitable. This
government is simply being honest with the people instead of piling up debts
and concealing the truth by pretending all was rosy. This government believes that
Nigerians deserve to know the truth.
“People stole unbelievable amounts of money. The kind of
money some of these ex-officials hold is itself a threat to the security of the
state. Since it is not money earned, they feel no pain deploying just anyhow to
thwart genuine and well-intentioned government efforts.
“Sadly, even that which was not stolen was wasted. Government
coffers were left empty, with huge debts unpaid and unrecorded (this government
is working to quantify the amount owed). Even the current high food prices can
be traced to past deceit.
“For example, the previous government purchased fertilisers
in 2014, worth N65bn and left the bill unpaid. In 2015, the suppliers could not
supply fertilisers which resulted in a low harvest, shortages and high food
“This government had to pay off the debt so that the
suppliers could begin to supply fertilisers again. Across Nigeria, a green revolution is
occurring as Nigerians are going back to the farms, from rice in Kebbi and
Ebonyi to Soya and Sesame in Jigawa and Kano. At the same time, Nigerians are
looking inwards to identify commercial opportunities from agri-businesses.
“Most of our road contractors had not been paid since 2012;
many of them had sent their workers away, adding to the unemployment problem.
This government has released capital allocations in the last three months that
is more than the whole of 2015. In 2015, Nigeria spent a paltry N19bn on roads,
in three months we have spent N74bn and we are already releasing more.