The president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed his nervousness over Nigerians’ expectations of him, which he described as “too high”. Buhari said this at a meeting with the APC governors-elect at Defence House, Abuja, yesterday.
He also decried the poor state of the Nigerian economy which he said has made it difficult for both the federal and state governments to meet their obligations to workers.
Buhari was responding to pleas by the incoming governors for him to assist them prepare a sort of bail out for states to enable them pay salaries to their workers without hitches. Buhari said,
“The expectation is too high and I have started nervously to explain to people that Rome was not built in a day.
it is sad that the nation is grappling with security challenges while the economy is lying prostrate with most states unable to pay salaries in spite of the revenue we earned from 1990 till date.
“For this to be corrected, please give the incoming government a chance. 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 was to increase the prices of petroleum products, but they were not taking Nigerians for a ride.
“They could have said if Nigerians decide too 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.
Perhaps in a veiled reference to what his administration is planning to do to mitigate the effects of the economic down turn, Buhari hinted at embarking on public enlightenment to galvanise public support for his economic policies.
“This time around, under this system, 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 and think of how to persuade people to give us a chance to organise the economy immediately and get something to pay salaries.
He reaffirmed his determination to give priority to securing the lives and property of Nigerians because according to him, no meaningful development can take place without security.
According to Nigerian Pilot, the governors who attended the meeting with the president-elect were: Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), kashim Shettima (Borno), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abubakar (Bauchi) Hon. Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Umar Ganduje (Kano), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Sen. Bindow Jibrila (Adamawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Simeon Lalong (Plateau).
[Read Also]: ‘Presidential Poll: Jonathan Doubts Buhari’s Victory‘
Addressing journalists after their meeting with Buhari, Okorocha said,
“We came here to pay a courtesy call on the president-elect, who will be sworn in on the 29th of this month as the President and also to familiarise ourselves, both the old governors and the governors-elect.
“One of the issues that became of concern to all of us is the state of the Nigerian economy which is really in bad shape. We have come to notify the incoming president of the challenges ahead of him. As it stands today, most states of the federation have not been able to pay salaries and even the federal government has not paid April salary and that is very worrisome. By May and June, salaries will be in cumulative of three months.
“We wonder with the huge expectation from Nigerians and people who have voted us into power, we are hoping that the president-elect will do all the things that are humanly possible to bring about a bail out not only on the states but the federal government at least for people to get their salaries and turn around the economy,’’ he concluded.
Meanwhile, the senator-elect and chairman of Silverbird Group, Ben Murray-Bruce, recently stated that Buhari will soon wish he had not won the presidential election if he does not take serious measures to improve Nigeria’s economy.