President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, assured Nigerian professionals abroad that the economic recession in the country would soon be history as his administration would address the relevant challenges diligently.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja quoted Buhari as saying this at a parley with some Nigerian Professionals in the United States (U.S.).
According to the statement, the parley provided Buhari the “opportunity to bring them up to speed on how and why Nigeria got into trouble’’.
The statement said the President assured the professionals that “with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time’’.
It also said that although Buhari enumerated the socio-economic challenges facing the country, he pledged that he would not complain about the problems he met on the ground when he assumed duty as President.
“I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain since I prayed for the job.
“In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General.
I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states.
“I was head of state; got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund, which had N53 billion at that time in Nigerian banks. God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain.
“If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me. After 16 years of a different party in government, no party would come and have things easy. It’s human.
“We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I would like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I would like you to be ready.’’
According to the statement, Buhari explained that Nigeria plunged into economic recession because the country failed to save enough funds for the “rainy days’’.
It quoted him as saying: “We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day.
“For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure.
“Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel.
“I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None.
“I further asked: what did we do with the billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food.
“Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe. In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow.
“People in the South eat tubers; those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go? We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure, when we had the money.
Buhari commended the Nigerians in Diaspora for doing the country proud, saying: “Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians.
“They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.’’
The statement said that all the Nigerian professionals, who spoke at the event, pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland into a new dawn.
Among the professionals, who met with Buhari, are top flight aeronautic engineers, physicians, information technology experts, a judge and a top policewoman.
Others are entrepreneurs, an import specialist, professors and students.