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President Muhammadu Buhari says he refused to replace Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), when he took over power because he wanted to give him the opportunity to salvage the economy from its “terrible condition”.
Buhari said this on Friday night when he hosted some of his supporters at the presidential villa in Abuja.
The president also insisted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) left the country in ruins, challenging anyone to present any evidence that could contradict his claim.
“I said it is on record and I challenge anybody to check from Europe, United States and Asia that between 1999 and 2014, the 16 years of previous administration there was an average of 2.1 million per day of crude oil at the average cost of 100 dollars per barrel,’’ he said.
On the letter former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote in January, Buhari said Femi Adesina, his spokesman, was angry over it and wanted to reply Obasanjo “but I stopped him for two reasons; first, he is much younger than me and Gen. Obasanjo. Secondly, I am from the same constituency with Gen. Obasanjo.”
He, however, said Lai Mohammed, minister of information, disobeyed’’ his instruction on not replying the former president but that Mohammed did a good job in the end.
Buhari said the reply by the minister showed Nigerians the realities on ground when the current administration came on board in 2015 and its ongoing efforts to revive the “inherited damaged economy”.
“I really appreciate how you choose this time during Ramadan to come from across the country to see and congratulate me for what we were able to do,” he said.
“We were constrained to explain our position when the former head of state wrote a letter; Adesina was agitated and wanted to immediately reply but I didn’t allow him.
“When Lai Mohammed came, I said he shouldn’t and he insisted. He disobeyed me. He said I must allow him to talk; then, of course, being a professionally information person, I listened to him and asked him what are going to say.
“He said he was going to remind Nigerians where we found ourselves when we came in as a government, where we are now, what we have done in between with the resources available to us… he did a good job because a number of people rang me and said Lai Mohammed has done a good job because I went public in several times.”
The president assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to spend more funds to upgrade the nation’s infrastructural facilities.
He said the government had also expended more than N1.3 trillion on capital projects across the country.