President Muhammadu Buhari has made a national broadcast ahead of Saturday’s polls, assuring Nigerians that his administration will never sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for personal or material gains.
The president, who gave the assurance in a national broadcast on Thursday night reiterated his commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.
He said: “The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs.
“You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.’’
President Buhari noted with delight that the recovery of the economy from “recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.’’
He stated that his administration in the last three and half years had committed itself to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which he maintained, had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.
The president, however, stated that his administration had spent the last three years and nine months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages.
He said the shortages were caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, `mercifully’ had been curtailed.
“We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people.
“The damage that insecurity and corruption have done, over time, to our collective livelihood is incalculable.
“However, it is pleasing to note that our frontal attack on these twin evils is gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.
“The recovery of the economy from recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.
“The key to creating more jobs lies in accelerating this momentum of economic growth. Happily, we have succeeded in making the fundamental changes necessary for this acceleration, and we are now beginning to see the efforts bearing fruit,’’ he said.
The president stated that the ease of doing business policies and programmes of the administration were already impacting medium, small and micro industries, as well as Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, among other key sectors.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that his administration’s commitment to critical infrastructure such as roads, rails, bridges, airports and seaports would create more jobs, improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the industries.
On agriculture, the president said agricultural self-reliance and food security was a deliberate choice made by his administration in fulfilment of its mandate for change.
He disclosed that the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative had resulted in savings of 150 million dollars in foreign exchange due to local sourcing of inputs at 16 Blending Plants.
According to him, the initiative has also conserved N60 billion in subsidies as well as supported tens of thousands of farmers and agro-dealers nationwide.
He said: “Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has substantially raised local rice yields from as low as two Metric Tonnes per hectare, to as high as eight Metric Tonnes per hectare.
“Through this programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cumulatively lent over N120 billion to over 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 States and Abuja.
“Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, ground nut, ginger, sorghum, rice, wheat, cotton and maize.
“As a result, we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities. I am pleased to note that in major departmental stores and local markets, there has been a surge in the supply of high quality Nigerian agricultural produce.
“Behind each of these products, are thousands of industrious Nigerians working in factories and farms across the nation. Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation for these Nigerians, particularly in our rural communities.’’
He added that these outcomes had been a major departure from the previous focus on consuming imported food items.
He stated that the choice made by the government to assist farmers directly and promote agriculture in every way possible had gone a long way to enhance the nation’s food security.
The president also noted that the policy had helped the government to tackle poverty by feeding over nine million children daily under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
“It also puts us clearly on the road to becoming a food secure and agriculture exporting nation,’’ he added.