BY Oluseyi Awojulugbe
President Muhammadu Buhari says he will feel better as the number one citizen in the country when the lives of Nigerians improve.
In an interview with TheSignature50 magazine, Buhari said his administration is working to ensure that the lives of Nigerians improve beyond ratings and indices.
“We have been rated as Africa’s largest economy by different verifiable indices. How does that make one feel as President of Nigeria? Of course, one feels good. But that is not enough,” the president said.
“I will feel a lot better when we go beyond just rating and statistics, and the majority of Nigerians begin to feel the impact of that rating.
“When Nigerians prosper, when the quality of their lives improves dramatically when our status as the largest economy reflects in their pockets, then I will feel a lot better.”
Speaking on the successes achieved by his administration so far, Buhari said the economy is no longer in the forlorn state that it used to be. Explaining that the progress being made is not as fast as he would have wanted, he said the deliverables achieved so far gives hope that things are looking up.
According to the president, the Nigerian vision is to ensure that the economy has buffers to shield it from crude oil shocks.
“Our experience as a mono-product economy is that whenever any international upheaval affects the price of oil, Nigeria is drastically affected.
“The vision we have is to put our economy in a shape that the rain does not need to beat us when rainy days come in the international oil market. We should be able to hold our own with other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, and many others. That is the national plan and vision.”
Buhari said the country is doing a lot with China because the Asian country has passed through the same trajectory and succeeded.
“Why then can’t we benefit from our relationship, which continues to improve by the day, with great possibilities available?” he said.
“From discipline, national cohesion, emphasis on science and technology, pro-poor policies, and many others, China has become one of the largest economies in the world, all within about four decades. Nigeria has a lot to learn from this, and at the end of the day, we shall be the better for it.”
He assured that his administration will try, as much as possible, to cushion the effect of the pandemic on Nigerians.