President Muhammadu Buhari has as admitted his failure in the conduct of elections and rerun polls in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states saying that probably more Nigerians died in the Rivers state rerun poll than in other states.
He also disclosed that no fewer than 27 states are broke and cannot pay salaries in the country even as he added that the Treasury Single Account, TSA has hit a record N3trillion balance.
Buhari who also rationalized his frequent foreign trips, saying they are meant to explain his economic and other policies to Nigeria’s partners and neighbours, made the declaration in his address to the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, at the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC meeting in Abuja yesterday.
On electoral violence, he described the incidents recorded during the just concluded re-run election in Rivers state as very shameful. “I am afraid I did not succeed in the election in Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers. I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state. At this stage of our political development, to remain brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general election,” he said.
President Buhari said the FG has been able to mop- up more than N3 trillion from payments into the TSA since its inception. He said that TSA savings will be redeployed and distributed to all the critical sectors of the economy as soon as the implementation of the 2016 budget commences. “ When we insist that we have to know what comes in and what goes out for us to make a comprehensive amendment to the economy. If you go and see the Central Bank Governor, he will tell you that in the TSA, we have more than N3 trillion. Where would this money have been if TSA was not in vogue?”
President Buhari painted a gloomy picture of the economy and stressed that 27 out of 36 states are having serious problems in paying their workers salaries, a situation he attributed to financial indiscretion of the former PDP- led administration. He expressed sadness that successive Peoples Democratic Party governments since 1999, failed to make provisions for times like these considering the volatility of oil prices.
According to the president his foreign trips were needed to give a personal touch to making a case for the APC-led government’s economic and other policies. “You need to present your economic policies personally to your partners and your neighbours. He said nobody can contradict the fact that what his administration is focussing on at the moments remains very critical to the development and overall well- being of the people. In the area of corruption in the oil sector, President Buhari said the government will soon begin prosecution so that Nigerians will begin to appreciate the position on the malfeasance that has gone on.
He however, lamented that the administration is not finding it easy securing relevant evidences to prosecute the corruption suspects but that more work is to be done to ensure that those indicted are duly and properly prosecuted.
“We have tried to make sure that NNPC is reorganized, so that we know how much of our crude is taken, how much it is sold and to which account the money is going. But I tell you that up to the time we came, if anybody told you that he knows how much of crude exchanges hands either on the high sea or reaching their destination and the accounts the money goes into, that person is not telling you the truth. “We are getting the cooperation of countries that has received this crude.
But we have to be sure of the facts in our hands before we start prosecution so that Nigerians will believe what we have been telling them. Security at the national secretariat of the APC, venue of the NEC meeting was beefed-up. Most of the journalists that were detailed to cover the meeting were denied access into the party secretariat by operatives of Department of State Security, DSS.