President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday blamed the harsh economic situation currently faced by Nigerians on the mistakes the country made in the past.
President Buhari said though the country was blessed with numerous resources, it allowed herself to be confined in a mono-economy, by paying too much attention on petroleum to the detriment of viable cash crops like cocoa, groundnut, palm oil, palm kernel and hides and skin.
The President spoke shortly after commissioning the Edo University, Iyamho, in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, as part of his two-day official visit to the state.
He also took a tour of the facilities, including the administrative complex and faculty of science building which were named after him.
He was accompanied by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode; the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki, and a delegation from the state and federal government.
President Buhari said, “We are blessed with human and material resources. We have made terrible mistakes in allowing ourselves to be cornered into a mono-economy and we are now paying dearly for our mistakes.
“Nigeria saved the money from cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, groundnut, hides and skin and even started the professional development of petroleum.
“Once petroleum was discovered and developed in quantity, we threw everything to the dogs. Now, petroleum is diving from an average of $100 per barrel in the last 12 years to between $40 and $50 and we are paying for it.
“What have we done to our infrastructure – power, rail, road and social infrastructure, education and health? Just check and find out. We became very wasteful.”
The President, however, stressed the need for all Nigerians to work together towards reviving the solid minerals sector, even as he reiterated his administration’s commitment in providing security, improving the economy and fighting corruption to ensure a better future for the country.