'Wake up, help Nigeria overcome current challenges' Buhari tasks Nigerian elites

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday called on elite within and outside the country to be prepared to contribute more meaningfully towards helping the country overcome its current challenges.

The president made the appeal at an audience with the outgoing President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Donald Kaberuka, who paid him a farewell visit at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the privileged and influential citizens clearly have to do more now than in the past to help the country deal successfully with its economic and security problems.

“With the shock of falling oil prices, lack of revenues and insecurity, the Nigerian elite must now wake up and provide the right guidance in their communities, and also lead the economy on the right path more than they used to do,’’ the president said.

Buhari also told Kaberuka that his administration would welcome more support from the AfDB for projects in versatile sectors like agriculture that could easily be explored to create more jobs for unemployed Nigerians.

“An impression has been erroneously created that we are a rich country but looking at the economic profile of the country today, you will see that that is not necessarily the case.

“Our social services have to be seriously rehabilitated. We need urgent attention on areas like education and health services, not only in the north eastern part of the country, but all round the country.

“We will fall back on institutions like the AfDB for support in generating employment. We have vast potentials in the agricultural sector that can be explored to create more jobs.

“We also have small businesses that need funds for expansion,’’ he further maintained.

The outgoing AfDB president had earlier informed Buhari that some development institutions like the World Bank, German Development Bank and the European Development Bank had already indicated their readiness to provide long term loan facilities to small businesses in Nigeria.

Kaberuka assured the president that the AfDB would always support economic projects in Nigeria.
Dr Akinwunmi Adesina of Nigeria will replace the outgoing AfDB president in September.

The AfDB currently has a strong capital base of 4.8 billion dollars with Nigeria having the largest contribution of about 60 per cent of the capital base. (NAN)
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