One month ago, President Muhammadu Buhari said in the US that Nigerian youths were lazy, and he got overdose of bashing. Now, in Morroco, Buhari says Nigerians, fuelled by the youths, are resourceful and hardworking. Many wonder if the president is swallowing his word or is not sure how to describe his citizens.
According to statement by his aide, Shehu Garba, Buhari says Nigeria’s strongest selling point remains an “intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious’’ populace that always seeks self-improvement and self-actualization in any part of the world, President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Rabat, Morocco.
In an audience with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saadeddine Othmani, at the Royal Guest Palace, President Buhari said Nigeria’s “visionary and resilient population’’ works hard to always position the country for more growth, fuelled by a largely youthful group that continually wants to contribute to development.
“Nigerians are intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious. I received some of our students here yesterday and I am really impressed with the zeal and fearlessness they exuded.
“In Nigeria we have a very young and aggressive population and we are working very hard to create the enabling and inclusive environment for their contributions to be better appreciated,’’ the President told the Prime Minister.
President Buhari said his government is harnessing the human and material resources available in the country, especially in the educational and agricultural sectors, while seeking partnerships with countries that can explore the huge potentials in Nigeria.
The President noted that Nigeria was already on the verge of an agricultural revolution as the importation of rice had been cut down by 90 per cent in 18 months.
“We need to do more to improve our statistics on food production and graciously, the weather has been auspicious in the last couple of years for agricultural growth. We are happy that through partnership with you and hard work the price of fertilizer is already down by 50 per cent,’’ he said.
On the three agreements signed during his visit, namely, Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project, vocational training in agriculture and building of a chemical plant in Nigeria, the President assured the Prime Minister that they will receive appropriate attention.
“We have a huge gas reserve in Nigeria, and we should be known more for gas exploration than for crude oil. So, we are happy with the new partnership with Morocco,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister said his country had always been impressed by Nigeria’s intellectual zeal and strength, noting that “many Moroccans appreciate the intellectual contribution of Nigerians, especially in literary works.’’
“Your visit to our country is historic and we are looking forward to more partnerships, especially among our universities, which would further consolidate our relationship,’’ Othman said.
President Buhari also met with the head of the Moroccan legislature, Habib El Malki and the President of the Advisers on Commerce, Ben Chemmas.
The Nigerian leader ended his two-day visit to the Kingdom of Morocco with a visit to the mausoleum where he laid wreaths on the tombs of past kings.