President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured Nigerians that the country will be prosperous again.
He urged the citizenry to be hopeful but cautioned that change, which his administration symbolises, is not a bed of roses.
The Federal Government, he said, is committed to the implementation of the positive agenda he promised Nigerians.
Although he did not directly address the recession into which the nation’s economy has sunk into, his speech in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, during his one day official visit, is believed to be a veiled reference to it.
The President inaugurated the 3,000-capacity Osogbo High School, as part of activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the state’s creation.
Buhari, who was received at the Ibadan Airport by Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, his deputy Chief Alake Adeyemo and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Chief Bisi Akande, among others, arrived at the Osogbo Government High School, premises at about 11.10 am. He had earlier inaugurated the Ataoja High School also in Osogbo.
The President said: ”Changes are never achieved on the bed of roses but through steadfastness, dedication, integrity, the country shall be rescued and be prosperous again.
“What we are trying to do since is to introduce all ingredients in the change mantra on the individual levels but change takes perseverance, endurance, dedication to achieve.
“We are determined to implement our change agenda by curbing excessive waste in government.
“We shall restore integrity to governance through the fight against corruption.
“We are determined to deliver and rescue the country from bad governance.”
The President praised Aregbesola for providing a conducive learning environment for students.
He said that the building of the Osogbo High School was worthy of emulation by other governors, adding that the project was part of APC’s agenda on education.
The APC government, the President said, will continue to implement cost-effective education policies.
“I congratulate the people of Osun on the 25th anniversary of the state.
“The essence of the state’s creation was to bring government closer to the people and to provide good governance, just like Governor Aregbesola has done.
“Government at all levels must continue to channel their energy toward education because this is the only way we can secure the future of our children,” Buhari said.
The President, who said he was happy to be in Osun, which he described as the spiritual home of Yoruba civilisation, thanked the people for voting for APC in the 2015 general elections.
He said the Federal Government’s help to states shall continue until they overcome their problems.
He added: “Ten percent of our entire budget is given to education to show the priority to the sector. Our desire is to see the country maintaining its high tempo in education as it was in the past. All Progressives Congress government is set to make education in Nigeria qualitative as promised in our manifesto.
“We are desired to tackle the rot in the education sector, so also, other sectors in the country. Osogbo Government High School is a legacy of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration. It is three schools in one place.
Aregbesola said Buhari has not disappointed us. He has faced his task with courage and doggedness. No doubt, he is facing some challenges, part of which is the fall in revenue that has put about 28 states under severe financial crisis.
“He continues with a rare sense of doggedness and faith in God as he faces the turbulent situations. We are satisfied with the way he manages the affairs of the state (country) and leads us. The challenges we are facing are as a result of the previous party’s (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) rape of our resources.”
Among the facilities in the school are 72 classrooms, offices, laboratories, toilets, library, bookshop, sick bay and a multi-purpose hall which can accommodate 1000 students for examinations.
The governor said that the school, which has 3,000 sitting capacity, cost the state government N1.35 billion to complete.
He said: “We are producing the new man intellectually, morally and socially through education.
“We want to determine the next 15 years of the state through education because education is the path to development.
“Education, for us, therefore, is the path to development. We are 25 years now, but we are looking at the next 25 years and we want to create and determine the next 25 years through education.
”We are producing the new man. The overall aim is to develop the new man intellectually, socially and morally. This new man is placed in the centre of society, who views his own development as part of and for the development of society.
”This is a non-parasitic and non-oppressive man who views his existence in light of the growth of others; he views whatever has acquired to be subsumed in the overall interest of others. He is a man in himself and a man for society.”
Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode and Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima joined their Osun and Oyo counterparts to receive the President.
Osun State Deputy Governor Mrs Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori, Aregbesola’s wife Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, who is from Osun State, and Minister of communication Adebayo Shittu were also in the reception party.
Also there were the three Osun State senators – Isiaka Adeleke, Sola Adeyeye and Babajide Omoworare –House of Representatives and House of Assembly members.
Others are former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Ogun State Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, one-time Chiefs of Defence Staff Gen. Ipoola Alani Akinrinade (rtd) and Air Vice Marshal Oluseyi Petirin and Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudasihiru Obasa.
Traditional rulers at the event were the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbduRasheed Adewale Akanbi, among others.