The President on the campaign trail emphasized three things; security, the economy; and by the economy here, in particular the welfare of the people and Corruption.
To address the question of the welfare of the people, we realized that if we waited for the economy to pick up and then provide jobs for the people, especially young people, many would have given up hope, and many would have ended up in all manner of illegal activities.
So we decided on two things; one to invest heavily in Agriculture; to create jobs in the hinterlands, provide enough food locally and for all of the urban areas.
Secondly, we also decided to put in place an audacious Social Investment Programme to the tune of N500 billion, the largest pro-poor programme in our nation's history, and the largest social safety net, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50% and our production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.
We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories. 200,000 jobs for undergraduates employed under the NPower programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed, they have been preselected, over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of microcredit loans going to about 300,000, and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.
I want to thank His Excellency, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for giving me the opportunity to coordinate this programme and also for giving me a free hand to run the programme. The way the programme was structured is that in order to ensure transparency, we left all of the issues around procurement and financing to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. We have a steering committee of ministers, an inter-ministerial group, about six or seven ministers I think, who decide what to do and what the direction would be.