Despite being criticised for blaming ex-president Jonathan for the country's current challenges, Buhari insists GEJ left the country in a "terrible shape."
He added that the fall in oil prices compounded the problem, which eventually landed the country's economy in recession.
The President stated this on Thursday, January 12, while receiving recipients of the 2016 Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) at the State House, Abuja.
"There was no money in the treasury," adding that "we were producing less than one million barrels of oil per day, from the 2.2 million barrels we used to do. The country was in a terrible shape, but luckily, the
people understand, and are cooperating with us."
Identifying Nigeria's major challenges as insecurity, poor economy, and corruption, the President said of all the problems, corruption ranks the "worst."
He added: "‘Nobody disputed the fact that they were the major problems of Nigeria, and we campaigned on those three planks. As a government, we believe you cannot administer a country you have not secured, so we focused on security.
"The economy is also down, therefore, we are not sparing any effort to revive and diversify it, so that our people, particularly the youths, can get jobs. The third problem, and the worst of them all, is corruption."
He commended the 2016 merit award winners, Prof. Omowunmi Sadik for distinguishing herself in the Sciences, and Prof. Tanure Ojaide, in the Humanities, describing their contributions to the academia and national development as ‘"quite fundamental."