Nigeria: 2nd Term - Buhari Keeps Ministers Guessing

President Muhammadu Buhari presides over Valedictory Meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the State House, Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday left ministers in suspense as he met with them for the last time.

His tenure ends on May 29 but he will on the same day take another oath of office as he begins his second term after winning the presidential election on February 23.

Yesterday at a valedictory cabinet meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja President Buhari asked the ministers to work until Tuesday and then give their handing over notes to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

"You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges. We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016.

"The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption. Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well-nigh hopeless.

"However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state. Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals.

"These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational. It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term," he said.

The president said each of the cabinet member has a unique skill and strength, noting that they are a reflection of the Nigeria they aspire to achieve.

"A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered. I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability," he said.

"Although today (yesterday) is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, 28th May 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries.

"Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation," he said.

Buhari's other side - Osinbajo

Speaking at the session, Osinbajo said many only know about the president's personal integrity, discipline and capacity for hard work but that only few know how humorous Buhari is.

"Mr. President many know of your personal integrity, discipline and capacity for hard work but many will not know just how humorous you are. I remember Mr. President telling me once that we should observe the cabinet members who go out often during meetings, that they were actually going out to finish the coconut and peanut.

"And since then I have noted carefully all those who go out looking very serious but I'm sure they end up finishing the coconut and peanut as Mr. President said," he said.

Osinbajo thanked the president for the trust and confidence reposed in him.

"I will like to thank Mr. President for the opportunity to serve as your vice president and your running mate twice. My deepest gratitude come from the great trust that you reposed in me at all times.

"I will never forget when you were going on medical leave in May of 2017 and you said to me that you will not falter on my discretion as acting President in anyway. In keeping with your character and style, you kept your words," he said.

Ministers also took turns to speak on their experiences working with President Buhari.

2023: What Buhari, Osinbajo must do - Adamu Adamu

For his part, Education Minister Adamu Adamu said Buhari and Osinbajo must work together to ensure the continuity of the development strides laid by this administration after 2023.

"Like I have said in other occasions, Nigeria has never been lucky to have a combination like this. The president who is famous for integrity and the Vice President who is a true man of God.

"Sir, both of you have the greatest burden on your shoulders to ensure that this alliance that produced you prevails and is maintained.

"And sir, it will not prevail until something is done because immediately after you what will happen to Nigeria if you are not succeeded by your own type of integrity, then we are going back to something worse than the one you succeeded.

"This is very important, I hope this occupies your mind, the next cabinet and perhaps the party," he said.

I'm now a graduate of PMB school of integrity - Zainab Ahmed

"For me every encounter I had with Mr.President is like going to school. Today I'm proud to be graduating with first degree from the PMB's school of governance, integrity, accountability and due process.

"I'm proud to say that I was in the department of EMT that was ably chaired by His Excllency, the Vice President which we all call silently as workaholic who expects you to be there sometime till 2:am.he is never tired," she said.

Buhari has no oil bloc - Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu said he can attest to the fact that the president has no oil bloc.

"I have had the unique privilege of working with Mr. President directly, different from being Mr. President, he was my direct boss.

"This is probably the first president that I will know who would have served four years and I can attest that no oil bloc has been given to him. I can also attest that there is no contract that he has shown interest personally neither have I. This is probably the first crop of ministers that worked with no official residences and sometimes from their personal cars.

"But I have learnt that if you come to serve Nigeria you have come to sacrifice and if you can't serve with sacrifice then there is no need to serve.

"Three things I have learnt from you which have been very very helpful, in the first is the power of silence, especially if you don't have anything to say that is meaningful. The second is the power of calm when the water is turbulent and the third is the audacity of integrity. That integrity is what has led us to take some of the bold steps that we have taken that ordinarily Nigerians wouldn't have forgiven inclusive of the lifting of the price of petroleum products which was essential at the time," he said.

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