President Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday that he decided to retain his ministers in the last four years in spite of pressures from some quarters because of their unique skill, strength and leadership qualities.
The president said this during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said the ministers exhibited spirit of team work and were more rational in taking decisions aimed at tackling the numerous challenges facing the country, stressing that the cabinet members were “a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve.’’
The president said the ministers’ achievements within the priod had guaranteed their position in the history books of the nation because they had succeeded in building the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.
“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. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength. We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve – A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered,” he said.
The president thanked the ministers for agreeing to serve the country and its people, and urged them to be happy for contributing their quota in various ways to the development of the nation.
“I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability. You should be proud to have been part of the government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.
“You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy. You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.
“You should be proud to have introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians. You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears. And of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country,’’ he said.
The ministers, who took turns to recount their experiences, commended the president for his humility, integrity and hard work.
They also expressed appreciation for his kind gesture and pledged to do more for the country when called upon to serve again.