Minister of Transportation Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said Wednesday that he was once walked out of a church for supporting President Muhammadu Buhari who many Christians feared in the past that he was on a mission to Islamise the country.
Amaechi said this at a valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State in Abuja.
“Mr. President, let me thank you for not converting me to Islam. I say that specifically because in 2014, when I walked into Christ the King Catholic Church, I was literally chased out of the church as a governor because I was accused of supporting a man whose agenda was to Islamized Nigeria. And in Rivers state they began to call me Alhaji Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. I thank you because they have dropped the Alhaji and back to Mr. Chibuike Amaechi,” he said.
Amaechi also frowned at those who initially thought that the president would be an autocratic leader only for the president to turn out to be an “extreme democrat.’’
“I was told in the cause of the campaign that you were autocratic and, therefore, you will not be democratic. Most of us are not happy that you have moved from the autocratic nature of yours to an extreme democrat that everything puts to test of the people, to the extend that the people now feel that the only way things can go on in this country is by the rule of law.
“We all know that the rule of law is the beginning and the end of this government. Talking about the financial impunity that we saw before, people were making money without having any productive capacity for that,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who described his appointment as unique, said he learnt three things from the president.
“Three things I have learnt from you which have been 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. I thank you me president for these lessons and the guardians,’’ he said.
The Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the opportunity given him to serve was a great one that would never be forgotten.
He commended the President for inculcating a lot of discipline into the Federal Executive Council.
Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said she had acquired a lot of knowledge, skills and experience as a member of the federal executive council under the leadership of the president, adding that members were compelled to learn from each other.
On her part, Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Abubakar thanked God for seeing them through their tenure despite the trials they went through.
Also speaking, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, commended the president for guiding them through the successes they recorded, especially during their most trying periods.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, thanked the president for giving him the freedom to run the ministry without any interference.
“As a journalist who have been very critical of government and perhaps a nobody, I would never have become a minister, but not for this gesture of Mr President,” he said.
The minister stressed the need for the federal government to provide adequate budgetary allocations to the ministry of education, saying that the ministry should not get less than one trillion naira annually.