Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and ministers on Wednesday spoke about their experiences working with President Muhammadu Buhari.
They all spoke during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council, which held inside the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr Osinbajo and the ministers were each given three minutes to speak on their experiences.
Below is what some of them said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
I thank Almighty God for preserving our lives to serve our nation this past four years. I will like to thank Mr President for the opportunity to serve as your vice president and your running mate, twice. My deepest gratitude comes 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 2017, and you said to me that you would not fault my discretion as Acting President in any way. In keeping with your character and style, you kept your words.
Mr President, many know of your integrity, discipline and capacity for hard work but many will not know just how humorous you are. I remember you, Mr President, telling me once that we should observe the cabinet members, who go out often during meetings, that they were going out to ”finish the coconut and peanuts.” And since then I have noted carefully all those who go out looking very serious, but Im sure they end up finishing the coconut and peanuts as Mr President said.
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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
I want to use this opportunity to greet our cabinet colleagues. This has been an exceptionally patriotic and talented team. Everyone brought experience, knowledge, wisdom and selflessness to council deliberations at all times. I treasure the friendship that we have built with ourselves and among family members in the last four years. I pray that you will all go from glory to glory, that you will never fail or fall. As we all us depart from the council, I pray that the lord that has guided us this far will be our help in the years to come in Jesus name.
Just to mention for the records that I was elected chairman of the ‘association’ to which Dr Ngige referred, the one to which Adams Oshiomhole (APC chairman), (Chris Ngige and (Governor) El-Rufai are members, not because Im the Vice President but because Im the ‘tallest’ member
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama
Thank you for the opportunity despite the fact you didnt know me from Adam. But your leadership has been such that you treated everyone the same, whether you knew them before or not. Unless one was told, one would never know who you knew before.
Mr President, no one in the history of the country has held as much top leadership position as you have, so it is intimidating to be called upon to advise you on any matter. But you are humility personified.
I will recall a few very short anecdotes that highlight a few of your many qualities.
In Poland, you showed your humility when, after a long tiring day, you were kept waiting by the Deputy Prime Minister. I advised you to leave but you preferred to wait patiently, and you were proved right, it was a wonderful meeting.
Mr President, you assembled a great cabinet from advisers, and it has been a joy to work with every one of them.
Your choice of VP was a truly inspired one. You both are a dream team – a match made in heaven. Remember James Ocholi, our late colleague and brother and former minister of state Labour, May his soul continue to rest in peace.
Minister of State (Agriculture), Heineken Lokpobiri
Mr President, let me join my colleagues in thanking you for appointing me a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What I have learnt in the last three and a half years I have not learnt in my 12 years as a parliamentarian. I was a speaker in Bayelsa State House of Assembly in 1999. I was a Senator in 2007 to 2015 but the last three and half years cannot be equalled to what I learnt as a member of the cabinet.
So my appointment is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Vice President and members of the cabinet within this period of my appointment, and Im very glad to say that your leadership style is exemplary, it was God ordained, and I always tell people that you came at a time that God wanted you to come. I have always told people that what saved this country is because of your integrity as the world sees yours as a man everyone can trust.
The presidents integrity is different, between Nigeria and Venezuela that have more oil than us but has been in crisis since 2015.
Mr President as you go to the next level, let me suggest that as president of Nigeria, youre the president of the black world, you have enormous responsibility, so you need all the time to attend to other matters apart from the FEC proceedings, and so it is my very humble submission that in the next level, let the office of SGF develop standing order that will regulate proceedings of the FEC that will save Mr President a lot of time to attend to other matters.
That will prevent some of my colleagues that will talk four or five times as they would be allowed to talk only once. You will only be allowed to talk twice if youre the one presenting the memo. It will be nice if we see some of the reforms take place so that we will be able to save Mr President enough time.
Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu
I want to congratulate Mr President for the wisdom in selecting the current members of the cabinet. There is no doubt that while there were some delays in appointing cabinet members, a lot of people had grievances of a sort but the fact that you succeeded in appointing this creme of Nigerians has justified the fact in the saying it is better late than never. There is no good for you in rushing to appoint the cabinet only for you to have problems along the way.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali
Upon assumption in 2015, we met ill-equipped armed forces with low morale and the standard of discipline in the military was eroded due to partisanship over the period, leading to neglect of its constitutional role. As you may recall at the time this administration was inaugurated in May 2015, 1/3 of the local government areas of the North-east was under the control of the insurgents, Boko Haram with bombing across the country.
Similarly, under your leadership, the ministry of defence has recorded a lot of achievements, some which include the review of national defence policy, the increased occupational capability of the Armed Forces, the conduct of internal security and the decapacitation of Boko Haram, among others.
Mansur Dan Ali
Despite all these achievements recorded so far, the nation is still experiencing serious security challenges, especially in the North-east and North-central. These challenges are not insurmountable. The Armed Forces and other security agencies are doing their best to address these problems.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu
As a journalist, who has been very critical of the government and perhaps a nobody, I would never have become a minister, if not for this gesture of Mr President
I will like to thank Mr President for giving freedom since I became a minister; the president has never asked me to give anybody a contract or directed me to employ anybody, and I think this is very rare. Also, I will like to thank the Vice President for his humility. Like I have said on 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.
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