By Shola Abayomi.
President Muhammadu Buhari chaired the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of all the ministers, adding that he did not drop any of his cabinet members because each of them has a unique skill which has been well-utilised to serve the nation well.
The president urged the ministers to carry on with their responsibilities until May 28, 2019, when they are expected to formally hand over their portfolios. Handover notes, he added, should be submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
President Buhari recollected some cabinet ministers with whom he started the journey that were not at yesterday’s valecdictory session.
He said: “Some of our colleagues, with whom we started this journey, unfortunately, are not here to join us in celebrating our successes. Specifically, I must recognise our late brother, James Ocholi SAN who passed away in a fearful motor accident with his wife, Blessing and son, Joshua only four months after being sworn in as a minister.”
On why he didn’t reshuffle the cabinet for four years, he said: “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 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 Nigeria we aspire to achieve.
“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.”
Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo thanked President Buhari for the opportunity to serve as his vice and running mate twice.
He said: “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.”
All the 31 ministers took turns to thank the President for finding them worthy of their appointments in the past three and a half years.