Next four years will be tough, Buhari insists
•Says had I lost election, would minister have returned to me
Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) met President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja to congratulate him on his re-election with the president wondering whether if he had lost the election the ministers would have returned to him.
He said: “First, I am pleased that members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) are collectively meeting here today where we play our weekly role to congratulate me.
“I think if I have lost the election, I don’t know how many of them will be here,” President Buhari stated.
Recall that Buhari was declared the winner of last Saturday’s presidential election against the candidate of the main opposition party, Atiku Abubakar.
The president warned Nigerians that his next four years in office would be tough but expressed delight that agriculture was being revived in the country.
He also affirmed that he was fit to govern the country for another four years against the prediction of cynics, thanking God for giving him good health.
Buhari added: “Secondly, during the campaigns, I tried to visit the 36 states and Abuja, firstly, to prove to the other side that I’m fit. I tried to cover two states per day and secondly, not to make anybody feel that any state had been left out.
“So, I thank God that He gave me the strength and health to see through my plan and I think it is appreciated.
“My last lap of four years, I think it is going to be tough because people are being forgetful. That was why wherever I went, I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and institutions. If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place.
“Secondly, on the economy, unemployment is a problem of this country as a whole. More than 60 per cent of the youths, they need to be kept busy.
“I realised that God heard our prayers. It had been two good rainy seasons and we had the foresight to get the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Central Bank to try and give soft loans to farmers so that everybody that is educated and looking for white collar jobs and cannot get it, can go back to the land. We are lucky the rainy season had been good.
“I think we are also lucky that through the governors in some states like Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, in particular, we don’t import rice but we have savings from rice in terms of foreign exchange which we put in the budget and use for infrastructure.
“That is a very good thing because the oil sector is becoming very difficult to predict. It is becoming unpredictable and depending on it makes us materially insecure but thank goodness, agriculture has come to save it and people are appreciating it.”
Speaking on behalf of the cabinet, the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), ‘Boss Mustapha, said the FEC members were in the villa to congratulate the president “the historic re-election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “
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He added: “Your victory with a huge majority of votes cast is indeed a well-deserved success because it was a referendum on honesty, integrity uprightness and sincerity.
“Your Excellency, the Change you promised four (4) years ago to put the Nigerian economy on a sustainable development path; restore the security of lives and property, and to fight corruption has laid the firm foundation for growth. Your commitment, dedication and purposeful leadership have indeed become the springboard that has taken us to the Next Level.
“Your Excellency, members of the Federal Executive Council are particularly delighted because Nigerians have validated and rewarded the long rigorous hours we spent in this Council Chamber to deliberate on matters of national importance. You led us with assured calmness, understanding and ensured that we gave an account of our stewardship openly.
“Similarly, the leadership of the Public Service is happy because this re-election will deepen the on-going reforms aimed at strengthening its capacity for the delivery of good governance.”
The SGF highlighted the achievements of the president including the implementation of the Treasury Single Account [TSA], Bank Verification Number (BVN), Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), the Open
Government Partnership [0GP], the whistleblower policy, the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan [FCSSIP] 2017-2020, and his commitment to the implementation of the Minimum Wage.
According to him, all of these have combined to transform the Public Service into effective and productive machinery.
Mustapha further stated: “The Public Service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria totally aligns itself with millions of Nigerians that have reelected you and members rededicate themselves to the delivery of quality service for the benefit of Nigerians. We pledge our loyalty and support to government and assure you that we shall facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable development of our nation.
“Your Excellency, it is the prayer of all of us that in this 2nd Term, God will increase your wisdom and endow you with good health to enable you to expand the frontiers of the fulfilment of your promises. Indeed, our best years are still ahead of us as a nation. We salute your courage, firmness and fairness.”