Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, at yesterday’s valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, opened up on why he didn’t dissolve his cabinet.
The president said the unique skill and strength of each of his ministers and their collective vision for a better Nigeria compelled him to keep the cabinet intact; for his full first term in office.
The president said: “In the last three and a half years, we worked together, to deliver our campaign promises.
“I strongly believe that it is this teamwork that led to the successes recorded during our first term. “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 were what made the decisions we took all the more rational.
“It was 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.”
Buhari encouraged them to be proud of the achievements recorded by the ad- ministration, in view of the enormous challenges they met upon assumption of office.
“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.
“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 programme that enhanced livelihoods of mil- lions 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 programmes in the history of our country. “I want to put on record, that your achievements, in the last three and a half years, has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation.
“You have certainly built the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government,” he said.
The president also appreciated ministers who left the cabinet earlier, on their own, to pursue other engagements, and particularly, the four-month stay in cabinet of later Minister of Labour, James Ocholi, who died in an accident along-side his wife and son.