President Muhammadu Buhari was well appreciated by the Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday as each Minister lauded him for the opportunity he gave them to serve in his cabinet.
At the valedictory session of the council, ministers in the cabinet took turns to narrate the lessons they learnt from the president as members of his cabinet.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, jokingly thanked Buhari for not converting him to Islam, saying he was misunderstood and criticised for associating with the president.
Amaechi narrated how he was almost chased out of Christ the King Catholic Church in 2014 for supporting the president, whom they alleged was trying to Islamise the country, PM reports.
“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 Islamise 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 said some persons initially thought that the president would be an autocratic leader only for him to turn out to be an “extreme democrat”.
“I was told in the course of the campaign that you were autocratic and therefore you would not be democratic.
“Most of us are not happy that you have moved from your autocratic nature to an extreme democrat that everything puts to test of the people, to the extent 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.
On his part, the Minister of state, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who described his appointment as minister by the president as unique, said he learnt three things from Buhari.
“Three things I have learnt from you which have been very helpful; 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(ness) 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 Mr President for these lessons and the guidance,” 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.
“I want to crave the indulgence of the president to most sincerely thank him for the opportunity he has given me to serve as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the past three and a half years.
“This is a great privilege for anyone to serve his or her country, especially at this level.
“Whatever little achievements one has recorded in the past three and half years wouldn’t have been possible without the support, encouragement and guidance of Mr President and for that I am immensely grateful. I must say that I have learnt a lot from the president’s leadership style.
“Here in this council, you have brought dignity and discipline to the council meetings,” Mohammed said.
The Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said she had acquired a lot of knowledge, skills and experience as a member of the FEC under the leadership of Buhari.
She said members were compelled to learn from each other.
She said: “For me every encounter I had with Mr President is like going to school. Today, I’m proud to be graduating with first degree from the PMB’s School of Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Due Process.
“I’m proud to say that I was in the department of EMT that was ably chaired by His Excellency, the Vice-President which we all call silently as workaholic who expects you to be there sometime till 2:00a.m. – he is never tired.”
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, thanked God for seeing members of the cabinet through their tenure in spite of the trials they went through.
“The scriptures have taught us that whatever has a beginning must have an end.
“So, today I give thanks to God for seeing us through to the end of this tenure despite all the trials and tribulations, the good and the bad times and the difficult challenges.
“Till today Your Excellency I do not understand how I was picked as a Minister, I do not understand how I have fared but it has been a rare opportunity that I never took for granted.
“My prayer is that I have served well, compared to the wealth of experience, skills and exposure I have received within this tenure,” she said.
Other Ministers such as the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and others also appraised the President.
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