President Muhammadu Buhari hinted yesterday of his resolve to take tough decisions in the four years he will remain in the saddle as the nation’s number one citizen. He gave the warning while receiving members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who came to congratulate him for winning the presidential election held on February 23. Buhari, who flew the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, secured another four-year term after scoring 15,191,847 votes against the 11,262,978 scored by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Buhari said that he will intensify efforts in the three areas of security, economy and war against corruption.
He also disclosed that he campaigned in all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory to prove to his critics that he was fit. 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. If I have lost the election, I don’t know how many of them will be here. “Secondly, during the campaigns, I tried to visit the 36 states and Abuja, firstly, to prove to the other side that I am fit. I tried to cover two states per day. And secondly, in order 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.” At the brief ceremony that started around 12 noon, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, spoke on behalf of the public service and congratulated the President and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for winning the election. According to him, the President’s victory was well deserved, as it was a referendum of honesty and sincerity.
He said that the public service totally align itself to the millions of Nigerians who voted for the President. He said: “I am delighted to speak on behalf of members of the Federal Execu tive Council and the leadership of the Public Service of Nigeria on the courtesy visit, to congratulate Your Excellency on the historic reelection as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “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 years ago to put the Nigerian economy on a sustainable development path, restore security of lives and property and fight corruption has laid the firm foundation for growth. “Your commitment, dedication and purposeful leadership has indeed become the springboard that has taken us to the Next Level.
“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 account of our stewardship openly.” He said that the leadership of the Public Service is also happy because the re-election will deepen the on-going reforms aimed at strengthening its capacity for the delivery of good governance. Apart from the ministers, others in the council chamber included the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and Head of Service Winifred Oyo-Ita. Congratulatory cards were presented to the President by Mustapha and Oyo-Ita.
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