At the valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari awarded high marks to himself and his administration. He even commended his cabinet for leading Nigeria to exit an economic recession that happened under its watch.
Here’s how the president framed the past and present: “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.”
In the last four years, there were several calls from Nigerians for the president to appoint fresh faces into his cabinet, but he never budged. On Wednesday, he explained why he chose to retain the cabinet for the full 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 are what made the decisions we took all the more rational,” he said. “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 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 highlighted 7 things that his first term cabinet ought to be proud of:
- That they served the nation to the best of their ability.
- That they were part of the government “that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.”
- That they “contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy”
- That they were part of the team that “developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.”
- That they “introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.”
- That they participated in “settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.”
- That they oversaw the “most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country.”
For those reasons, President Buhari told them that “your achievements in the last three and a half hears has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation.”