Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja charged ministers-designate, who would be sworn in today, to give their best in their service to the country.
Buhari, in his closing remarks at the end of a two-day retreat organised for members of his next cabinet who will be assigned portfolios today, told them that four years was not a long time for them to think they had time on their side.
He restated the need for ministers to cooperate with one another with a view to achieving immediate results, bearing in mind that four years is a short period.
The president, who said whereas his last administration recorded some measures of success, the outcome of the retreat had only shown that there were yet significant challenges facing the country.
According to him, public service is not only tasking but could also sometimes be thankless as he challenged the would-be ministers to exploit the opportunity of their appointments to deliver on the administration’s mandate for a more prosperous country for all Nigerians.
He said: “Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days. Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.
“We have discussed solutions relating to addressing insecurity; macroeconomic stability; agriculture and food security; energy security for petroleum products and electricity; transportation and critical infrastructure; industrialisation and SME development; human capital development; social inclusion; anti-corruption; housing financing and consumer credit.
“Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am therefore charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.
“You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognising that four years is not a very long time. For the new ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older ministers and former governors in the cabinet.”
Buhari also instructed them to route their requests for his attention through the Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, while all matters relating to the cabinet should be directed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.
“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the chief of staff while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,” he said.
While thanking organisers of the retreat and resource persons, Buhari, who reiterated that the challenges lying ahead are enormous, said he was confident in the capacities of the appointees to perform for the benefits of Nigerians.
“Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all,” he added.
Mustapha on his part, called on participants to join him in the task of improving the lives of Nigerians and transforming the country through integrity, hard work, honour and spirit of excellence.
“I hope you will join me in this commitment. As public servants, we are not only expected to deliver results that improve the lives of our fellow citizens and transform our country, but also to reflect in our example what our nation stands for – hard work, honour, integrity, ingenuity and the relentless belief that in Nigeria all things are possible and that together we can accomplish extraordinary things.
“It is a spirit of excellence that we all must exemplify and by doing this we can serve as a source of renewed hope for our people,” he said.