President Muhammadu Buhari has held a thank you meeting with the State House Staff ahead of the May 29 inauguration, insisting on returning to Daura, his country home, in Kastina State.
The meeting which was held at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, had the presence of his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, among others.
This comes hours after he presided over a valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, thanking ministers for their loyalty since 2015.
Details of the six-hour meeting held behind closed doors were later disclosed to journalists in a statement signed late Wednesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and a post-FEC briefing anchored by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
After ministers took turns to express their minds, Buhari thanked them for their steadfastness in pursuing the goals of his regime, urging support for the incoming Bola Tinubu-led administration, even from the outside government.
“I am proud to say we gave our best,” said Buhari.
He directed all cabinet members to return to their ministries, tidy their desks and avoid last-minute rush that could jeopardise their years of work.
He stated, “In the cause of our years together, ranging from our newest addition to the oldest members of the team for the past seven and half years, we have differed on many issues.
“I urge that we understand that those positions were for the collective good, and no one should keep grievances or carry these differences forward.
“For those of us that will not directly be in government, I know that I am one of such, I ask that we continue to provide our support, in whatever way we can, if called upon by our great party, All Progressives Congress that gave us the platform to stand and we must continue to support it in every way we can,’’ the President said.
Buhari also ascribed the achievements of his regime to God’s intervention, saying “I also thank God for the strength and for keeping us together.’’
“I will also be happy to do the many things that I have not been able to since May 29th, 2015, one of such is my favourite pastime of taking care of my cattle.’’
After the meeting, Buhari met State House members of Staff at the forecourt, thanking them for “tolerating” him and assuring them that he had not withheld any benefits that were due them in the past eight years.
“I thank you very much for your cooperation. Thank you for tolerating us as a government and particularly for tolerating me as a leader.
“I tried to lead myself with a clear conscience. Whatever was constitutionally your right according to the conditions of service, this government hasn’t cheated you,” he said.
By Temitope Hassan