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Monday, 30 May 2016

How Jonathan Shocked Me During 2015 Elections – PMB

….says it’s has been a tumultuous year

…. I won’t talk too much on recovery of looted funds

President Muhammed Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday gave insights on how former President Goodluck Jonathan shocked him by conceding defeat during the last general elections .

Speaking during a presidential lunch for State House Correspondents, President Buhari admitted it has been a tumultuous year in the life of his administration.

According to him, he did not expect Jonathan to concede defeat that easily because after 16 years, the
former president was a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and was President for six years.

President Buhari noted that the action, had distinguished him as a generous and gracious man.
He said, “This is where I pay my respect to former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is actually a privileged information for you. He called me at a quarter past five in the evening. He said good evening your excellency Sir and I said good evening.

“He said, I have called to congratulate you that I have conceded defeat. Of course there was dead silence on my end, because I did not expect it. I was shocked. I did not expect it because after 16 sixteen years the man was a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and was President for six years.

“For him to have conceded defeat even before the result was announced by INEC I think it was quiet generous and gracious of him.

“Abdulsalam recognised the generosity of Jonathan to concede deceit and said we should go and thank him immediately and that was the first time I came here.”

He also added that, It was a tumultuous year for everyone in the villa. I will talk about my experience here in Aso Villa.

According to him, “I underrated the influence of the PDP for 16 years watching from outside as 8 consecutive governments. The experience of the staff, their commitment and zeal is different from what it is now. 16 years of development in the life of a developing nation is a long time.

He said when he assumed office he moved to cut down the cost of governance by reducing ministries from 42 to 24.

“We had to do it on our own we found out that government could not continue with 42 ministers and the paraphernalia of office so we cut it down to 24.

“We had to cut down half the number of permanent secretaries and then do some cross postings. The permanent secretaries that were there for the past five to seven years the only thing that they know is how things were done in the previous years. ”

On the budget fiasco he said, whatever we did in the campaign, In fact we were saying rubbish and that made it very difficult for us. Things were even more difficult during the budget which you all know about. For somebody like me, for the first time I heard what is called padding.”

“I think we will recover by the fourth quarter of the year, what padding means especially for ministers who had implement what padding contains. There were very serious developments which I never knew about. ”

He lamented that the padding scandal was really a nasty experience for his administration as ministers literally lost weight in trying to put up the budget.

“It was also a nasty experience for some of the ministers who were never in government, for them to sit down day and night to work. I saw them some of them literarily lost weight because they were sleeping less and eating less. Working on every kobo to be spent.

Buhari acknowledged that the country’s reliance on oil, had adversely affected the nation’s economy and the change agenda.

“Because we became a mono-economy of oil rich Nigeria Everybody relied on oil and forgot about solid minerals, agriculture, making and exploring things, we recently just found out that we are poor because we don’t have anything to fall back to. This is the condition we found ourselves and this change mantra had to go through hell uptill yesterday.

“And for you to talk to whoever came to visit us throughout that year I wonder how each of your diaries would be, because people were expecting this change mantra in their own way.

“How do you define change? Luckily our party identified three major items, security, economy and corruption.

“One of the man I pitied is Lai Mohammed everyday he is on TV explaining our performance or the lack of it.

“Most of the permanent secretaries were sent out because it was time for some of them to go and for others, one thing or the other. Because we’re not part of those 16 years this is where we found ourselves and this is no joke.

On the anti-corruption war and recovery of looted funds, President Buhari pointed out that if he talks too much on the recovery of looted funds, technicalities will set in and make his government recover less than what it wants to recover.

“People were trusted and the most recent one which we haven’t recovered from is the $2.1billion dollars, was given by the government then, to the military to buy hardware to fight the insurgency which had taken over part of the country and they just sat and shared the money into their own account. They didn’t even bother.

“So we are still trying to get the cooperation of the international community and so on and we have to do it with a lot of respect to the judiciary. We can’t go out and talk too much we have to allow the judiciary to do their work. We give them the facts, the name , country, bank account. If you talk too much technicalities will come in, then we will realise less than what we want to realise. ”

President Buhari also challenged journalists to always conduct research on issues before publishing.
“So please when next you want to interrogate our visitors try and do some research so that when they are coming next time, they will do research themselves.”

The lunch was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, Alhaji Jalal Arabi, the Permanent Secretary, State House and Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

Credit: Leadership News

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