President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his commitment to better the lots of the citizenry was the main reason he would not take more rest after his return from London on medical vacation. This came as the President ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Finance Ministry to immediately release the second tranche of London-Paris Club refunds to state governments, as a way of helping them meet with their financial responsibilities.
The President was reacting to suggestions by state governors that he took a little more rest, as he narrated his experience in London. He also said he turned down requests for him to be visited in London because he wanted to avoid moving government abroad. President Buhari, who spoke when he made a sudden appearance at the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, walked into the meeting at exactly 12:30 p.m. Journalists were later excused from the hall.
A statement issued later by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said President Buhari made a strong case for settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of workers in states. “I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people. One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow,” he said.
Buhari, who expressed delight at the unity within the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, also thanked them for their display of “love and respect” for him. Gives reasons he stopped visits to London The President said he was overwhelmed by his recent experience in which states, irrespective of political differences, charged their citizens to pray in mosques and churches for his well-being and apologized to the governors for barring them from visits to him while he rested in London.
“I didn’t want government to move to London; I wanted it to remain here and I am glad I did,” he said. After narrating what he went through during his vacation, President Buhari noted the suggestion by the governors for him to take more rest but insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of the Nigerian people at all times.
This, according to him, is the only way to show his gratitude to the people who, he said, had given so much to him ‘’I was overwhelmed by the celebration of my return across the country,’’ the President said. Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari of Zamfara State, assured the President, on behalf of his colleagues, that they would continue to support his policies and actions.
In response to the kind gestures of the President, the governors of Imo, Akwa Ibom, Osun and Abia states thanked President Buhari for saving the day for states through the first tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds, while calling for the immediate release of the second one. They also commended the trust the President reposed in the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who they said did not disappoint when he acted as President.