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 patriotic, generous and gracious of him.
From: Tony Ailemen, Abuja.
One year after, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, took a look at the event that brought him to power, saying that his is still shocked at the decision by former President Goodluck Jonathan to concede defeat, despite his enormous powers as a sitting President.
He described the decision as not only “generous but gracious and patriotic”.
President Buhari, who was assessing his first year in office at an interactive session with State House Correspondents, described the first year of his administration at the Presidential Villa as “tumultuous”.
“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 patriotic, generous and gracious of him.
“Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar recognized the generosity of Jonathan to concede defeat and said we should go and thank him immediately and that was the first time I came here.
“It was a tumultuous year for everyone in the Villa. Talking about my experience here in Aso Villa”, he said.
President Buhari declared that he however underrated the influence of the PDP for 16 years watching from outside.
“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. When we came there were 42 ministries we cut it to 24.
“We had to do it our own way. 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”, he said.
He also disclosed that the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led administration had problems implementing its campaign promises as according to him “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 know by the fourth quarter of the year, what padding means especially for ministers who are implementing the budget. There were very serious developments which I never knew about
“So really, it was a nasty experience for us. 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 some of them literarily losing weight because they were sleeping less and eating less”, the president said.
President Buhari also lamented how “oil rich Nigeria” lost her bearing as “everyone relied on oil and forgot about solid minerals and agriculture”.
The President said his administration “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 up till yesterday.”
According to the President, Nigerians took to various interpretations of the APC “change mantra in their own way.”
“How do we define change? Luckily our party identified three major items, security, economy and corruption”, he said.
The President also explained that some permanent secretaries were sent away “because it was time for some of them to go, while new ones were appointed”.
“Because we’re not part of those 16 years this is where we found ourselves and this is no joke”, he disclosed.
Speaking on his anti-corruption war, President Buhari said “most people who were trusted by the previous administration ended up looting the treasury” adding “the most recent one which we haven’t recovered from is the $2.1billion, 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, just the way you are sitting now, 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 for the judiciary.
“We can’t go out and talk too much as we have to allow the judiciary to do their work. We give them the facts, the name, country, bank account, etc. If you talk too much technicalities will come in, then we will realize less than what we want to realize.
“So please when next you want to interrogate out visitors try and do some research”, he urged the correspondents.