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Ministers: No Clean People To Appoint –Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Passes A Vote Of No Confidence On The Integrity Of Those Lobbying To Be Appointed Ministers In His Cabinet

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday passed a damning verdict on his associates in All Progressives Congress (APC), and other political platforms, jostling to be empowered as ministers in his cabinet, when he declared that none of them possesses the impeccable character he is looking for.

He said all those who had either shown interest or had been referred to him so far, had been compromised, selfish and lack the moral rectitude to work for the common good.

Specifically, he said he was yet to find any independent-minded, selfless, credible individuals to man the ministries for him. The President who spoke on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), early morning programme, “Good Morning Nigeria” said many Nigerians had become hostages and compromised, ready to do anything that would further damage Nigeria’s economy and security.

“From what I have seen so far, we need very patriotic Nigerians; that can work very hard with knowledgable experience, committed Nigerians to be in charge of ministries. “A lot of institutions in Nigeria are compromised, everybody for himself and God for all of us. It is most unfortunate. We have people, educated and experienced people, but everybody seems to be working for himself on how much they could get away with as soon as possible”, he said.

The President who insisted that he is “looking for technocrats, politicians, and decent people” to give them the responsibility of being in charge of ministries and important parastatals, added that “we will try as much as possible to avoid appointing hostages. “By this, I mean people who have been in the system but compromised their personal and professional integrity”.

The President explained that it was taking so much time, because a number of knowledgeable people had been compromised. “They have been compromised by people who will like to depend on them to damage our economy and security; a lot of them have been compromised. The worst thing that I think can happen is to get a compromised person to be in charge of institutions”, he said, adding that there was no way such persons, if appointed, could be efficient or patriotic.

“Somebody behind the scene will be tele-guiding him at the expense of the nation. This is what we are trying to avoid”, he said. President Buhari, while also noting that so much damage has been done to Nigeria, added that “we cannot rush to give this responsibility to people that have unfortunately been compromised”.

“Because there is no way you can effectively supervise let’s say 20 ministries, you have to give it to people you trust and you allow them to perform according to the constitution of the country. If you appoint compromised people, then we will be back to square one and Nigeria will be the loser”.

President Buhari while also speaking on the current crises in the National Assembly, maintained his non-interference stance, saying that he will maintain the independence of other arms of government. “I have to be very sensitive to the constitution of the country.

I do not like to be told by anybody, especially the legislators that I am interfering in their matter”, he said assuring that he would maintain the position that had been established in the past 16 years where lawmakers had been selecting their leaders. “Over the last 16 years, they have developed the system of choosing their leaders.

There is no way I can directly interfere. All I can do through the party is to appeal to their conscience that what I already observed, we should go over it as soon as possible.

When I say we, I mean the APC. We cannot win the battle and lose the war. We must not allow individual personal ambition to succeed in dividing us and allow PDP to deal with us. “This is what the National Assembly has allowed so far, the APC is giving the PDP the allowance to take over the government again.

This is extremely disheartening, I am very worried. “The only thing I can do is to appeal to the conscience of the APC members in the Senate and House. It took us time to get to where we are; I don’t want personal ambitions to scuttle our success and therefore fail to deliver on our promises to the nation”, he warned.

Speaking on his recent visit to the United States, President Buhari described the visit as “significant in the sense that it was virtually the continuation of my contact with President Obama when I was invited to G-7 to brief them about the security in Nigeria”, adding that “I was, and I am, still very impressed with the concern the US and Europe showed about the situation in Nigeria. “If you can recall, we based our campaign on three basic issues in the country.

First, security; second, unemployment especially of the youth and thirdly corruption. These are the fundamental issues that I tried to explain to G-7 on the invitation of President Obama. I went there and this was what I discussed with the President of the U.S, the Vice President, the Secretary of State and other organizations and NGOs in the US. “I have a comprehensive report of what the Boko Haram members were able to do when they occupied more than 10 local governments in Borno State, seven local governments in Yobe and Adamawa States.

The destruction they made on the infrastructure, especially schools, hostels, roads, blown up bridges and blown up markets. We have made a list of these and what it will cost to quickly rehabilitate them. “Again, the Internally Displaced Persons, they are more than 1.5 million mostly from those three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. But they are in Kaduna, Abuja.

What it will take to rehabilitate them in terms of repairing of towns that have been raised down by Boko Haram like Bama, Baga and other towns and then getting the infrastructure -schools, hospitals-, getting the teachers, is very expensive and a long list but it is verifiable and quantifiable”, he noted.

President Buhari assured that Americans were willing to help Nigeria since “they understand our problems, they sympathize with us. “So really the Americans have shown concern, they spoke to the former president, INEC, the opposition and maintained the pressure throughout. The Americans are in agreement with Europe.

Nigeria then should be grateful to America that Nigerian elections are conducted according to the law. “It is not that we do not have trained personnel, not that we don’t have basic infrastructure but the problem is that in spite of the money allegedly spent on the operations, the Air Force is virtually non-existent. “The aircraft are not serviceable, the helicopters are not serviceable and they are few.

There is the need for the Air Force to conduct a reconnaissance and support the ground troops. The arrangement made by the former government will soon expire.

We have made this clear to America and G-7 and we need their cooperation. “This problem is not only in the North East, we have a problem in the Gulf of Guinea which you know is between Senegal and Angola and the incredible theft of the Nigerian crude in an average of more than 250,000 barrels per day which is being illegally loaded from our terminals by unpatriotic Nigerians that only consider their own selfish interests to get money.”

Speaking on corruption, President Buhari said his administration has “to get our fact, documents, complete and reliable investigation” before embarking on court action to “get these people prosecuted”.

“Meanwhile, the theft continues. Up to the 10th of this month, our crude is still being illegally lifted by people who are in government. We are trying to get these documents; we are getting cooperation from the international community.

We are going to, very soon, make sure that those who perpetrated this crime against Nigeria will be faced with facts and be taken to our courts. “We have got the cooperation of some of the countries that are the destinations of our crude and we are discussing with them.

We have to maintain high confidentiality so that we don’t risk some of the people in Nigeria that are helping us to trace the destinations of this stolen crude and then the accounts where the proceeds are being paid instead of the Federal Government account.

“I don’t think the NNPC knows how many accounts are there in which payments are made on Nigerian crude. The monumental fraud has been going on for a number of years; a lot of Nigerians cannot comprehend it”, he noted.

-Tony Ailemen, Abuja

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