President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians must work together as a people to ensure speedy transformation of the country’s economy for the general progress of the country.
President Buhari stated this when he received representatives of residents of the Federal Capital Territory, who paid him Sallah homage at his official resident in the presidential villa, Abuja, on Friday.
He said the call became necessary to enable the country to explore its resources which had been abandoned in years gone by.
The President, who praise the immediate past Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, for his tremendous contributions during his tenure as minister, said it would be difficult for him to get his replacement in the cabinet.
Buhari said: “I’m very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy who knows what is in the heart and not by mouth, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times.
“This country is blessed on human and material resources. Here I have to digress and wish my former minister of mines and steel, Kayode Fayemi, well.
“He has been a very hardworking minister, because the ministry he was leading was neglected with the overbearing economic relevance of oil.
“But from the days of mining of tin, columbite, coal and so on, you know this country is blessed.
“Throughout the country, we have solid minerals and I am hoping that Fayemi will succeed to lead again his state. I believe he is a very hardworking person, very patriotic but Nigerian politics is virtually unpredictable.
“We are going to work very hard to fill his space in the executive council so that we keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicizing of our petroleum resources.
“I think we have invested so much in this country and we will continue to pray that we stay together and let us develop the necessary confidence, work together as a people, this country is great let us work together so that we can save a lot more and exploit more of the resources that were abandoned so many years ago.”
The President called on Nigerians to always exhibit the virtues of honesty, patriotism and hard work to enable them take advantage of the abundant natural resources.
He thanked the FCT Minister and the leaderships of the two religious communities (Islam and Christianity) for paying him happy Eid-Fitr.
President Buhari enjoined them to preach to their followers the need to be patriotic and to work harder away from primordial sentiments for the good of the society.
He said: “I’m very grateful to the minister and the Mosque and Church leadership that came to say happy Eid-Fitri to those of us that have been fasting.
“A lot of people asked me of on health grounds I can default I refused because I know the value in fasting, I cannot miss it once I can do it.
“Last year, I didn’t because I was on health vacation but this year I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be much more healthier to give me the time that I need to attend to national issues.
“Please in your constituencies emphasized what I said about 30 years ago, we don’t have another country except Nigeria we may as well remain here and salvage it together, there is nothing else we can do. Even those that had gone out are now trying to come back because they are not wanted out there.
“I wish all the resources they had they had deployed it here it would have been much better.
“So, thank you very much and please try to persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism.
The Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Muhammed Bello, who led the delegation for the homage, said they were in the presidential villa to felicitate with the president after the successful completion of the Ramadan fasting period.
Bello, who presented a giant Sallah Greeting Card to the President, renewed the loyalty and support of the FCT residents to Buhari administration.
He prayed that Almighty God would continue to guide and protect the President in his efforts toward transforming the country to greater height.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was represented at the event by Sen. Bala NaAllah, pledged that the National Assembly would continue to partner with the executive arm of government to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Buhari had earlier joined hundreds of other Muslim faithful to perform the two-raka’at Eid Fitr prayer session at the Mambilla Barrack Mosque, Abuja.
NAN observed that the prayer was led by the Mosque’s chief Imam, Capt. Sabiu Yusuf, who in his sermon, called on Muslim ummah to abide by the teachings of the Holy Quran in all their dealings with fellow citizens.
He also offered special prayers for the continued existence and prosperity of Nigeria as a geo-political entity.