President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors yesterday took turns to heap praises on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for running the country well during the president’s recent medical vacation.
The President said Osinbajo was “all over the place” to ensure that nothing went amiss.
He spoke in Abuja at a meeting with the governors who went to welcome him back home.
The President also aimed a dig at the #ResumeorResign protesters who gathered in front of Abuja House in London demanding his return home, expressing hope that they were not stuck in London after the protest.
He said of the Vice President: “His effort is commendable. He used his intellect to run all over the place. I was seeing him 24 hours on NTA.
“I congratulate him. I allowed him to come and see me to thank him personally for what he has done.”
Buhari also thanked the governors “very much for the national approach in your leadership.”
He said: “I had so much time to watch NTA. I heard so much about the states.
“I am very pleased with the states, you are all doing your best and you are lucky. Your best is proving to be good enough on agriculture and solid minerals. You are succeeding in agriculture because I think people cannot afford foreign food.”
He pleaded with the governors to continue to join hands with him to accelerate the development of the country.
He said he meant well for the nation and pledged to discharge his duties to all Nigerians without bias.
He promised to address security and economic challenges facing the nation within the shortest time possible.
Amid banter and wits, Buhari shook hands with each of the 35 governors at the session.
A source at the session quoted Buhari as saying: “I want you to join hands together to take this country to greater heights.
“I mean well for the country. I want Nigerians to live as a united and lovable people.”
The President was also grateful to Nigerians for praying for him irrespective of religion or ethnicity.
He said their love for him has raised his morale.
“My morale has been raised greatly by the love shown to me and the security of the country,” he stated
On the national economy, he said: “The devaluation of the naira is not our making. It may not favour us, but it is something we cannot change.
“Some people were asking me if we should be more strict on the borders … but I want to thank God. This year is better than what it used to be.”
Recalling the London protest, he said: “In fact, some groups in London came and sang the national anthem and asked that I should go back home.
“Indeed I have come back home. I hope those who went there are not stuck there. They should come back and join us.
“Those that are stuck there with Brexit, I hope they have weighed the implications that it won’t affect them, including those that have properties there, those who are not paying tax here.
“I hope when they sell their properties there they will bring some of the money here. We need it very badly.
Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, who doubles as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, thanked the President for always bailing the governors out of economic challenges.
He noted that many states at the inception of this administration were owing workers’ salaries for up to 28 months.
But he said that the consistent release of bailout has helped in clearing accumulated salaries.
His Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi, assured President Buhari of the continued support of the governors at ensuring the unity of the country.
He also commended the President for always treating governors equally, irrespective of party affiliations.
Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura said: “The President thanked all of us for standing by him. He also gave us a lot of confidence that the nation will move forward.
“He displayed his grasp of all events in the state while he was on medical vacation in London. He threw banter with everyone.
“Everybody saw that he has recovered, the President is fit for work. He spent time with each governor amidst jokes.”
Asked to be specific on governance issues raised by the President, Almakura added: “He concentrated on general issues. He assured the governors that he will address security and economic challenges facing the nation within the shortest time possible. He said he will pay attention to the welfare of the citizenry.”
An opposition governor said: “We were all stunned by the President’s stamina. He did not only shake hands with every governor, he shared some jokes based on our peculiarities and political dispositions.
“There was no sign of fatigue or stress at all. We could only wish him speedy recuperation.
“This is certainly a new beginning from the President. He wants to work with us irrespective of party affiliations.”
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said: “Our President went to take care of his heath and now he is back healthy and healthier than before.
“We are here to appreciate him. We thank almighty God that he is back safely. We equally thank his able lieutenant, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who held the country firm in his absence.
“That is a demonstration of team work. It has equally shown that Nigerians selected the best and elected the best in 2015 general election and today Nigeria is better for it.
“We thank people across the world who really stood firm behind the country in the absence of Mr President. He is back we are celebrating life. We are celebrating health.”
Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong said: “It is with great humility and joy that the entire state governors are here on behalf of various states. With gratitude to God almighty for bringing back out President safely. You can see some level of enthusiasm and happiness on the faces of all the governors.
“That is to say all of us were anxiously waiting for the return of our dear President. You saw it today, the President went around to greet all of us and you can see he has come back healthier than when he left.
“Our prayer is that God will continue to guide Mr. President and also the challenges of governance in Nigeria, he will give him that good strength and good heath to solve the problems of the nation.
“With him back, everything is taking shape again.
“This is not to say the Acting President was not doing well. Our Acting President, we must commend him.
“In the absence of the President, there was no vacuum because he filled in the gap and did his best up to this moment and showed absolute loyalty both to the nation and Mr. President.”
Conspicuously missing at the meeting was Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, ostensibly receiving a chieftaincy title in Ado Ekiti, his state capital.
Read more from the publisher: The Nation Nigeria
Copyright & credit exclusively reserved for the publisher, referenced above.
Nigeria Newspapers Online syndicates daily Nigerian news
and updates, sourced from major Nigerian newspaper houses online.
A member of DisNaija network: Everything Naija.
Never miss important Updates. Get all the juicy news & entertainment updates delivered straight to your inbox, weekly. Enter your name & email below, & click the "sign up" button.