President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Mohammed Bello for exhibiting the virtues of transparency, honesty, and integrity while managing the affairs of the FCT.
The president made his feelings known when he received the leadership of the FCT and representatives of the FCT Community, who paid him Christmas homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Sunday.
According to the Nigerian leader, he deliberately appointed Bello as FCT minister and refused to deploy him because of his good character.
He said Bello had proven to be a better manager of both financial and human resources.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president was reacting to earlier testimony by Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Chairman Senate Committee on FCT, who described the FCT Minister as the most transparent and honest Minister in the history of the FCT.
President Buhari said he was not surprised to hear such comments from the FCT Minister, thanking Bello for not disappointing him.
‘He said: ‘The Minister has restored sanity to the allocation of plots in the FCT. People were used to selling allocated plots instead of developing them as stipulated by the FCT laws.
”Others also apply for land only for them to resale and get quick money for marrying additional wives.”
On the Christmas homage, the president appreciated Nigerians for trusting and giving him the opportunity to serve as their leader.
He told the delegation, led by the FCT Minister that while campaigning for President in 2003, he took his time to visit the 774 Local Government Areas of the country and he got overwhelming support from the people.
According to him, when he leaves office in May; he will retire to his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, to rest from the rigors of the exalted office.
“Thank you very much for taking the time to come and visit me and I congratulate you for this great day (Christmas).
”I have promised a lot of my colleagues that I will try to be as far away as possible from Abuja when I leave office so that nobody can create any problem for me anymore.
“I will be in Daura, which is on the border with the Niger Republic and I think in spite of technology, I will be safe enough there.”
The president reiterated that he would not stay in office a day longer than the stipulated time for his tenure of office.
‘So, In five months’ time, I will happily retire according to the provisions of the constitution of the country and go back home,” he added.
The leader of the delegation and FCT minister had earlier told the president that the Christmas homage had become mandatory in view of the fact that he is the Governor General of the FCT.
“It is not surprising to pay such visits because constitutionally, as the Governor General of the FCT, you are also the head of the administration of the FCT, but you have graciously delegated that to me.
”Today marks a milestone for us because in 2020 and 2021 we could not pay such visits due to the emergence of coronavirus,” he added.
The minister took time to wish President Buhari long life and a successful retirement as his tenure gradually comes to an end.
He said: “This also presents the last Christmas that we are going to have an opportunity as residents of the FCT to come and pay you homage because in five months’ time, your tenure would have ended and the next Christmas will be under a new President.
“So, we use this opportunity to thank God almighty for having made it possible for us to witness several Christmas celebrations under your leadership.
”I also on behalf of the entire residents of the FCT, wish you well and pray for God to grant you long life, a useful and healthy retirement in the next few months.
“We want to also extend our appreciation for what you have so far done for the country.”
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Danie Okoh, who was represented by the Vice President of the Association, Rev. Stephen Panya-Baba, thanked God for sustaining Nigeria’s unity.
He also lauded the president for his efforts in addressing socioeconomic challenges facing the country despite all natural and human difficulties.
“We want to reassure you that in the twilight of your administration, the Christian community is fully in support of you and praying that God will bless your effort.
”This desire you have to see that the sufferings of the citizens of this nation are alleviated will begin to yield fruits.
“We are not unaware of the challenges that you continue to face especially security challenges which have become a very persistent problem in our nation today.
”We are praying and we have not given up hope and we want to encourage you to continue doing your best we believe God will one day intervene and do what man cannot do,” he stated.
He also prayed for the successful and peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections across the country.
AHN reports that the president was presented with a giant Christmas card by the FCT Minister on behalf of residents of the territory at the event.