Governors, NEC members shower accolades on Osinbajo as council holds valedictory meeting

Members of the National Economic Council (NEC), including all state governors, and some members of the federal cabinet rose from their monthly meeting on Thursday with words of commendation and praise for the Chairman of the Council, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The Council members who were having a physical meeting in a long time rounded up their accolades for the VP when they all rose up singing “for he is a jolly good fellow” in unison and a round of applause at the end of the meeting inside the Council Chambers in the Presidential Villa.

The governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), spoke through their chairman, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

Tambuwal said: “We commend Mr. Chairman and the Vice President for leading the council very very well and under your leadership, the NEC has been very regular and effective. You have managed the affairs of NEC with a sense of fairness and patriotism. NEC has been proactive and pragmatic under your leadership. Many atimes when the situation demands, NEC under your leadership has risen to the challenges of our national survival even beyond the scarce economic matters.

“And therefore Mr. Chairman and the Vice President, on our behalf, we congratulate you for raising the bar, for doing the nation proud and for doing very well and for serving this country in this capacity. We thank you for your leadership, you provided a level playing field for every one of us to make his contributions irrespective of our various and varying backgrounds devoid of partisanship but maintaining focus and fairly managed a platform of NEC.

“Thank you very much and we pray that God Almighty shall continue to guide you andmembers of your family as you continue with the journey, stepping aside. You remain indeed an asset, a reference, a rallying point for our country, as you continue to improve on issues of good governance and entrenchment of democratic action.

“Thank you very much. We thank God for your gift, we pray God continue to guide you as you serve out your term as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Chairman of National Economic Council. On behalf of all of us, we thank you for your interventions, we thank Mr. President through you for his interventions especially at those very difficult times when states were battling a lot of challenges especially during the 2016 period when a number of states could not even pay salaries, bail outs and such other interventions really helped all of us, various states to really discharge our constitutional roles per state. The Vice President, Mr. Chairman, we thank you, we can’t thank you enough, we thank you very much.”

Earlier, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai spoke at the meeting saying the 8 years that Pro Osinbajo chaired NEC showed the Council as the best of all the executive bodies spelt out in the Nigerian Constitution.

He said: “Out of all the federal executive bodies, only this functions according to the Constitution and this is because of the way the VP chairs the Council. I want to appreciate you and your leadership. God will reward your leadership in this country.”

He was immediately joined by the Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar who said: “All of us share the sentiments expressed by Governor El-Rufai. We thank you for your patience, support and understanding.”

In a similar vein, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade commended the Vice President for his spirit of tolerance.

“I have borrowed from your maturity,” he added.

Later at the media briefing on the outcome of the NEC, Governors Bala Mohammed and Hope Uzodinma of Bauchi and Imo states respectively, again lauded the VP in glowing terms.

In his response at the end of the meeting, Prof. Osinbajo expressed his appreciation for the gesture.

His words: “Thank you very much. Your Excellencies, I’ll like to thank you very much for the singing of ‘he’s a jolly good fellow’. Thank you very much.

“I would like to thank Your Excellencies, members of the National Economic Council for your commitment and patriotism and the way that you have worked so hard to ensure that our country is not just properly advised by the Federal Government, but the country at all times is kept …

“I think that the stabilizing voice of the National Economic Council has already been very well acknowleged including by Mr. President himself on several occasions when he has had cause to comment on the work of the National Economic Council and your Excellencies, the governors.

“The National Economic Council has been advising especially the questions around subsidy, reports. There were also situations where the National Economic Council had to advise on very many matters concerning the economy of the country. And your advice is always objective, your advice is always genuine in the overall interest of the country.

“I must say that in very many ways, the National Economic Council in the past few years or 10 to 15 years has demonstrated that our country has quality leadership. Your political leadership has shown in very many ways, that we respect working together as a country.

“I must commend you for ensuring that in all our decisions, the unity of our country has played the most important role. So I’d like to thank you very much for working with us in the past 8 years or so and I pray that all of you, more than you think, will be rewarded by the Almighty God for your contributions to your states and to our nation.

“I also pray for those who are continuing, the Governors who are continuing and those who are coming in, that you will experience the best years yet of our nation and that our nation under you, and your states under you, will prosper and that the decisions we elect will be one that will be celebrated for years to come.”

The Vice President also presented a Legacy Document of NEC in the last eight years at the meeting.

“The Legacy Document is a report of the activities of the National Economic Council from 2015 to 2023. It is of course a summary of all the activities including the major contributions of the National Economic Council from 2015 to 2023.

“So on your behalf it is my very special privilege to officially present the National Economic Council Legacy Report of 2015 to 2023. Thank you all very much,” he said.

Also at the NEC meeting, the finance minister provided an update on the issue of fuel subsidy disclosing that the Council agreed on the need to remove the subsidy in an orderly and well considered way.

She said it had been decided at the Transition Council with members from the Buhari administration and the incoming administration that the fuel subsidy would not be removed during the transition period.

NEC also had a section of the meeting to hold the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority as the governors are the members of the NSIA Governing Council.

The Chairman, Board of Directors of the NSIA, Mr. Farouk Gumel and the Managing Director/CEO Mr. Aminu Umar-Sadiq made presentations to the Council.

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