President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to get over the shock that former President Goodluck Jonathan could willingly concede defeat to him.
Buhari made this remark on Monday during the Presidential Lunch for State House correspondents at the New Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the singular gesture by Jonathan was an act of great generosity and great patriotism.
Going down memory lane, President Buhari recalled he got a phone call from former President Goodluck Jonathan. “This
is actually a privileged information for you. He called me at a quarter past five in the evening. He said good evening your Excellency Sir, and I said good evening.
“He said, I have called to congratulate you that I have conceded defeat. Of course there was dead silence on my end, because I did not expect it. I was shocked. I did not expect it because after sixteen years the man was a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and was President for six years.
“For him to have conceded defeat even before the result was announced by INEC, I think it was a great generosity, a great patriotism.
“Abdulsalam recognised the generosity of Jonathan to concede defeat and said we should go and thank him immediately and that was the first time I came here,” he recalled.
Justifying the leanness of his administration, Buhari said it was the only option open due to the paucity of funds.
He pointed out that most of the permanent secretaries that were there for over five to seven years only knew how things were done in the previous years.
While reliving his experience at the Villa thus far, he said, things have not been rosy for the most part.
“Whatever we did in the campaign, in fact we were saying rubbish and that made it very difficult for us. Things were
even more difficult during the budget which you all know about.
“For somebody like me, for the first time I heard what is called padding. I think we will recover by the fourth quarter of the year, what padding means especially for ministers who had implement what padding contains. There were very serious development which I never knew about.
“So really it was a nasty experience for us. It was also a nasty experience for some of the ministers who were new in government, for them to sit down day and night to work. I saw them some of them literarily lost weight because they were sleeping less and eating less, working on every kobo to be spent.”
He said that because Nigeria became a mono-economy based on oil, the past governments relied on oil and forgot about solid minerals, agriculture, and other resources.
“One of the man I pitied is Lai Mohammed everyday he is on TV explaining our performance or lack of it.”
He also wondered how some Nigerians betrayed the trust of the people by diverting $2.1 billion meant for fighting insurgency.
He said: “People were trusted and the most recent one which we haven’t recovered from is the $2.1billion dollars, was given by the government then to the military to buy hardware to fight the insurgency which had taken over part of the country and they just sat just the way you are sitting now and shared the money into their own account.
“They didn’t even bother. So we are still trying to get the cooperation of the international community and so on and we have to do it with a lot of respect to the judiciary.
“We can’t go out and talk too much we have to allow the judiciary to do their work. We gave them the facts, the name, country, bank account. If you talk too much technicalities will come in, then we will realise less than what we want to realise”, Buhari said.