President Muhammmadu Buhari and ministers in his cabinet on Wednesday held a valedictory session in honour of Kayode Fayemi, ex-minister of mines and steel development.
The session held on the sideline of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting.
Fayemi is the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti.
At the session, Buhari described Fayemi as man of “sound intellect” whose contributions helped the administration achieve progress, especially in the solid minerals sector.
He said he was reluctantly allowing Fayemi to go to his state because of his constructive contributions at FEC meetings.
“As I sat here, I watched every minister that spoke and about his contributions, this revealed not only intellect but when he is given the necessary time to contribute to important memorandum, he made contributions. This shows commitment to the progressive of this government and the country,” he said.
“By chance he was given the portfolio of solid minerals and steel development and you know that sector was virtually abandoned. During the colonial days, they took what they wanted from us – tin, columbite and the rest were the priorities until they struck oil somewhere, it was simply priority of investment shifted offshore.
“When he went in, he began to deal with both Nigerians and foreigners that are exploiting the lack of commitment of those who are responsible of that sector before he went there. If you recall the number of children and women that suffered from the effect of mining in Zamfara state and other parts of the country and the people responsible, knowing that Nigeria will dump as decently as possible.
“He only briefed me occasionally but he was packing them out of the country, with the cooperation of some his colleagues he will come here and let me know.”
He urged Fayemi to get Ekiti State for APC, expressing optimism that technology would allow the will of the people prevail.
The president also campaigned for voter education to sensitise Nigerians to get their permanent voters card (PVC) to enable them elect candidates of their choice at all levels.
“I hope you will get the Ekiti back for the party. The only time I saw the INEC chair was to insist that go voters Education should be emphasized, so that ordinary Nigerians will believe that Nigeria is beginning to respect them and that their PVC is their status,” he said.
“And then couple with the card readers, God willing we are here with the help of technology. Because, previous elections and I am in the position to say so having lost three times and got to Supreme Court, I know if not for technology, we will be doing the same thing.
“A lot of constituencies were bought, voters were allocated and results were announced and people were told to go to court if they don’t agree with it.
“Now, for someone who is looking for the next meal, how is he going to get the money to give to SAN, to demand for justice for his marginalization.
“So, we thank technology because with the introduction of PVC and the readers’ card, votes counted. Please go and emphasize this to your constituencies, let Nigerians be respected that they can vote anybody across any party and at any constituency.
“I think that will give them the pride to voluntarily go and vote. It is not easy to go to Supreme Court three times, but I went through it, I wonder how many people will be proud to go through it in this country.
“So, we certainly wish you the best of luck but it will take me sometimes to get a substantive minister and more so with the 2019 prospects that I have already indicated. But we need a very strong minister, strong in intellect and courage, so as to make sure that both the Nigerian and foreign collaborators of taking away our resources can be checked effectively.
“We thank you very much for your contribution for your country. Goodbye, we will come for the inauguration.”
The ministers said they were convinced that Fayemi was on a mission to liberate the state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).