OPENING REMARKS BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RETREAT WITH HONOURABLE MINISTERS- DESIGNATE,STATE HOUSE CONFERENCE HALL, NOVEMBER 5, 2015 PROTOCOLS

It is with great pleasure that I address you
today, my Ministers-designate, at this Retreat
in preparation for your swearing–in as the
Cabinet that will run this Administration. We
must count ourselves privileged to have been
chosen among millions of our compatriots at
this historic time to be the instruments that
will deliver the change we have promised.
2. Let me congratulate you for your success at
the various levels of screening that culminated
in your confirmation by the Senate.
I would like to reiterate the point I made at my
inauguration about the uniqueness of this
moment for our country and for us.
Shakespeare’s words ring true for us as they
did when he first wrote them centuries ago.
‘There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.’
3. The work of restoration and renewal is
urgent and immense. The expectations of
Nigerians are high. Our determination to
succeed and change the fortunes of our
country must be equal to the challenge.
4. I have invited you to join me in this urgent
mission for our country. I am convinced that
in accepting this invitation you are also
equally determined to take part in this
patriotic undertaking.
5. This Retreat, therefore, marks your first
official contact with the machinery of
Government, of which you will soon be an
integral part. It is important that you are fully
acquainted with the direction and priorities of
this Government so that we can all move
together as a team.
6. My election as President of this country
was hinged on my promise to tackle
corruption, insecurity and revive the economy.
7. We have already taken deliberate measures
to plug leakages of government revenue and
resources. You all know the steps we have
taken to tackle Boko Haram. We have
degraded them and in desperation, they are
resorting to attacks on soft targets, killing
innocent people. Diversification of the
economy away from oil will be a major focus
of this government. We will intervene in mining
and agriculture and upgrade the country’s
physical and social infrastructure, which will
broaden our revenue base and significantly
improve the level of employment, especially
among the youth. Our economic focus will be
policies that will ensure inclusive growth and
we will count our achievements based on the
number of Nigerians we move out of poverty.
8. The objective of this retreat is clearly
reflected in the choice of topics which you will
be dealing with during the sessions. The need
for observing the rule of law is being
emphasized to ensure that impunity is
removed from government conduct.
9. You are coming on board the ship of
governance at an interesting time. So much
has been said about the state of our economy.
It is expected that we make the running of
Government at all levels as lean as possible,
avoid waste and conserve resources. As
Ministers, you must be the vehicle that will
administer the change.
10. Our main task is to turn our manifesto
promises to practice and results. Over the next
two days I expect you to have a better
understanding of the context in which we have
taken the challenge of serving our country, as
well as the strategies we have adopted to
tackle them. I would also expect you to be
even more determined to work as a team, and
to live up to the high standards of probity and
integrity which Nigerians expect of us.
11. Before I close, let me remind you that clear
and effective communication at all levels is
vital in modern management. You must keep
in touch with your fellow ministers and share
information, so that the conduct of
government will be more efficient. In addition,
all communication and appointments from you
to the Presidency should be routed through
the Office of the Chief of Staff as is normal in
this Presidential System.
I wish you useful deliberations.
President Muhammadu Buhari

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