• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Lai Mohammed begs staff to cooperate with successor

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Immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has pleaded with staff to extend to whoever would be his successor, similar respect and cooperation accorded him while in office.

This was as he disclosed that he was the most sued minister in the cabinet of former President Muhammadu Buhari, having attracted about 36 court cases while in office.

Mohammed disclosed these during a send-forth party organised for him by staff in Abuja recently.

“I want to urge you all to please extend to my successor the same warm cooperation that you gave me and my team during my tenure,” he stated at the well attended dinner.

According to him, being the longest-serving Minister of Information and Culture was a testament to the confidence reposed in him by Buhari.

He said, “I am the most sued minister in this government after the Attorney-General of the Federation. As of the last count, I have about 36 pending cases which will be inherited by the next minister who will come after me.

Mohammed joked that his successor would inherit the cases.

He said while in the office, no week ended without Buhari receiving a petition that he should be sacked but took no action, but rather encouraged him to do his job.

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“Please permit me to start by thanking everyone, especially those who put together this send-off. This is an evening of reminiscences and celebration, and it is a fitting end to an epic journey. It is very kind of you all to have turned out for this event.

“This gathering marks the end of an era, which started on November 11, 2015, when I assumed office after being sworn into office by Mr. President. If I am correct, this is the longest period anyone has served as Minister of Information and Culture. I believe this is a testament to the confidence reposed in me by Mr President, for which I am most grateful,” Mohammed remarked.

“I served at a period marked by great challenges and great opportunities. While we jointly tackled the challenges headlong, we also made the best of the opportunities. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and cooperation of the staff of the ministry as well as of its agencies, for which I am most appreciative,” he noted.

He acknowledged that in the course of his tenure, he had occasions to disagree with some of the staff for one reason or another, but that it was all to get the job done and not to soil the cordial relationship that he enjoyed with them.

He thanked the staff for such a support that helped them deliver set targets together.

“I make bold to say that thanks to you all, we lived up to our mandate, which is the management of the image, reputation and promotion of the culture of the people and government of Nigeria through a dynamic public information system that facilitates access by citizens and the global community to credible and timely information.

“We enhanced citizens’ participation in governance by instituting the Town Hall Meeting series. We kept Nigerians informed of the developments in government through regular media interactions,” he stressed.

Also reeling out the achievements during his tenure, he noted that, working together, they were able to project the achievements of the administration by instituting the scorecard series that included presentations by Ministers, Testimonies by ordinary Nigerians, Documentaries and a Compendium of all the presentations.

“We ensured the documentation of all the achievements for posterity via an electronic portal. This has never been done before.

“Since they say seeing is believing, we regularly took the media on a tour of government projects across the country, so they could, in turn, report to Nigeria what they have seen.

“We regularly interacted with the international media to correct misconceptions, provide background briefings, and ensure an unfettered information flow.

He also mentioned success in reassuring the world that despite enormous security challenges, Nigeria is safe for business and leisure, and according to him, this paid off with the country hosting four international events; the IPICongress, UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Week, UNWTO CAF.

“We blazed the trail in the retrieval of our timeless artefacts from those who looted them, and our model is being followed by many countries around the world,” Mohammed stressed.

“Together with the five Permanent Secretaries that I worked with during my tenure (some of whom are here), CEOs of the agencies under the Ministry, Directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors and indeed all staffers, I believe that we did our best in the service of our nation, for the benefit of our people and to the glory of God.

He thanked President Buhari for what he called a worthy opportunity to serve and to hold the office for a record-breaking tenure.

According to Mohammed, “his unflinching support was indispensable for the successful execution of our mandate.

“I thank my family for standing by me and for enduring long periods of my absence. Above all, I want to thank God for charting our path, for giving us health and for keeping us all through the years,” he added.