by Musiliu Obanikoro
Let me begin by saying that, nothing best summarises the account of my stewardship as a Minister in the Federal Executive Council of our great nation than the words of the famous Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. He said: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Perhaps, if anyone were to give a historical account of our democratic experiment as a nation within the past decade, the last four years may well be described as the most critical time of our national security history. It was a time our nation came under siege, fighting a faceless enemy within. It was a time our Armed Forces were locked in the heat of one of the most challenging battles ever fought on Nigerian soil. It was a time Nigeria lived through a redefining moment of our collective hope and destiny. It was a time the eyes of the entire world shifted to Nigeria. It was also at a time like this that I had the rare privilege and honour to serve Nigeria as Minister of State for Defence under the leadership of Your Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR.
Not many have had a second chance to serve their country again after disengaging from a political appointment to seek an elective office. President Goodluck Jonathan gave me a second chance to serve this nation when he re-appointed me in March 2015 as Minister of State II for Foreign Affairs.
I am honoured to have served Nigeria in this Federal Executive Council under Your Excellency’s leadership. This is one Federal Executive Council that has recorded many firsts for Nigeria. From Agriculture, to Power to Transport to Youth Development, Nigeria has witnessed transformation, growth and development in ways we have never seen since our return to democratic rule in 1999.
It is to the credit of this administration that the incoming Government will not be inheriting a weak military. It is to the credit of this administration that the incoming Government will not be saddled with a failed railway sector. It is to the credit of this administration that we have been able to set a global standard in the Agriculture sector. This administration will go down in the history of this nation as one that walked the talk and created an environment for free and fair elections to thrive. Under your leadership, we unbundled the power sector and today, Nigeria has become the largest economy in Africa.
Serving in this Council has provided me the rare privilege of serving alongside men and women of proven integrity from diverse backgrounds. I do not take this for granted.
Your Excellency, distinguished colleagues. Time will not permit me. But allow me close in the words of the 26th President of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt. He said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I wish us all the very best in all our future endeavors.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
H.E. Senator Musiliu Obanikoro
Honourable Minister of State II
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
27th May, 2015