Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, spoke about President Muhammadu Buhari’s frugality, saying the President does not believe in amassing wealth at the detriment of those he is leading.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book, “Making Steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity” at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo revealed that the President takes only half of his salary.
He stated that the decision by President to take only half of his salary was what made him (the Vice-President) to do same adding jokingly that he failed in his attempt to convince Buhari to donate the half salary he rejected to him (Osinbajo).
“Some things have not been included in the book and I might just supply some of that. One of such things is the exemplary frugality, the honesty and humility, and sense of humour of Mr. President,” Osinbajo said.
“That frugality can sometimes be a problem. As you know, Mr. President decided that since government provides accommodation, food and transportation for the President and the Vice-President, we didn’t need a full salary.
“Now, how much is this salary by the way? It is public knowledge and I think it is N1, 750,000.00 or so, which is under N2m. He said he would take only half of his salary and so I had no choice but also to take half of my own salary.
“Unfortunately, Mr. President turned down my request, to give the other half to a worthy cause – his Vice-President. He didn’t consider me a more worthy cause to give half of his salary!
“In a country where politicians sometimes want to be as wealthy as Dangote, it is refreshing to have a President who most people won’t even dare to discuss any private benefit on a project with let alone a bribe or a kick-back.
“Mr. President’s unassuming personality and humility, is in my view, probably his greatest strength. This is why he is never flattered, or carried away by praise or adulation.
“He has always said ‘I don’t pretend to know all the answers. I am here to provide stability and leadership, to a generation, a group of people, determined to run this country honestly, to provide jobs and prosperity to the poor, and our huge youth population.’
“I remember when he was on medical vacation, and I was speaking to him on the phone fairly regularly and giving him a rundown of what was going on, especially when he was on the first medical vacation.
“He said to me, ‘don’t worry about telling me all that is happening, I rely on your judgment keep doing your best, what if I drop dead?! You would have to run it anyway.’
“I had to say to him, that his dropping dead was not part of the plan.
“What has happened so far under this government is the tough business of laying strong foundations. The first, is honesty and good governance, and prudence in government spending.
“The second is in ensuring that we have an infrastructure that can sustain our economy, not now, but in the next decades. For the first time, in at least a decade, we are spending 30% on capital expenditure.”