Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja, met former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, Andrew Young, and said his administration would maintain focus on health and education and require the support of well-to-do individuals in the country to achieve success in these areas.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said Buhari noted that the country recorded free-polio incident in three years, saying this was achieved with local and international support.
Buhari told Young, who was accompanied by the board of Emeka Offor Foundation in Nigeria on a courtesy call that Nigeria being being free of polio for three years
was something not only to cherish, but one that also requires sustained vigilance.
According to the president: “The best asset to give to the people is health and education. You free them from the tendencies of under-development, especially religious and ethnic manipulations which are challenges facing us at this stage of our development”.
He, however, expressed optimism that these challenges would wither away with time.
“We have to march gradually. It is impossible to be in a hurry. We are seeking inclusive development without leaving a majority of our people behind,” the president said.
President Buhari also commended the social and humanitarian activities of Offor, especially in the areas of education and health: “You are translating the success you achieved into social service. This is what the government is doing, so you are helping us in many ways. I commend your activities in the area of health and education to other successful Nigerians.”
In his address at the meeting, Young expressed happiness with the Buhari administration’s effort at polio eradication.
He commended the president’s leadership of the country, saying, “at a time when nations of the world are pulling apart, we are happy that Nigeria is stable and secure under you. We will continue working with Nigeria because we consider ourselves as part of the family.”
In his remarks, Ambassador Howard Jeter, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria said President Buhari’s re-election was, “a real boom for the future of Nigeria.”
He outlined on-going efforts of the Emeka Offor Foundation, in partnership with the Andrew Young Foundation, to supply millions of books to schools, ensure the complete eradication of polio, attack River Blindness with about 40 million afflicted mostly in the South-East and the South-South areas of the country and, in the near future, also start a campaign against cervical cancer, for which Nigeria holds a world record.