Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Friday assured Christian leaders in the country of his commitment to leave Nigeria better than he met it in 2015.
This is even as Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) has advised him to comb the entire country to pick the best for his cabinet, while they also prayed that the country witness meaningful development during his second tenure
President Buhari gave the assurance when he had audience with CAN leadership led by Rev Samson Ayokunle, who was at State House to congratulate President Buhari on his re-election.
While noting that the outcome of the just concluded polls underscores the trust Nigerians have in the present leadership in the country, Buhari affirmed that his administration will continue to address important national challenges including security, economy and corruption.
According to him, “We will continue to strive for peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs. In the area of allocation of political offices, our focus will be on merit and national spread such that every part of Nigeria will have a sense of belonging.
“We remain resolute in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, and efforts to bring back all those in cap- tivity and other victims of kidnappings will be intensified,” he said.
Commending the important roles religious bodies have played in the last four years of the administration, the President pledged to continue supporting several programmes anchored by the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), geared towards peace, tolerance, unity and harmony in the country.
Ayokunle in his remarks, assured Buhari of the association’s support in his second term, even as he prayed God to grant the President “everything it takes to perform hundred times better than his first term.”
The CAN president welcomed Buhari’s pledge to run an inclusive government in a speech shortly after his re-election, noting that the gesture would give all in the country a sense of belonging. He also called for ethnic and religious balance in the selection of leadership of the 9th National Assembly.
Ayokunle, while appealing to the President to task security agencies to be more pro- active in their duties, made a passionate request for deliberate and relentless efforts to free Leah Sharibu, other Chibok girls and Nigerians in captivity of insurgents.
The CAN President said, “Your Excellency, our advice to you is to take your leadership beyond party politics. We were so happy listening to your speech after your re-election that you were going to run an all inclusive government. Having been re- elected President, you have become the President of all. In view of this, we urge you to see yourself as father to all by embracing all. We solicit for inclusiveness and fairness as you constitute your cabi- net and appoint worthy Nigerians to the headship and membership of critical agencies, boards and parastatals.
“More importantly sir, we solicit passionately for deliberate and relentless effort to free Leah Sharibu and other Chibok girls from captivity. Each passing day inflicts anguish in the hearts of the parents of this young girl, the rest of us who are parents, all Nigerians and others all over the world who love freedom and regret that Leah’s life is being wasted in captivity for no sin of hers other than for her religion. Doing all within you to free Leah Sharibu and according it top priority, shall confer greater credibility on your government and on you as a person. Please and please, Mr. President, let Leah Sharibu and those in captivity of insurgents be freed to enjoy their lives.”
Speaking on the recent bloodshed in some parts of the country especially the North East, Ayokunle, said, “while we are thanking you for all your efforts at put- ting an end to bloodshed in the nation, we urge you to task the security agents to be more alive to their responsibilities by putting an end to insurgency, ethnic violence, kidnapping and herdsmen’s atrocities prevalent in our nation. Today, the Northwest of Nigeria which used to be peaceful is also witnessing violent activities. The unnecessary killings in Kaduna and the detention of some leaders of Ajara Chiefdom in Kaduna State since January should be addressed without delay to douse all tensions. All efforts today by all of us should be geared towards forgiving one another and reconciling with one an- other.”