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Appointments‘ll be on merits, national spread — Buhari


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Ensure religious, ethnic balancing in appointments, CAN tells President Calls for adherence to separation of powers Says each passing day inflicts anguish in Leah Sharibu parents hearts


PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that merit and national spread will be his guiding principle in the allocation of political offices in his second term. The President also assured that every part of the country will have the sense of belonging in his second term which begins on May 29 this year and that he will continue to strive for peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs. The president gave the assurance yesterday when the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN came to congratulate him on his re-election at the February 23 presidential election in the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja.

On its part, the leadership of CAN advised President Buhari to ensure ethnic and religious balancing in his appointments,  stressing that there was no religious group in Nigeria without qualified men and women. CAN also told the President to adhere strictly to the doctrine of separation of powers as enshrined in the Nigeria’s constitution and also double the efforts in ensuring that the only Christian school girl, Leah Sharibu who is still in captivity of the Islamic Boko Haram group for not denouncing her Christian faith was set free. Receiving the delegation, President Buhari assured the Christian leaders that he was committed to leave Nigeria better than he met it in 2015. 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 captivity and other victims of kidnappings will be intensified,” the President said. The President who affirmed that his administration will continue to address important national challenges including security, economy and corruption, told his guests that the outcome of the just concluded polls underscored the trust Nigerians have in the present leadership in the country. Commending the important roles religious bodies have played in the last four years of his administration, President Buhari pledged to continue supporting several programmes anchored by the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), geared towards peace, tolerance, unity and harmony in our country.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and national president of CAN, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, prayed God to grant President Buhari “everything it takes to perform hundred times better than” his first term, stressing that the organisation had the success of this administration at heart. Rev Ayokunle welcomed the President’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. The leadership of the Christian body also called for ethnic and religious balance in the selection of leadership of the ninth National Assembly. He 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 cabinet and appoint worthy Nigerians to the headship and membership of critical agencies, boards and parastatals. “Your Excellency, there is no ethnic or religious group in Nigeria where you cannot find highly qualified men and women that you can engage to add value to your administration and help in moving the nation forward. This is the true and objective way in which you can give all in the country, a sense of belonging. “We, from the Christian Association of Nigeria, recognize the importance of the National Assembly to the stability and growth of our polity. It is in this regard that we call for ethnic and religious balance with depth in picking the leadership of that great institution of democracy. “Sir, to ensure that this happens is to remove any apprehension and suspicion harboured towards the leadership of this country. We equally solicit that the principle of separation of power as it is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be allowed to thrive as an intrinsic aspect of modern day democracy.” While appealing to the President to task security agencies to be more proactive in their duties, the CAN leader made a passionate request for deliberate and relentless efforts to free Leah Sharibu, other Chibok girls and Nigerians in captivity of insurgents. CAN President said, “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  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.” While thanking the president for his efforts at putting an end to bloodshed in the nation, the group urged him 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 another,” CAN said.

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