President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday hinted on what to expect during his second term in respect of appointments and security.
Buhari declared that he would focus on merit and national spread in making political appointments with a view to giving every part of the country a sense of belonging.
He also vowed that government would ensure harmony among Nigerians.
‘‘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,” the President pledged while receiving a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) led by the Reverend Samson Ayokunle, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The visitors had tasked him to “take your leadership beyond party politics” and run an all-inclusive government.
They asked for “inclusiveness and fairness as you constitute your cabinet and appoint worthy Nigerians to the headship and membership of critical agencies, boards and parastatals.”
Responding to CAN’s demands, Buhari said: “We will continue to strive for peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs.
“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.”
He commended religious bodies for the roles they have been playing in the country since he assumed office and promised to continue supporting several programmes anchored by the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), geared towards peace, tolerance, unity and harmony in our country.
Ayokunle in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, advised the President to look beyond party politics and embrace all Nigerians, irrespective of party ideology, in making appointments.
“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,” he said.
”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.
“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, recognise 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.
“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.”
The group also commended the President for the revival of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and ”the sincere efforts of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in ensuring that your passion to build peace through NIREC becomes a reality.”
CAN made a fresh call for the release of Leah Sharibu and other Chibok girls from captivity saying: “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.”