President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday, declared that the allegation that he is favouring one religion over the other is far from the truth.
He said all through his public life, he had never contravened his oath of office.
This was as he called on religious leaders to work towards the broader goal of building a strong and unified nation and avoid insinuations that could divide the populace, especially along religious lines.
Recall that the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, recently stated that Buhari “rode into town like a knight in shining armour…the bogeyman of religion, region, and ethnicity, which we thought we had overcome by the sheer nature of your support base, have come back with a vengeance to haunt and threaten the very foundation of our existence.”
But the President, while receiving a delegation of the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria led by Bishop John Abu Richard, stated that religious leaders had the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for peace and development to thrive.
“Some voices, for political or ethnic reasons are making unguarded statements accusing the government and myself in particular of religious bias.
“Let me assure you, honourable clergymen, that this is far from the truth. In my career as a soldier, administrator, and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office.
“When I had the honour to lead a Military Government there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council.
“This was not by design but I appointed people on their merit without the slightest bias. The present Federal Executive Council is also evenly balanced; again not by design but by respecting and rewarding individual qualities,’’ Buhari said, according to a statement issued by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina.
The President expressed delight at the proposition to hold a one-day prayer and fasting meeting for the nation, April 26, 2018, assuring that he would direct the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security for the gathering.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation said more than 45,000 pastors in the Northern part of Nigeria had registered with the initiative to use their pulpits for the propagation of the gospel of peace, and shun political distractions.
Richard urged other pastors to support the administration as it works towards ending the violence in various parts of the country and avoid politically coloured sermons.