To further stoke the flames, the recent cold war between the President and his Vice, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo was interpreted by some as a subtle move to alienate Christians from governance.
The Christian Association of Nigeria weighed in on the ongoing event, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to CAN President, Rev. Adebayo Oladeji, told reporters that CAN believes there is no division between the Vice and his principal but that there is no smoke without fire.
Oladeji said “So, as far as we are concerned, there is no crisis between them until we are told otherwise. Be that as it may, we are not happy with what we hear. It is said that in every rumor, there is an element of truth. So, if there is any problem between them, we advise them to resolve it.
“If it has to do with 2023 politics, we advise the warring camps to sheathe their swords because 2023 is still far away. It is only God that knows who will be there. We are so much in a hurry. We just held elections this year.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on his part has regularly extolled the religious tolerance exhibited by President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that Buhari’s approach to religion is the sort of tolerance that is needed in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society.
President Buhari has publicly expressed his commitment to religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians, he affirmed this to the Christian Association of Nigeria in a courtesy visit when he stated “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.’’
President Buhari’s utterances and that of his administration’s top men show that his administration has no plan to Islamize the country. Despite tribal and religious pressure, President Buhari still stuck with Pastor Osinbajo as his running mate and co-pilot for the second term.
However going into 2020, the President needs to assure Nigerians with more than rhetoric, religious persecution is still a challenge that needs more action from the presidency. The President should also embrace more religious and ethnic diversity in political appointments to finally allay the fears of the citizenry that Nigeria will metamorphose into an Islamic state.