The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday met with the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and presented an 11-point demand on issues that can drive development to him.
Among the demands of the association are the creation of state police and rejection of the rural grazing area (RUGA) initiative of the Buhari government.
CAN at the meeting said it was against the plan, adding that it would support ranching and modernised methods of rearing animals instead.
Stephen Baba, president of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), who spoke on behalf of CAN, said the demands of Christians will contribute towards addressing the “crisis of development” in Nigeria.
According to him, the demands include, “creation of state police or fully decentralised police authority; clear and unambiguous religious neutrality of the Nigerian state; enforcement of fundamental rights of all Christians, including economic and social rights; restructuring to decentralise government; equitable and enforceable sharing of executive positions”.
Others are “ethnic and religious representation in military and security agencies; self-determination for all Nigerian people; no to RUGA, yes to ranching; education and free healthcare for all Nigerians, including the almajiris; no open grazing, rather modernisation of animal husbandry; local control of local economy, including waters, rivers, and forests”.
“The Christian community is worried that Nigeria is lurching towards complete state failure. We are worried that disorientation in public leadership makes this a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Baba added.
“But we are reassured by the words of the scripture.”
Addressing the association, Tinubu told the CAN leadership that his decision to vie for the nation’s top job is in line with the country’s Constitution as he allayed fears over his same-faith ticket.
“I seek to become Nigerian president not on religious grounds but on the Constitution. Thanks to the body for the invitation to candidates to speak of their plans for the nation,” he said.
“I believe in the need for a secular government and for us to work in the interest of the country just as I did in Lagos State by returning the missionary schools to the rightful owners.
“I never chased people out of Lagos. My choice of Shettima is borne out of the urgent need to address the challenges facing the country as Shettima possesses strong leadership abilities which he exhibited when he was the governor of Borno State. I wanted a progressive government that was why I selected Shettima.
“Choosing a Christian running mate would have been easy but that is not the case. We have urgent challenges that do not depend on religious leanings but on the best of hands that can address it.”
“I see all Nigerians as equals and as brothers and sisters in our national family. This means no one is inherently inferior or superior to anyone else, regardless of faith, place of origin, social status, and gender,” he said.
“Anyone who does not hold this fair and equitable view, should not run for president in a country such as ours.”
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