Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)
The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu told the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria that despite tht he is a Muslim, his wife and children are Christians.
He therefore assured the leadership of the CAN that he will not run his administration on the basis of religion if elected as president in the 2023 general election.
The former governor of Lagos State said this at an interactive session with CAN leadership in Abuja on Wednesday.
The APC presidential standard-bearer stressed that the same way his administration did not discriminate against anyone either based on tribe, religion, or gender when he was Lagos State Governor, he would not start such in office as president.
Tinubu said: “My belief in the need for secular government and faith-based organisations to work in unison is not something adopted recently to benefit my campaign.
“As governor of Lagos, I partnered with the Christian to improve lives and foster education. For instance, I returned mission schools to their owners, most of who are Christians.
“I instituted yearly Christian Denomination Service at the Governor’s residence as we approached the new year. This tradition continues in Lagos.
“More importantly, we fostered an atmosphere of religious tolerance and inter-faith collaboration. My cabinet was diverse and talented.
“In the exercise of government, I did not give a thought to whether a team member was Christian or Muslim, Yoruba, Igbo or Arewa.
“I have never lent myself to baseless prejudice and discrimination. To do so would be a recipe for failure in the governance of a diverse society and I am not a man that is familiar with failing.
“I never chased people out of Lagos nor made them feel unwanted. Under my administration, Lagos welcomed all comers and continues to do so today.
“After me, Lagos has had one Muslim and two Christian governors. I may not be perfect. What human being is? But I am not a petty man secretly wedded to secret biases and prejudices.
“As such, 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. Anyone who does not hold this fair and equitable view, should not run for president in a country such as ours.”
He added: “I know people have reacted harshly to my selection. They have done so without knowing the man or giving him or me a fair chance.
“The rumour that this is some plot to suppress the Christian community is untrue and unfortunate.
“I can no more suppress the Christians of this nation than I can suppress the Christians in my own household, my very family. You all know my wife is Christian and a pastor. My children are Christians. I can no more disown them and their choice of faith than I can disown myself. As a husband and father to Christian wife and children, hearing such allegations is hurtful.”
Tinubu said the Christian body has a great role as the moral compass of the society which he said he cherishes and will always support.
“You, as an organisation and as individual leaders of CAN, are entrusted as the watch person of the welfare of this society from a Christian perspective. Which means functioning in an atmosphere of charity, understanding, patience and wisdom.
“I understand the tremendous importance of your work and have nothing but the deepest respect for your selfless contributions to our national cause,” he stated.
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