No appointment for anyone based on religion in my govt — President-Elect, Tinubu


…Vows to assemble competent young Nigerians

…affirms commitment to double-digit GDP growth, food security, strong manufacturing base

…Reserve SGF, Chief of Staff for Christians — Group tells President-elect

By Moses Adeniyi

President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has said what he seeks to achieve in his administration is a government of national competence, striking out any leanings on religion for appointments in his government.

The President-elect made the statement in response to preponderance of calls on him to run an inclusive government for national unity.

Tinubu said against the demands for a government of national unity, his goal is a government of national competence.

In a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, Tinubu said he would not be weighed down to sacrifice ability and performance for extraneous considerations, saying “the day for political gamesmanship is long gone.”

“I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria,” he said, declaring that young people and women would have good representation in his government.

He assured his choice of appointments would not be determined by religious considerations, which he said would not be a yardstick for position for any one in his government, but rather, character and competence will be the guiding principle for appointments.

Tinubu stated that the necessity of security and prosperity for the nation cannot be sacrificed for political expediencies, mentioning that the whims of politics must take a backseat to the imperatives of governance.

The President-elect said his team has since commenced strategies to actively begin working toward the common good from the very first day they assume office.

Tinubu, in the statement he personally signed said, “As your incoming President, I accept the task before me. There has been talk of a government of national unity. My aim is higher than that. I seek a government of national competence.

“In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. The day for political gamesmanship is long gone. I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria.

“There shall be young people. Women shall be prominent. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a Church or Mosque will not determine your place in government. Character and competence will.

“To secure our nation and to make it prosperous must be our top priorities. We cannot sacrifice these goals to political expediencies. The whims of politics must take a backseat to the imperatives of governance.

“We have bridges and roads to build not just for commerce and travel but to connect people of different faiths, parties and different outlooks in harmonious dialogue and common purpose.

“We have families to feed not just to eliminate hunger but to nurture enlightenment, civic responsibility and compassion.

“We have jobs to create not merely to put people to work but to afford all a better standard of living by which families and communities are improved and democracy deepened.

“We have water to replenish not just to quench physical thirst but to ignite a thirst for creative and better solutions to society’s challenges.

“We have a nation to protect such that we eliminate danger and even the fear of danger.

“May all of our people be able to live their lives in the light of peace and the glow of broadening prosperity.”

He commended the Supreme Court’s judgement which validated the circulation of the old notes of N200, N500, N1,000 till December 31st, saying that “This restores both the rule of law and economic decency. But this is not the end of the story. It is merely the beginning of a more comprehensive solution to our economic challenges.

“Our Renewed Hope Action Plan outlines goals for greater economic growth in our cities and rural communities.

“We are committed to an economy of double-digit GDP growth, greater food security and one with a strengthened manufacturing base as well as an active digital economy where young people will have ample space to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

“I realise that I am the servant of a larger purpose. As such, I have gone straight to work.

“My team and I have been daily engaged in discussions and meetings refining our ideas and policy solutions so that we can begin actively working toward the common good the very first day we assume office.”

Tinubu called on the oppostions including those who did not vote for him during the presidential election to join in the task of nation building, stressing its a responsibility that overshadows party lines.

Extending to them the hand of friendship, reconciliation and togetherness, he said, “I ask that we work together as Nigerians for Nigeria. Those who voted for me, I ask that you continue to believe in our policies and plans for the country.

“I also ask that you reach out to your brothers and sisters who did not vote as you did. Extend to them the hand of friendship, reconciliation and togetherness.

“To those of you who did not vote for me, I ask you to believe in Nigeria and in the capacity of your fellow citizens, even those who voted differently than you.

“The better Nigeria I seek is not just for me and my supporters. It is equally yours.

“I do not ask you to abandon your political preferences. That would be undemocratic. I do beseech you to answer the call of patriotic duty as the loyal opposition.

“Remain loyal to the cause of a greater, more tolerant and just Nigeria. I too shall keep faith with this objective.”

On questions over the proliferation of political parties, Tinubu said what must concern Nigerians is not the growth of parties but the regrowth of old prejudices and bigotries such as ethnicity, creed and place of origin.

He said, “As a nation and as individuals imbued with the love of God and of our fellow man, we are better than this.

“At some point we must decide whether we shall be enticed by the ills of the past or shall we more bravely and nobly be encouraged by the eminent prospect of a brighter future.

“There have been times in our past when our governing institutions created more questions than they answered.

“But the arc of our political history gives me confidence that we can overcome that past.”

There have been recurring calls on the President-elect not to further polarise the Country along ethnic and religious lines, but should rather run an inclusive government. The calls might not be unconnected with the muslim-muslim ticket on which Tinubu ran with his running mate, Kashim Shettima, a development that was vehemently criticised from some quarters.

Reserve SGF, Chief of Staff for Christians — Group tells President-elect

Joining the trailing calls, a Christian group, the Concerned Christians of Nigeria in Kaduna State, has called on Tinubu, to reserve the slots for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Chief of Staff to the President, for Christians in constituting his administration.

The group argued that since the President-elect and Vice President-elect were muslims, it would only be rational that the two positions should go to Christians for the sake of fairness, equity and justice.

According to a statement by the Leader of the group, Rt. Hon. John Audu-Kwaturu, titled, ‘Presidential Election: Christian Group Tasks Tinubu on  Inclusive, Equitable Appointments,’ the next political dispensation under the Tinubu government should be more inclusive, equitable in terms of appointment such that Christians would have a sense of belonging in the Country.

The group said doing so would dowse tension greeting muslim-muslim Tinubu/Shettima arrangement.

“The presidency should be inclusive and fair. It is no longer news in Nigeria that the president-elect His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu with his vice His Excellency  Kashim Shattima the vice President-elect are both from the same faith in which it has stirred so much uproar within the political space in Nigeria.

“This is the first time since 1999 that both the office of the president and that of the vice president are occupied by persons of the same faith (Muslim). We are among the Christians that stood out ground and supported the Muslim-Muslim tickets. Thus, the Christian communities are calling for fairness in terms of appointments into key positions in the incoming government.

“Since the office of the president and that of the vice President is Muslim Muslim then the office of the chief of staff to the president and that of the S.G.F should also be Christian Christian so that the Christian communities will not say that the Presidency is being islamised. This will show inclusion in the incoming government and it will also ease the present tension bedeviling our nation.

“We appreciate the president-elect for his kind gesture, we will also want to remind the president-elect on how his appointment in the campaign council from the director general of the campaign council to the secretary went a long way to ease the tension of the Muslim Muslim tickets.

“We call on Mr president-elect to use his brilliant ideas to balance up. As we’ll continue to pray for him and also to support him,” the group said.

Similarly, recall that the National Vice Chairman, Northwest, of the party, Salihu Lukman had last Friday called for religious balancing in the incoming administration, saying with a muslim President and Vice president, there was need to replace the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, with a Christian.

Lukman further made a case for the zoning of the office of the Senate President to the South-East/South-South.

He further recommended that the office of the SGF, and other important appointments be made with sensitivity to such considerations.