The government of Abdullahi Ganduje in Kano State, yesterday, replied a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, that the Ganduje Foundation, a philanthropic organisation, was being used to force Christians to join Islam, saying there was no compulsion in faith.
This is as the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, after repeatedly instigating self-defence in view of the deteriorating security challenges in his state, yesterday, made a u-turn and said security under President Muhammadu Buhari, has improved significantly.
Masari, who listed the achievements of the president to include social security, which was created to cater for the poor, and ensure that they receive money at the end of every month, said no leader in the history of the country has done more to reduce poverty.
On his part, the Emir of Daura, Dr Faruk Umar Faruk, has told President Buhari, to ignore critics, many of who insult him, because they would the same thing or worse to whoever succeeds him.
But the president has said the only inheritance he was bequeathing to his children was education and therefore, urged parents to train their children and also educate them on values.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, described the comment as totally false, considering that, while there was no compulsion in religion, Islam gave individuals the freedom to choose their own religion, and also provided non-Muslims with considerable economic, cultural and administrative rights.
He said there was never a time any Christian or non-believer was forced to embrace Islam by the foundation, because it negated the teachings of Islam, but were called to Islam at their wish just as the missionaries went to villages in Kano to invite non-believers to embrace Christianity.
Garba said it was unfortunate that at a time when the country needed to be united for national development and religious tolerance, a man of Babachir’s calibre, would spread falsehood without much consideration to his position in the APC and close relationship with the party’s standard bearer, Tinubu.
The commissioner pointed out that going by its activities, the foundation was not faith-based but purely philanthropic in which case, non-Muslims also stood to benefit from the services it renders.
He said Ganduje always stood for religious harmony in Kano as exemplified by the administration’s creation of the Ministry for Religious Affairs, where the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), partnered and enjoyed a good working relationship with the governor as well as the introduction of an Inter-Faith Dialogue that promotedreligious harmony in the state.
Garba further said Ganduje’s disposition on religious tolerance informed his administration’s stance on guaranteeing religious freedom and association for ethnic nationalities in the state, which earned him recognition and conferment of traditional title of Agu Na Eche Mba of Igbo land by the Chairman, Abia state/South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Eberechi Dick and another chieftaincy title conferred on him and his wife as Aare Fiwajoye of Ibadan by Olubadan, Oba (Dr.) Senator Mohood Olalekan Ishola.
Ganduje, however, assured the people that the Muslim-Muslim ticket was not going to in any way result in the neglect of Christians in the country, and appealed to the former SGF, Christian party members and other Nigerians to be mindful of their utterances especially, on religious matters and support the APC for quality leadership that would deliver the country from its challenges.
However, speaking on the achievements of the president at the palace of the Emir of Daura, when Buhari paid a Salah homage, Masari said security in the country had improved considerably, compared to when the President came into power.
He reminded the Daura Emirate Council, title holders, political leaders in the state and citizens across the country, to remember the bombings of mosques and churches before 2015, that had hindered worshippers, a situation he claimed was no longer existing, even though he said a few weeks ago that security was bad and that Katsina people should defend themselves.
“Human beings forget easily. It is true that we have not reached, where we want, but efforts are being made to ameliorate the situation. Look at the size of our security compared to the population, you will know we all have to be involved in securing the country,” he added.
On poverty, he said, “No government in the history of this country has done more to reduce poverty like President Buhari’s administration. He asked religious and community leaders to bring enlightenment to bear on successful government programmes such as the Social Investment Programme (SIP) through which 120,000 poor citizens in 12 Local Government Areas of the state receive a monthly payment of N5,000 and this is happening in all the states.
“Today, we have over 863,000 children in the state being fed under the school feeding programme. This has created 10,000 jobs for women cooks, 14,000 young men and women enrolled in N-Power.
“We have food vendors, who are engaged and earning their livelihood. All the foolish talk on social media is by those, who only think of themselves. Our elites are never happy or appreciative until something gets to their pockets.”
Emir of Daura, while thanking the President for the infrastructure and institutional developments in the state, said generations would remember and remain grateful to him.
He urged him to increase his patience and tolerance as he begins to countdown, knowing that the ultimate reward for all his sacrifices would come from God.
“All Nigerians, both good and bad, know you are doing your best. In life you will have people who like you, and those who do not like you. If you have many wives, or many children, they will not like you equally.
“Some are insulting you and belittling your efforts now. Don’t worry, they will do the same thing to the next president. Keep doing your best, and remain tolerant as a leader. In Daura here, even the blind or the leader of all the blinds, know that you have made a great difference. We are grateful, and proud of you,” he said.
But Buhari, who enjoining the Nigeria people to train their children and also educate them on the right values, said the only inheritance he was bequeathing on his children was education.
He said he has impressed it on his children that the only inheritance they have was good education, adding that, he had no property to bequeath to his children except sound and qualitative education.
“My children already know that I am not leaving anything for anyone to inherit. My greatest legacy to the children is to ensure they are properly educated. My focus has always been on training the children to be relevant wherever they find themselves. I told my children, particularly the girls, that they can only get married after getting a first degree,” he said.
Reminiscing on his first coming as Head of State between 1984 and 1985, which led to his being incarcerated for over three years, the president said, “I was locked up for more than three years, after leading the country. At that point, I realised and I told my children that your net worth is what is in your head, not what you have acquired in life.”
He, therefore, charged parents to inculcate right values in children, including deep fear of God, respect for constituted authorities and living a purposeful life through continuous education.
Buhari charged the youth to seek education, not for government jobs, which are unavailable but to arm themselves with skills and ability to fight poverty and to meet the needs of the 21st Century.
“We should ensure the children get proper education. The knowledge they acquire should not be towards getting government jobs. We don’t have jobs in government anymore. With technology, governments are becoming smaller, nimble and efficient.
“Emphasis should now be on skills acquisition and competence in creation and deployment of technology. During the Covid-19, we asked all level 12 downward to stay at home, and surprisingly, the systems worked effectively,” he said.
Buhari said more time should be given to the coaching of the future leaders, with basic knowledge of moral values, as the fast changing world, driven by new technology, would be more competitive and demanding.
He noted that the younger children should be guided and taught history, as they would find it hard to be patriotic, responsible and respectful, without a thorough understanding of their backgrounds, saying, “Whoever does not have a good sense of history will easily make mistakes.”
The president assured the Emir of Daura that he would be more regular in visits, preparatory to the handing over in May, 2023, adding that the prolonged absence was due to the demands of his office.
“This is the longest I have been away from home. Infact, the Emir took to the court of public opinion at the prayer ground, when he openly told everyone that I had not visited Daura for close to a year,” he added.
He noted that all Nigerians must make sacrifices to move the country forward, especially, the public servants, calling for more selflessness and inclusion.
“At the end, it is only God that can reward your efforts, not man,” he said.