The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has encouraged Nigerians to maintain hope amid the economic reforms implemented by President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
The association urged the President to persist in the direction he has taken since assuming office almost eight months ago, expressing its support for the government.
CAN President, Daniel Okoh, urged Nigerians not to lose hope but to have patience and persevere, acknowledging the efforts made by the President towards securing the nation.
Okoh made this statement to State House Correspondents after the audience with the President at the Council Chamber of the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
The meeting on Monday marked the first interaction between the Christian Association of Nigeria and President Bola Tinubu since his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
CAN strongly criticised Tinubu’s predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the previous administration of inadequately addressing incidents of killings and attacks on churches and communities in the Northeast, Northwest, Southwest, and the Middle Belt.
CAN expressed particular concern about the killing of over 40 worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, on June 5, 2022.
The organisation criticised Buhari, urging an end to what it referred to as the recycling of criminals and terrorists under the guise of a de-radicalisation program.
The organisation had also criticised Tinubu, who was then the All Progressives Congress candidate, for advocating a Muslim-Muslim ticket, expressing concerns about potential marginalisation of Christian interests.
However, following closed-door discussions with the President on Monday, the CAN leadership described Tinubu’s administration as “inclusive,” noting that they had observed the composition of appointments he had made thus far.
“Sincerely, what we found out is that the President is actually sensitive to all the challenges that we have. He’s aware, and we see him making very positive steps, even from the beginning of his administration.
“By the way he has made appointments so far, he has come with a great sense of inclusiveness. And Nigerians have a sense of belonging.
“I tell you that his pronouncements so far and his body language have increased the confidence of Nigerians, and we believe that, given the chance, he will do a lot more. We are praying that the Lord will strengthen his hand to be able to do more and turn around the fortunes of this country.”
Okoh appealed for understanding from Nigerians, arguing that the challenges affecting the country existed before the current administration took office.
He noted, “We know that there are a lot of challenges. But what we tell our people is that this is just the beginning of this administration, and Nigeria is big.
“What we face now started many years back, and it will take a while to turn around these things.
“But the important thing is that there is an intentional step that the President has taken and is taking to reverse the trend of events, especially in the area of governance; we see it very clearly.”
“The advice we have for the President is for him to continue on the path that he is now determined to follow.
“He is determined to run a government that is for all, an all-inclusive government, that listens to the people, just like he made a pledge to us that he will continue to listen to us and he has opened the channels for us that anything that we see or any concern that we have, we should always come back to let him know.
“So we believe that now we have a listening president. And we urge him to continue on that path. And to continue to always look out for those who mean well for this nation and put them to good use,” Okoh advised.
The Christian body stated that its presence at the seat of power was to congratulate the President on his electoral victory.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 general elections, the leadership of CAN decided to pay a courtesy visit to express congratulations to President Tinubu and to pledge their support for his administration.
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