President Muhammadu Buhari has again urged citizens to continue to pray for the peace and progress of the nation.
He expressed his sincere gratitude to citizens on Friday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received the executives of the country’s main political parties; the All Pogressives Congress APC and the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP, on a courtesy visit.
The President used the opportunity to again appreciate the prayers of Nigerians while he was away in London on medical vacation.
I am very pleased to see you assembled here all shades of opinion in Nigeria. Please convey to our countrymen and women in your respective states my deep gratitude to all those who prayed for my recovery. I am imploring all Nigerians to continue praying for peace and prosperity in Nigeria, he said.
The Nigerian leader said the event, which brought together the leadership of both the governing and main opposition party in the country was very significant because it indicated the unity of the nation and also showcased the maturity of the nation’s democracy.
This visit signifies the unity of Nigeria. It is not a party occasion. It is not a political gathering. It is a symbol of our National unity. It is also an expression of the maturity of our democracy, President Buhari stated.
He noted that opposition was good for the growth of the nation but must be exercised with the modesty it requires.
Multi-party democracy is a very tried and tested form of government. Opposition does not mean hostility, enmity or antagonism. Democracy needs opposition, one which is vibrant but responsible, he said.
In his remarks, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Mr John Oyegun thanked President Buhari for initiating the unique event, which he said had a clear message to citizens of the country.
You initiated this unique day and you a sending a very clear message all over the country, that you have come back in spite of all what has happened and you are telling the people of this great nation that you are the President of Nigeria and all the people of Nigeria, irrespective of religious, ethnic or political leanings and the kind of remarks, that even crossed the line of decency in the past few months while you were away. I thank you our President, Mr Oyegun stated.
He expressed the hope that the message permeated the country’s polity, as he prayed for more robust health for President Buhari.
The APC Chairman added that the kind of welcome Nigerians gave President Buhari when he returned last week from London, showed the kind of confidence they have in his ability to lead the country.
Earlier, the National Caretaker Chairman of the main opposition party, the PDP, Mr Ahmed Makarfi said the party will continue to keep the governement in check, for better results.
In any case the PDP firmly believes that opposition is no madness; it will therefore never wish ill of anybody, let alone the person saddled with the responsibility of leading our country. Mr President, you will agree with me that the PDP has more than a fair knowledge and experience of the weight of that responsibility.
Having welcomed you back and prayed for you, let me seize this opportunity to assure you, and through you, the entire country, that the PDP having assumed the leadership of the opposition in this country, is poised to play that role energetically, vibrantly, but very decently and with all sense of responsibility. This we shall do by giving you a good run for your money and constantly keeping you on your toes as we all strive to make this country better, the PDP Chairman stated.
He however pledged the cooperation of his party in moving the country forward, adding the anti graft agencies be given a free hand to carry out their duties.
Mr President, I want to reiterate our offer and assurances of PDP’s cooperation with the government on any programme sincerely designed to take Nigeria to higher levels. We identify with, and will continue to support the fight against terrorism as well as other crimes that have sneaked into our consciousness like kidnapping and banditry, as well as farmers/herdsmen clashes and other crimes camouflaged as such and all other anti-social vices that slow down our nation’s wheels of progress.
We also offer our support for the fight against corruption and appeal that the institutions saddled with this onerous task be given a necessary encouragement and independence to do the right thing. This will help in further strengthening our institutions and insulating them from undue political interferences, Makarfi pleaded.
The event had in attendance the leadership of both parties, who exchanged pleasantries depicting the unity of the nation.
The meeting was attended by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, chairman of the APC, Mr John Odigie-Oyegun and the caretaker chairman of the PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi.
Other APC members attending the meeting include the National Legal Adviser of the APC, Muiz Banire, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Prince Tony Momoh, former Senate President,Ken Nnamani amongst others.
Those from the PDP are Senstor Ben Obi and other members of the caretaker committee.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday observed the Jumma’at prayer at the Aso Villa Mosque with other worshipers.
Source: Voice of Nigeria