Amid calls on him by some to build a government of national unity, President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu has said he has a higher ambition, which is to form a government of national competence.
In a statement issued Thursday in Abuja, Tinubu said neither religion nor ethnicity and other such considerations would determine appointments, but promised to ensure a full integration of youths and women.
National Vice Chairman, Northwest, of the party, Salihu Lukman had on 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.
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Lukman equally made a case for the zoning of the office of the Senate President to the South-East/South-South and that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and other important appointments be made with such sensitivity in mind.
However, Tinubu, in a statement 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.”
According to him, an important step towards restoring economic normalcy has been taken by the Supreme Court’s decision on the parity of old and new notes.
“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 realize 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.
“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,” he added.
Reacting to concerns about 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.
“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,” he stated.