At the presidential villa on Friday, Pres. Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hosted two different religious delegations.
First to arrive was a Christian delegation led by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle. Afterwards, a Muslim delegation came calling, led by the Secretary General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu.
The first meeting could have been awkward: Considering the back and forth between the leadership of CAN and the presidency, this meeting had the potential to be problematic. CAN, under the presidency of Rev. Ayokunle has repeatedly accused the Buhari government of an Islamization plot.
Last month, VP Osinbajo said at an event that Christian leaders focus their minds too much on a so-called Islamic agenda and look for it everywhere as if “we are looking for demons.” He said such an attitude represented a “failure of Christian leadership.”
In a response, the CAN president, Rev. Samson Oyekunle, advised Osinbajo to stop discrediting the organisation in order to “win the heart of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“The body of Christians in Nigeria have long been aware of the grand plot to Islamise Africa, with Nigeria as a major focus, stressing that Nigerian government has been working in tandem with the Organisation Of Islamic Countries and Islam In Africa Organisation to achieve this,” the CAN president said in a message signed by his media aide, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji.
However, there was no mention of any of those rifts in an official statement released by the Presidency after the meeting on Friday. Instead the statement which was signed by Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said that the CAN president “commended the President’s achievements in the fight against corruption, empowerment of the military to flush out Boko Haram terrorists and the recovery of some of the kidnapped Chibok girls.”
See photos below from the two meetings with the religious leaders: