President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, received Vice President Yemi Osinbajo alongside service chiefs and an FCT delegation, who paid him the traditional Sallah homage.
Muslims worldwide are celebrating Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer.
Mr. Buhari, while receiving the guests, said he was pleased with the activities of the vice president and urged him not to relent despite the challenges.
“I want to appreciate the number two man of the country (Osinbajo) because he knows what we are going through very quietly; I am very pleased that you came with this very powerful constituency.
“I appeal to you to remain exemplary so that those under you will know that the country is doing very well.
“If you break down and complain, the impact will reverberate all over and the government will not be popular and whatever efforts we are making will not be appreciated,’’ he said.
According to NAN, Mr. Buhari jokingly told Senator Philip Aduda, who was part of the FCT delegation, that his constituency did not vote for him in the last presidential election.
He said, however, that FCT was a strategic part of Nigeria and that securing it would be taken seriously by his administration.
But The Cable reported that the president went further and referred to residents of the federal capital as “necessary evil”.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Philip Aduda) and I told him that his constituency did not vote for me. So, I was very pleased that when they made the arrangement they put him very far away from me,” the president was quoted as saying.
“I have all the results of all constituencies. I am not threatening FCT because to make FCT secure is to make myself secure and the vice-president. I think they know that they are a necessary evil that was why they decided to vote for PDP.”
Mr. Buhari took the guests down the memory lane of his `long journey’ to the Presidency from 2003, 2007, 2011 to 2015, saying they were interesting political developments.
He thanked his supporters for their steadfastness and pledged to give his best in service to the country despite the odds.
On his part, Mr. Osinbajo congratulated the president on the occasion that marked the end of the Ramadan.
According to the vice president, God has been extremely good to the president and to the government.
“I believe that our country is at a threshold of the breakthrough that we have been praying for and hoping for all these many years. And this is why many challenges are going on.
“Challenges around security, religion, people who are stoking up ambers of the lagoon, religious grievance and ethnic divisions and all that.
“But this gathering is one of those gatherings that we are at liberty, political leadership, religious leadership to demonstrate to our people that this country is a country of one people, the Nigerian people.
“They may be different in their faith, ethnicity but we are one people? We are one and united people.
“I want to commend all our leaders, who are here for making this tradition, that we will come together – Christians, Muslims, and people of different faith to demonstrate that this country is a united country; and that those who will want to stoke up embers or division we will not allow them to do so.
“So, I want to urge all our leaders here that we must not allow the rhetoric of religion to supersede the rhetoric of unity; we must also speak up; we must seek ways that will unite our country.’’
Speaking, Christian Oha, Permanent Secretary, FCT, congratulated Mr. Buhari on the success of his inauguration which marked the beginning of his second term in office.
“We pray that almighty in his infinite goodness and mercy, continue to grant you good health and wisdom as you steer our country back to the path of social harmony, security, and economic recovery.
“The people of the FCT stand solidly behind you as you begin this task and pledge our support and cooperation in the coming years ahead.
“We do this sir because we are grateful people. Over the last four years, the FCT has benefited immensely from your divinely inspired leadership;
“We have enjoyed the peace and the social intervention programmes have filled the gaps in our educational system and provided succor for thousands of our people.
“We in the FCT will continue to do our part to ensure that you succeed in your second term in office starting of course with the first celebration of our Democracy Day on June 12.
“Our people have been mobilised to be exceptional hosts to the hundreds of foreign guests who we know will honour the invitation to be here and felicitate with us,’’ he said.
Among the guests were Shehu Umar Galadanci, Murshid Abuja Central Mosque, former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin and Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
Others were Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, and the Director General of Department for State Service (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Civil Defence FCT Commandant
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi, former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele were also in attendance.