President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed delight over the attainment of three years without a recorded polio incident in Nigeria.
The president made his feelings known at an audience with Mr Andrew Young, the former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, accompanied by the board of Emeka Offor Foundation in Nigeria, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
He noted that this feat was achieved by his administration with local and international support, saying that it was something “not only to cherish, but one that also requires sustained vigilance.’’
According to him, his administration will maintain focus on health and education through the support of well-to-do individuals in the country to achieve success in these areas.
“The best asset to give to the people is health and education. You free them from the tendencies of under-development, especially religious and ethnic manipulations which are challenges facing us at this stage of our development,’’ he said.
He however expressed optimism that these challenges would wither away with time.
“We have to march gradually. It is impossible to be in a hurry. We are seeking inclusive development without leaving a majority of our people behind,” the President said.
Buhari also commended the social and humanitarian activities of Emeka Offor, especially in the areas of education and health.
He said: “You are translating the success you achieved into social service. This is what the government is doing, so you are helping us in many ways.
“I commend your activities in the area of health and education to other successful Nigerians.’’
In his remarks, Young expressed satisfaction with the Buhari administration’s effort toward Polio eradication.
He commended the President’s leadership of the country, saying, “at a time when nations of the world are pulling apart, we are happy that Nigeria is stable and secure under you.
“We will continue working with Nigeria because we consider ourselves as part of the family.”
Amb. Howard Jeter, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, who also spoke at the meeting, said Buhari’s re-election was, “a real boom for the future of Nigeria.”
He outlined on-going efforts of the Emeka Offor Foundation, in partnership with the Andrew Young Foundation, to supply millions of books to schools, ensure the complete eradication of polio, and to attack River Blindness.
According to him, about 40 million Nigerians are afflicted with River Blindness mostly in the South-east and the South-south areas of the country.