…calls for interfaith dialogue
The Nigeria Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called on the nation’s leaders to make sacrifices in order to deal with the tensions among people of different faiths and ethnicities.
The Vice President stated this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday, while receiving a delegation from the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of peacebuilding and interfaith cohesion. led by its Executive Chairman Mr Disu Kamor.
“There is a need to understand first of all, that there is no way that we can deal with the tensions between the faiths and ethnicities in Nigeria today unless those in leadership are prepared to make some important sacrifices,” he said.
Osinbajo cited the efforts of late South African leader Nelson Mandela and Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Barkin Ladi in Plateau State.
“Those sacrifices are sacrifices even in what you say, how you say it, and then sacrifices also in the acknowledgment of whatever people are saying and the willingness to accept.”
He also called for interfaith dialogue, emphasizing the importance of language and communication to prevent violence. Adding that leaders should also deploy dialogue which he said is crucial especially “at this time”
According to the Vice President, “We can all talk nicely and say the right things but unless people are prepared to make some concessions which may cost them popularity within their own group, we cannot move forward.
“It is very important that we don’t diminish the importance of language and respectful non-violent communication so that we are able to keep our discussions at a level that ensures that we don’t degenerate too quickly to violence.”
“These are stories of people who are not only political or religious leaders but just ordinary people, doing the right thing. Unless we are prepared to not just talk about it but to make an open display, first of all, of those who are doing the right things, but more importantly, challenging our leaders to say the right things and to be prepared to risk some popularity in order to do so, then we will just be wasting a lot of time,” he further stated.