Let’s harness diversity for Nigeria’s benefit, say Sultan, Oyetola, Adebule, Akiolu

OSUN State governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, has implored Nigerians to eschew ‎things that can hamper the peaceful coexistence in the country.

He said the time had come for Nigerians, regardless of social, economic, religious, political and ethnic differences, to rise against insurgency and other forms of civil disobedience capable of truncating the country’s growth and development.

Oyetola spoke as the chairman at the 25th annual pre-Ramadan lecture of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA), last weekend.

In the same vein, the Lagos State deputy governor, Dr Idiat Adebule; the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, called for the promotion of diversity in the country.

Oyetola condemned insurgency in some parts of the country and called on Nigerians to see the country’s diversity as a blessing for national unity, peace and integration.

The governor described Islam as an antithesis to violence and insurgency and called on interlopers to stop wreaking havocs under the disguise of Islam, sheathe their swords and embrace peace in the interest of the country.

The Lagos State deputy governor, Adebule, described Islam as a religion of peace and urged its adherents to ensure peaceful co-existence with believers of other faiths.

“Our administration remains committed to ensuring the right environment for all religions to thrive without discrimination. I am proud to say that Lagos State has the enviable record of being a state where different religions co-exist peacefully without friction and we are obliged to continue to promote this through policies and programmes that enhance better life for all,” she said.

Sultan Abubakar described diversity as nature’s signature. Nature, he said, is sustained only through its diversity.

“In other words, without diversity, nature cannot be sustained and the world as we know it today would not be there. Of course, even within Islam there are diversities, of tribes, cultures, schools, interpretations and views. This intra-religious diversity should be even easier to manage because the fundamentals of the belief system and the ultimate goals are the same,” he said.

The Sultan of Sokoto added that “Islam recognises the reality of diversity. It accepts it and rises above it to show that what matters is not race which is geographical or colour which is skin-deep but the quality of human character.

“That the human being is defined not by where he comes from or what language he speaks or even what social class he comes from, rather what he believes in and what values drive his character and behaviour.”

The National President of the UMA, Alhaji Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, lamented that religion, which is supposed to be used as an instrument of unity, has been manipulated for political and other sinister purposes.”

He, however, expressed confidence in the ability of Islam to offer solutions to most of the problems.

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