By Uche Amunike
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo played host to a delegation from the Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC, at the Presidential Villa, Monday.
MPAC, which is a non-governmental organization, is dedicated to promoting interfaith cohesion, peace building and other objectives.
Speaking, while receiving the group, Osinbajo said that it was important to understand the need for leaders to make important sacrifices in order to reduce the tension between the faiths and ethnic groups in the country.
He mentioned that such sacrifices are considered irrelevant depending on how they are made and how willing people are ready to accept it.
He spoke on the need to eschew violence, noting that it was expedient not to diminish the importance of language and the need to avoid violence in order to successfully keep discussions between both parties until it gets to a point where there is peaceful interaction.
He gave examples of such sacrifices made by the late South African Freedom Fighter, Nelson Mandela and Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Barkin Ladi in Plateau state, emphasizing that even if people talk nicely and say the proper things, if they’re not ready to make sacrifices that might cost them their popularity among their comfort zone, then much progress cannot be made.
He made reference to people who are just ordinary people doing the right things, stressing that one doesn’t have to be a political or religious leader to live right. He encouraged people to challenge our leaders to do right and speak right, no matter how risky it might seem.
In making sacrifices, he said, leaders should also learn and understand the need to have respectful dialogue especially at this crucial time.
He maintained that the whole idea of respecting other faiths, ethnicities and beliefs of people is expedient, considering the kinds of ethnic and religious clashes being witnessed in the country.
He lauded the Muslim delegation for their efforts in seeing that there was a cohesion and interfaith, adding that an inclusive platform would be set up for interfaith dialogue, and should be taken seriously by stakeholders.
We encourage young professionals to find the way of engaging in a more inclusive interfaith dialogue even if they are not religious leaders.
He concluded that at this time in the history of Nigeria where people from different faiths and responsible and have like minds, it is important for them to collectively carry out a project together with the aim of meeting on a common ground, especially as it concerns cohesion.
On his part, the Executive Chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC and leader of the delegation, Mr Disu Kamor said that MPAC has been a part of activities and programs aimed at achieving cohesion among people, regardless of their different states over the past ten years.
He admitted that the group is ready to synergize with other stakeholders that have done their best in ensuring peaceful coexistence and reducing tension among people from different tribes and faiths across our country, Nigeria.