Monday, March 28, 2016 10:53 pm
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state has called on Nigerians to jettison individual differences, saying unity of the country should remain a priority.
He said this while delivering a lecture on “Religious Tolerance and Challenges of Democratic Governance’’ during the 4th and 5th Convocation Ceremony of Fountain University, Osogbo.
Tambuwal attributed the recurrence of ethno-religious conflicts plaguing Nigeria as a nation since independence to religious and ethnic intolerance.
He said that appointment of public office holders and politicians who recognised religion as a veritable tool for peace, progress and sustainable development would solve the current problem.
The former Speaker of House of Representatives stressed that the phenomenon of ethno-religious conflict has plagued and threatened the existence of Nigeria as a result of bad leadership.
“The soaring tides of poverty, unemployment, ethno-religious crisis, poor infrastructure, environmental hazards, insecurity and particularly bad leadership have converged to deny the country the potential to reach the benchmark of development in the 21st Century.
“Irrespective of our differences, ethnic and religion, we must continue to understand one another for the benefit of all and our differences should not divide us.
“Our diversity should rather strengthen the unity of this country.
“Muslims should continue to seek knowledge and understanding of the religion of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace and was propounded on the basis peace.
“Our Prophet Muhammad accommodated the Jews and non-Muslims even in his mosque to conduct their own services, so, we should continue to engage and respect one another,’’ Tambuwal said.
However, he noted that mismanagement of natural resources and misrule by elites from all divides has been the factor which impoverished and denied opportunities to the majority of Nigerians.
The governor added that since independence, religious and ethnic rhetoric has leveraged claims to political representation and opportunities.
“Corruption and incompetent leadership have added another dimension to the ugly phenomena in not only preventing equitable distribution of resources and opportunities but in also making the politics of religious and the ethnic exclusivity more appealing.
“The nation therefore needs to evolve a system of leadership selection and accountability, which produces the sort of leaders that would confront the challenges associated with our history.
“In essence, politicians, public officials and political office holders must be those who are not necessarily detached from religion, but who have the understanding that religion is in itself a tool for peace and progress,’’ said Tambuwal.