Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has given an insight on the level of religious tolerance between him and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinbajo spoke at the opening ceremony of the general assembly of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Abuja on Friday, November 29.
“Every Sunday, my family and over 100 Christians attend service in the Chapel at the Villa. The Chapel is located in the premises of the President and his family. It is located a few seconds away from the First Lady’s kitchen.
“Sometimes when I see the President on a Sunday morning, he asks me whether the service is over already or I am escaping from the service!,”
According to him, it is this sort of tolerance that is needed in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and it is the duty of leaders to show that sort of example.
He noted that it is the courage of leaders to live up to the ideals of their faith and their sworn commitments that invariably build nations adding that leaders must live up to the commitments to which they swear, especially political leaders.
“Nations are built by the sacrifices, the hard work of leaders who do not care even if they are condemned by persons of their own religion or ethnicity, so long as they are confident that they act in obedience to the oaths they swore and to the Almighty God.
“Such men and women are few, but the profundity of their actions invariably transform communities and nations as they bend the arc of history in the direction of unity, peace and progress,” Osinbajo stated.
He said he has observed for many years the words and actions of the Sultan of Sokoto, which according to him, has sought to build bridges with other faiths, locally and internationally, this is as it should be.
“The challenge of nation building is not the noise of the religious bigots and nihilists, it is the silence and inaction of leaders of different faiths who know better, those who say and do nothing, and to whom we appeal today. Your words and actions may make the difference between peace and tragedy.
“The Quran proclaims, “Human beings, we created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another.” (Surah 49:13).
“These words are important because they point us in the direction of our diversity, but that diversity is a source of strength, knowledge and unity and our nation at this point, requires men and women who look at our faith, Muslims and Christians who see first brothers and sisters, who see first human beings before we see faith,” the Vice President said.
While citing instances of some Muslim state governors who have rebuilt churches burnt by fundamentalists in their state, Osinbajo noted that there are states where Governors refuse to grant certificates of occupancy for the building of churches or places of religious gathering in outright violation of the constitution they swore to uphold.