Nigeria’s Vice President and one of the major presidential aspirants, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has urged religious leaders and faith communities to collaborate with the government and play a significant role in ensuring adequate security, fraternity and harmony in West Africa.
The VP disclosed in a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Wednesday after the General Assembly of the Reunion of the Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA).
According to the statement, which was issued and signed by his media aide, Laolu Akande, the government is open to collaborations to promote peace and security in the country.
What Osinbanjo is saying
The VP said that an integrated, peaceful and prosperous sub-region would not be fully guaranteed if peace does not first reign in local communities and each of the countries.
He urged the religious leaders “To not only explore ways of strengthening the bonds of faith between your communities but also of building bridges across every divide that threatens to fracture our nations.”
Speaking further, he said, “I hope that you will conceptualize ways of bringing the full weight of the immense moral authority that you possess upon our nations and in the sub-region as a whole.”
Emphasising the Fratelli Tutti concept, the VP noted that “The idea that fraternity and social friendship are the ways to build a better, more just and peaceful world with the commitment of all people and institutions. The Encyclical proposes some of the boldest and most radical ideas on securing human unity, peace and security.
“By offering concrete prescriptions on building brotherhood and sustainable peace anywhere, the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti rightly takes the position that this is not merely the business of governments and political institutions; it must also be anchored on our civil societies of which the faith communities are an important constituency.”
Professor Osinbajo said, “To ensure peace and stability in a region or country, the Government of Nigeria remains committed to collaborating with the Church and all well-meaning actors in promoting peace and security.
“Social security for the poor and vulnerable are schemes that ensure that none is left behind and that no citizen in these blessed West African nations needs to go to bed hungry.
“That we must prioritize universal healthcare, while also ensuring free and compulsory basic education. And that we must create the environment for millions of young and restless people within our borders to find good-paying jobs and live decent lives.”
Offering solutions to security and other challenges to regional peace and peaceful coexistence, he emphasized the importance of unity in diversity and building bridges across societal divides.
“Indeed as people of faith, we look upon the diversity of our people as a gift of providence, not as a cause of conflict. We are gratified that the Church has stood out and continues to stand as a powerful voice for ecumenism all over the world and is committed to doing so in this region.
“In answer to tendencies that promote violence, force and war in the propagation of ideas, His Holiness, the Pope, takes the view that even Augustine of Hippo, who forged a concept of ‘just war’ also said that ‘it is a higher glory still to stay war itself with a word than to slay men with the sword, and to procure or maintain peace by peace, not by war,” he added.
What you should know
The theme of the Conference, “is Fratelli Tutti: Path to Build Brotherhood and Sustainable Peace in West Africa.”
Professor Osinbajo, who declared their intention to run on April 11, will contest with other heavyweights including Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, and Chris Ngige, among a list of others who have publicly declared interest to run for the presidential election.