It has been reported that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has made it known that in situations of conflict, including ethnic and religious tensions, leaders must be willing to make sacrifices even at the risk of their popularity to attain long-lasting resolutions, peace, and progress.
The Vice President reportedly disclosed this Osinbajo on Monday when he received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Muslim Public Affairs Centre led by its Executive Chairman, Disu Kamor.
Osinbajo said that, “There is a need to understand first of all, that there is no way that we can deal with the tensions between the faiths and ethnicities in Nigeria today unless those in leadership are prepared to make some important sacrifices.”
According to him, “Those sacrifices are sacrifices even in what you say, how you say it, and then sacrifices also in the acknowledgement of whatever people are saying and the willingness to accept.”
He disclosed that “It is very important that we don’t diminish the importance of language and respectful non-violent communication so that we can keep our discussions at a level that ensures that we don’t degenerate too quickly to violence.”
Citing examples of the sacrifices made by the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela and Abubakar Abdullahi of Barkin Ladi, in Plateau State, Osinbajo stated that, “we can all talk nicely and say the right things but unless people are prepared to make some concessions which may cost them popularity within their own group, we cannot move forward.”
Osinbajo said, “These are stories of people who are not only political or religious leaders but just ordinary people, doing the right thing. Unless we are prepared to not just talk about it but to make an open display, first of all, of those who are doing the right things, but more importantly, challenging our leaders to say the right things and to be prepared to risk some popularity to do so, then we will just be wasting a lot of time.”
He continued that, “The notion of respectful dialogue is also crucial especially at this time. The whole idea of promoting respect for other faiths and people of other ethnicities and beliefs is a very important thing especially now in our country with what we are seeing.”
The Vice President restated that, “I think it is important, especially one that takes into account younger people, professionals who are not necessarily religious leaders in that sense, maybe there might be a way to have a more inclusive interfaith dialogue.”
He noted that, “We are at a point in time in our history, where people who are responsible and like-minded from all of the faiths and ethnicities should come together to do something.”