Osun state Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has enjoined Nigerians to eschew things that can hamper the peaceful coexistence in the country.
He said the time had come for Nigerians regardless of socio-economic, religious, political and ethnic differences, to rise against insurgency and other acts capable of truncating the peaceful atmosphere.
Governor Oyetola spoke as chairman at the 25th Annual Pre-Ramadan Lecture of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) at the weekend.
The lecture was attended many dignitaries including Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu and Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar.
Oyetola condemned insurgency in some parts of the country and called on Nigerians to see the country’s diversity as a blessing for national unity, peace and integration.
The Governor urged citizens to place as priority the bond that binds everyone together as a united entity rather than inciting one another to cause mayhem.
He said: “Unfortunately, we engage in the negativity of intolerance in diversity, hence we have xenophobia, ethnic and religious chauvinism, which is often wrapped around religion to justify these evil and un-Islamic positions.
Oyetola who described the religion of Islam as an antithesis to violence and insurgency, called on the interlopers to stop wrecking havocs in disguise under Islam.
He warned the perpetrators to sheath their swords and embrace peace in the interest and future of the country.
Oyetola called on government at all levels to evolve policies that would strengthen unity in diversity.
“Hate and extremism, therefore, is not intrinsic to Islam and was never a part of our spiritual DNA, If we are to promote diversity, we must chain this beast called extremism.
“In Nigeria, thousands have lost their lives to mindless nihilistic violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, who are simple bandits parading themselves to be Muslims.
“Again in another clime – the white supremacist zealot – Brenton Tarrant – shocked the world when he gunned down 50 Muslims from diverse backgrounds and countries in cold blood as they prayed in Mosques in New Zealand just a few weeks ago, and about 25 years before Tarrant went on his rampage, in the very year this Ramadan lecture started, one Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish zealot, gunned down Palestinian Muslim worshippers killing 29 and wounding 125 on February 25th, 1994.
”God has created multitudes where each individual or creature or phenomenon is unique in and of itself. It is this same diversity we mean when we say Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation.
”We must therefore call out governments engaged in discriminatory policies that promote extremism as we call out extremists engaged in violence.
“I am a Governor today of the State of Osun, ruling over millions of Muslims, Christians and traditional worshippers. I owe them all fairness, justice without discrimination while affirming the diversity that Allah the creator of the world has entrenched within his creations.
“We should note today that we Muslims are well placed to lead change against such noxious perceptions”, Oyetola told the gathering.