Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerian Christian leaders and groups to preach fairness and equity relentlessly and advocates freedom of worship, justice, and the rule of law.
He said this is crucial for a more united and peaceful society.
Osinbajo said this on Saturday evening in Abuja after being honoured with the Christian Association of Nigeria’s Award of Excellence at a Dinner and Awards night organized to mark the 45th anniversary of the association.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this on Sunday in a statement titled ‘Fairness, equity, respect for rights of others fundamental to peace, security, says Osinbajo’.
In his remarks after receiving the award, the Vice President noted that “fairness, equity and respect for the rights of others are fundamental to peace and security,” hence Christian leaders at all levels must strive to promote those virtues despite the challenges.
He said, “We must continue to let the important truth be known that Christ did not come to establish a religion or to condemn men, but to show all men that his own righteousness, not our righteousness or performance, is the qualification for eternal life.
“That the gospel commands consideration for the views of others, treating them as we would wish to be treated; non-violent communication, that our words must be words of grace seasoned with salt.
“We must, as an organisation and as individuals, remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice and the rule of law.”
Commending the works of current and past leadership of CAN in promoting religious tolerance, Osinbajo said “CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, but it has also become a veritable force for peace, unity and social justice.”
According to him, “pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the ‘least of these’ in our society.
“Importantly, the current and past leadership of CAN have acted in full realization and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the Government, private sector in nation-building.
“We are proud of the role of the moral compass of society and interlocutor for peace among the different faiths that CAN has played and continues to play in our nation.”
Continuing, the VP noted that “we are also proud of the enormous work that the current executive of CAN, ably led by His Eminence, Supo Ayokunle, has done.
“I am aware of your collaboration with the leadership of the Islamic and other faiths, to reconcile where there are conflicts, to pacify where there has been offence, and to reprimand where there have been misdeeds. Well, done, and congratulations.”
Speaking on dousing religious and ethnic tensions in the society, Osinbajo said “as we have seen in the past few years not just in Nigeria but all over the world, there is a growing religious and ethnic chauvinism.
“An almost intemperate, vehement and often violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions without adequate consideration. At the same time, there is the rise of identity and cultural politics. Brethren, the answer to hate, intolerance and conflict is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Other award recipients include former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo; former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; several State governors; faith leaders, including past Presidents and General Secretary of CAN.
The Imam who, during an attack in Barkin Ladi Plateau State on June 23, 2018, saved the lives of over 200 Christians, Abdullahi Abubakar, also received a special CAN recognition.