By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun says that his government would ensure that the peaceful co-existence among religious groups in the State is maintained.
The Governor stated this at the opening ceremony of the 5th Biennial Conference of Nasrul-Lahi-Fathi Society (NASFAT), with the theme, “Peaceful Co-existence: Panacea for unity, growth and development, “held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Auditorium, Abeokuta.
Abiodun who was represented by his Deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the Governor noted that, since assumption of office, a cordial relationship has been maintained with leaders of religious bodies, symbolised by the peace walk holding, in conjunction with Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and NASFAT.
He said the bodies had held several meetings as part of measures to maintain peace and cooperation amongst religious institutions in the last six months which had been positive.
“Our government has met with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as a league of Alfas and Imams, to be able to understand the challenges of various religious bodies and where the government can come in and this has yielded fruits for us. We have continued to manage the relationship between the two groups well”, he stated.
He restated his administration’s commitment towards ensuring that peoples prosperity would be improved by the end of his tenure, noting that government has set machineries in motion to ensure that an enabling environment was created for businesses to thrive as well as ensured that youths were empowered as these are ways to ensure peaceful coexistence among the people of the State.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the President, NASFAT, Alhaji Mumini Yusuf, noted that the conference was coming at a time, when the country was facing various crisis, arising out of mistrust, misunderstanding, suspicion, self-centeredness amongst others, which emanated within various ethnic and religious groups that made up Nigeria.
The President added that NASFAT, being a major stakeholder in “Project Nigeria”, would continue to lend her voice to finding lasting solution to the lingering problems, noting that without peace, there would not be personal and community development.
In his presentation, Prof. Moshood Baderin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, United Kingdom, submitted that Muslim faithful must take appropriate steps to ensure that peace, security and social development were achieved, saying all stakeholders must get things right, in order to achieve this, just as Allah had a covenant of peace with his people, which all must ensure its sustainability.
Prof. Baderin added that three basic ingredients, which included; a population, capacity to make a choice and good leadership must be put in place to have a perfect state, noting that, absence of peace leads to lawlessness, communal clashes and killings.
While appealing to political leaders not to see politics as a do or die affair, he maintained that peace, security and socio-economic development are unifying factors in any society and their deficiencies could lead to regression of any nation.