Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has charged religious leaders to use faith to promote peace, ensure prosperity for the people as well as the development of society, while also encouraging the spiritual growth of individuals and communities.
Osinbajo stated this when he received on a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, the Senegal-based Grand Khalifa of Tijjaniya Movement, Worldwide, Ibrahim Niass.
The vice president who emphasised the importance of religion in human development said “we must use our faiths to promote peace and prosperity for our people. We need to work together to ensure that our people benefit from religion.
“We tend to underestimate the importance of religion despite the fact that it plays a key role in the development of the society, not just in the spiritual aspect but physical.
“There are many nations of the world that have benefitted from the impact of religion both spiritually and physically. So, we must use religion in our countries (in Africa) to help our people to live better lives because, in other parts of the world, leaders of faith have used religion to better the lives of the people,” he added.
He also urged leaders of faith to close ranks for the purpose of using religion to address emerging challenges in society.
“No matter what the situation may be, we in Africa must be able to sit together and talk. We must never allow situations where we cannot sit together.
“With what is going on across the world, people of faith must continue to emphasize that both major religions (Islam and Christianity) promote peace and we must allow our people to practice whatever religion they want to practice.”
He commended the leader of the Tijjaniya Movement for its progressive ideals and compassion for the needs of the people.
Osinbajo also described President Buhari as a model of a leader who accommodates people of different religious background, citing his relationship with the president spanning over seven years as a perfect example.
According to him, “President Buhari is a Muslim and I am a pastor, both of us have worked together for about seven years, we have not had any issues.”
“The President has shown great leadership, he has shown that he wants a country where people of different faiths live in harmony and with love for one another.”
Earlier in remarks, Sheikh Niass thanked the vice president for the opportunity to meet with him and his delegation while describing the VP as a great personality, the type needed both Nigeria and Africa.
“The Vice President is a great personality with an exceptional character, standing on two feet: one as a political leader concerned about the progress of his people and the second, as a man of God.
“Africa needs a person of your nature with very strong background in religion and politics. I pray that the Almighty Allah will upgrade you and enable you achieve your desires and aspirations because, like I said, not only Nigeria but Africa will benefit from your leadership qualities.”
He added that Nigeria “is the heart of Africa and whatever Nigeria becomes, Africa becomes.”
The Tijjaniya leader also expressed the group’s sincere gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his support, while praying for his safety and that Nigeria will overcome all its challenges. The VP promised to convey the Sheik’s warm greetings and appreciations to the president.
The Tijjaniya leader also prayed for peace in Nigeria, Africa and the world, and pledged his continued prayers for the vice president and the country.