Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo has stated that interfaith dialogues rather than confrontation have taken the lead in the society.The Vice President made this remark, Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State when he declared open the third edition of the Unity Conference for the South-south and South-east Muslim Ummah, organised by the Community and Youth Development (CDY) National Network.
Arc Sambo emphasised that, “religious understanding and tolerance must continue to dominate our collective and corporate existence if we aspire to grow and prosper as a people,” appealing therefore that “as a nation under one God, we have to continue to live in peace with one another as no meaningful development can be made in an atmosphere devoid of peace.”
Vice President Sambo, while commending the organisers of the event for fostering national unity and patriotism in the citizenry, said the event was apt considering the challenges the country was facing “some of which are masquerading under the guise of religion.”
Speaking at the event, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, charged the participants to ensure that the conference sends out the signal that the bond of unity of the Nigerian nation cannot be broken, urging Nigerians not to focus on the things that divide them but those that unite them, as they did when they united against ethnic, political and religious linings to vote President Goodluck Jonathan into power in the 2011 elections.
On his part the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, stated that the conference was very critical, observing that for the ordinary Nigerian the unity of the country was a settled issue.
Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Representative of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Dr. Cletus Bassey, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, former governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, and the foremost Islamic Cleric, Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Gumi among others lent their voices to the call for national unity, tolerance, dialogue and the need for good governance.
Earlier in his address the National Chairman of CYD National Network, Dr. Siraj Abdulkarim, stated that the CYD was a Non-Governmental Organisation aimed at building the capacity of the Nigerian youth to promote peace, progress, unity and development of the country, adding that the organisation has its presence all over the country.
Highlight of the event was the Presentation of Awards to some eminent Nigerians including Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo in recognition of their efforts at championing the course of peaceful co-existence and national unity. Others were the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Lateef Adegbite and the late Captain Usman Jibrin.
The Conference with the theme “Unity and Peaceful Co-existence in a Multi Religious and Multi Cultural Society,” would witness presentations from renowned clerics, academicians and others. The event which had the participation of both Muslims and Christians began on Thursday 20, September 2012 and would end on Sunday 23 September 2012.
In a related development Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo during the visit to Akwa Ibom State was hosted to a State Banquet and also performed the commissioning ceremony of projects executed by the Chief Akpabio led administration under his uncommon transformation programme. The projects were the new Accountant-General Office at the Idongesit Nkanga State Secretariat; the Olusegun Obasanjo way Flyover Bridge; the 2nd Underground Pipe Jacking Drainage System at Abak and the Ikot Ekpene City Centre Plaza.
The Vice President at the events commended Governor Akpabio’s developmental strides assuring the people of the state the continued support and partnership of the Federal Government towards the realization of the uncommon transformation programme, which according to him was in line with the dictates of the President Jonathan Transformation Agenda and the PDP Manifesto.