Lagos State government and religious leaders plead for peaceful coexistence

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and religious leaders in the state have advocated for peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance among all residents of the state, saying that religion plays an essential role in genuine democratic dispensation.

The governor and religious leaders of Muslim and Christian faith said so on Wednesday during a symposium organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs to commemorate the International Day of Tolerance Y2022 in Lagos.

The symposium, which included a public lecture and a discussion session, was preceded by a march for tolerance, to raise public awareness of the importance of peaceful coexistence.

Sanwo-Olu, addressing the participants through the State Government Secretary, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, said that given the number of religious worship centers and the multitude of adherents of major religions in Nigeria, it is impossible to ignore the influence of religion. in the democratic governance of the country.

Noting that the theme of the symposium, “The Role of Religion in Democratic Governance in Nigeria”, is appropriate and relevant given the influence of religion in our daily lives, the Governor said that religion is seen as a way of life. and a moral compass that all worshipers are expected to follow.

The Governor thanked all religious leaders in Lagos State for their commitment to promoting religious tolerance and harmony, emphasizing the need to continue in this direction in order to maintain the prevailing atmosphere of peace which is the foundation growth and development in the state.

Sanwo-Olu is committed to remaining impartial in protecting the right of citizens to practice the religion of their choice and in creating equal opportunity for all citizens without discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, tribe, gender or socio-economic status.

He urged Lagosians to maintain the spirit of tolerance and understanding, as we prepare for the general elections in 2023.

In a message of goodwill, the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu affirmed that any society in which intolerance is the order of the day cannot be peaceful and in absence of peace, crisis, conflict, underdevelopment, hostility, retaliation and economic downturn, among others, will reign supreme.

The First Lady, represented by a member of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Public Servants (COWLSO), Ms. Mojisola Fashola, observed with concern that the political landscape of recent times is becoming toxic with hate speech, false news and outright misinformation. by different political parties, claiming that it has resulted in name-calling, slander and all kinds of dangerous antics.

Earlier, Home Affairs Commissioner Prince Anofiu Elegushi said the theme of the event, “The Role of Religion in Democratic Governance in Nigeria,” came at a good time as Nigerians prepare for the next general election next year. .

Guest speakers at the event, Prof. Dapo Asaju, an Anglican Bishop and Dr. Saeed Ahmad, one of the imams of the Secretariat Mosque, Alausa, said that to achieve good governance and political stability in Nigeria, religion and religious leaders must assume the position of a gatekeeper.

They argued that voters must look to God to choose credible leaders instead of relying on political permutations and philosophies that have failed in the past.

Bishop Asaju, who pleaded with Nigerians to choose credible and God-fearing leaders, said elected leaders should rule with the fear of God and with the awareness that they are accountable to God on the last day.

For his part, Dr. Ahmad warned religious leaders to refrain from seeking visions of who would be the winners of elections before elections are held, saying that when such a vision fails, violence becomes the order of the day. of the day.

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