By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Osun state Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, has tasked religious leaders to persistently preach tolerance among their followers to engender peaceful co-existence.
He noted that peaceful atmosphere determines the speed of development of any nation irrespective of available resources.
Alabi gave the charge on Thursday in Ikire, his country home, while playing host to Islamic leaders from Irewole/Ayedaade/Isokan federal constituency.
The religious leaders, who were led by the Chief Imam of Ikire-land and Chairman, league of Imam and Alfas in the federal constituency, Sheilk Raji Ajibade Olounniose, alongside All Progressives Congress’ stalwarts from the axis joined the Deputy Governor to break fast.
Alabi explained that the purpose of breaking fast with them was to have a veritable platform to pray for sustainable peace and improved economy in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
He enjoined political leaders in the country to form a formidable front and unite against daunting national challenges, especially the pervasive insecurity and economic turbulence, as he identified religious bigotry as a bane of peace and growth.
“It is not contestable that this is a critical moment in the annals of our nation, so, what we need now as religious leaders and patriotic citizens is tireless prayers and unity of purpose, to overcome all these challenges,” he said.
“As a people, we must start to think less of our differences and focus more on those values that unite us. This is a necessary orientation we must start to imbibe and instill in our consciousness for better future.”
Alabi also implored Osun residents to be security conscious and form a robust synergy with security agencies by providing prompt information on any criminal tendencies in their various communities, adding that “Osun must continue to sustain her status as the most habitable state in the country.”
Speaking at the programme, the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, corroborated the Deputy Governor on the continuity of the prayer session.
Earlier, the Naibul Imam of Ikireland, Alhaji Mufiliu Oladiran, who delivered a lecture at the programme said if the people could abide by the dictates of Allah, according to the holy book of Quran, Nigeria would be a decent arena to live.
He maintained that Islamic religion promotes peaceful relations irrespective of religious affiliations, urging people to love one another and shun senseless killings and other violent crime.
“Love is what is missing in Nigeria and that is the major cause of our problems as a nation, ordinarily, religion should be a unifying factor and not otherwise”, the cleric said.
He commended the Deputy Governor for organizing the prayer session notwithstanding his faith, as he led other religious leaders in prayer for the success of APC’s administration in the state.