In a country yearning for unity, the secretary to the government of the federation, Senator Dr. George Akume, has called on religious leaders to stand against the use of religion as a weapon to divide Nigeria.
Akume made the call at the 4th quarter 2023 Council meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja on Tuesday, with the theme “Restoration of Hope in Nigeria.”
The meeting was organised under the co-chairmanship of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Archbishop Dr. Daniel Okoh.
The SGF said government at all levels need the cooperation of religious leaders to use religion to restore human dignity to the citizens and not to use religion to divide the people of the nation.
“Religion is very sensitive and volatile; hence, religious leaders should encourage religious preachers to emphasize what can promote mutual understanding while political leaders work for the common good and welfare of the people.
“I therefore call on the Nigerian citizens to trust that the incumbent administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will do all that it takes to address the challenges of hunger and poverty. With our human and natural resources, Nigerians have no reason to live in penury.
“This government will not weaponize religion and ethnicity, as you can see in the appointments so far by the President. We are laying a foundation that will put smiles on the faces of the citizens,” he said.
The former Benue state governor also emphasised that the media is a very useful means of proclaiming the message of hope.
“However, this message can bring despair without media honesty. I therefore call on journalists and social media bloggers to kindle the hope in our people,” he added.
On his part, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel C. Okoh, said that despite the challenges facing Nigeria, the solution is not in running away to other countries but in finding ways to restore hope to the citizens of our dear country, Nigeria.
“Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of human and natural resources, more than many nations in the world, but we need to get it right on the management of these resources for the good of all. Good governance is therefore key as we consider the restoration of hope in Nigeria.
“We must get to that level where Nigerians will be convinced to have faith in those in governance. By the grace of God, we shall get there.
“For this to happen, we must all develop a culture where transparency and accountability are celebrated—a system where public officers are held accountable for their actions and inactions during their tenures in office or after leaving office,” he said.
He also said the restoration of hope is not merely the responsibility of the government or a particular religious group, but a shared mission that requires our unwavering commitment and collaboration.
Earlier, the executive secretary of NIREC, Professor Cornelius Omonokhua, urged the government officials present at the event to inform their fellow political leaders of the need to enkindle new hope in the citizens.
“During this dry season, Nigerians aspire to have a foretaste of the renewed hope promised by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu by seeing tractors mending all the dilapidated state and federal roads in Nigeria. Once this happens, many could believe that the refineries, iron, and steel industries, along with other areas of development, will soon attract the necessary attention.
“Nigerians want to witness uninterrupted power supply as a sign of hope. We pray for a country that is a conducive place for human habitation. We pray for a nation where the citizens will be meaningfully engaged, so that the devil will not give jobs to the youth,” he said.