Peace, tolerance and harmony are among the top pre-requisites for the attainment of a stable and tranquil society.
The trio are also germaine to the achievement of progress, growth and development in the society, especially in multi-ethnic and multi-religious settings.
Which was why the Kano State Government under the able leadership of His Excellency,Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje,organised a National Inter-religious Conference to promote peace, tolerance,unity and harmony among adherents of the two major religions in the country – Islam and Christianity.
The conference which had as its theme: “Harnessing Religious Diversity For Sustainable Peace And National Development,” drew participants largely made up of religious leaders and followers from both Islam and Christianity,and was held on Thursday at the Coronation Hall, Government House,Kano.
The event followed series of Inter-religious dialogue organized at the state level by the Ganduje Administration to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence between various ethnic groups, Muslims,Christians and Pagans in the state.
Declaring the conference open on Thursday, Governor Ganduje described the staging of the event as apt and timely in view of security threat in parts of the country.
He said the series of Inter-religious dialogue previously organised by the State Government had immensely helped in promoting peace and harmony between Muslims, Christians and adherents of other religions, adding that the holding of the National Inter-religious Conference would replicate this development in other parts of the country.
He commended the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, for his contribution in fostering peace, tolerance and harmony between the diverse ethnic and religious groups resident in the state.
Ganduje also hailed the Co-Chairman I and II of the Inter-religious Conference Committee, His Eminence Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, respectively, for their commitment to Inter-religious peace and tolerance in the country.
He said the resolution of the conference would be studied and taken seriously by the State Government.
In his remarks,the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, said the conference was very important as it would promote Inter-religious understanding and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
Bayero said he would support any initiatives geared towards the promotion and enhancement of peace among Nigerians, especially as the nation was fast approaching the 2023 general elections, while commending Governor Ganduje for organising the conference.
Other dignitaries who spoke at the opening session included Cardinal John Onaiyekan,Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau,the Chairman of the Inter-religious Conference Committee, Sheikh Muhammad Bn Usman, the Co-Chairman of the Inter-religious Conference Committee,Most Reverend Peter Ogunmuyiwa, and the Special Guest of Honour, Professor Shehu Ahmad Galadanchi.
All the speakers concurred on the importance of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the diverse peoples of Nigeria which they observed were necessary for strong and united nation.
They also commended the idea of organising the conference which they submitted, it could not have come at a better time than now that the country was experiencing security threats,as well as approaching the 2023 general elections.
To further enrich the conference,various papers were presented with the Lead Paper I on “Religious Tolerance As A Tool For National Unity” presented by Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, and the Lead Paper II “Unity Is Power” presented by Prof.Salisu Shehu
One of the things that stood out most at the conference was the acknowledgement of various speakers of the importance and timely nature of the event, coming at a time the country is facing challenges including use of religion to achieve certain selfish goals and the fact that general elections are fast approaching.
Another feature was the commendations Dr.Abdullahi Ganduje received for organising the event, which all pointed to the laudable posture of the Governor as a man of peace who promotes peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance and harmony among Nigerians.
Abdullahi Yusuf is a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Information to the Governor of Kano State.He can be reached on: [email protected]