OSUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged Nigerians to shun religious intolerance and undue extremism if the country is to experience peaceful co-existence among its citizens from diverse religious backgrounds.
He made the call Monday in Idoo, Osun State at the launch of the foundation of “Alter of Fire and Praise” by the Return to your Creator Outreach Mission.
Addressing a gathering of clerics, politicians and other stakeholders in the country, Aregbesola said that the rifts that persist among various religious sects in the country were borne out of personal aggrandisement of some elements that seemed to benefit from the crises since no true religion believed in violence. According to him, the frequent wars and conflicts in the name of God and religion were mere divisionary tactics of those who indulged in the act of causing trouble the country.
Aregbesola stressed that the essence of religion was to establish a strong moral base for the society and not a tool that should be used to pursue selfish interests at the expense of the country’s unity.
While citing some biblical injunctions to buttress his points, Aregbesola said that love and purity of the heart were the virtues that connected the soul of men to his creator, and not the prevalent hypocrisy in the name of religion.
“We have only chosen to divide ourselves by sentiments and beliefs that are not in line with God’s intents and plans for man. We are all created by the same Almighty God to be nice to one another. Whichever way we choose to serve God, the underlining factor that binds us all as Nigerians and human beings is love,” the governor said, noting that any belief pattern that did not promote love and seek goodness among humanity had defeated its purpose, hence could not be regarded as a godly religion.
Aregbesola reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the basic needs of the religious groups in the state. He noted that Osun had contributed immensely to the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the country and as a result, “the government has just signed the papers of the mega church project in Ilesha, which has been responsible for producing leading clerics in the country’s Christian faith.”
President of the outreach mission, Evangelist Adebunmi Isaac Alabi, urged religious leaders in the country to emphasise love and tolerance as virtues needed to accommodate ourselves in a country with several ethnic groups with different belief systems.
Alabi described Aregbesola as someone that was committed to peaceful co-existence of religious groups in the state. “It is amazing to see a Muslim leader that is sold out to the work of God in other religions. I urge other leaders to draw inspiration from this exemplary leader,” he said.
The architect of the church, Emmanuel Oriyomi explained that the project embarked upon was beyond the alter launched. He added that the master plan of the project was to make a city out of the village in which the project was situated.
Culled from Guardian