President Muhammadu Buhari has admonished Nigerians to harness their diversity as a source of strength, progress, peace and national development.
The President made this appeal at a Public Lecture and Special Jumma’at Prayer to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day Celebration at the National Mosque in Abuja.
President Buhari, who was represented by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, advised Nigeria to prioritize peace and national cohesion over religious and cultural affiliation.
He added that Nigerians should enjoy and benefit from the secular nature of the country.
According to the President, sustainable peace, progress and development, can only be attained through genuine dialogue, stressing that “there was no alternative to peace.”
The Sultan of Sokoto said that the aim of the lecture was to bring together the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, security agencies and Muslim stakeholders under one roof to chart a way forward for the country.
He said “we are here as Muslims not members of APC, PDP, SDP or any political party.
“We are here to chart a way forward for this country to be better than what we are now because development is a continuous process.”
He challenged politicians to do what Chief Awolowo did for the then Western Nigeria “and stop making noise over who Awolowo was.
“We remember with nostalgia the good days of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and others.
“These were leaders and statesmen who believed in Nigeria and who worked closely with one another to make Nigeria a better country.
“We must emulate them; we must follow their footsteps to move our nation forward.”
The Murshid (General-Overseer) of Abuja National Mosque, Prof. Shehu Galadanci led the special prayers offered for continued peace, progress and development of the country.