Harness diversity for nation’s benefits, Nigerians admonished
An appeal has gone to Nigerians and Muslims in particular to harness the benefits of the nation’s diversity rather than using it for divisive tendencies.
This was the recommendation of participants at the 25th Pre-Ramadan lecture of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) held at the J.F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium of the University of Lagos at the weekend.
Delivering the keynote address, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, said diversity is a deliberate creation of Allah.
Quoting from the Quran chapter 30 verse 22, the Sultan said ‘And His sign is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours. Indeed, there are signs in this for the wise’.
“Islam recognises reality of diversity. It accepts it and rises above it to show that what matter is not race which is geographical or colour which is skin deep, but the quality of human character. That the human bein”g is defined by where he comes from or what language he speaks or even what social class he comes from… rather what he believes in and what values drive his character and behaviour. The criterion with the Creator is simply taqwah, God-consciousness which translates to the quality of character and behaviour towards his fellow human beings in general and Muslim brothers in particular”, the Sultan declared.
‘Muslims more than any other group are most equipped to deal with diversity. If they should be found wanting, It would not be because of their religion, but because of their ignorance of their religion’, he added.
One of the guest speakers, Professor Abdul Razaq Abdul Majeed Alaro of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, said diversity is a plan of Allah which we cannot live without. We just have to manage it.
He said the solution to Nigeria’s problems doesn’t lie in going our separate ways, but learning to use our diversity for our benefits.
He also deplored lack of alternative dispute resolution mechanism based on faith or culture, saying the litigation process is based on rights while alternative dispute resolution mechanism emphasises interest.
He also called for reform of the National Youth Service scheme to enable it perform the integration process it was designed for.
The second speaker, Dr Lukman Zakariyah of the International Islamic University, Malaysia, emphasises the need for compromise, saying there is more that unite us than what we different on.
He also called for return to our value system
The occasion also witness presentation of scholarship award to ten scholars.
The national President of the association, Alhaji Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, lamented that religion which is supposed to be used to unite has been manipulated for political and other sinister purposes.
He, however, expressed confidence in ability of Islam to offer hope for solutions to most of the problems.