Osinbajo: Constant Inter-ethnic Dialogue Necessary to Uphold Nigeria’s Diversity


*Says late Soun of Ogbomoso delivered four decades of exceptional leadership

Deji Elumoye and Sunday Aborisade, Abuja

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the need for constant dialogues among the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria as a means of taking the advantages of the country’s diversities.

Osinbajo gave the charge in Abuja recently, at the 10th anniversary of UFUK Dialogue Foundation, an organisation devoted to the promotion of dialogue and a culture of peaceful co-existence.

This was disclosed in Abuja yesterday, by the group’s media consultant, Olumide Bajulaiye, titled, “Nigeria’s diversity is to be enjoyed and not weaponised – VP Osinabjo”
Osinbajo, according to the statement, called for a sustained dialogue and negotiation among citizens while stating that the country’s diversity must be enjoyed instead of being weaponised.

He stressed the significance of a sustained dialogue in a multicultural society as Nigeria.

The vice president noted that building a nation required leaders across every sphere of influence to sacrifice personal interest and achieve a consensus that guarantees a win-win for all.

He maintained that a sustained and productive nationhood would give access to diverse multi-ethnic strengths and provide opportunities to gain more from being together than otherwise.

He said, “It’s true that in the last two decades, we face severe threats to our mutual coexistence, violent extremism in the north-east has resulted in the destruction and unfortunate loss of lives of many, banditry and kidnappings has traumatised families.

“We have also seen secessionist agitations, especially in parts of the south and the east of Nigeria in particular, these affected and slow down economic activities in those parts of the region.”

He warned against the promotion of underlying issues that give rise to insecurity.
He admitted that there were no simple solutions to the challenges.

Osinbajo, however, maintained that the federal government would effectively bring its full power to bear in tackling insecurity and its threats to collective existence.

Clerics and other contributors at the event, frowned at the ignorance of some youths who use religion to commit atrocities.

They wanted Nigerians to be open-minded irrespective of their faith and religion to promote peace in diversity.

UFUK Dialogue Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, is dedicated to promoting dialogue and establishing mutual coexistence.

The group expressed the hope that Nigerians would continue to pursue peaceful coexistence to make the world, a better place.

The group said it strongly believed that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were crucial and should be supported.

Meanwhile, Osinbajo has described the tenure of the late Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oyewumi Ajagungbade, as an exceptionally long, peaceful, and progressive reign, for which everyone must just continue to give thanks to God Almighty.

Osinbajo spoke yesterday at the funeral thanksgiving service for the first-class monarch at the First Baptist Church, Oke’Lerin, Ogbomoso.

According to him, having ascended the throne on the 24th of October, 1973, the Oba delivered four decades and eight years of exceptional and transformational leadership, leaving behind the indelible marks of peace and prosperity.

He said the late monarch was a thoroughbred leader who dedicated himself to the people of Ogbomoso, for both their social and human capital development.

Osinbajo said, “On behalf of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the entire Government and people of Nigeria, I express my deepest condolences to His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, the Gbagun Ruling House of Ogbomoso, the wives and children of Soun Ajagungbade III, the entire Royal Family, as well as all the people of Ogbomoso.

“Today, we celebrate the life and times of a much loved and respected monarch, an astute statesman, and a great leader among Yoruba Obas, Alayeluwa Oba (Dr.) Oladunni Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, who departed this world on Monday, December 13, 2021, at the ripe old age of 95 years.

“I know that no matter how long our loved ones live, we all still want them around for longer especially when they have been so consequential and have made such a significant impact in our lives!

“But these things are for God to order, with the assurance that God loves him even more, the best we can do now is pray that his transition shall herald a time of more abundant grace and goodness in Ogbomosho, and in Nigeria as a whole. I, therefore, join the whole town in saying, “eyin baba a dara o!” Without a doubt, the Oba’s passing has created a big vacuum among the league of traditional rulers in Nigeria.

“And this is not just because of his age and almost half a century on the throne. It is because he was not just there, he made remarkable contributions to Ogbomosho and to Nigeria, for which the Nation honoured him twice, first as Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and then as Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).”

The vice president added, “It is worthy of note that upon his ascension to the throne of his forefathers, His Royal Majesty, Soun Ajagungbade III became the first Soun of Ogbomoso land to wear the beaded crown. This introduced a new historical perspective into the Obaship system, which he went on to amply justify.

“But the event also went far beyond mere symbolism, by his illustrious and noble reign, Ajagungbade III has established and affirmed the place of Ogbomoso among the great cities of Nigeria, and proved over and again that the honour was so well deserved.

“At a gathering such as this, we must recall those attributes that stood out in the life of this great man. By his own account, one of them is contentment. Speaking during the celebration of his 90th birthday anniversary, he attributed his longevity on the throne, and on the earth, to the Almighty God and an attitude of contentment. According to him – “I am contented. I don’t rush to own or have the whole world.” What a testimony to a peaceful life well spent!

“But we must also note that while contented with outcomes, he was never one to sit idly doing nothing. He always made his plans diligently and meticulously. Then with remarkable diligence, he always made all the efforts necessary to see them to fruition. Thus, Ajagungbade III didn’t just live through his 95 years of sojourn on earth, his entire existence, both private and public, encapsulates a noble life of transparent leadership and service.”