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Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

  1. All praises are due to Allah (SWT) for His mercies
    and blessings upon us and the entire humanity. May His
    peace and blessings be upon His Prophet and Messenger
    Muhammad (S.A.W.), his Household and Companions.
  2. On behalf of Al-Ansar Foundation family, I am glad
    to be in your midst today, here in the Capital city of
    Gombe, on this special, memorable and auspicious
    occasion, with personal attendance of His Eminence, the
    Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji (Dr.) Sa’ad Abubakar III, the
    Grand Special Guest of this Submit, eminent traditional
    and religious leaders and many other distinguished
    personalities here present.
  3. I am indeed honoured to be chosen as the chairman
    of the 3rd National Summit on Peaceful Co-existence and
    Nation Building courtesy of Da’wah Coordination
    Council of Nigeria (DCCN). We, at Al-Ansar Foundation
    are proud and delighted to be part of this year’s Summit.
    Permit me therefore, to use this medium to appreciate the
    leadership of Da’wah Coordination Council of Nigeria
    and other stakeholders for setting the tone and pace for
    this year’s summit. As you may be aware, the reason we
    are gathered here today is so sensitive, important and
    timely at this critical stage in our nation’s journey. Let me
    also mention that the choice of the theme for this
    conference is apt and relevant to the current challenges
    facing this country.
  4. I have no doubt that many of you have come from far
    and wide to attend this year’s summit. I believe you won’t
    be disappointed as we all come together to seek for the
    best solutions in reducing challenges militating against
    peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. I am convinced that the
    issue of peaceful co-existence and nation building will be
    tackled from various perspectives as would be presented
    by different groups and personalities in this summit. I
    therefore, enjoin us all to be open minded throughout this
    summit to learn new ways and approach of tackling the
    mistrust among different ethnic nationalities and religious
    beliefs with the aim of intensifying actions towards peace,
    unity and progress in our dear country.
  5. Your Excellencies, distinguished personalities
    present, let me use this moment to emphasize on the
    Qur’an verse that ordained the basis for equality among
    human beings: “Sura Al-hujraat Aya” 13 which says: “O
    mankind! Surely We have created you from male and
    female and have made you nations and tribes that you
    may know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the
    sight of Allah, is the one who is the most god-fearing.
    Allah is surely All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
    Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said during
    his last sermon that: “There is no superiority for an
    Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an
    Arab, nor for a white over a black, nor for a black over
    a white – except the piety, people are from Adam, and
    Adam is from dust.”
    So also in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic
    of Nigeria (As amended) begins with the following
    preliminary statements:
    “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
    Having firmly and solemnly resolved, to live in unity
    and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble
    sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the
    promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace,
    international co-operation and understanding. And to
    provide for a Constitution for the purpose of
    promoting the good government and welfare of all
    persons in our country, on the principles of freedom,
    equality and justice, and for the purpose of
    consolidating the unity of our people.” All these
    statements laid enough credence to the fact that peace and
    harmony are vital ingredients for coexistence,
    development and prosperity of our dear nation.
  6. In light of the foregoing quotations from the Holy
    Qur’an, the Hadith and as well as the preamble to the 1999
    Constitution, let me also echo the words of His
    Excellencies, the President and Vice President of the
    Federal Republic of Nigeria, at different fora with respect
    to the peaceful coexistence and unity of Nigeria. The
    former said and I quote: “Nigeria’s unity is settled and
    not negotiable.” While the latter posited that: “Nigeria
    better together than divided.” There is no doubt that
    unprecedented violent occurrences throughout the length
    and breadth of the country as well as agitations of various
    hues are fanning embers of national disintegration but
    rather than promoting division, Nigerians should continue
    to promote unity and togetherness.
  7. Your Excellencies, eminent personalities and
    distinguished invited guests. Peaceful co-existence and
    nation building is a collective responsibility of every
    citizen. More so, as leaders, it is our responsibility to
    bridge the gap and reduce the factors that triggered
    mistrust, hatred and bigotry between different ethnic
    nationalities and religious adherents. Furthermore, for
    peace to thrive in our societies, issues that border on
    human relations must be addressed both at the local, state
    and federal government levels. And we must commend
    DCCN for its efforts at ensuring that peace and harmony
    thrives in Nigeria. What is happening in Nigeria today
    leaves us in no doubt that there is an urgent need for
    pursuance of lasting peace, security, confidence and
    mutual understanding in our nation. The absence of peace
    and security in any society impedes harmonious
    relationships and rapid economic transformation
  8. Your Excellencies, distinguished personalities
    present, it is important to know once again that Nigeria is
    multi-religious and multicultural in nature. This is not
    something that is negotiable as we have found ourselves
    living with each other as disdained by the Almighty God.
    We strongly believe we can live peaceful as a people with
    different backgrounds just like in many countries around
    the world. The first step would be to promote Interfaith
    Peace. Nigeria is such a diverse country with over 450
    tribes and more than 200 million people, it is not shocking
    therefore that there are so many religious beliefs and sects
    among the people. However, the truth remains that peace
    must be propagated especially when you consider that we
    are indeed serving the Almighty God who wanted us to
    live without strife and hate. We must break the narrative
    that a certain sect of religion hates and wants to annihilate
    the others. We must visit them with our love and brotherly
    attitude at all times. Love always triumphs over hate and
    this is always clear. We must begin to do, not merely
  9. Last but not the least, we must embrace the idea of
    our religious sects playing a role in promoting good
    governance by checking and advising that morality be
    enthroned in the system of governance. This is especially
    important because Nigerians are very religious and place
    their religious leaders very highly. Therefore, it shouldn’t
    be a bad idea for these religious leaders to participate in
    governance processes by giving the best and healthiest
    advices and helping the government decide where
    necessary, certain important issues.
  10. I believe posterity will not forgive us if we fail in our
    choices to harness the power of our diversity for the
    benefit of all, rising to the occasion of sustainable peace
    and development based on equity, justice, respect and
    love for one another.
  11. Your Excellencies, distinguished invited guests, it is
    my fervent hope and prayer that ideas generated from this
    summit would be transformed into a blueprint and policy
    recommendations for governments at all levels, as they
    work on a new trajectory to Nigeria’s rebirth.
  12. On this note, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the
    lead paper presenters on the “Role of Leadership in
    Promoting Peaceful Coexistence in a Diverse
    (i) His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, former
    Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja; and
    (ii) Hon. Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, the Honourable Minister of
    Communication and Digital Economy.
    There is no doubt that these two erudite
    speaker/personalities would do justice to this topic we are
    about discussing in this session of the summit. I therefore,
    employ each and every one present here to be receptive
    and open minded as we embark on this journey of finding
    lasting solutions to the challenge of peaceful coexistence
    in Nigeria.
  13. Thank you and may Allah (SWT) bless this summit.
  14. Wa-Sallamu Alaykum.