Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for strong consensus among elites and a policy framework that would promote social cohesion and unity in Nigeria.
Osinbajo made the call on Monday at the maiden Policy Making and Good Governance Lecture Series organised by the National Institute for Policy Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru, near Jos.
The vice president, in his lecture tagged: ”Creating a Homeland for All: A Nation Building in a Diverse Democracy”, decried the rising spate of frightening divisive tendencies, which according to him was responsible for the backwardness in the nation.
He maintained that our diversity ought to be a ”blessing and not a curse”, adding that Nigeria has the potential to be a great nation but only when the cankerworm of division is collectively fought.
Osinbajo, who cited examples of Singapore, Tanzania and Rwanda, as nations that effectively managed their diversities, said that Nigeria could take a cue.
”Most heterogeneous nations have been able to manage and harness their diversities for the good of all and we can also do the same in Nigeria.
”Our diversity in Nigeria should not be a burden; in fact, it is a blessing and so we must develop the capacity to manage this diversity for the growth of our nation.
”So, elites must come together and agree to end the ethnic and religious profiling that we are currently facing in our dear nation; we must prioritise things that bind us together and deprioritise ones that set us apart.
”I also believe that the political class and the nation’s leadership can do more in developing policies, and laws and enforcing them toward addressing the weaponisation of ethnicity and religion in our dear nation,” he said.
On the settlers-indigenes dichotomy, the vice president called for the replacement of the certificate of indigenes with a certificate of residence or birth, insisting that such a move would promote cohesion.
He also called for a stronger and more equitable justice system that would treat all Nigerians equally, irrespective of tribal, religious or ethnic affiliations.
The vice president also called on the media to de-emphasised issues that promote ethnic and religious profiling and urged them to report things that would unite Nigerians
Earlier, the Director General of NIPPS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, thanked the vice president for honouring the institute’s invitation to deliver the lecture.
Omotayo explained that the idea for the lecture series was conceived in order to create an avenue for the members of Senior Executive Course (SEC) 45 to interact with notable Nigerians on policy issues.
”This idea is to enable the institute set the pace so others will follow and we thank the vice president for coming to interact with us to enable participants to tap from his avalanche of knowledge ”, he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured an interactive session between the vice president and the participants.