President Muhammadu Buhari pleads with Nigerians to unite as he believes that the country’s mix of Christians and Muslims can reach ‘new and greater possibilities’ if they decide to unite.
The president made the plea in an op-ed published in Church Times, the United Kingdom’s leading Anglican newspaper, on Friday, November 30, 2018. He begged Nigerians to stop politicizing religion in the country as it’ll only create division. He said:
“I believe that there is far more that unites Muslims and Christians than divides them. In fact, I believe that the messages of the Bible are universal: available for anyone to exercise, and instructive to all.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities, because, if we do, we can only look inwards. It is only when we mix that we can reach new and greater possibilities.
“Whichever religion or religious denomination they choose to follow, Nigerians are devout. Anything that Nigerians believe will place impositions on their practice, and belief is therefore sure to cause widespread alarm.
“And, unfortunately, there are those who seek to divide Nigerians – and our two great religions – and to do so for their own advantage.”
He also rubbished the claims that he’s trying to Islamise Nigeria. He said he’s a great believer in peace, tolerance, and reconciliation.
“I stand accused – paradoxically – of trying to Islamise Nigeria while also being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being against Islam. My Vice-President is a devout man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of selling out his religion, because of his support for me.
“This is not the first time that I – nor, indeed, my Christian-Muslim evenly split cabinet – have been the subject of such nonsense. Fortunately, the facts speak differently from the words of those who seek to divide us from one another.
“Since my administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly and fatally degraded; I have befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside our country; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land.
“In all things, we seek that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims must seek: to unite, respect, and never to divide.”
The president concluded the article by extending his ‘hand out in brotherhood and forgiveness’ to those who seek to divide the country by politicizing. He said:
“I ask only that they stop, and instead encourage us to turn towards one another in love and compassion. Nigeria belongs to all of us. This is what I believe.”