For the umpteenth time, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has stressed that the challenges facing the country are neither ethnicity nor religion.
The minister said some elements in the country were exacerbating ethnic and religious differences to tear the country apart for their selfish reasons.
Lai Mohammed spoke in Abuja on Saturday, July 24, at the Book presentation and 75th birthday celebration of Dr Bamigboye Ogunbiyi, a re-known obstetrician and Gynaecologist.
Unveiling the autobiography titled, “Ripples of Grace’’, the minister said the things that unite the country was more and significant; than those things that the divisive elements were escalating for disunity.
He said the foundation for national unity had been built a long time ago by the nation’s forefathers; and what the people needed to do was to sustain it.
Lai Mohammed gave three personal experiences to buttress his position including his days; and that of the celebrant at the Government College, Keffi which he described as “a great model for the unity of Nigeria’’.
“From the book, we learned that the celebrant attended Federal Government College (FGC), Keffi; and that is why I am not surprised he ended up marrying Justice Clara from Borno.
“In Keffi, we were taught at a very young age that this country is one and the same and that religion, ethnicity, and social status do not matter; but rather one’s academic prowess,’’ he said.
He implored Nigerians to emulate and revive the ‘Keffi spirit de-emphasising ethnicity, religion, and social status and co-exist as Nigerians.’’
The minister also gave another instance when he used the premises of St Andrews Catholic Church, Oro, his hometown; for Ramadan lectures for three consecutive years.
“This is a shining example of religious harmony and peaceful co-existence that we know in Nigeria.
“For three years, a Church making its premises available free of charge for the annual Ramadan lecture.
“This is contrary to the acrimony and mutual suspicion that many religious leaders are promoting today.
“The lesson from this is that the religious disharmony that is being propagated today by some religious leaders is avoidable; and that adherents of the two major religions do not have to be enemies,” he said.