Religious leaders in Oyo State have called on citizens to embrace peace and tolerance as key factors for unity in the state.
This formed part of the 2023 International Peace Day, organised by the Oyo State Government though the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Interfaith Affairs, Rev. Femi Ibikunle, with the theme: “Action Of Peace: Our Ambition for Global Goal and Sustainability of Unity In Our Diversity,” held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Ibadan.
While speaking, the guest speaker and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeem In Islam, Prof. Sabit Olagoke, maintained that by being more respectful and understanding of each other’s beliefs, people can build a more harmonious society.
He noted that while people may have different religious beliefs, they can still live in peace and work together for the common good, calling on citizens to respect each other’s right to freedom of worship, and to promote understanding and tolerance between different faiths.
Olagoke also urged people to use their faith to promote peace, justice, and equality, noting that religious groups can play a vital role in reducing conflict, promoting social cohesion, and providing support to those in need.
The religious leader called on faith leaders to work together to ensure that religious institutions are places of peace and tolerance, where people can come together to build a better society.
He stressed the importance of teaching young people about the value of respect, kindness, and compassion, so that the next generation can grow up in a world where everyone is treated equally and with dignity.
His words: “Religion needs to be understood as a board of unity among human kind. Religions are just schools, the common market is where we meet to socialise, meaning that we need to consider the intention of God for creating religions and for warming us not to use it as a weapon of oppression or discrimination; we must look at it as something that will unit all of us.”
“What matters to God is an issue of peace, peace as to start with tranquility of the mind, when you, yourself understand the religion and then reward.”
“Immediate reward is the tranquilityof the mind. When you are at peace with yourself, you will be able to interact with others to create peace for the environment and that is why religion is needed to process every hindrance, reliable, dependable element that is full of the capacity to deliver services.
“Religious leaders are supposed to teach the scriptures. So, we must not hide under religion to cause problem in the state, he warned.
In his address, the convener, Rev Femi Ibikunle, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Interfaith Affairs, said: “We gathered here to preach the peace and we thank God for our governor who has created a template for the three religions to discuss together. We need to foster tolerance, to love one another.
“Tolerance and love are essential to creating a peaceful and harmonious society. When we learn to respect and accept people from different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths, we can break down barriers and build a more inclusive world.”
“Love is the greatest force in the world, and it has the power to unite us and help us overcome any differences. Let us all work together to foster tolerance and love, and to create a world where everyone can live in peace and harmony.”
Speaking on behalf of the governor, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Administration, Rev. Idowu Ogedengbe, reiterated Governor Seyi Makinde’s resolf to continue to encourage religious harmony in the state.
He acknowledged that people of different faiths have lived side by side in the state for generations, and he stressed the importance of maintaining the peaceful coexistence that has always been a hallmark of the state.
Rev. Ogedengbe also announced plans of the governor to continue to invest in projects that will bring people of different faiths together, such as the construction of places of worship and the promotion of interfaith dialogue, among others.