Osinbajo: ‘To achieve peace, leaders must make sacrifices, risk their popularity’

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Osinbajo (centre) flanked by the MPAC team

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says true leaders – like late Nelson Mandela – must be prepared to make sacrifices, including risking their popularity, to achieve long-lasting peace in their land.

According to a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President stated this on Monday when he received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) led by its Executive Chairman, Mr Disu Kamor.

MPAC is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of peace-building and interfaith cohesion, among other objectives.

Osinbajo said, “there is a need to understand first of all, that there is no way that we can deal with the tensions between the faiths and ethnicities in Nigeria today unless those in leadership are prepared to make some important sacrifices.

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“Those sacrifices are sacrifices even in what you say, how you say it, and then sacrifices also in the acknowledgment of whatever people are saying and the willingness to accept.

“It is very important that we don’t diminish the importance of language and respectful non-violent communication so that we are able to keep our discussions at a level that ensures that we don’t degenerate too quickly to violence.”

He urged Nigerian leaders to emulate Mandela – who upon becoming President of South Africa pushed for equal treatment for all despite being jailed by the Apartheid regime for decades – and Abubakar Abdullahi of Barkin Ladi, in Plateau State – who saved over 200 Christians in his ,osque during a religious crisis in 2018.

Citing the examples of the sacrifices made Mandela and Imam Abdullahi, Osinbajo said, “we can all talk nicely and say the right things but unless people are prepared to make some concessions which may cost them popularity within their own group, we cannot move forward.”

“These are stories of people who are not only political or religious leaders but just ordinary people, doing the right thing. Unless we are prepared to not just talk about it but to make an open display, first of all, of those who are doing the right things, but more importantly, challenging our leaders to say the right things and to be prepared to risk some popularity in order to do so, then we will just be wasting a lot of time.”

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