The Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has called on Nigerians to invest heavily in the diversity of the country rather than use it to promote division.
Abubakar made the call in a lecture he delivered at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the lecture entitled, “Our Diversity, a Divine Gift and Blessing Untapped: Wrong Path Trodden and Way to Peace, ” was a prelude to the yearly Ulefunta Festival celebrated in Akure.
He said that though the country was going through trying times, there was need to come together and explore differences in solving the existing problems.
The sultan added that there were numerous benefits such as robust economy and strength awaiting Nigeria if its diversity was tapped and acted upon.
According to him, diversity is not a liability nor a problem but an asset, attributing the problems emanating from it to management.
“Diversity enhances good things but must be tapped and we should celebrate it and not degenerate it.
“We must focus on management of our diversities and be guided in knowledge and not in ignorance,” he said.
Mr Abubakar enjoined Nigerians to work together to have common goals and ensure regional integration.
“There is no time for internal wrangling as it destroys unity and nobody will benefit from it,” he said.
The Sultan also cautioned against attributing crime to any race or ethnic group, saying crime is majorly caused by economic challenges.
He urged traditional rulers to come together as one in bringing out the best from Nigeria’s diversity.
Mr Abubakar commended the reintroduction of history into the academic curriculum, saying that it would help Nigerians to understand one another.
He also called for adequate resources to promote diversity and urged the media to shun sensationalism that could cause strife and divisions.
In his remarks, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, thanked the Sultan for his acceptance to give the lecture.
Mr Aladelusi said the Sultan’s visit was remarkable and would remain memorable in the history of Akure.
The monarch, who said that nothing was fetish about the Ulefunta Festival, added that it was prescribed by tradition for the sitting Deji to rest for seven days.
“It is our heritage and people are promoting it. If it is fetish, the Sultan, the supreme head of Muslims in Nigeria, would not come,” Mr Aladelusi said
The monarch also expressed gratitude to the Ulefunta Organising Committee headed by Adebisi Adeniyi for the success of the event.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu commended the Sultan’s lecture, describing it as an antidote to Nigeria’s myriads of problems.
Mr Akeredolu, who said that Nigeria’s diversity should be tapped for social integration, also lauded the reintroduction of history into the education curriculum.
The governor urged traditional rulers to be involved in peace keeping programmes.
“Collaboration of this nature must be sustained because our traditional rulers must be involved in peace keeping programmes.
” They should come together as a group because people have more confidence in our monarchs than politicians,” he said.
The occasion was chaired by Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, the founder of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, and attended by the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo, among others.