Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that in the last seven years of working closely with President Muhammadu Buhari, there has not been any religious dispute between them despite practicing different faiths.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande explained that Osinbajo made this while hosting to His Eminence, Sheikh Muhammadu Mahi Ibrahim Niass the Senegal-based Grand Khalifa of Tijjaniya Movement, at the State House, Abuja.
Prof. Osinbajo described President Buhari as a model of a leader who accommodates people of different religious backgrounds, citing his relationship with the President spanning over seven years as a perfect example.
He said, “President Buhari is a serious Muslim and I am a pastor, both of us have worked together for about seven years, we have not had any issues.
“The President has shown great leadership, he has shown that he wants a country where people of different faiths live in harmony and with love for one another.”
The Vice President said beyond the spiritual upliftment of individuals and communities, religious leaders must use religion to promote peace, ensure prosperity for the people as well as the development of society, adding that, “we need to work together to ensure that our people benefit from religion.
“We tend to underestimate the importance of religion despite the fact that it plays a key role in the development of the society, not just in the spiritual aspect but physical.
“There are many nations of the world that have benefitted from the impact of religion both spiritually and physically. So, we must use religion in our countries (in Africa) to help our people to live better lives because, in other parts of the world, leaders of faith have used religion to better the lives of the people. We must never allow situations where we cannot sit together.
He stressed that with what is going on across the world, people of faiths must continue to emphasize that both major religions promote peace and allow people to practice whatever religion they want to practice.
He thanked the leader of the Tijjaniya Movement for the group’s progressive ideals and compassion for the needs of the people.
Speaking earlier, Sheikh Niass thanked the Vice President for the opportunity to meet with him and his delegation, describing him as a great personality.
His French words read, “the Vice President is a great personality with an exceptional character, standing on two feet: one as a political leader concerned about the progress of his people and the second, as a man of God.
“Africa needs a person of your nature with a very strong background in religion and politics. I pray that the Almighty Allah will upgrade you and enable you to achieve your desires and aspirations because, as I said, not only Nigeria but Africa will benefit from your leadership qualities. Nigeria is the heart of Africa and whatever Nigeria becomes; Africa becomes.
Sheikh Niass also expressed the group’s sincere gratitude to President Buhari for his support, while praying for his safety and also prayed for peace in Nigeria, Africa and the world, and pledged his continued prayers for the Vice President and the country.
Tijjaniya movement across Africa had last week converged in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital to celebrate the 36th International Maulid Anniversary in honor of Sheikh Ibrahim Niass, the Movement’s late leader.