By Zubairu Idris
The Federal Government has called on Nigerians to embrace peace and eschew divisive tendencies which are detrimental to national development objectives.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call on Thursday in Kano at the Annual Public Lecture of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).
The lecture had as theme: “Culture and the Management of Diversity in Nigeria.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was delivered by Prof. Mohammed Sanni-Abdulkadir, a former Vice Chancellor of Kogi State University, Anyigba.
The minister, who was represented by the State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Lawal Haruna, said negative manipulation of diversity was detrimental to national interest.
Mohammed said that concerted efforts of government at all levels, in collaboration with civil society organisations as well as traditional and religious institutions would assist in addressing arising issues from multi-ethnic and multi-religious perspectives.
He said that the present administration had remained appreciative of the delicate relationship between national unity and national development.
“Unless we maximise the opportunities presented by our diversity to strengthen national unity and national integration, our national development agenda will be a mirage,” the minister said.
He said that the choice of the theme was appropriate and timely in view of the current challenges regarding the management of the nation’s diversity.
In his remarks, Mr Ado Muhammed-Yahuza, Executive Secretary of NICO, said the lecture would enable Nigerians embrace culture, cherish its inherent values and accord it a pride of place in national development plan.
He urged Nigerians to uphold their multi-cultural diversity as a driving force for national development, stability and economic growth.
‘We must learn to recognise, respect, encourage, value and celebrate our cultural diversities with a clear understanding that Nigeria is for all of us irrespective of where we come from.
“Our strength as a nation is in our diversity.
“I am sure if we can manage our cultural diversity as a sovereign nation by understanding each other’s culture, embrace and tolerate same, we will place Nigeria on the pathway of building a national culture of peace, love and unity,” he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, said that every culture is unique.
He urged Nigerians to unite as one indivisible entity to promote peace for development.
Okorocha, who was represented by the General Manager of National Theatre, Prof. Sunday Ododo, stressed the need for inter-tribal marriages among Nigerians in order to promote peace and unity in the country. (NAN)