By Ikenna Osuoha
Dr Garba Abari, Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Tuesday said that tolerance imperative in not only changing the country’s narrative but promoting unity in diversity.
Abari said this while receiving a delegation of International Day for Tolerance And Peace Promotion (ID4TAPP) in his office in commemoration of International Day for Tolerance and Peace in Abuja.
He explained that tolerance was key to eliminating the divisive factors that pose as challenges especially at this time.
“We need tolerance to change our narrative, to say this is what we are and what we are not.
“Tolerance is key considering our religious and ethnic diversity,” he said.
The NOA Director-General who reiterated the need for collective responsibility in advancing the country’s unity, said that divisiveness was alien to the country’s culture.
According to him, divisiveness is being used by few political elements for political reasons.
Abari said that unity was achievable through tolerance which would go a long way in nipping in the bud elements of divisiveness.
He identified the country’s diversity as a blessing in disguise, which must be upheld and guarded jealously.
Abari added: “Somalia is 99 per cent one religion, one tribe but they have not known peace in the past 30 years.”
He emphasised the need for individual changes to create a better and united country irrespective of the differences.
Abari said that the challenges confronting the country could only be solved by Nigerians themselves.
He, however, called for collective effort from families to religious institutions to engage Nigerians regularly on the need for change of value system.
Earlier, Ms Ijeoma Akwara, National Coordinator of the group, commended the Director-General for engaging the populace on tolerance and peace.
Akwara affirmed the commitment of the group to tolerance which was key in overcoming ethnic and religious diversities in the country.
She described tolerance as respect, acceptance and appreciation of our various forms of expression, value system.
According to her, it is our ways of being human with regards to others and the rich diversity of our multicultural nation.
Mr Ndudi Nwagbara, Project Coordinator of the group, also reassured the NOA Director-General of the readiness of the association to continue to partner with them on peace and tolerance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that International Day for Tolerance is marked on November 16.
The day is observed to build tolerance among the cultures and people. The day was started by the United Nations General Assembly.
The main aim behind starting this day was to make educational institutions and people at large believe that tolerance is an integral part of society. (NAN)