The Rhetoric of Division Must Not Supersede That of Unity


“We may be different in our faiths, different in our ethnicities, but we are one people, the Nigerian people are one and united.” – VP Osinbajo



Your Excellency, Mr. President, first let me congratulate you on this very special occasion; the end of the Ramadan, the end of the fast.

Mr. President, you would notice of course that I did not join you, when you were taking the photographs with the cards. I’m very careful not to be covered by the size of the cards, so I stayed behind. (General laughter)

Mr. President, I want to not just congratulate you on this particular occasion, but also to say that God Almighty has been extremely good to you and to our government.

I recall about two years ago, when I had to host this particular event, whilst you were away on medical leave at the time. But God has been so good that not only did he bring you back, he brought you back healthier than when you left. He has also been gracious enough to enable you to have a second opportunity to lead our great country.

I thank the Almighty God for you, I thank the Almighty God for all of us who have been a part of your Government and who have been part of what God has done in our midst.

As I have said once, the Ramadan period of the fast is always a very good time because first of all, all of my friends who are usually badly behaved, behave themselves much better. And I will not mention any names here today, they know themselves, and some of them are even looking at me. (General laughter)

I want to pray and hope that the good behaviour they maintained during the periods of the fasting will continue even for the next four years and beyond.

Mr. President, the country as we speak today is at the threshold of greatness and you have said so yourself so many times. Any situation where something great and important is about to happen usually would have very many negative and opposing forces who would want to keep that from happening.

And I believe that our country is at the threshold of the breakthrough that we have been praying and hoping for all these many years. This is why many challenges are showing up; challenges around security, challenges around division, people who are stoking up embers of religious and ethnic divisions.

But this gathering is one of those gatherings that those of us in leadership; political leadership and religious leadership, demonstrate to our people that this country is a county of one people; the Nigerian people.

We may be different in our faiths, different in our ethnicities, but we are one people, the Nigerian people are one and united.

For that reason, I would want to commend all of our leaders who are here, for making this a tradition that we would come together as Christians and Muslims, and people of different faiths, for this particular event; not only to demonstrate our respect and pay our homage to Mr. President on this occasion, but to demonstrate to our people that this country is a united country and that those who want to stoke up embers of division would not be allowed to do so.

So I really want to urge all of our leaders who are here, religious and political leaders that we must not allow the rhetoric of division to supersede the rhetoric of unity. We must also speak up; we must speak in ways that unite our country. We cannot keep quiet because there are so many negative statements being made every day and sometimes we ignore those statements and say “these are people who have no understandings.”

But if we allow these negative statements to continue, then they will define our country and define the situation of our country.

As I said, our country is destined for greatness and I know that the Almighty God will lead us to that greatness. And as we go day by day towards that greatness, those who want to hold us back, the Lord God Almighty will prevent them from doing so.

I want to again commend you Mr President and thank you very much for the good leadership you have shown in the past few years. And in this second term, I pray that the Almighty God will help you and strengthen you. The Almighty God will give you the grace and the understanding and will empower you, even more, to be able to do the things that you desire in your heart to do to make this country truly great.

I pray for you in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you very much.

Released by:

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
4th June 2019