Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigerians must actively engage in building bridges across religions and ethnicities to ensure a better society and nation.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday when he received at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, a delegation from US-based Bridgeway Community Church, led by its founder and senior pastor, Dr. David Anderson; alongside a delegation from the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission led by its Executive Secretary, Engr. Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi.
In building bridges, the Vice President emphasized on the need to build mutual trust and respect, stating that, “we have to find ways of actively disseminating to our people here, and in Africa in particular, the importance of building bridges across religion and ethnicities.”
While noting that Nigeria is a country with different ethnicities and dominant Muslim and Christian populations, the Vice President added: “It has become clear to us that we must find different ways in building bridges, especially between the faith and ethnicities. And one of the critical things that our faith teaches, is that, regardless of what the situation may be, “we must love even our enemies and pray for them.”
“The future for society, in my view, relies on our ability to build bridges and to ensure that those bridges are firm and we can walk across it and interact with each other,” he said.
In his remarks, Anderson, who noted the need to build bridges between Africans and African-Americans, said he was inspired to build a Diaspora Palace, hotel and resort in Badagry, Lagos, “so that when people come back from the Diaspora, wherever they are, they would no longer just come to the Point of No Return, but they would walk through the Door of Return; and that they would be accepted as royalty.”
Anderson observed that several African-Americans desire to be identified as Africans, and he is working with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Foreign Affairs and Information ministries to realize that through what he called the Door of Return initiative.
Similarly, Bassi, representing the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, noted that the Door of Return initiative, among other objectives, aims “to advance exchange of economic cooperation and direct investment between Nigerian and the Diaspora, particularly in the area of tourism and sustainable development.”