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Ogun Govt. maps out strategies for religion as a vehicle to drive economic viability

Ogun Govt. maps out strategies for religion as a vehicle to drive economic viability

Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Monday disclosed that his administration has mapped out strategies in engaging religious leaders and the entire people of the state to see religion not just as a tool of spiritual fulfillment, but also as a vehicle that drives economic viability of the State.

He stated this in an address he delivered at the Toyin Falola Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora (TOPAC) held at Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State as the Special Guest.

At the event which had: “Religion, the State and Global Politics” as its theme, Governor Abiodun said “In the past, we have always assumed that religion and the State are two different entities. But recent events have continued to lay bare the fact that the connections between religion and the State are increasingly relevant. We have continued to see demonstrations that most of peoples’ actions and commitments are derivable from their religious beliefs. If we have to talk about security, peace, co-existence and even, socio-economic development, we cannot divorce religion.”

He stated that “there is no doubt that the theme of the Conference could not have been more apt considering recent developments in the polity and the attachment of religion.”

The Governor lamented that “Religion, which should have been a unifying factor, that should bring us closer to our creator has suddenly become a dividing factor. Rather than seeing ourselves as one entity of humanity, we have continued to see ourselves as different, divisible units with varied worldviews.

“In recent times, the global community has been confronted with acts of terrorism which have been tied to religion, whether rightly or wrongly. What is more confounding is the fact that these acts of terrorism are also supposedly sponsored by politicians against the State, and, or by Government against another Government.”

He noted that “ In Nigeria, we have had more than our own fair share of acts of violence which some quarters have tied to religion, and even the State. We have the Boko-Haram issue in the Northern part of the country, which has been linked to a religious terrorist movement, ISIS; there is also the rampaging security threats of Herdsmen-Farmers clash and Kidnap which some people have linked to a grand plan by a particular tribe to take over the rest of the country. I find these acts condemnable and no efforts should be spared to bring the perpetrators to book. If you ask me, these are common criminals and should be treated as such.”

Governor Abiodun stressed that “It is also not out of place to state that all these developments within a nation also determines its global perception. In the past, we have had the Western and Eastern Blocs, based on political cum economic philosophy; and we have also had the Non-Aligned Movement. However, recent events have also shown that more nations are forming alliances, not just on geographical location, but also, on religious ideology. We have continued to see international organisations which have religion as its basic credential for membership. It is no surprise that membership of such organisations raise serious discourse amongst citizens of such nations.”

He added that “ In our contemporary geographical landscape, therefore, we cannot afford to ignore issues of religion, with particular reference to religious freedom and tolerance on one hand; and, on the other hand, violence and oppression. And, in the light of this, State policy makers, Scholars, and all Stakeholders will have to think out of the box and come up with improved and more practical approaches in dealing with our diverse religious ideologies so that religion will be a unifying factor that will provide impetus to socio-economic development of Nigeria. That is why I will state once again that this conference and its theme could not have been more apt because it provides us another veritable platform for cross-fertilization of ideas that will foster religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence for all-round development of our dear country.”

He disclosed that “In Ogun State, we appreciate the role of religion in socio-economic development. And, we have mapped out strategies in engaging religious leaders and all our people so that apart from seeing religion as a tool of spiritual fulfillment, they will also see it as a vehicle that drives economic viability of our dear State. We appreciate the importance of the cooperation and support of our people to the successful implementation of the Building our Future Together agenda. Our Administration is irrevocably committed to fairness, justice, equity and inclusiveness.”

In attendance at the conference included former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Is-Haq Oloyede, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah and a host of other dignitaries.

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