Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president has stated that managing the country’s diversity could be difficult but when harnessed properly, it can translate to growth for the economy.
This statement was made by the vice president while delivering a lecture at a convocation ceremony of the Sokoto State University on Friday.
Osinbajo said it is the job of the country’s leaders and the elite to ensure that there is unity.
He spoke on the theme: ‘Nigeria: Some Defining Issues for the Future’.
The vice-president noted that the country is a “complex web of multi-layered social, cultural, economic and political synergies”, hence the need for unity.
“Political, especially ethnic leaders, and religious leaders must do the difficult work of educating their public about the need to live together,”
“It is the elite, leaders that will do the onerous job of ensuring unity in our communities. Unity is not just a slogan or even merely a good idea. It has manifest expression in our communities where Nigerians from diverse backgrounds are co-mingling, trading, partnering, inter-marrying and blending in various ways.
“Despite the scale of the challenges facing us, unravelling this web of commonality as proposed by enthusiasts of disintegration is a cure that is worse than the disease.
“This is why we must understand that even though managing diversity can be politically and administratively onerous, diversity itself is an economic strength and harnessing it properly is hugely rewarding.”
Osinbajo noted that the true wealth of countries in the 21st century is human capital, adding that “societies that set out to attract and retain the most diverse pool of skilled human resources are ordained to prevail in the race for prosperity.”
“With diversity comes a broad range of cultural, philosophical and intellectual approaches for solving problems; innovation can only flourish in this kind of setting,” the vice-president said.
“Differences should not mean division. It is essential for us to establish a culture of tolerance, open-mindedness, and acceptance of people of all cultures and creeds. There is unity to be found even in the face of such differences.
“There is a ‘Nigerianness’ that binds us all. There is a shared commitment – no matter how suppressed – to build a better Nigeria for ourselves and future generations.”
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