By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has urged Nigerians to use religion to promote unity and inculcate good values among the citizens.
The Speaker said if that is achieved, Nigeria would be a better society.
Gbajabiamila spoke when he hosted members of the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) led by Prof Jerry Gana, who paid him a courtesy call ahead of their international conference to be held in Nigeria in October.
The Speaker said members of the National Assembly cannot legislate on good moral values, hence it is the work of religious and traditional leaders as well as parents to promote good values among the people.
The Speaker promised that the House would participate fully in the international conference as part of its responsibility to promote anything that could add value to the society.
“Thank you very much for this visit. On the face of it, many may not understand the importance of this. Nigeria will benefit from this initiative. Nigeria is a secular country, we all know that. This will bring the value of religion to governance.
Citing an example of Senegal, a country with a population of about 90 per cent Muslims and 10 per cent Christians, Gbajabiamila said one could not see any religious differences among the citizens of that country, noting that the first elected president of Senegal was a non-Muslim.
“So, it’s when we marry the two religions together that we achieve what we want,” the Speaker said, adding that “If you combine all the values we have, if the two religions can come together to teach these values, we will achieve a utopian society.”
“I tell people that there are things you can’t legislate. You can come to the National Assembly a hundred times, but you can’t legislate values, because they’re inbuilt. For instance, you can’t legislate integrity.
“We have in the House a very strong Christian society. The Deputy Leader (Rep. Peter Akpatason) is a member of the society, and I’m sure he’ll carry the message to them.
“We will participate fully in the conference. For us, anything that will add value to our society, we won’t shy away from it.”
Earlier, Prof Jerry Gana told the Speaker that they were in his office to seek his support for the full participation of the House in the international conference of the society, which will mark its 10th anniversary.
He said the main focus of the initiative is to contribute to the leadership recruitment process in Africa, noting that the group also promotes value-based leadership.
“We feel that your office will be represented in the central working committee for the conference. We believe we’ll have qualitative participation of members of the House of Representatives through you because it’s through them that the lessons will permeate the society.”