The Nigeria Vice President said while such trends do not mean well for a country on the threshold of peace, “a house or nation that is divided against itself cannot stand.”
He sounded the warning on Sunday in Abuja during the 55th Independence Anniversary Interdenominational Church Service held at the National Christian Centre.
At the event, Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese and delegate, who represented the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 2014 national conference, Joseph Bagobiri, warned the President, Muhammadu Buhari against using the institutions of government to attack political opponent and carry out vendetta.
Osinbajo said, “Our nation is sharply divided for long along religious and tribal lines. The moment we are divided against ourselves we can’t stand. We must also speak on the unity of the country. It will make a difference in the future of this country.
“Nigeria major problem is that we play politics with everything. We play politics with religion, we play politics with tribe.
“When a bomb goes off in Potiskum or Maiduguri, it doesn’t ask questions, whether you are a Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa. The issues that we see go beyond the contest between Christians and Muslims. We have seen children and adults blown to pieces who are victims of insurgency. There were Christians, Muslims and those who do not profess any faith.
“Jesus Christ did not come to this world to celebrate religion, but for redemption. He came to make sacrifice for us. The message of Jesus Christ transcends religion. No matter what it is that we face, the answer lies in the love of Jesus Christ. That is what we see as Nigeria clocks 55. We also expressed our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in Mecca.”
In his message entitled, ‘Making counry function as a family: Panacea to healthy national integration’, Bishop Bagobiri did not spare former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, and Muslim leaders in the country.
According to him, they (leaders) only opted to condemn activities of Boko Haram when serious damage had already been done.
He said, “I like what President Buhari said that ‘nobody kills in the name of Islam’. Why did Buhari wait till he became President before making the statement? Why did he not make the statement when President Goodluck Jonathan was in power? That statement would have made more sense then than now.
“Ibrahim Babangida followed and condemned Boko Haram. Why did they all have to wait till Buhari won before condemning activities of Boko Haram?
“The anniversary celebration offers us the opportunity to offer ourselves in service for the continuous growth of our country. We thank God that despite all the apprehensions that followed the last general elections, we did not end up like some countries in the Middle East.
“Nigeria is more than any religion, tribe, political party, ideology or anything. No one should toil with the survival of country We need this nation first before any other thing we are fighting for. Though prayer is highly important, it is not the only thing we are called to do.
“There are many powerful people whose agenda is to serve parochial interests. People that have been entrusted with public offices use their positions to promote sectional motives. Today, we hear of an invisible government that rules this country. Nigerians must ask what happened to the colossal monies budgeted for our security.
“Those who rule with discrimination will not go far. Why must Supreme Court Justices come from one part of the country? We advise this government to evoke fairness, justice and equity. Why can’t we have Igbo or Yoruba people as Supreme Court Justices?
“Nigerians are smart people. When you genuinely fight corruption, When you give in to the temptation to use anti-graft agencies as instruments of revenge or vendetta, sooner or later, we will know.
“If you are fighting corruption for the sake of corruption, Nigerians understand it. If we use EFCC, ICPC, CCB and others as instruments of revenge and vendatta, sooner or later we will no be able to get the desired peace.”
While the first reading, taken from II Chronicles 7:1-14, was read by Bagobiri; the second reading was taken from I Corinthians 12: 12-30 and read by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
Prayers were said for the Nigeria nation, security and economic challenges, peace and development of the country.
There were also special prayers for the President, Vice President, other executives, legislature and judiciary and for the unity of the church.
Among dignitaries at the service include the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Dogara, and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.