Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Global Peace Leadership Conference, Abuja, Nigeria 2013
The One Family Under God campaign was launched with a coalition of religious, governmental and traditional leaders in 2013. The simple recognition of the inextricably connected destiny of people of all faiths and Nigerians as a whole has started gained momentum and yielded real impact in Nigeria.
Most recently, over 700 government and religious leaders, traditional rulers and civil society representatives attended the Kaduna Peace Summit on October 23, 2014. The summit reviewed the outcomes of the ongoing Interfaith Youth Leaders Retreats that have been held since the middle of the year as part of the “One Family Under God Campaign” and issue a call, particularly for religious leaders, to foster greater coordination and cooperation in the nation to secure peace as the foundation for development.
H.E. Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, wife of the vice president of Nigeria attended with several women leaders, including the wife of the Kaduna State governor and the wife of the deputy governor. Other notable attendees included: a representative of the Governor of Kaduna State, 230 delegates from the 23 local government areas, alumni of previous Interfaith Youth Leader Retreats, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria and Ja’amatu Nasril Islam, and leaders of several interfaith associations of Nigeria like the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution; and the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Kaduna State.
The overwhelming message went out to religious leaders and people of faith to recognize the principles and values shared by both religions. “We have a common God and we therefore have common values,” said summit chair Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna and Bishop of Kaduna diocese, fondly called, “Mr. Dialogue. He said peace building and service are an expression of these shared values.
A number of speakers, including H.E. Amina Sambo, recognized the connection between peace and development. Noting that recent inter-religious violence has stagnated the economic and social growth of the State, while alluding to historic accounts of peaceful relations to suggest that it is possible for regions to live and work together.
H.E. Amina Sambo stressed that faith should serve as a catalyst for peace, not conflict. She said, “Although our country, Nigeria is a secular state we do know that most of us are either Muslims or Christians. The same God created us though we worship him in different ways. We are one family under one God. Therefore we should live together in peace and not use religion or ethnicity to unleash violence and kill as both religions preach peace.” Recognizing the upcoming elections next year, she said peace imperative to ensure a fair and free election.
Pastor James Wuye, co-directors of the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Kaduna State, put out a challenge to the summit, “My Challenge to all of us is that, let us start a competition in this state and the competition should be, who will outwit the other in doing good; is it the Muslims or the Christians? Let’s start the completion of sharing love, sharing food, sharing money and let there be a scale”.
Imam Muhammad Ashafa recognized the role of women in securing peace in the home, and directly addressed the women leaders present, “I call on our mothers to take this seriously, start from home to forgive the unforgiveable so that the future can be a better place.”The summit recognized the impact of the “One Family under God” campaign and the work of the Global Peace Foundation to foster interfaith cooperation and peace. Her Excellency, Hajiya Fatima Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, wife of the Governor of Kaduna State said, “I cannot but commend the efforts and sacrifice of Global Peace Foundation for this summit organised to foster understanding and cooperation.” She sounded her optimism for peace in Kaduna State, saying: “I am optimistic that with the help of our youths, peace organisations, associations and foundations like the Global Peace Foundation, we will overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of our continued peaceful coexistence”.
Original story appeared on www.globalpeace.org