Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Nigerians must avoid drifting towards voices that appeal to darker impulses but instead counter fear, despair, and division with inspiring faith, creative optimism, and solidarity despite its current challenges.

He there urged the elites to act in solidarity and build a consensus to settle contending issues in the nation and enlarge the circle of opportunity, especially for the young people.

Speaking on Thursday evening in Abuja during his keynote address at the Leadership Conference and Awards on the theme: National and Regional Insecurity: The Role of Political and Non-Political Actors in Stabilization and Consensus Building, he also urged the nation’s political, economic, and religious leaders to shun divisive narratives so as to bring all Nigerians together, heal rifts between communities and build bridges across divides.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar was Chairman at the event attended by some State Governors and members of the Federal Executive Council including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

Referring to the phrase, “Noblesse Oblige” which in English means “nobility obligates,” the VP stated that it conveys the idea that nobility extends beyond mere entitlement and requires people of noble status to fulfill social responsibilities.

“The highest office and duty of the elite is sacrifice, sacrifice, and more sacrifice,.

The VP further urged the nation’s elites to “be prepared to tell our constituencies the truth even if it hurts our political fortunes or our popularity.”

While calling on the nation’s elites to stop depending or promoting tribal and religious fault lines for legitimacy,  Osinbajo noted that “the external reasons we cite as reasons for our problems cannot thrive without severe internal weaknesses in our society.”

“We must be able to say to the young men and women who say secession is the only way or that we should break up into little nations that that is the way of extinction not development. We must, as religious leaders, be able to tell our adherents that people of other religions are not their enemies, they are brothers and sisters and that they must not allow those who will benefit by division and strife to tell them differently.”

The VP stated further that all Nigerians must endeavour to promote civilized values – including affirming the value and sanctity of human life, rather than violence, ethnic and religious fault lines to drive national change.

While he emphasized the need to reform institutions for law and order to thrive, the VP also noted the importance of building consensus and mediating elite competition and conflict in “finding an acceptable ‘middle ground’ among contesting options to the resolution of issues.”

On his emphasizing the importance of corporate social responsibility, good corporate citizenship, Osinbajo said:  “in times of crisis, the elite must broaden its horizons beyond their specific disciplines and sectors. Accordingly, business leaders understand that it is not enough to focus on making profits; businesses need a healthy society within which to operate and make profits. This is why there are now such concepts as corporate social responsibility and good corporate citizenship.”

“The Media elite must recognize that they have a responsibility to exercise discernment in the deployment of their platforms and must reflect upon whether they are amplifying the most insensate, intemperate, and incendiary voices in our midst while marginalizing voices of reason.

“The Political elite must accept through policies and actions, that the purpose of power must be to better the lives of those we serve and give the young great hope for the future. Once we put on the lens of social responsibility, different and higher imperatives come into play. This is what transformational elitism looks like.”

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