Leaders must be ready to risk their popularity to promote peace – Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, argues that if the country’s leaders want to foster peace, they must be willing to risk their popularity, as South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, did.

According to Osinbajo, leaders must recognize the importance of polite nonviolent communication in preventing conflicts from turning violent.

The vice-president believes that the country’s leaders should use their positions to address the country’s ethno-religious challenges.

“Those sacrifices are sacrifices, even in what you say, how you say it, and then sacrifices also in the acknowledgment of whatever people are saying and the willingness to accept,” Osinbajo said on Monday, August 30 to a delegation of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) according to a statement by Laolu Akande, his media aide.

“It is very important that we don’t diminish the importance of language and respectful non-violent communication so that we are able to keep our discussions at a level that ensures that we don’t degenerate too quickly to violence.

“We can all talk nicely and say the right things, but unless people are prepared to make some concessions which may cost them popularity within their own group, we cannot move forward.

“These are stories of people who are not only political or religious leaders but just ordinary people, doing the right thing. Unless we are prepared to not just talk about it but to make an open display, first of all, of those who are doing the right things.

“But more importantly, challenging our leaders to say the right things and to be prepared to risk some popularity in order to do so, then we will just be wasting a lot of time.”

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