VP Osinbajo harps on lessons of Rwandan experience, calls for unity ahead of elections

By Cosmas Uzodinma

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the negative consequences of hate speech in any polity, while emphasizing the need for Nigerians to focus on the issues that bind rather than those that cause division in the country.

The Vice President stated this last Friday at the public presentation and launching of a book, ‘The Making of a Million Smiles: Reflections on Rwanda’s Rise from Ashes’ by Rear Admiral Samuel Ilesanmi Alade (rtd) at the National Defence College, Abuja.

Represented by Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, Professor Osinbajo, who said there are lessons Nigerians should learn from the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the mistakes and the success story, also said the book will prove useful to every Nigerian.

He commended the author for the worthy contribution to the nation’s body of literary work, adding that the book is a practical reminder which could not have come at a better time as the country prepares for the 2019 elections.

In his remarks, chairman of the occasion and former Federal Commissioner for Information and Culture, Major General Ibrahim Bata Malgwi Haruna (rtd), said the book gave a good account of the Rwandan genocide and how the people have moved on, giving the hope that no matter the circumstance, trust can be regained through consistent seeking of the truth and peace as well as working towards inclusiveness and cooperation.

He called on Nigerians to shun hate speech in its entirety as well as all other utterances that could cause discord and heat up the polity.

Gen. Haruna said the launch presented an opportunity to draw and share the experiences of Rwanda, urging all Nigerians to support the author’s effort.

In his remarks at the occasion, the author, Rear Admiral Alade, said the book was an admonition to all and sundry that the Rwandan genocide did not just happen overnight but was as a result of hate speeches which persisted over time, pointing to what Nigeria is experiencing at the moment.

He stressed the need for a complete departure from such a trend.

In a goodwill message, the Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi, commended the author for penning down his thoughts on the lessons to be learnt from his country’s period of great grief, which, he said, demonstrates his sense of responsibility.

Kamanzi expressed hope that Nigerians would learn from past mistakes and go on to make the country great.