By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, which teaches and reminds Muslim faithful on the meaning of sacrifice, love, and forbearance with God, a Civil Society Organisation, We Are All One Foundation, WAAOF, Tuesday, commenced advocacy on the need to inculcate love, unity, and tolerance in children.
Speaking with Vanguard on issues that would strengthen the unity of the country, especially in this trying moment of her national life, the Founder and President, WAAOF, Musa Abdullahi Garba Gokaru, said the time to change the ugly narrative of bitterness and sentiments against one another as Nigerians are by taking value orientation to children through quality education which government at all levels need to invest heavily.
According to Gokaru the best foundation for children is quality education which they deserve as their right, which will build their capacity and in the end make them responsible citizens who will continue to move the nation forward on the foundation of love, unity, and tolerance.
He said: As a country, we need to build the best schools where our children will be to receive the best teaching, morals, culture, and tradition.
“It is also imperative to state here that it is now at the primary level we need to inculcate the sense and spirit of oneness in our children up to tertiary level, thereby making them understand, accept and practice love where our strength as a people lies.
“When these values are taught and practiced by our children whether from the north or south, Christians or Muslims there will be peace in the country. But if these are missing in our educational system there is no magic to attain a peaceful society.
“We are calling on the government at all levels to invest more in education, not really to invest on infrastructure, which we can later focus on, but the issue of quality and all-around education is paramount with the situation we find ourselves.
“If various administrations that will come onboard focus and invest more on quality education in reorientating and restoring critical values lost over the years Nigeria will be the world’s superpower in 20 years to come.
“We are not just stating this here because Nigeria has all it takes to be the world super power if only our leaders and citizens will work together and forget all sentiments that have eaten and destroyed our peace, unity and love.
“It is only quality education that can sustain Nigeria’s unity, and it is not the time to turn to other things let maximal resources to be massively invested in the educational level in all ramifications that would strengthen and resuscitate our institutions and authorities including boosting the manpower to give all its best to our children and including the unborn children.
“We are already on the project and programme of taking the issue of unity, peace and love to children as we are moving to collaborate with the Ministries of education at the federal, state and local government levels on the need to begin teachings on morals and values from school to school, which we are going to collaborate with all school managements to make sure that a period is carved out in the class time-table focusing on morals, unity and love on how to sustain the Nigerian project at that level in order for these children to appreciate and uphold these values because we want to catch them young at that early stage of their lives.
“We want are investing our time, money and talent on this programme is because we have realized that the current problems affecting our unity, love and progress is because most people who have taken arms and law in their hands against the government and citizens were born in hatred and bitterness, because they never had such opportunity to be taught values of oneness while they were little boys and girls.
“Right from independence till date there has been hatred because there has never been understanding between the Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, and Yoruba tribes including others.
“People only talk about their regions and not issues that will help Nigeria because most Nigerians don’t have interest in the unity of this country because love and unity of this country were not in-built in them because most parents never taught their children on moving this country forward on the values of love and unity. It is important we start talking about the advantages of being united and stop talking about the disadvantages.”
The WAAOF boss also called for creation of avenues at the school and family levels that would help children not to grow up with sentiments that will jeopardize the existence of the nation.
“We should create avenues to make one another understand the advantages of being together as one indivisible nation. This is will go a long way to help our children to love and unite with one another irrespective of tribes and religions.
“Failure to teach and inculcate unity and love in our children in schools whether public or private, made it a great missing link in our educational system over the years, hence the trouble we find ourselves.
“The solution to sustain the nation is to immediately design academic and practical sessions on teaching love, oneness and peace by inculcating them in our children, and also the teachers and school managements being committed to it as we teach our children on how to eat, talk and respect.
“We are all one as God has created us to be, and also as a Christian and Muslim makes you to believe in love, peace and tolerance as also being taught in these religions, and we advice pastors and imams to stop teaching hatred and destruction of ourselves”, he stated.
He also expressed optimism that, “The impact this teaching of love, unity and tolerance will make is enormous because it will unite Nigeria and all these problems will evaporate and Nigeria will become a super power in the world because these children will be patriotic and see themselves as real Nigerians and this is going to be the impact of this advocacy we have embarked upon, and there will be peace and stability in our polity.”