By Atiku Abubakar
I welcome you all to this important book presentation.
I’ve just been drafted to serve as Chairman of this occasion, so I have not been able to read the book being presented. But as someone who likes being in places where ideas are being shared, I accepted the honour to chair the occasion. Thankfully we have a book reviewer who will educate us as to the key arguments and analyses in the book.
The title says the book deals with Constitutional Misconception of Secularism and its Implications for Politics and Religion. On face value I am not sure whether it is our Constitution that has the misconception or we the operators and interpreters of the Constitution that are being referred to. I am sure the book reviewer will help us to untangle and clarify that.
Be that as it may, I know that the framers of our Constitution, going back to our first national Constitution, carefully considered our diverse character as a nation and chose the secular path for us in order to accommodate that diversity and ensure peaceful coexistence.
I will leave the book reviewers and readers generally to make their judgements about the arguments contained in Rev. Father Gabriel Ngbea’s book. But I commend him for his diligent efforts in putting his thoughts down in book form, and I hope the book will help start necessary discussions about our diversity and what we should do in order for our country to maximize its benefits and minimize its costs.
Let me, however, use this opportunity to remind us all that at this delicate moment in our nation’s history – with separatist agitations, militancy of the religious and secular varieties, calls for restructuring, and jousting for future elections – we should all be mindful of and sensitive to the feelings and preferences of those who may not think the way we think, speak the way we speak or worship the way we worship or belong to the same political party as us.
Our diversity ought to be our strength and, together, we can still build the Nigeria of our dreams.
I thank the Planning Committee for this book presentation for honouring me with the invitation to chair it.
Thank you for your attention.
Being Remarks by Former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, at the Public Presentation of the book titled: “Constitutional Misconception of Secularism: Implications for Politics and Religion, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.