Indians Pay Tributes To Religious Leader Who Died At 111

Crowds gather around the body of Indian spiritual leader Shivakumara Swami after his death at the age of 111 in Tumakuru, some 75km northwest of Bangalore, on January 21, 2019. STR / AFP


Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of an Indian town on Monday to pay their last respects to the 111-year-old head of a Hindu religious sect known as “the walking god” to his followers.

Shivakumara Swami was the head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt, a highly influential monastery which runs hundreds of schools across southern Karnataka state.

His body, wrapped in saffron robes and flower garlands, was held aloft and paraded through crowds in Tumakuru, an industrial town near Bangalore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those to pay tribute to Swami, who died on Monday in a local hospital.

“(Swami) lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice,” Modi said on Twitter.

“He represents the best of our traditions of compassionate service, spirituality and protecting the rights of the underprivileged.”

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi offered his own condolences, describing the religious leader’s death as leaving “a deep spiritual void” in the country.

Swami remained a revered figure in the region even though his advanced age kept him from public appearances for several years.

The many educational institutions established by Swami’s monastery provided free shelter, food and education for poor students in Karnataka.

The state government announced three days of mourning to mark his death.


President Buhari Denies Allegations Of Religious Bias

President Buhari Denies Allegations Of Religious Bias
File photo


President Muhammadu Buhari has denied the allegations that he is religiously biased as the leader of Africa’s most populous nation.

The President rejected the claims on Thursday when he received a delegation of the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria, led by Bishop John Richard at the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Our Youths Deserve A Prosperous Nigeria, Says Buhari

“Some voices, for political or ethnic reasons are making unguarded statements accusing the government and myself in particular of religious bias. Let me assure you, honourable clergymen, that this is far from the truth,” he stated

in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“In my career as a soldier, administrator, and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office. When I had the honour to lead a military government, there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council,” President Buhari added.

He noted that the selection process was not by design but that he appointed people based on their merit without the slightest bias.

The President maintained that the present Federal Executive Council is evenly balanced, stressing that the appointees were chosen with the intention of respecting and rewarding individual qualities, contrary to the claims of being lopsided.

He further called on religious leaders to work towards the broader goal of building a strong and unified Nigeria and avoid insinuations that could divide the populace, especially along religious lines.

President Buhari reminded his visitors that religious leaders have the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for peace and development to thrive.

He said he was delighted at the proposition to hold a one-day prayer and fasting meeting for the nation on April 26, 2018, while assuring them that he would direct the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security for the gathering.

In his remarks, the leader of the delegation said more than 45,000 pastors in the Northern part of Nigeria had registered with the initiative to use their pulpits for the propagation of the gospel of peace and shun political distractions.

He also urged other pastors to support the administration as it works towards ending the violence in various parts of the country and avoid politically coloured sermons.

Gov. Ambode Calls For A Peaceful And Prosperous Nigeria

Cancer, Akinwunmi AmbodeThe Lagos State Governor,  Akinwunmi Ambode, has called on Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the cause of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where citizens regardless of ethnic, religious, political or social status can flourish.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, the Governor said that the nation needs brotherly love and harmonious co-existence among her citizens above all other things as a means to overcome its numerous challenges.

The Governor in his Eid-el-Fitri message said it is only by embracing peace, unity and fairness that Nigerians can put the country back on the path of growth and development, urging them to embrace the tenets of love, tolerance, forgiveness and brotherhood which characterized the period of the holy month.

“As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, therefore, let us renew our faith in our nation and implore the Almighty God to restore to us those values that place high premium on human life, love of neighbour and sharing even as we ventilate our faith in the unity of our dear country and the possibility of taking her rightful place in the comity of nations.

“In this all important crusade to rescue our dear country from socio-economic as well as political quagmire, let us all continue to demonstrate those sterling virtues of harmonious and peaceful co-existence, as well as willingness to serve in this melting pot of cultures where the multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of our country is turned into a source of strength”, the Governor said.

While cautioning against acts that would divide rather than unite the country, Governor Ambode called on Nigerians to return to the values of peaceful co-existence and brotherly love.

Governor Ambode also thanked Lagosians for their continued harmonious and peaceful co-existence in the midst of diverse ethnic origin and religion.
“With your demonstration of love for your neighbour and the willingness to serve, our State has continued to be a model of what patriotic Nigerians will want our dear country to be.

“When peace reigns in the land, we can achieve whatever it is that we want to achieve. Infrastructural development can only be carried out in an atmosphere of peace and respect for our political and ethnic differences,” he said.

Governor Ambode wished all Muslim brothers and sisters in the State a happy Eid-el-Fitri celebration, just as he enjoined Nigerians in other parts of the country to continue to be their brothers’ keepers.

Youths In Kogi Rally Support For Yahaya Bello

Yahaya-BelloYouth and professionals in Kogi State, under the aegis of “Project Kogi First” have called on all the ethnic, religious and political groups to drop their differences and join hands with the incoming Governor-Elect, Yahaya Bello, to enable him work for the progress of the state.

They said that as youths, they were ready to work and support the incoming Governor rather than be used as means of destruction.

In a Press Statement, the convener of the group, Pharmacist Ojeje Onimisi, said that the group had recommended various practical economic policies that would lead to the actualisation of the collective dream of the people in the state

The group’s spokesperson called on the incoming Governor to embark on policies that would give birth to a new Kogi, immediately he assumes office.

He assured him of the group’s readiness to make relevant contribution that would make the state stand out among its equal.

Onimisi appealed to all aggrieved persons to channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters and desist from making inflammatory statements that could instigate violence and anarchy.

The Chief Strategist of the Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation, Mr Edward Onoja, attributed the state’s backwardness to the existing leadership gap.

He, therefore, urged youths to set up ‘Kogi Treasury Watch’, to enable them checkmate the activities of their leaders.

Fashola Advocates Religious Tolerance In Nigeria

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Sunday attended the 10th Justice Muri Okunola Memorial Ramadan Lecture at fasholaLTV Blue Roof Multi-purpose Hall on Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, advocating religious tolerance as the sine qua non for peace in multi-religious Nigeria.

The Governor of Lagos State, who spoke before a capacity audience of muslim faithful, prominent Islamic Scholars, Imams and members of various Islamic societies as well as top government officials, urged members of the different religions to respect each other’s belief adding that it is the only way to ensure religious harmony among the Faith.

The two topics for the Memorial Lecture were “Parenting in the 21st Century: The Realities and Islamic Disposition”, delivered by Alhaja Monsurah Alli-Oluwafuyi ,“Sustaining Peace In a Multi-Religious Society”, delivered by Imam Abdul Hakeem Kosoko.

Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola,  who emphasized the importance of tolerance and respect for each others belief as the bedrock of religious harmony in any society,  argued that at the centre of every religious conflict is intolerance and lack of respect for the belief of others adding, that “If we rubbish other peoples religion they will do so to us as well.

“When we were born, we did not know the religion we were going to belong to; even we did not know anything whatsoever”, Fashola said adding, “I implore everyone to be tolerant in whatever religion that we are practicing because tolerance is the only pillar of development in our Society”.

The Governor further argued that the personality of an individual is not dictated by who he or she is but his behaviour  toward what he believes in and those he serves, adding that it is only by being tolerant of each other’s religion that our nation would make progress.

The Lagos State Governor commented on the first lecture, stating that it is not only women that should cater for the children, men also have a lot of responsibilities to take and therefore should give a supporting hand  to the women, likewise,  the parents should be cautious about leaving everything concerning their children to a “Nanny” and give more attention to them.

Also in his lecture titled, “Sustaining Peace in a Multi-Religious Society”, Imam Abdul Hakeem Kosoko, noted that God created human beings to reflect His own image and that in any multi-religious society efforts must always be made to embrace peace at all times.

He added that in order to let peace reign in a multi-religious society, citizens must avoid undue rivalry and should strive to emphasise the unifying rather than divisive tendencies in the society.


Adedeji says politicians used and dumped Boko Haram members

A public affairs analyst, Tokunbo Adedeji on Friday said the creation of the fundamentalist group Boko Haram was not for religious but political purposes.

Mr Adedeji, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said that the group and its members were recruited for political reasons and after serving their employers, they were abandoned.

The security expert wondered why the group refused to go after those who used them and dumped them, instead of killing innocent Nigerians.

Watch complete interview for more details.