The new year was ushered in with interdenominational prayers by Igbaye community of Odo-Otin Local Government Area, Osun State, with residents asking for God’s mercy, blessings and protection. The town, about two years ago, set up a peace and conflict resolution committee between the two major religions, Christianity and Islam, to chart a course for peaceful co-existence.
The committee is jointly headed by Sheikh Abdur-Razaq Odewale (Darus-Salam, Muslim) and Pastor Ben Adegoke, leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the area. Part of the committee’s terms of reference, besides conflict resolution and curbing crimes that usually come up among the youth, is the organisation of periodical prayers for the town.
This year’s version of the prayers came up in the first week of January, where leaders from both sides offered prayers for peace to continue to reign in the community. The clerics appealed to parents to train their children in the way of God and cultural values of society that enhance love, unity and peaceful co-existence, saying: “Leading by example is more effective in the upbringing of children.”
The men of God warned against the idea of parents being undesirable elements in society, pointing out that no community with irresponsible elders could expect law-abiding youth, since “security of any community stems out of good behaviours of the elders that naturally percolate down to the youth.”
The religious leaders also warned the youth to shun all acts capable of tarnishing the good image of the town, like drug abuse, stealing, robbery, hooliganism, banditry and rape. They said, “Besides tarnishing the image of their parents and the community, those social demeanours are capable of ruining their lives permanently.”
The clerics, who quoted copiously from the scriptures prayed fervently to God to keep watch on the town so that the peace it is currently being enjoyed should continue uninterrupted.
Present at the gathering were Prophetess Martina Adeyemi (Iya Akanmu), Prophet Emmanuel Adetunji, Imam Abdul-Kareem Ajibike and Ustaz Muheebud-Deen among others.