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Reflection: Sir Ahmadu Bello’s 1959 revered Christmas message

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“We are people of many different races, tribes and religions, who are knit together by common history, common interests and common ideals. Our diversity may be great but the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. On an occasion like this, I always remind people about our firmly rooted policy on religious tolerance. Families of all creeds and colour can rely on these assurances. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another.

Subject to overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practise his beliefs. It is befitting on this momentous day, on behalf of my ministers and myself, to send a special word of gratitude to all Christian missions. Let me conclude this with a personal message. I extend my greetings to all our people who are Christians on this great feast day. Let us forget the difference in our religion and remember the common brotherhood before God, by dedicating ourselves afresh to the great tasks which lie before us.”

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