As Muslims worldwide prepare to celebrate the Id al-Kabir, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) felicitates with all Nigerians who are witnessing this monumental occasion. Although a major aspect of the festival is the sacrifice of rams, the lessons go beyond ordinary pecuniary expenses incurred in the purchase of the sacrificial animal.
Individual devotees who have stressed themselves financially to ensure that they also bought rams to be slaughtered on Salah day are simply emulating Prophet Ibrahim who obediently offered his own son (Ismail) as sacrifice to Allah and almost slaughtered him before the son was replaced with a ram. This great service is what has inspired Muslims on an annual basis to offer rams as sacrifice.
The great lesson here for Nigerian politicians is that the leader’s altruistic proclivities ignited in the followers a readiness to make sacrifices. Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to surrender even his own son for sacrifice has encouraged his followers to emulate him by sacrificing animals on Salah day.
MURIC therefore charges Nigeria’s leaders to be prepared to make sacrifices. We have no doubt that if the citizens see that the leaders are making sacrifices, they too will follow suit. Things continue to fall apart in this country today because the leadership lacks this vital sense of sacrifice. The centre cannot hold in Nigeria today because Nigerians hear and read reports about the greed and licenciousness of their leaders. The falcon cannot hear the falconer in Nigeria today because Nigerians watch their leaders wasting the wealth of the nation while the citizenry languish in abject poverty.
The recent jumbo pay announced for past leaders is a case in point. That decision is reckless, ridiculous and preposterous. Coming at a time when the minimum wage still remains N7,500 and labour’s demand for an increase of this to N18,000 has been rejected by the Federal Government, the announcement exposes the hypocrisy of our leaders. It is grossly immoral. The wise decision is to reward past leaders whose records remain clean and whose progenies appear in dire need of financial help. It is most provoking to dream of jumbo pay for a military dictator like Abacha whose stolen loot is capable of buying up the Central Bank itself. MURIC urges the National Assembly to revise its decision on jumbo pay for past leaders.
We affirm that Nigeria’s problems will persist until the citizens identify and follow those who are ready to make sacrifices. The leaders’ sacrifices will inspire the rest of us. Only thus can we build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
Finally, MURIC calls on Nigerians to make ‘sacrifice’ the keyword in the 2011 elections. The electorate must finger selfless leaders and vote for them. We must reject leaders who want to rule Nigeria while their own children are in cosy environments in Europe and America. Nigerians must rebuff candidates who jet out of the country to treat the slightest headache. Such candidates cannot be interested in revamping our ailing health sector.
Dr. Is-haq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)