Friday, October 3, 2014
SALAH MESSAGE: MURIC INVITES LEADERS TO MAKE TANGIBLE SACRIFICES
4th October, 2014
MURIC INVITES LEADERS TO MAKE TANGIBLE SACRIFICES
Nigerian Muslims will today join millions of others across the globe in marking the Id ul-Kabiir.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) seizes the opportunity of this grand event to felicitate with the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim community, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), all Nigerian Muslims and every Nigerian citizen who is witnessing the occasion today.
We remind Nigerian leaders of the core lesson in Id ul-Kabiir which is sacrifice. Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him) who is the father of the Ibrahimic faiths remains a universal model today because of the huge sacrifice he made by offering to sacrifice his son.
His exemplary role therefore became a model for both Muslims and Christians because the same Ibraheem (Abraham) was the father of both Ishaq and Ismail (Isaac and Ishmael, peace be upon both of them) who were the forebearers of Islam and Christianity respectively.
Our leaders must ask themselves why the Nigerian president have ten aircrafts when the American president has two only? What is our president doing with twenty five official cars when the British Prime Minister has only two?
Why does a Nigerian senator earn N245 million per year when his counterpart in the United States collects a meager $6,000 (approximately N990,000 @ N165 to $1) annually. Why must Nigeria have about 42 cabinet ministers when the US has 24 only?
Excellence is being sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Nigeria is being mortgaged unless our leaders follow the Abrahamic model. Except for a few among them, the present leaders are not making the necessary sacrifices. Neither are they living by example. Otherwise the case of the missing $20 billion would not have been swept under the carpet. Neither would those who preach cashlessness siphon $9.3m to Pretoria. International criminals are granted state pardon and given national awards.
Anti-corruption agencies have taken the cue from our leadership, treating corruption cases with kid gloves. MURIC is shocked that at a time when the Ghanaian president fired a minister for merely wishing to be rich (February 2014), President Jonathan on May 5, 2014 described 70% of corruption cases in Nigeria as “common stealing”.
No wonder, therefore, that Ekpo Nta , the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), one of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies, taking the cue from his boss in Aso Rock, said “stealing is erroneously reported as corruption” even by the “educated”. How then can we expect ICPC to seriously tackle any corruption case?
Nigerians have no business being poor if it is true that this country produces 2.4 million barrels of oil per day and sell the oil at N93.61 per barrel. No Nigerian should sleep under the bridge if it is true that we make $224 million per day from the same oil alone. This daily income from oil gives us $81 billion or N12.8 trillion per annum. Paradoxically, Nigeria remains the 20th hungriest nation and the 26th poorest country in the world.
If our budget for year 2014 is N4.6 trillion and our annual income from oil alone is N12.8 trillion, what business have we going out to borrow a single dollar from outside? The sum of $1 billion loan approved by Senate for President Jonathan to buy weapons to fight Boko Haram was therefore a prodigal adventure.
70% of Nigerian school children failed in the last West African Examination Council tests. 1 million Nigerians are totally blind. 32 million have river blindness. 300,000 die of malaria every year. 30 million are hypertensive. 4 million suffer from diabetes. 80 million Nigerians live below poverty level. The average Nigerian lives on less than $1 per day. Per capita income is around $300. Life span in Nigeria which was 74 before independence is now 47! So where are we going? Forward or backward?
MURIC therefore invites Nigerian leaders, from Aso Rock to the local government councils to reflect on the sufferings of millions of Nigerian citizens and make palpable sacrifices before it is too late. We call the attention of President Jonathan to Article 14:2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says inter alia, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
Finally, we offer the following pieces of advice for the way forward in Nigeria:
1. There must be huge cuts in government’s spending at all levels.
2. The salaries and other emoluments of public officers and members of the National Assembly should be drastically reduced.
3. Corruption agencies must be given full autonomy in such a way that their appointment, funding and dismissal should not be in the hands of the Nigerian president.
4. No public office holder should be allowed to train his children or wards abroad (this will make them pay attention to the education of Nigerian children).
5. No public office holder should seek medical attention outside the country. This will compel them to improve the health sector at home.
6. Public officers should be banned from using helicopters or private jets to shuttle from one part of the country to another. This will force them to build good roads for us.
Qur’an 33:68 attests to the fate of corrupt and inept leaders on the Day of Judgement when their citizens will accuse them of mismanaging their affairs and they will ask Allah to double the punishment of such leaders (rabbana atihim di’fayn minal adhab).
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)