The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar has expressed concern that Nigeria is still hamstrung by a litany of challenges 59 years after it attained independence and appealed to all Nigerians to come together to move the country forward.
The head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, made the heart felt request yesterday during the Independence Day Public Lecture held at the National Mosque, Abuja.
He said Nigeria was plagued with many issues of governance and other socio-economic challenges in spite of her endowment with human and natural resources.
The Sultan, who bared his mind on a wide range of issues which beset the country, questioned the readiness of the political class to address the challenges and take the people to the next level.
“We should search ourselves where we are right now. Are we in the Nigerian nation of our dream? Can 200 million people say ‘yes’ this is the country which we desire? It is a question for which I don’t have answers,” he said.
He threw a gauntlet at President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, and other political players, urging them to address the questions.
He declared: “Governance is not a one man show. It is for us to come together and move the country forward. As Muslims, we know the import of leadership. We should not be shy to ask our leaders to do the just and be just in handling the affairs of our people.”
The Islamic spiritual father, in particular pinpointed leadership failure as the underlying reason why Nigerian youths often embark on the perilous migration to Europe, with many of them perishing in the desert and Mediterranean Sea.
He tasked the political leaders to find solutions to the problems prompting Nigerian youths to leave the country in droves, saying it was the reason why they were elected to office.
According to him, if Nigerian youths are gainfully engaged, they will not be at risk of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and the urge to migrate abroad would be minimised.
“Our youths should be our pride. I say yes and no. Some of them have excelled all over the world in all fields and have won laurels. At the same time, some involve in criminality like banditry, insurgency and advance fee fraud. What pushed them into this, we must find out and correct”, he maintained.
He also bemoaned government failure to curb the large number of out of school youths in the northern part of the country and expressed regret that about 10 million youths are roaming the streets as Almajiris.
He queried: “What is government doing about this? There was a programme by the previous government of Goodluck Jonathan, which built buildings across the country. What happened to that programme? Government should revive the programme and bring the children on the streets to school. Some of the children are victims of hunger and are looking for food. Islam does not allow begging”.
He described the situation as a time bomb, pointing out that if the Almajiri grow and are uneducated, they will become a menace to the society.