…..As Gov tasks Muslims to lead war on poverty eradication
By: Olajide Toriola
Muslims all over the country led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, gathered in Osogbo, Osun capital on Sunday to organize a special prayer for the nation.
They also extended the prayers to President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was as the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, observed that economy and abject poverty, rather than religion is the major springboard of the Boko Haram terrorism.
Tagged “prayer for our Nation for peace, security, Stability and development” was organised in honour of Deputy President General (South) Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola.
The Sultan, while stressing the need to be fervent in prayer in this austere times, also called for the unity of the country and of the entire Muslim Ummah for the country to get out of the current economic downturn.
The leader of the Muslims also enjoined various religious groups across the country to make prayer a daily routine as the country needs spiritual solutions to its peculiar challenges.
Earlier during his courtesy call on the Governor, the Sultan had commended Aregbesola for his commitment to the development of humanity regardless of socio-economic, political and religious differences.
He said the state under the leadership Aregbesola has demonstrated high sense of fairness to religious organisations in the state.
He noted that the Governor has extremely demonstrated to the world the sterling quality expected from whoever holds the office of the Governor.
The Sultan said, “I must acknowledge your commitment in promoting unity among the various religious organisations in the state as this is in line with our cardinal objective of ensuring a peaceful nation.
“We have not in any way closed our eyes to your administration’s determination in making things happen even in the face of the present realities of the nation’s economy.
“We are glad that you are using your position to effect change in promoting and propagating unity in the state and beyond”, he said.
This visit makes the 6th time of being in Osun and we are here in large number as one family under the umbrella of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs which is the apex body for muslims in Nigeria to further register our determination to unity, peace and tranquillity of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“The primary objective of the Council is to ensure peace, unity and stability not only among muslims but also within other religious organisations.
“So, as we are working assiduously to solidify the unity and peaceful coexistence between and among the various religious organisations in the country, we are equally determined to portray to the world that the religion of Islam connotes peace and unity.”
The Sultan stressed the need for Muslims across the country to continue to demonstrate leadership by example as exemplified by the Prophets.
Governor Aregbesola averred that it must sadden every Muslim to hear that a Muslim can kill himself or herself or accept a suicide mission for the paltry some of N200.
He argued that economy rather than religion is at the heart of insurgency in the northern part of the country.
He therefore called on muslim leaders to undertake the task of how to eradicate poverty in the land in other that terrorism could be uprooted once and for all.
“It is disappointing to hear that muslims are being asked to kill for paltry sum as low as N200.
“What is the problem with us muslims. Why is poverty afflicting us so terribly that we can now accept just any amount to kill ourselves.
“This should by now pose a serious challenge to us. And we must set up an organisation and saddle it with the responsibility of how to eradicate this grinding poverty.
“Unless we are not worried by the spate of this economic condition, by now we must develop capacity and strategy to end the poverty.
“Let the truth be told: Religion is not the cause of Boko Haram insurgency but extreme poverty is the root cause. Let us create an organisation to to tackle and eradicate poverty now. This is a challenge to the entire Muslim Ummah,” Aregbesola said.
In his own remarks, the Secretary-General of the NSCIA, Professor Isiaq Oloyede, said Islam can live with any other religions but Islam abhours injustice.
Oloyede said Aregbesola understands this very well that Islam commands everyone, particularly a leader of people to do justice to all manners of subjects irrespective of their religions.
The NSCIA scribe stated that he admires Aregbesola and always associates with his leadership style not because the governor is a Muslim like himself but because he upholds the principle of fairness and justice to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
According to him, the progress and development being made in the state by the governor is to the fact that he is conducting the affairs of the state justly and fairly.
“Islam can live with disbelief; Islam cannot live with injustice. Islam enjoins leaders to be just to all manners of individuals, groups or religious organisations.
“Some people may not agree with the way he gives attention to the three religions. But I say it boldly that he is dispensing justice according to the dictates of Islam.
“This is why there is peace, progress and development in the state. The basis of all this is justice. And that I why I always love to associate with whatever he is doing.”
In his opening remark, the former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musliu Smith, the prayer offered came at the most appropriate time given the present situation the country is in.
Smith said every Nigerian knows that the nation is going through serious political, economic and security crisis, an unusual situation which also calls for an unusual solution, which is the special prayer to Allah to rescue the ship of the nation from sinking.
He averred that with constant and fervent prayers the efforts and labours of the leaders and the led would not end in vain.
He said: “There is no disputing the fact that our dear nation, considering the state for quite a while now, requires the genuine regular prayer efforts of all to the Almighty so that the labour of our leaders and the led will in no distant future translate into a peaceful, stable and prosperous country benefiting all and sundry.”