By Olanrewaju Adesanya
Islamic clerics and major players in the political frameworks of the society have charged Nigerians to be alive to their civic responsibilities and speaking truth to power, describing it as the most important factor in building a peaceful and virile nation.
At the10th Annual Ramadan Lecture and Special Prayers for the nation organised by Abdulwahid Islamic Foundation in Lagos,the clerics harped on the need for faithful and other members of the society to play active role in politics.
The event tagged “The Roles of Muslims in Nation Building” had in attendance several clerics and Muslims faithful who took turns to pray for the nation,stressing that refusal to get involved in politics paves way for the emergence of public office holders who care less about people’s welfare.
The Guest Speaker Fadeelat Sheikh Ibraheem Olawunmi (Mudeer,Daarul Inshad Wal-is’ad of Nig.) while delivering the lecture stressed the need for faithful to value education and acquire necessary knowledge needed for nation building as well as to cultivate the habit of empowerment and giving.
He noted that qualitative education will help proffer probable solutions to the myriads of problems confronting the world today, adding that early Muslims blaze the trail for nation building.
The cleric also charged well meaning Nigerians, to do more in the area of empowerment with which they can help to shift many away from the poverty line and debar depressive tendency’s leading to suicides.
He also speak to the importance of tolerance and neighbourliness.
Mayor Dele Oshinowo, the Exeutive Chairman of Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), who was also a guest of honour at the event implore cleric never to stop speaking truth to power,as that remains the pruning tool for office holders.
According to him, if Nigerian clerics, as leaders of religions, have done the expected in being frank with the truth when they meet with politicians, the nation would have moved forward.
“I believe that the clerics should support the government in policy formulation. They should help shape both the executive and legislative and judicial positions by advising and telling them the truth.
“Clerics are very important and we see them as people representing God. They should be able to, without fear, advise us toward the development of the state,” he said.
The council boss urged the people to get involved in policy making, stressing that leaving political office holders alone would spell doom for the ordinary people.
He noted that holding such lecture was significant for all faith,especially when it had to do with Nation building, prayers for the country as well as informing the people to be involved in decision making process.
Oshinowo added: “They should not leave us alone, let’s know what we do right and wrong. Nation building is a collective responsibility of all irrespective of the religious affiliation.
“It is because of my perseverance that I became a chairman, if we all stayed back nothing positive can happen. If we distance ourself from politics and criticise what they do, no positive impact would be seen.
“Advisory role is important, when you speak out we will do better. You can change the tide when you keep counselling us, especially the Imam. Your role is to check our excesses as well.”
The council boss enjoins clerics to enhance enduring peace and security of lives and property through their sermons and helping to change the narratives by framing the mindset of youths in more beneficial roles,taking their minds off social vices.
“Now, in Nigeria, clerics must come out enmass and denounce killings and kidnappings. They need to talk more about security and protection of lives and property,” Oshinowo said.
Alhaji. Sharaphandeen Idowu, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation urged Nigerians, especially Muslims to be compassionate on the poor masses and show mercy.
Idowu, a legal practitioner, urged Nigerians leaders to desist from selfishness and corruption but be considerate and compassionate on the suffering masses and cater for the people.
“As Muslims, we should be compassionate, patient and persevere. We must engage in doing good. My message to Nigerian leaders is to be good, just, considerate, visionary, and feel people’s suffering,” he said.
Sheikh Abdul Rofi’i Muh.-Awwal, the Chief Imam, Arrif’atul Islamiyyat Central Mosque urged clerics to do good and serve the masses by alleviating their suffering.
Muh. Awwal, who urged politicians to be committed to building a just and fair nation, said that clerics should seek good governance and should not shy way from speaking the truth to the politicians.
The Imam said that clerics should commend politicians if they did well and reprimand them whenever they failed to prioritise people’s interests.
Another Islamic scholar, Mr Abdulrahman Lekki urged Muslims in the corridor of power to remember they were responsible to God and the people, hence the need to serve the people.
Lekki said: “Anybody who finds himself in the position of authority owes the people a duty to serve and the responsibility is upon them to do everything to the utmost of their ability to serve them well.
“They are also an ambassador of themselves, of the people and the country, so at all times they must endeavour to rule or lead the people with conscience and ensure they do it to the best of their ability.
“They must not join the bandwagon of those milking the country dry it is not a culture of Islam,” Lekki, the President, Zero Interest Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd, said.
According to him, Muslims should arise and make themselves valuable for nation building, standing against evils and encouraging the good as directed by the Qur’an.
“It is important we take active interest in governance because if we refuse to be involved in governance, then the worse people will govern and we will all be affected.
The President of the foundation, Mr Ishaq Alabi said that Muslim, as integral part of Nigeria, must play their roles in National building and to contribute their quotas in building a nation that is just for all.
“We want our leaders to be just and fair. The disparity between the rich and the poor in Nigeria is growing wider and wider. Nigerian leaders must bridge this gap,” he said.
The event, which had in attendance several Islamic clerics and Muslims faithful, witnessed a prayer session for national peace and security.
N.B Pix two is that of the council boss Agboyi Ketu LCDA