Nigeria @60: Muslim cleric urges leaders to implement people-oriented policies

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Dr. Luqman AbdurRaheem, the Amir of The Muslim Congress (TMC), has urged people in elective offices to eschew corruption and focus on the development of the nation by implementing people-oriented policies and projects for the collective benefit of all.

AbdurRaheem, congratulating the country on its 60th anniversary celebration in a statement on Thursday, also urged Nigerians to be patriotic and to have the progress of the nation at heart.

According to him, both the leaders and the led have a lot of work to do in order to create a society that is responsive and responsible enough to protect Nigerians in normal and abnormal times.

“At 60, Nigeria has certainly experienced a mixed bag of fortunes. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Our economy, infrastructure and security have had setbacks that we have to continue to deal with as a people.

“This is as a result of leadership inadequacies and the lack of vision by the followers.

“We are just gradually easing out of the restrictions occasioned by coronavirus pandemic which has caused untold trauma on the psyche of the people and continues to wipe away the livelihoods of millions of people, especially in Nigeria.

“The coronavirus pandemic has issued us an unpalatable scorecard regarding the state of our economy, infrastructural development and security architecture.”

The Amir said that the huge debate regarding the removal of subsidy on petrol and electricity is a necessary debate that must be viewed dispassionately.

“The subsidy is supposed to benefit the poor but unfortunately it is the rich that are smiling to the banks at the expense of the poor. The fight against corruption in the oil industry has yielded little dividends.

“The need to build more refineries has failed over the years. What then can the nation do in order not to continue to waste about one trillion naira yearly in the name of petrol subsidy?

“The only difficult but necessary thing to do is to remove the subsidy and allow the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry.

“This way, it is hoped that the needed investment in the industry will be realised, leading to the creation of more jobs for the people.

“Then we can take the government to task regarding the savings from the subsidy removal which can be used to fund more infrastructural development and also expand the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) to provide succour for more poor people.

“This is the honourable way to go rather than further worsening the already poor economy by embarking on strikes that are of benefit to nobody other than the subsidy-collecting petrol importers,” he said.

He urged Nigerians not lose hope in the country by calling for secession, rather they should work together to foster peaceful coexistence in the country.

“What makes Nigeria great are the diversity of its human and material resources and the vast geographical expanse. Once these are diminished through secession, the greatness is as well immediately diminished.

“Let us not act on the spur of the moment to take decisions that we would later regret in future and ones for which posterity would never forgive us.

“Let us remain an indivisible nation; a nation where we learn to understand and manage our differences, a nation where we continue to work on our flaws, a nation where we continue to strengthen our potentials.

“Sixty years is not too long in the life of a nation. Most of the nations that we compare ours with are a century to two centuries old. But that is not to say that we cannot achieve so much development in a short period of time.

“This is not the time for a Biafra nation. This is certainly not the time for an Oduduwa nation. This is rather the time to collectively work for a greater and prosperous indivisible nation that will benefit all and sundry,” he said.

The Amir urged Nigerians to continue to move towards democratic ideals that would bring prosperity to Nigeria.

“We commend the INEC, the President of the Federal Republic and the politicians that have ensured they played by the rules in allowing the wish of the people to reign supreme in the just-concluded gubernatorial election in Edo State.

“It will also advance our democratic tenets as the INEC moves towards electronic voting in the coming elections.

“This will allow the nation to elect credible leaders who will work for the greatness of the nation and also allow the people to enjoy the liberties and freedoms of a truly democratic nation.