Clerics Ask For Good Governance, Patriotism, As Nigeria Clocks 55
AS Nigeria draws close to celebrating 55 years of independence after surviving a much-feared election year, clerics across the country have called on government to entrench the culture of good governance and pursue policies that would rekindle the spirit of patriotism among the citizenry.
While bearing their minds on the state of the nation vis-à-vis the upcoming independence celebrations, in separate interviews with The Guardian, the clerics said that it was time for the country to frontally interrogate the meaning of leadership and followership from a value position, identify where she is found wanting and address the challenges decisively.
They also called for citizens to shun vices such as tribalism, corruption and intolerance and to work and pray so that God grants the country ‘real freedom that follows independence.’
Others called on government to create opportunities to diversify the economy and the right atmosphere for citizens to fully develop their potentials.
National and International Coordinator, Obedience To God Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Chris Ekejekwu, said though the country had grappled with the scourge of poverty, unemployment, injustice, lack of enabling environment for businesses, insecurity, dearth of infrastructure and religious bigotry since independence, Nigerians should make out time to cry to God, because ‘we are still far from celebrating true freedom.’
Muslim scholar and Acting Dean, Faculty of Education, Sokoto State University, Nigeria, Dr. Saheed Ahmad Rufai, said that Nigeria needs leaders and followers to have a change of mindset to overcome the pervasive pitfalls that seem a source of drawbacks on all fronts.
“I recommend the use of two tools in the pursuit of the much-desired change, namely: value-laden education and scripture-based religious orientation. And my proposal is grounded in the injunction contained in the Holy Qur’an Chapter 13 Verse 11 that, “Allah will not change the state of a people until they change their own mindset.”
“So, as a curricularist and Muslim scholar, I favour the interplay of these two perspectives, namely: education and religion for a mindset-changing blueprint for Nigeria,” he said.
Reverend Gabriel Agbo of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, said clerics expect government to include all parts of the country in its programme and to be fair to everyone, calling for good governance and efficient deployment of resources.
Nigeria has made progress, but there is still room to do better. Our resources have not been well managed all these years. So, we are asking God to give us good and kind managers of resources. We have all it takes to be great, but wickedness and greed have not allowed us to attain our rightful place in the comity of nations. There is so much corruption and wickedness in the land.
We want government to create jobs, work on electric power supply, amend our roads and provide infrastructures. We want government to take Nigerians out of the woods, restore our dignity and get us back to out rightful place. Nigeria is a great nation. God has blessed us in every way – abundant resources, intelligent citizens, fertile land, water and good weather; in fact God has given us all we need to be great. But we are wicked and greedy, he said.
He urged citizens to be patriotic, law abiding and dedicated, as these qualities are germane to building a great nation.
Missioner and member, governing board of the Nasiru-llahi Fatir Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Oshodi branch, Ojulari Surajudeen Ademola, said the primary aim of government should be to provide the much-needed enabling environment for citizens to develop their potentials, a task, he said, has been gravely ignored in recent years.
He said: “Nigeria as a country has not performed well because all the basic necessities of life are not within the reach of the common man. The illiteracy, poverty and unemployment levels are alarming. Furthermore, the indices of a country in progress are missing.
“The areas of governance, which clerics want government to put more effort are those of provision of basic amenities of life, security, bringing criminals to book to serve as a deterrence to others and building strong institutions, the existence of which will go beyond the present generation.”