Various scholars, at the weekend in unison, bemoan the level at which corrupt practices is eating into the fabrics of the Nigerian system and call for adoption of God consciousness to turn things around for a national rebirth.
This and other national discourse played up at the annual public lecture organised by the Lagos State chapter of The Muslim Congress (TMC), a faith-based organisation at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The theme of the state annual lecture was: “Confronting the Tripod of Bad Governance, Political Corruption and Tribalism: Islamic Antidotes”.
Prof. AbdulRasaq Kilani of Department of Religious and Cultural Study, University of Port Harcourt, in the first lecture highlighted multitudes of ways by which corruption has negatively impacted the Nigerian societies.
Kilani defines governance as the relationship between the government and the governs.
- Cue in Kilani “ We want to ask, what is governance………
- Cue out Kilani …….. abuse of authority and abuse of power’’
He further painted the worst scenario of challenges that corruption had bred into the Nigeria system.
“In the worst cases, it costs lives in our dilapidated roads and consulting clinics as hospitals; Boko Haram insurgency and the fatalities, infant mortality, maternal mortality due to the nature of our hospitals.
“It costs people their freedom, health or money – children hawkers due to lack of access to education, housemaid syndrome.
“Corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law – Justice is denied through corrupt lawyers and judges,’’ Kilani said.
According to him, in a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they are misused for private advantage.
He said that the National Assembly is now viewed, by all strata of the Nigerian society, contempt because of the level of corruption and indolence going on there.
He said that corruption was fast depleting our national wealth, the evidence of which could be seen from more than one trillion Naira that had been recovered by the Federal Government from corrupt government officials.
He remarked that money that ought to have been deployed to developmental projects was in foreign banks, septic tanks or buried in farmlands.
“In corrupt climate, waivers are given to businessmen who are financiers of elections.
“Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society: divorce, single parents, part-time parenting due to struggle to make ends meet.
“The unrest in Niger Delta is due to the corruption of agencies like NDDC, misuse of 13 per cent derivations among others.’’
“For Nigeria to be great, we need to re-examine the way religion is preached to the people in our Masjid (Mosques) – Neo-salafiyyah of indolence and indifference, reckless nikkah (marriage solemnisation), irresponsible divorce and unregulated multiple marriages, disputation over elementary issues of Islamic teachings.
“Our Imams should be managers of human beings and resources, not spiritual seers or dream interpreters.
As the panacea to address all these retrogressive development, Kilani suggested that the Nigeria project needed a re-examination.
“Many of us queue behind the Nigeria project without really understanding what we queued for.
“We need good and qualitative education but education without creativity, innovation and good governance cannot address our underdevelopment and poverty that breeds religious intolerance.
In his own lecture, Alhaji AbdurRasaq AbdusSalam, the Deputy-Director, Programmes at the Voice of Nigeria (VON) blamed the nation’s woes on preferential policymaking and market protectionism, like the government granting Dangote Conglomerate, the exclusive mining license for limestone and other cement additives for 90 years.
He also cited allocation of foreign exchange at preferential rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria to cronies at the expense of those who really need it and preferential granting of tax breaks to government’s favourites.
All these, AbdusSalam said, are woven around corruption which tended to slow the progress Nigeria, as a nation, should have made in its 57 years of independence.
He enumerated three factors that should enhance the economic development of the country
- Cue in AbdusSalam “If you want to talk about growth and development…………
- Cue out AbdusSalam ……. Apalara,……. Salam Alaykum Waramatullah Wabaratuhul’’
AbdsSalam lament that through high-level collusion, 192 million Nigerians were paying about three times what they should be paying for a commodity as basic as cement.
“In return, Dangote Cement is providing 10,000 jobs to these 192 million Nigerians; this is another prime example of government, colluding with the private sector to rip off millions of already poor Nigerians.
“Levelling the playing field for all players would attract and increase competition and innovation, and hence drastically reduce the price of cement in Nigeria, saving millions of poor Nigerians loads of money to deploy to other needs and helping to solve Nigeria’s housing deficit among others are solution to some of our problems
“The onus to achieve this is on Government,’’ he suggested.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Walli (Chairman) of Lagos State TMC, Alhaji Mansur Adebayo remarked that the annual lecture had become a platform where scholars are invited to discuss ways of moving the nation forward as part of the organisation’s contribution to nation-building.
“It is my belief that this year’s edition, like the previous ones, will amplify our understanding of the need for a moral and spiritual rebirth of ourselves as individuals as pre-requisite for the social, economic and political rejuvenation of the country,’’ Adebayo said.
According to him, this year’s theme of the lecture has been chosen “to illustrate those factors in our governance, political and cultural architecture that have impacted negatively on our society and held us down as a nation.
By Our Correspondent