February 22, 2024

Sultan to monarchs, religious leaders: Let’s stabilise incoming administration

May 18, 2023


Sultan of Sokoto Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III yesterday urged royal fathers and clerics to ensure the stabilisation of the incoming administration.

The Sultan, who doubles as President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), gave the counsel in Abuja at the ongoing round-table engagement with traditional and religious leaders.

The engagement was organised by the National Population Commission (NPC) in advocating for partnership to improve human capital development through girl-child education.

He said: “We are ready to play along for the best of our people. We do not know anything else but to help our people.

“There must be a change. In the next few days or few weeks there will be a new government. What can we contribute to that government to stabilise? What can we do besides prayers? We believe in God that gives and takes. So, May 29 is coming and after that, so what? What do we do to help the government stabilise and move the country forward? 

“Let us continue to work as one big family with different mothers and fathers. As religious leaders there must be equity and justice in whatever is being done. The politicians are there. They have not more than eight years, but these traditional and religious leaders are there permanently.

“That is why you see politicians and candidates coming to seek advice and prayers. Most of the politicians wanting to be Senate President, Speaker and other political office at the next assembly are going to traditional and religious leaders for prayers saying they are the best candidate.

“These two institutions are the most prominent and the most productive institutions that anybody who wants to help this country must hold these two together. Our political leaders must be the same both with us and without them we cannot do anything.

“Some people have a huge amount of money and yet they cannot help the less-privileged in the society”.

The Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, said the proposed census should reflect religion in its data.

Onaiyekan, who was former President Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), spoke while answering questions from reporters at the event.

He said if census can reflect tribe and place of birth, “I see no reason why it shouldn’t reflect religion”, noting  that religion played an important role in the lives of Nigerians.

The cleric said: “Our country has always been reluctant in reflecting religion in our census. I am one of those who believe that religion is an important aspect of our life in this country, and to do a census without reflecting it means we are closing our eyes to an important reality. If it reflects tribe and place of birth, it should reflect religion.”

Onaiyekan commended President Muhammadu Buhari for postponing the census, saying that the time fixed was odd. He urged the incoming administration to conduct a credible head count.

He noted that Nigeria’s problem was not its huge population but that human beings were not being adequately catered for.

Onaiyekan said: “Census should be a regular thing and should be done properly. The only thing is that the time fixed for the census was bad-timing and I think President Muhammadu Buhari did well to postpone it.

“So, the incoming administration should make sure it is done properly as plans have already started and have continued.”

The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Muhammad Samaila Mera, said it was important that the census should be conducted in a conducive climate.

He said: “Census is very important. You can’t plan anything without knowing who you are planning it for. Census is important for everything we do but I think we should do it in a climate that’s conducive.”

The NPC Chairman, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, highlighted the importance of having girl child education to a minimum of at least secondary education, which he noted will improve the quality and standard of living.

“When we educate girls, the whole nation will be educated; the quality and standards of living of everyone will improve, our society and communities will be well organized and experience progress and enjoy peace; women will stop dying through pregnancy and child bearing because they will marry and start having children when they become psychologically, physically and emotionally matured and prepared for that assignment and responsibility.”

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