10th August, 2019
NIGERIA CAN BE GREAT AGAIN
As Nigerian Muslims join more than two billion adherents of Islam from all over the world to celebrate the Id al-Kabiir tomorrow Sunday, 11th August, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has urged Nigerians to work and pray for peace and stability.
This was contained in the Salah message circulated to the media by the Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Saturday, 10th August, 2019. The organization felicitated with the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar as well as the generality of Nigerians for having the grace of witnessing this year’s Id al-Kabiir.
MURIC urged Nigerians to change their mindset from negativity to positivity and to adopt the principle of ‘ora et labora’ (work and pray) to overcome the challenges facing the country.
“First, we must change our mindset from negativity to positivity. We must stop seeing Nigeria as a failed state. if a Muhammadu Buhari can be governor of the whole Northern region, military head of state, chairman Petroleum Trust Fund and now president of Nigeria without a single trace of corrupt enrichment, if Professor Ishaq Oloyede can remit N7.5 billions to JAMB’s coffers within one year alone whereas only N50 million naira was remitted by his predecessor in seven years, then there is indubitable evidence that not all Nigerians are corrupt.
“If an Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, the 83-year old Imam of Nghar village in Barkin Ladi Local Government of Plateau State can save 300 Christians from being killed, Muslim-Christian conflict can be resolved. If an air force man Bashir Umar can return 37,000 euros which he found in a parcel to its owner, then there is evidence that not all Nigerians are dishonest and greedy. Not all Nigerians are thieves.
“There is hope in the horizon. Nigeria is on the path of greatness. The panacea to our challenges are not far-fetched. First, we must change our mindset and believe that we can be great again. We must determine to rebuild our country, to love our neighbours, to shelve corruption, etc. We can call this our intention or niyyah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Intention comes before work” (an-niyyat qablal-‘amal). He also said, “Works shall be judged according to intentions” (Innamal a’maal binniyyaat).
“Initiate good intention to serve Nigeria and not self. This is part of the reengineering of the Nigerian mindset. Initiate an intention to start the new Nigeria. Let change begin with you. Eliminate that negative belief that everyone is corrupt and that nothing can work in your country.
“Drop that negative idea that it is impossible for us to live together. The late reagge maestro, Jimmy Cliff, probably had Nigeria on his mind when he sang the lines: ‘You can get it if you really try. But you must try, try and try. Try and try. You’ll succeed at last… Listen, Rome was not built in a day. Opposition will come your way. But the harder the battle, you see. Is the sweeter the victory now…’
“Next, we must adopt the principle of ora et labora (i.e. pray and work). Prayer is the sword of those who have faith in God (Ad-du’aau sayful-Mu’min). We must follow our intention to change Nigeria with prayer and start working towards it. Prayer is good but we must work to follow it up. That is why the Romans say, ‘Ora et labora’.
“We must not spend the whole day on our knees or mats praying. Allah will bring the fishes but we must dig the bait. That is why the Qur’an says, “Work and Allah, His apostle and the believers will see your work” (Qur’an 9:105). The idea of Allah and the believers seeing your work is a metaphor for rewarding it. It is such reward that will serve as necessary incentive for more work and better service.
“It is in this context that we call on Nigerians to pray for the security agencies who are toiling day and night to bring the security challenge under control. They are fighting for us and dying for us. They spend sleepless nights so than we can sleep with both eyes closed. They are in the trenches come rain or shine so that we can enjoy peace in our homes.
“Let us reward them with prayers and active support. Let us pray for the families they leave at home. We must support them actively because security is a collective responsibility. Active support to the police can be in form of material support and giving reliable information. Companies, wealthy individuals and communities should donate vehicles, walki-talkies, etc to the police. It will make them more effective. We must not forget other arms of the security agencies like the civil defence and the secret service men. The latter work behind the scene and make huge sacrifices for our safety. They all deserve our prayers and support.
“In this same context again we are constrained to remind President Muhammadu Buhari of the plight of the 54 soldiers who have been in jail since 2014. If we are talking about rewarding those who risk their lives so that we can enjoy peace, we must not abandon those who fought against Boko Haram but are rotting in jail today.
“Once again we appeal to Mr. President to grant them presidential pardon. The 54 soldiers were those who asked their commander to provide them with better weapons before sending them back to the battle field. It was their request which exposed the 2.1 billion dollar arms fraud. They should be treated as heroes for exposing a scandal, not as criminals rotting in jail.
“On a last note, we urge Nigerians to change their mindset from negativity to positivity and to adopt the principle of ‘ora et labora’ as a panacea to overcoming the challenges facing the country. We must not lose hope. If Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) could receive a ram to replace his son at the last minute, there must be light at the end of the tunnel for Nigeria. Let us keep the fire of hope burning.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)