As Nigeria celebrates her 60th Independence anniversary today, a faith-based organisation, The Muslim Congress (TMC) has sent a congratulatory message to Nigerians for witnessing the moment, noting that hope is not lost that a brighter future lies ahead for the country.
The message is contained in an address commemorating the Diamond Jubilee celebrations by the TMC Amir (Leader), Dr Lukman AbdurRaheem.
According to him, there is no doubt that Nigeria at 60 has so far witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly, noting that it’s a mixed bag of fortunes.
The University Don also pleaded with those beating the drums of secession to mellow and desist from such because the beauty of Nigeria as a country lies in its unity, diversity and togetherness.
Read the full text below:
TMC Amir’s Address on 1st October 2020 in commemoration of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary
All praise is due to Allah (SWT), the Lord of the worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon the noblest of mankind, Muhammad (SAW), his household, companions and those who follow in his footsteps till the Day of Reckoning. Amin.
I have the honour and pleasure to greet the good people of our great country, Nigeria, on the occasion of our 60th anniversary. I greet everyone irrespective of tongue, tribe and religion. We should be proud and happy of our fatherland because it is the wish of the Almighty to place us in this geographic expression and there is no other place we can rightfully call our own. Let the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and the males and the females, have the hope and confidence that a brighter future lies ahead of us.
We need to give thanks to the Almighty that Nigeria is witnessing her 60th anniversary as an undivided nation under democratic governance. This is proof that “The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain” even as we work “To serve with heart and might” in order to create “One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.”
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 the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic which has caused untold trauma on the psyche of the people and continues to wipe away the livelihoods of millions of people all over the world and especially in Nigeria. But we must give thanks to the Almighty for being alive to witness this day. The Coronavirus pandemic has issued us an unpalatable scorecard regarding the state of our economy, infrastructural development and security architecture. It simply means that 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 us in normal and abnormal times. We urge our 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. We urge the ordinary people to be patriotic and to have the progress of the nation at heart.
There is a huge debate going on in the nation regarding the removal of subsidy on petrol and electricity. It 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. We can then 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 labour strikes that are of benefit to nobody other than the subsidy-collecting petrol importers.
It is true that nobody can confidently say that this is the Nigeria of his dream. Everyone desires a better country where everything works and life is comfortable, enjoyable and abundant. Nigeria is facing many challenges that make life difficult and harrowing for her citizens. But that is not to say that there are no rays of sunshine in the dark sky. It is definitely not all gloom. This is why I am appealing to all people with separatist ideas and agenda to not lose hope in the country by calling for secession. What makes Nigeria great is the diversity of her human and material resources and the vast geographical expanse. Once these are diminished through secession, the greatness is as well immediately diminished. No one part of the break-away regions can ever be as great as an undivided Nigeria can be when it finally blossoms. 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.
We want Nigeria to continue to move faster towards democratic ideals that will bring prosperity to our nation. 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.
We are certain that our array of erudite scholars will proffer wide-ranging solutions to the problems the nation faces at the present time as this is the essence and hallmark of the Annual October State Lecture. It is our hope and aspiration that you benefit from this noble programme that we use to address our common challenges as a nation. TMC presently exists in states such as Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Niger and Edo including the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Once again, happy Independence Day celebrations.
As-salaam alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.
God Bless Nigeria!
God Bless The Muslim Ummah!
Happy Diamond Independence Anniversary Celebrations!
Dr. Luqman AbdurRaheem
Amir, The Muslim Congress