At UMA lecture, scholars proffer leeway to national transformation

Islamic scholars who gathered at the 1444A.H Ramadan lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Muslim Alumni, have charted paths to national transformation, urging the incoming administration to act fast.

Islamic scholars who gathered at the 1444A.H Ramadan lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Muslim Alumni, have charted paths to national transformation, urging the incoming administration to act fast.  
  
The guest speaker at the event, and the Grand Mufti of the Conference of Islamic Organisation (CIO), Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafi’i, urged the newly-elected leaders to run an inclusive administration and listen to the yearnings of the people.
   
The revered Islamic scholar noted that when a policy does not go well with the people, leaders have a responsibility to rethink it.
   
“Leaders must have listening ears to hear out the needs and cries of the people to work on them. The Amirul Mumineen, Umar Bn Khattab (RA) once made a policy to give incentives to mothers once they stop breastfeeding their children. Then, mothers in the city started hastening to stop their kids from breastfeeding.
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“One night, the Amir Umar was walking round the streets in disguise when he heard the cries of a baby. He instructed the mother to breastfeed the baby but she replied that she would not benefit from the monthly incentives of the state if the baby keeps breastfeeding. So, Umar had to change the policy since it was creating a bigger danger.”
  
Sheikh Shafi’i also emphasised the need for leaders to always keep firm on justice. He said, “Everyone must be brought to justice and there should be equality before the law. Also, our leaders must invest in security, education, healthcare and other sectors that improve the welfare of the people.
  
“The major problem we are facing as a society is because many youths are outside there idle. Government must engage these young people meaningfully and provide them employment and empowerment opportunities.”
    
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and guest speaker at the event, Muiz Banire, described leadership in Islam as a trust, amaanah in Arabic, saying that every leader must be accountable to Allah and then the people.
   
He said, “In Islam, a leader must first and foremost be accountable to Allah, recognising that there are certain parameters Allah has set for leadership. Leadership in Islam is amaanah. You must not breach it at any point in time. Then, you must be accountable to the people and yourself.”
    
Banire, a principal partner, of M.A. Banire & Associates, also advocated for the promotion of rule without fear or favour and urged leaders to ensure that their governance is participatory.
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Speaking further, the ex-APC legal adviser said: “You must equally ensure that there is justice in the land. You must ensure as a transformational leader that the resources of the country are used in the best manner. Your governance, civil service must be efficient and effective”.
   
Banire called on followers to obey their leaders and constituted authorities.
  
Former Minister of Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro warned against blind followership, saying that it is high time Nigerians started challenging their leaders.
   
He said: “We must be able to challenge our leaders and not treat them as god. Once somebody is in public office, you see everybody around behaving as if they are on a slave plantation. That is not the way it’s supposed to be.”
   
UMA President, Prof. Khalid Adekoya, said the theme was carefully chosen to diagnose the duties and responsibilities of leaders and the led, adding, “We hope that the conversations and resolution will deepen knowledge and assist in revolving a better society for a better Nigeria for us and generation unborn, among others.
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