For Nigeria to redeem its image, the Federal Government should stop covering up corrupt officials, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Saad Abubakar III, and Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, have advised.
But at the 2013 Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony organised by Leadership Newspapers in Abuja where the two prominent clerics spoke on Tuesday, a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of accommodating ministers who had previously been indicted for corrupt practices.
Onayeikan who spoke for the two clerics, said stealing in government must stop and “there should be no cover-up.”
Nigeria, according to him, “still has enough time to avoid being a failed state” if corruption and insecurity could be solved with all seriousness they deserve.
He said, “We still have enough time to avoid being a failed state. We need to sustain our great dream. With sincere faith that is possible. When people in government say they are doing their best, they should know that their best is not enough.
“We have what it takes to succeed. All it takes is leadership that is wise, transparent and sincere.”
Onaiyekan, who spoke on the theme of the conference, “Rebuilding Nigeria”, said Nigeria needed a radical and substantial reformation in its leadership style.
The former co-chairman of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council added that the rest of the black race was looking up to Nigeria redeeming its image.
On the proposed amnesty for Boko Haram, the Cardinal urged the government to bring all the stakeholders to the roundtable since the offer was a “healthy” development.
At the forum, Melaye took a swipe at Jonathan, saying, “We have ministers that have been indicted by one form of report or the other…..but they still dress in diamond apparel every Wednesday attending the Federal Executive Council meeting under the watchful eyes of an unperturbed President.”
According to him, such people “will not help to rebuild Nigeria.”
In his lecture, the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, lamented that corruption had permeated nearly all facets of “our society” and “eaten into the fabrics of the family.”
Aliyu also flayed the activities of Boko Haram, saying the sect “does not represent Islam.”
“Boko Haram is not a Muslim organisation. If a Muslim commits suicide, he goes straight to hell. If a Muslim kills another man without justifiable reason, the sin of that person is transferred to him. There is no compulsion to the religion of Islam”, he explained.
Appealing to Nigerians to tolerate their differences and live amicably, the governor called for devolution of power to Local Governments to bring governance closer to the people.
He bemoaned a situation where people sit down in Abuja “and plan for people they don’t know”.
Aliyu also urged politicians to promote internal democracy so that people would have the right to choose their leaders.“Some people are a misnomer to the positions they occupy. People must be given chance to elect people they think can do better for them,” he said.
The Imo State governor added that Nigerians must begin to choose leaders who not only have vision but are ready to take responsibility for the ills of the nation.
He advised leaders not to shift blame but to come together to solve the Boko Haram problem .
According to him, the killings by Boko Haram and other crises are more than those that took place during the Nigerian Civil War.
Okorocha said, “Leaders must take responsibilities. There are crises all over the world. For us as a nation, we must see these as challenges that developing nations must pass through to get to the point of reference.
“Boko Haram will not overcome us. As a nation, we need to come together to find a solution to this issue of Boko Haram because the bloodletting in this country is more than the one let out during the civil war. Leaders should be held responsible for the crises and challenges in the land.”
He , however, said “all hope is not lost as a nation.”