Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Why illiteracy, poverty persist among Moslems, by Shekarau
From Adamu Abuh, Kano
KANO State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, yesterday took a cursory look at the socio-economic plight of Moslems in Nigeria and concluded that their parlous state has caused widespread illiteracy and poverty among them.
Delivering a keynote address at the First Nigerian Islamic Summit organised by a Zaria-based Moslem research and planning in Kano, Shekarau lamented that the condition of the Nigerian Moslems was a sharp contrast to the golden age of Islam, which emphasised spiritual advancement and knowledge acquisition.
The governor said: "The truth is that the story of the Moslem Ummah of Nigeria has become synonymous with poverty, illiteracy, squalor and wasted opportunities. While some of us live amidst plenty, the majority of us live in abject poverty.
"While there are many breakthroughs in science and technology in other parts of the world today, for most of us here, the condition is one of widespread ignorance and backwardness."
At the event, Secretary-General, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, Lateef Adegbite, canvassed constitutional amendment in Nigeria, with a view to instituting true federalism in the country.
Adegbite argued that it was high time the nation did away with the 1999 Constitution "in view of the fact that Nigeria, as a multi religious country, requires a constitution that is ethics and morality-based".
His words: "We must have a system that is ethically based. Our problems in Nigeria is that we allowed a Constitution that is based on evil while Moslems had allowed themselves to be westernised against the superior civilisation the Koran bequeathed to them."
In a goodwill message, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, called on Moslems to unite in the interest of the religion and peaceful co-existence with others.
Shekarau, who expressed concern over Nigeria's rating by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as being among the most underdeveloped countries of the world, added: "Our situation today, no doubt, is in stark contrast to the golden age of Islam, which was a period of temporal as well as spiritual achievement, an age of conquest and brilliance. Islam emphasises the pursuit of knowledge through the Koranic exhortation of Iqra or reading.
"The acquisition of knowledge is where we Moslems in Nigeria or elsewhere in the Moslem world lag behind. Our educational standards are far low and illiteracy is very high among us due to poverty, poor management and inadequate allocation of resources to education."
To the governor, adherence to the principles of good governance and accountability as demonstrated by Prophet Mohammed and the caliphs of Islam is required to redress the identified problems of Nigerian Moslems.
Citing successes recorded in Turkey and Malaysia, Shekarau urged the audience to take advantage of global Halal or Islamic financial institutions market, adding that the Nigerian Moslems can make headway in life, considering the fact that they boast of 1.6 billion-strong Islamic brotherhood worldwide.
He asserted that his administration had heavily invested in education, health care and basic infrastructure like roads and water supply to empower the Kano people who are predominantly Moslems.