As Insecurity, hunger, poverty and unemployment pervades the entire country, the founder and spiritual head of Shaufaudeen in Islam, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke, in this interview with Solomon Adewunmi, attributes the trend to indiscipline.
Q-Insecurity, hunger, poverty and unemployment is the dominant issue of discussion among Nigerians today. Why is this so ?
A-What is reeponsible is the lackaidaisical attitudeof our elites as well as our leadres and rulers, who are managing the material and human resources, on the basis of selfish motives. What they will gain rather than politics for service. In Nigeria, today Mr. President or Mr. Governor are never on their own, they are always inpositions of power at the mercy of contractors, godfathers, who believe that they are the heights of their investments. So under this condition, the pinnacle of administraion in any nation is the political class in power. When these ones are not forthcoming, loosing grip of justice, lossing grip of equity,it means peace will elude us,and the state of insecurity, which we are witnessing, will come in. Under this condition, such an environment will never favour any reasonable development. And that is why, the way I look at it, the beautiful onesare not yet born in Nigeria, for the purpose of salvaging our cause. Unfortunately the
failure of those people governing us and their failure to introduce isntitutional discipline, has really affected other facets of our lives. For example, religion is supposed to unite us, sanitize us and give us, through divine intervention, the leeway to break even. But unfortunately most of the churches and mosques now are mere caricature of themselves. They could be seen as mere business centres. The Bible says we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. The Holy koran also says that there is no way we cancombine Godliness with the mundane things of life. So, the religion sector has collapsed and ther is no way it can be forthcoming. So, which means the issues of insecurity, hunger, poverty and unemployment would continue to be on the increase, until, perhaps, we are able to have, a set of people that would be patriotic enough to sacrfice themselves, in order of us to witnes an era of good governance. Otherwise the primitive revolution that we
are presently witnessing, through armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings and other forms of dastardly acts, untilwe are bale to have organized revolution,which would be articulated through a set of peoplethat would be so much concenrd and be ready to sacrifice their lives, in order that Nigeria is saved.
Q- Ritual killings have assume a dangerous dimension in the country, is it not of worry to you ?
A-We are not safe again! Even when you talk of child abuse, kidnapping of children or babies for sale, the Houses of God are really been used to articulate, in conjunction with some mushroom medical houses, through organized statnice business network. This is why I continue to say that whoever wants to come up, as Mr. President, in Nigeria, is supposed to get set to lay down his life, by pursuing the truth, and by practicaaly pursuing an agenda, which will give us institutional discipline. Environment of discipline will bring about moral revolution, while necessary rebranding or reformation of the people that will cahnge our perception about life, will now become tools that will really salvage our cause. Take for example. education, which we do offer as of now in Nigeria, is not functiona.It is not functional beacuse, in the first place, it is underfunded. For example UNESCO states that, at least 26% of every nation’s budgetmust be put into education.
Till date Nigeria has not attained 10% of the national budget. So, when you experience this kind of situation,Nigeria is now suffering from, one, the headaches of low motivation for Teachers and the brazen level of unemployment and poverty which has rendered most parents to become irresponsible, chasing shadows of the world, rather than caring for their children. This must have in no small measure contributed to the collapse of our value system. This suggests that the future of Nigeria is dicey and our plans of embracing Democracy, in order that we would be able to achieve sustainable development, is equally dicey under this dispensation.
Q-Do you think the leadership at all levels of governance in the country have met the expectations of the people ?
A-When we study Maslow’s hierachy of needs, we discover that even the peak of it, which is acualization, is centered on self realization. Thus, achieving to this level, may nit necessarily give a political leader, the wherewithal to excellently discharge his duties. The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has to change to Funnel’s hierarchy of needs, whereby we move up to, that is from the actualization level to mentorship level of development, then as leaders or administrators or political gladiators, we must work form mentorship to altruistic philosophy. Whereby you consider others first, before you consider your own personal needs. This is what is lacking in our political sphere. And that is why all leaders from Mr. President down to the local government level, have not been able to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people. They think that human development in the funnel’s hierarchy of needs is attaining the level of total personality. At this level, you are above aid, you are above discrimination and if you are a christian, you assume christ like life, and if you are a muslim you assume the exemplary of the holy prophet, Mohammed. And whatever faith based organization you may find yourself, you assume the peak in the like of the master of that organization. This must be an area of focus for all universities, most especially those that are training people on human resource, so that in future we would be able to have credible leaders, whose focus is on legacy, expansion and development of the people and their communities and by extension , the nation. We still have a long way to go.
Q- President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the convening of a national conference, do you support this ?
A-From the antecedents of the Oputa panel we ended up wasting our time and wasting the meagre resources. Unfortunately, when such a confab or reconciliation issue came up in South Africa after apatheid, it yeilde, maximally, a very good result. The question is why is it that nothing laudable comes out of every meaningful confab in Nigeria. Secondly, when you look back at the antecedents of that popular conference under Obasanjo regime, which was marred by the hidden agenda of a third term by Obasanjo, we ended up wasting the meagre resources, although we were able to amke some people to become emergency millionaires in the process, party faithful for that matter. In this case it may end up been another tactic of effecting diversionary measures into the politics of2015. This confab is not new, we have been longing to have it, even when the PRONACO went into fashioning out a laudable constitution for Nigeria that would have been the bedrock of the fourth republic, both under Obasanjo and Jonathan, we ended up again not appreciating the efforts of the Enaharo group, who we could regard as the last of the founding fathers of the nation. The work was rubbished, but this is an advantage for some of the active members of the group that are still living, to now present the collated thoughts that centres on operating true federalism and creating the dawn of a new era for a new nation or new Nigeria.. The majority of Nigerians believe that the confab is going to be another still birth and waste of energy, money and time, because the outcome of it may not necessarily see the light of the day, in terms of implementation. But there is nothing wrong in giving it a trial and monitoring it, letting Jonathan to realise that he will son become part of history. Most especially, when he would not have the wherewithal to defend himself.
Q-The slow pace of development at the grassroots is of serious concern, a sizable number of Nigerians in a number of states blame this on the absence of elected political office holders at the third tier of government, do you agree with this argument ?
A-I think it does not come as a surprise that the beautiful ones, in terms of governance, are not yet born in Nigeria. If you look at the process that produced Mr. President, from among the Governors, then you should not be surprised if an emerging President fails perform, because of the wicked orientation, which happens to be the focus of their coming together as Governors’ forum. It is highly embarrassing and very, very disappointing to the masses and well meaning Nigerians, to see since the onset of Democracy in Nigeria, most states have been running the affairs of Local governments through surrogates of the Governors, who they appellate as caretaker chairmen. This is against the principle of natural justice for the people most especially at the grassroots, to be ruled by those people, who will continue to act the scripts of the Governors, most especially at the expense of the participation of other political parties in those states. Caretaker chairmen are nothing but conduit pipes to siphon the allocation of the local governments, who we believe are always rightly funded directly from the federal purse. In order to satisfy the thinking and logic of the Governors who put them there and since they were not elected, they are aberrations in the democratic environment. If the level of development is so low, it is naturally expected because of the structure on ground. I think it is high time Nigerians should condemn the idea of governors sidetracking the expected natural mandate of the local government chairmen to come from the people, rather than the Governors.