Sultan of Sokoto, has advised Nigerians to stop hiding behind religion, politics and tribal affiliations to commit crime.
The Sultan, who is also the president-general, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) said this yesterday, in Sokoto, at an international symposium on the Caliphate.
“People hide under politics to say or do certain things that are totally against the security of the state,” he said.
“If the person is arrested, the next thing you hear is that it is because he does not belong to the political party; what is bad is bad.
“Whether he is a Muslim or Christian or APC or PDP, remove all these and let him answer his name, a criminal, you have stolen government money.
“But once we start using tribe among others to claim right, it is not good. We must all rise up and help government to get the money back.”
He also accused some leaders of having misplaced priorities, wondering why some governors preferred to use billions to build airports when they could not pay salaries of their state workforce.
Abubakar said it was only when citizens begin to ask questions that governors and other leaders would sit up and begin to take the people seriously.
“There is need to begin to listen to the cry of the common man, to understand their needs rather than just carrying out projects,” he said.
“Of what use is it to be building airports worth billions of naira when the roads that the common man travels are bad?
“Instead of having an airport in Birnin Kebbi, that hardly sees one flight in one year and then, you have an airport in Dutse that only lifts pilgrims; then you have an airport in Kaduna in Bauchi and Gombe and another one in Ekiti, in Markudi and so on, while the roads which the common man uses for his day to day activities is so bad.
“You can imagine if you are travelling from Minna to Abuja, how many hours it will take you and from Lokoja to Okene down to Akure due to bad roads?”
In a related development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some national notable personalities have described the Sultan as “a worthy scion of his fore-fathers.”
Osinbajo spoke yesterday in Sokoto when he declared the International Symposium on the Sokoto Caliphate open, yesterday.
Osinbajo said: “The Caliphate was founded over 200 years ago, on the sterling principles of honesty, piety, good governance and truthfulness, among others.
“The intellectual endeavours of the founding fathers of the caliphate on theology and jurisprudence, among others, were relevant now as they were then. They left legacies of wealth of resources in their books, premised on the principles of good governance and social justice.”
The vice president also stressed the need for social justice.
saying that its absence always lead to chaos.
Osinbajo, therefore, urged leaders to always protect public treasuries and not to loot them.
The vice president noted that the Sultan has continued in the path of his fore-fathers, urging him not to relent.
He also noted that the reign of the Sultan, came at a challenging time for Nigeria.
“But the Sultan has handled them with pragmatism and graciousness.
“Leadership is a privilege and the leaders must set moral and ethical tones for the society,” he added.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State also described the Sultan as an intellectually-endowed leader. Tambuwal commended the Sultan for his sustained moral and royal support to his administration.
“You are not only a bridge builder, but the bridge itself,” Tambuwal said.
Chairman on the occasion, Prof. Shehu Galadanchi, pioneer vice chancellor, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, commended the Sultan for consistently working for peace, unity and development.
The Chairman, Main Organising Committee and Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, said: “The symposium was organised to reflect on the past, ponder on present and transform the future’’.
The keynote Speaker, Prof. Murray Last, Professor Emeritus, University College, London, said that the celebration of the Caliphate was to recognise its crucial importance.
He said: “The Caliphate has been an institution in Northern Nigeria that possesses an extraordinary phenomenon.
“The caliphate has strengths which we need to understand, not as political scientists but as Nigerians.
“For without the Caliphate, Nigeria might never have existed. It would have been more like Northern Ghana, a Burkina or a Mali.
“Celebrating the Caliphate and recognising its importance is truly a great pleasure.”
The celebrantor, the Sultan advocated a national security summit of all stakeholders to brainstorm on most of the contemporary challenges affecting Nigeria.
These, he said, include insurgency, militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling and farmers-herdsmen clashes.
However, Abubakar III, said that these burning challenges should be discussed at the proposed summit, as they were threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.