Islamic clerics in Benin on Monday blamed the current economic and security challenges bedevilling the country on poor leadership and failure of societal values over the years.
The clerics stated the position at a public lecture titled “Restoring our Positive National Value”, organised by the Edo State chapter of The Muslims Congress (TMC).
Speaking on the topic “Engendering Morality and Sanctity of Life: The Islamic Model”, the Chief Imam of Ugheli Central Mosque, Delta State, Usman Muhammed Aboki, said, “Islam teaches us including leaders to maintain justice, honesty, truthful and fairness but our leaders have failed to imbibe these teaching hence the current challenges.”
According to him, “all our past leaders have engaged in sectionalism and individualism against justice and fairness as dictated by both religions, saying “this is drifting the country apart.
“If people voted for a leader, irrespective of who voted for him, he becomes a leader for the whole country. It is immoral for leaders to discriminate against any one section in the discharge of their duties to the people of the country.
“Sectionalism destroys the country’s unity because if any group discovers that they are being discriminated against, you will not get their support needed to move the country forward and there will not be peace”.
The cleric lamented that the nation’s leaders at all levels often placed personal interest over national interest hence there is corruption and embezzlement in the country
“My advice to the leaders is that they should be honest because their salaries have been fixed and are enough for them, so let them live on their salaries and stop embezzlement of public funds.”
On his part, Professor Abdulateef Kayode Adeyemi of the Department of Religion, Faculty of Art, University of Benin, said it required the support of both the leaders and the followers to build a prosperous nation.
“There is moral decadence in the country and the youths’ syndrome of getting rich quickly is distracting them from getting equipped to take over from the current leaders.
“Our fear is that when it comes to their time, it would not even be at the level they are taken it over because they have not been well equipped to shoulder the responsibility ahead of them due to their quick rich syndrome,” he warned.
Earlier, Dr Shuaib Osunleke, an Associate Professor at Obalemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, advocated value orientation for the youths beginning from the home, saying “youths need to receive mentorship because they have a lot of potentials.”
Also speaking, the Edo State Director, National Orientation Agency, Austine Odili, called for value reorientation to re-orientate the citizens to change our negative mindset from negativity to positivity.
“Today We have listened to scholars and all of us have agreed that there is a moral and character deficit in Nigeria and until we come out of the shackle of moral decadence and westernasation and dependence on western value, it would be difficult for us,” he said.
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