It was a gathering of political and community leaders in Yaba area of the Mainland Constituency 2 of Lagos State, western Nigeria, at the weekend. Aside their huge number, guests from other parts of the state as well as youths and Muslim faithful were present at the Lagos City College, Sabo, Yaba for the fifth Ramadan Public Lecture organised by a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Moshood Olarenwaju Oshun.
Oshun had invited a fiery Muslim preacher, Sheik Muyideen Ajani Bello, to speak on Terrorism: Islamic Perspective. For this reason, many Islamic scholars turned up to listen to Bello, who takes no prisoners when he preaches about Islam. And as usual, he spared no one when he began preaching.
He began by saying people generally no longer heed the message of God and that religious clerics have continued with propagating the message just to hide the frustration that results from this. Then he threw a jab at Nigerian politicians, accusing them of being the reason behind the Boko Haram insurgency witnessed in the country currently.
According to him, Boko Haram is the direct consequence of the poor governance and the pursuit by politicians of selfish interests instead of promoting people-friendly policies. To him, leaders in Nigeria have for long, deceived their followers and treated the people with disdain. “Imagine the level of thievery in government today. Presidents only attain the position just to amass wealth at the expense of the dying Nigerian, the local government chairmen tell lies and pad up documents to hide corruption, politicians are not straight-forward,” he lamented.
Bello lamented that in the face of the country’s many challenges, the leadership has behaved as if everything was normal. He said, unperturbed, they engage in various nefarious activities while those they are supposed to serve are living in frustration amid shattered hopes. He accused a minister in the country of squandering huge sums on hiring private jets while the nation’s citizens lived in squalor. The worst, he lamented, is that nobody is sanctioning such government officials.
To the people of the country, Bello said terrorism was the punishment for their bad attitude and distance from God. He lamented that truth had become very scarce among the people.
Nowadays, he said, people enjoy telling lies, forgetting that lying is like every other sin. “We are all living with Boko Haram in our various houses. Everyone who takes joy in telling lies is a Boko Haram member or a contributor to terrorism,” he said.
He said though Islam abhors violence and that clerics across the globe have consistently denied any link between Islam and Boko Haram and its activities, it was noteworthy that Nigerian leaders cannot boast of not having aided the terrorist group directly or indirectly. He asked the leaders what they would tell God when they finally meet Him.
“People now do whatever they like, some politicians are the real terrorists; they rule the people the way they like. There is no truth in them, they worship money, the leaders and the followers are corrupt. It didn’t start today and it will not change if we don’t tell ourselves the truth. We all do what we like,” the clergyman said.
Bello, when he finished with the politicians and citizens of the country, directed his verbal attack at religious leaders in the country. According to him many of them have compromised their spiritual authority and have fallen short of the respect of men and the society. The major reason he said was responsible for the lamentable attitudes of the clerics nowadays is their love for money and material things.According to Bello, clerics now hide the truth and whenever they open their mouths, it is only to tell Nigerian leaders what the latter want to hear and not the realities on the ground. He reminded them of their roles in the support for terrorism through their behaviours and teachings wondering what had come over them.
He disclosed that he does not bill anybody to be a lecturer at any programme or to preach saying he stopped the day he realised that clerics were using him to make money by collecting money from the organiser of an event on his behalf.
He noted that Prophet Mohammed was a leader who led the people with the fear of God thereby producing a lot of followers and clerics spread across the globe unlike what currently obtains where money has become the major determinant for the message a preacher would render at a given occasion.
He said he does not believe that there are special terrorists in the country, but that what Nigeria currently witnesses are man-made terrorism. He further took a swipe at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, describing the agency as a dog that no longer barks nor bite. Set up by the government to curb corruption, he said the anti-corruption agency had not been prosecuting real thieving people in recent times. Those arrested for fraud, according to him, are not even prosecuted. “We are all deceiving ourselves,” he stated.
He asked everybody in the country, irrespective of religion, to start retracing their steps as this suffering was not the wish of God for His people.
Oshun, while speaking with journalists, disclosed that the annual event is organised to further educate the people on importance of Ramadan and their roles to the society and to God while they are alive. He also said the rationale behind the invitation of the fiery preacher was because he wanted the people to hear the truth, which he said, had become scarce in the society.
He said he had received some positive feedbacks, part of which was the large turn-out for this year’s event. “The people enjoy it and they come around every year. Ramadan is not about good or bad, you don’t have to wait for Ramadan before you do what is good. For me, we should all do what is good at all times and this is the basic reason for this lecture.
“People are enjoying the programme and it has been a means of educating them every year. The most important thing is for us as individuals to love each other,” Oshun said.
Those who attended the event include Mufutau Egberongbe, the lawmaker representing Apapa Constituency 1 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, his colleagues, Ramottalahi Akinlola-Hassan of Amuwo Odofin Constituency 2, Sanai Agunbiade of Ikorodu Constituency 1, and the Chief Whip of the Assembly, Dr. Razak Balogun. The Chairman of Yaba Local Council Development Area, Jide Jimoh, some of his colleagues, Fuji Music star, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, Muslim clerics and politicians also attended the programme.