By Rotimi Ayanwale
Human beings can at best be described as homo economicus: path dependent, self-interested, utility maximizers and rational. Although the level of rationality every human has is contingent on the amount of information he is privy to.
This general definition makes the news making the rounds about Islamization agenda by a person or few in a sovereign secular nation understandable. This parochial mindset can probably be tolerated from some individuals but not from religious institutions that are expected to hold high values and express views capable of fostering Nigeria’s unity.
No, doubt, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is a talented man who has traversed the private sector, the church, the public service and ultimately holding the second highest office of the land. His journey, no doubt would have transformed him to a realistic man by virtue of his interaction with virtually all social class in Nigeria. He is equally a Pastor who stands by his faith in a secular Nigeria where people have the right to worship without fear.
One does not need to look too far before seeing tendencies of organized political capture and path dependence in Nigeria. A development worsened because of the support it receives from bodies which are supposed to hold high societal values.
The story of Nigeria in the past years have been that of monumental and systemic corruption which has risen to an alarming level and posing existential treat. There is no nation that can deliver when the monies meant for all kinds of social services ends up in private pockets. The beneficiaries of this ugly trend prefers status quo and can do anything to achieve this situation that keep huge percentage of Nigeria in a state of despair and abject poverty while a privileged few enjoy our commonwealth. This must stop! The avenue to sustaining this shameful position must be challenged.
Prof. Osinbajo’s position is that faith leaders must uphold high moral standard and the church particularly should avoid been politicized but inculcate in people enviable values and norms. The church must not be turned into one that creates division and hatred amongst members of the society. The church must speak to the truth no matter what and at all times steaming the values of Christ. The church must realise that Nigeria cannot and can never be islamised and should shift focus and attention to endeavors capable for prompting brotherliness and national collective action.
The infrastructure gap that exists in Nigeria is visible all over the country and there is need for innovative financing model to bridge the gap.
The need for out-of-the-box solutions brought SUKUK financing model to the fore. The funds mobilized through SUKUK bonds have since been allocated to finance road projects across the geopolitical zones of the country which will jump-start economic development around those corridors and foster broad-based growth.
As Nigerians, we must be opened to innovations especially ones that can unleash our national economic potential. As it were, the United Kingdom, issued SUKUK bonds which attracted over $2bn to finance critical projects and no nation have developed without strategically tapping into new models, new ideas, breaking path dependence and adopting creating destruction.
People are poor, Nigerians are yearning for development and it is the duty of the elite across all social organizations to support government to deliver on its core mandate of delivering public goods and lifting people out of poverty in a bid to create a prosperous country. To achieve this, places of worship must continually spread messages that will enhance national cooperation which is an ingredient for national development.
As it is today, aside government, places of worship must speak against our common enemy which is corruption. It has become a way of life and norm. Nigeria cannot survive if the rate is not lessened for the dual goals of building resilient and respected country as well as highly celebrated religious leaders who will live a life of example and desist from talks capable of tearing Nigeria apart.
Rotimi Ayanwale, a Public Affairs analyst, writes from Abuja, Nigeria.