The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Thursday attributed the slow pace of development in Nigeria to misplaced priorities by political leaders. Abubakar, who is the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said this in Sokoto at an International symposium on the Sokoto caliphate. The Sultan said Nigerians must muster courage to question their political leaders on how they spend state resources, and make input to policy issues that involves their wellbeing.
He said that it was only when citizens begin to ask questions that governors and other leaders would sit up and begin to take the people seriously. According to him, it takes hard work to restructure and build a nation because things will never go right for lazy people who fail to tell themselves the truth. He expressed regret that most times, Nigerian leaders had misplaced priorities, putting up projects that were of no benefit to the masses. Abubakar noted that some leaders preferred to use billions to build airports when they could not pay salaries of their state workforce
The Sultan advised that instead of duplicating projects like airports around the states, resources should be diverted to meet other cogent needs that would be of more use to the masses. `There is need to begin to listen to the cry of the common man, to understand their needs rather than just carrying out projects. “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 here 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 Makurdi 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.’’ Abubakar said these were the things political leaders needed to check and talk to themselves about, adding that “if you don’t say the truth you can’t have progress.’’ He said that the common man, in reality, has no food, no money among others. The Sultan further urged Nigerians to stop hiding behind religion, politics and tribal affiliations to perpetuate crime.
He admonished Nigerians to learn to call a criminal a criminal, regardless of affiliation and come together as good people to fight the evil ones among them, for development to workout.“People hide under politics to say or do certain things that are totally against the security of the state. “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.” Abubakar urged the Federal Government to convene a national security summit of all stakeholders, including traditional and religious leaders, to deliberate on security issues; from militancy to Boko Haram to kidnapping. He appealed to politicians to forget sentiments when elected into office adding that whoever was elected into office becomes leader of all regardless of party or other affiliations.