The Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa' ad Abubakar, yesterday, warned that the quest for peace in the country may continue to elude it until leaders embrace justice in their actions.
This was even as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, identified lack of birth control as Nigeria's biggest problem, saying the development was time-out waiting to explode.
They spoke yesterday,in Abuja, at the National Stakeholders' Summit on the 2019 election integrity, organised by a civil society organization, under the aegis of Youths Off The Street Initiative.
The Sultan of Sokoto, while regretting the spate of killings in the country, insisted that resort to justice and equity by those in the affairs of leadership was a panacea to addressing the ugly trend.
He enjoined religious leaders, especially of the Christian and Muslim faith to take active responsibilities in educating adherents of their religions on the need to embrace peace and harmonious living among one another.
Hear him:"Leaders across the length and breadth of the country must ensure that justice stand as the strongest of what we must do especially if we want to have a God fearing society.
" We cannot claim to be God fearing when, as a leader, there is no justice in whatever you do.
" If you know the consequences of holding a public office when you are going to face the almighty God, you will not want to hold a public office. People feel you just come into public office, take whatever you want to take, go about in convoys.
" That is not leadership. If you are elected by people, let them come near you so that you feel their pains. You can't be in an office and nobody comes close to you. A leader must take decision concerning his people by consultations.
" You don't just wake up and enact a law that is totally against my freedom. These are things that we must continue to speak out as religious and traditional rulers.
"There is nothing to fear about because if we don't tell the truth, it will one day work against you and you will find yourself in a bad place and you will be struggling to get out of it and you won't be able to. God is a merciful God,
"He is for all and is not a wicked God. He is mainly with the downtrodden and He hears their cry faster that the leaders.
"If you hear so much cry, then something is wrong with the leadership and that leadership must take correction so that we see how to get things right. As religious leaders we must come together and realize that there are so many thing we have in common than the few things that we lead us astray and those few things can lead you to hell fire as religious leaders. We must be very serious about how we do things as religious leaders and if we want to have a country.
" We must be serious about the cry of the common man who is crying daily for one thing or the other. We think that things are right. Definitely, things are not right and when you know that there is a problem, then it is half solved. We must agree that there is problem so that we now know that we have half of the solution. The more we come together and talk, the more we come closer to the solution."
Continuing, the Sultan said:"As Othman DAN Fodio said, a country can endure with unbelief, but country can endure with injustice and that is why as leaders, we must put justice first as the strongest pillar.
"There are so many organizations, some very small and others big, but one thing that is clear is that everybody is talking positively about what must happen in Nigeria and that is what we must do, by insisting that things must happen the way the constitution which is the law of the land and our religion permits them to happen.
"As Christians and Muslims, we know the sacredness of life. We cannot go about killing innocent people and claiming to be doing so in the name of religion.
" This is not right and must be condemned and must be removed from our communities. All of us must rise up against those people and let them know that this is not our religion.
" We have done this over time. There is too much blood shedding in Nigeria, the blood of innocent people who do not even know what is happening or what is governance.
"This is happening across the country and if we don't stop this and recognize the sacredness of human life, we cannot see peace, we cannot have peace and development in any place.
" Nigerians must wake up and know that we must come together because our religion does not allow us to kill people, but preach peaceful coexistence, loving your neigbour as your self and things like that.
" So. When people spread a different notion about what Islam or Christianity said about loving your neigbour by killing him or abusing him everyday and calling him all manner of names, I don't know.
"The CAN President speaks for the millions of Christians in the country and I speak for my own brothers and sisters who are Muslims.
"You don't have to bring everybody. You just need to bring the leadership to a room to discuss, but we must discuss what we believe in and what our religion order us to.
"Once we go out, we can through the Media spread that campaign. It is one thing to come to a meeting and say one thing, it is another to go out and implement those that things we agree on.
" In Islam, for you to do what you don't believe in is very bad and so, you can not say one thing and do another. So, we must do what we say and work with what we believe in."
While decrying actions of most politicians in politics, the monarch cautioned that decency must be imbibed if the nation's democracy must grow.
"People see politics as do or die. We should not see it that way. That is why we tell out politicians always that they should not feel they must be in a particular office always. You can contribute to the development of the country or your community by being an independent person. It is not by force for you to go into a public office."
He spoke further:"As Christians and Muslims. We came together to fight the issue of mosquitoes. Mosquito does not have any religion, they go to church on Sunday and mosque on Friday. We came together to fight that common problem. Now, we have a very common problem of thuggery, violence, terrorism, shedding innocent blood among others. We must come together and solve this problem and when we take decision on this, please let us go back and implement those decisions.
"The youths are the main problems of this country because you are the ones being used by the big men to go and kill people. The children of these big men are never part of these noise making. They are studying abroad and living in highly fortified houses and when they go out, there is always a society man with them. But you take a few naira from the politicians and go out to shout and kill people. We must ensure that there is a peaceful election in 2019 and that we have one man, one vote, one woman one vote, one youth who is not under age, one vote and the vote must count. We must work hard to ensure that the votes count and the election must be peaceful, campaign must be carried out with respect. If we believe that you are good enough, we vote for you."
On his part, the Oni of Ife, while charging citizens to see Nigeria first before their personal interest, noted that:"The common thing that binds us together is our dear nation Nigeria."
" The name Nigeria is greater than all of us. The day we know that the name is above all of us irrespective of our religion or beliefs concerning different political affiliations and class, a lot of things will be better.
" I am opportunity to be a traditional ruler not by my power, but because it was ordained by God. We have had many leaders in different areas and they have done their and left the stage, including several presidents.
" But this country still remain. It is time for us know that something is greater than us and so, we should respect the land. Nigeria is a brand that we can all, not do without. But how well are we treating the brand, right from leadership to fellowership? Something is fundamentally wrong in this country.
" We should know this and not treat it with lip service. This country is growing every day and nobody is talking about birth control."
The Ooni of Ife decried lack of birth control in the country, saying it was a serious problem waiting to confront the country ahead.
"Lack of birth control is a serious problem of this country and nobody is talking about it.
"The population of Nigeria now is between 190 and 200 million. GSM subscribers right now is about 120 million people, the registered voters released by INEC is over 70 million. The population of Nigeria now is getting to 70million. People under 30years of age constitute about 60 percent of the population and that is a lot of human power. People above 50 are less than 30 percent of the population while the leadership demography of this country is less than 1 percent. They have been ruling us since 1960.
" Let us compare notes and be realistic and face the fact that there is a problem in this country. Let us not hide under any color. The active population of this country is about 150 million people with a bleak future.
The young men that were apprehended and paraded for kidnapping the Chibok girls are below the age of 30..
" They thought they were doing business because they are very ignorant of what they were doing. There is problem in this country. What are our leaders doing to orientate them? How are we orientating our youths? Anytime we want to destroy this country, we go to this set of Nigerians, give them a few money and the whole problem will start and the leaders won't be able to handle it.
"The oxygen of ideal politics is the people, but in Nigeria, the oxygen of Nigerian politics is money, see and buy. What a nation? We are not all safe. It is about time for us to know that the leaders of this country are not safe, same thing with the followers because a lot of the youths of this country are ignorant.
What they want to do is sustain themselves and they need basic things to do that. Are we going to fold our hands and keep talking and the walk?
" The problem is our problem.
Election is coming now and we are talking about one man, one vote. We can do all the talks for forever, but what are we doing. There is true leadership and true followership. We all know that oxygen is life and the oxygen of Nigerian politics is money. But everybody that is in leadership position should know that man made money and it has expiration date. Where is the sense of integrity and content of your character? What are our religious leaders doing? How well are we installing values in people that are so low to us. Our leaders will celebrate construction of roads and building bridges.
" What are you there to do? The way it is designed is that there should be leadership and there should be followership. Leadership is about accountability. Every time, you must leave your doors open.
" Leadership is examination and you will not hear the result of your examination when you are still a leader because people will be hailing you. When you leave that position, your phone will stop ringing and they will move to another leader. When are we going to have a very strong character and moral in our society. The problem is not just our leader, but all of us. It is very important for us to invest in Nigeria Youths because the oxygen of politics of money.
"This country belong to all Nigerians and the welfare of every Nigeria must count. The way the votes of Nigerians will count individually, the welfare must also count. We are going into the next political dispensation, let us talk to ourselves. Thieves, armed robbers, terrorists are not faceless people. They live in our midst and we can fish them out if we are serious enough. If we are serious enough, then we should let them know that they can ostracized from the society and that they don't have a place in this society. We should all come together and see how to better the lots of our youths."