The Sultan of Sokoto and President, Jamatu Nasril Islam, JNI, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that Muslims gave President Goodluck Jonathan an agenda for implementation during the 2011 presidential election campaign.
He, however, did not reveal the content of the agenda.
This revelation came at a time the dust raised over the one-term agreement President Jonathan allegedly reached with governors in the build-up to the 2011 presidential election was yet to settle.
The Sultan stated this at the national conference and pre-Ramadan meeting of JNI in Kaduna yesterday.
He said that Nigeria would remain backward if people failed to correct a leader, adding that many things had gone wrong in the country.
Abubakar advised the Federal Government amnesty committee to look into happenings in other parts of the country.
He said: “During the election campaign, I remembered in this very hall, President Jonathan requested to see the Muslim leaders under the Jamatu Nasril Islam, JNI.
“It was in this very hall we listened to what he wanted to see us for, and we gave him our agenda; the Muslim agenda, what we wanted from him. “Whether he has done what we wanted from him or not, it is a different thing all together because we have not really sat down to articulate the issue because so many things are happening that have taken the attention of this forum.
“What is happening in the northern part of the country is an unfortunate incident which has been forced on us, maybe for so many reasons, maybe the Almighty God wants to correct our ways.
“I want to state here that our main problems has been lack of unity, lack of consensus in whatever we do..
“We are very aware just like any other people across the world of the challenges facing us as Muslims, not only in Nigeria; we believe somebody somewhere is pulling the strings.
“We are begging Allah for constant prayers from all of you; you are all distinguished Ulamas, we need constant prayers from the downtrodden to any other person, we shall overcome all these challenges and move to greater heights by the special grace of God.
“We cannot move forward when we tell a leader he is always right, no leader is ever right in this circumstance. So many things have gone wrong in this country, and they are still going wrong. So many things are not working because the leaders refused to allow them to work.
“As Muslim leaders, we know what the Holy Koran said about leadership; we know how our noble leader lived his life which we are all striving to copy in the minutest way, and I believe totally that if we imbibe the virtues of the Holy Koran and the virtues of our noble leader, nobody will go wrong.
“I believe it is high time we put aside so much difference in understanding of Islam, put aside so-called promise of bigmanism, put aside hatred that permeated people’s hearts, and put aside personal interest. Put Islam above all, and if you do so, we will find the end of all the problems facing us that we will enable all of us to observe our religious obligations and duties in a peaceful manner.
“We will not allow anybody to stop us from being Muslims because that is what God brought to us and that is what we chose to be, we will not allow anybody to turn our lives upside down, and whatever anybody does that affects Islam and Muslims.
“We refuse to accept time without number whenever any violence take place anywhere in the world, if committed by a Muslim, you will hear Islamic terrorist or Muslim terrorists or Islamic fundamentalist. But when worst violence is perpetrated by somebody who is not a Muslim, we don’t hear the same coinage or the same factionalisation of the same criminal activity linking it to that particular religion.
“And we believe so many criminal activities have taken place in the name of so many other religions, but Islam has been singled out and it is a challenge for us to wake up, stand together, stretching our hands of unity and face such problem squarely. We can only do that if we put aside our personal differences.”
Meanwhile, former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar yesterday lamented the fate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying the party was in wrong hands and heading towards wrong direction.
In a statement made Atiku attributed the crises in the PDP to leadership failure.
He said that the leadership was deliberately creating factions in the party, and upturning the results of duly conducted elections at congresses and national convention.
“I have said it and I will continue to say it that the party is headed in the wrong direction as it moves from one crisis to the other.
“It appears that in the pursuit of our personal ambition, we have continued to trample with impunity on the rights not only of the members, but also on the freedom of Nigerian citizens who deserve a right to choose who should govern them and for how long.
“Recent events have shown that the leadership of the party has demonstrated insufficient sincerity in resolving the numerous crises which are pitching the party members against themselves.
“Political manoeuvring that relies on the politics of patronage and arbitrary application of sanctions will not sustain the popular will of the people through which the party can recover the lost ground.
“The PDP was conceived as a national party not only because of the desire to provide responsive leadership, but also because it is within such a national party that we can guarantee national harmony, promote human development and safeguard the freedom and dignity of all citizens.
“The constitution of the party was designed to promote collective leadership that is inclusive and upholds the principles of justice and fair-play without denigrating the legitimacy of dissent,” he added.
Atiku also decried the dwindling fortunes of the party in the South-West, calling for a halt to the trend.
He said: “The PDP became a very strong political party in the South-West as a result of the efforts and commitment of leaders who commanded the respect of the generality of the people of the South- West.
“By the year 2009, the party had five of the six governors in the zone, 14 of the 18 senators, 46 out of the 71 House of Representatives seat, 102 members of the state Houses of Assembly, and 115 local governments.
“Members of the PDP also occupied all commissionership and special adviser positions, in addition to all statutory board memberships.
“However, the fortunes of the PDP in the South- West took a startling reverse from 2011 such that today, the party has no governor in the region, has only one senator, seven members of the House of Representatives and only 18 members in all the State Houses of Assembly. Of course, not a single local government administration is PDP-controlled in the entire region.
“It is not only in the interest of PDP, but indeed that of the nation that this trend be reversed.
“As a founding member of the PDP, the prevailing situation of the party in the South West is very disturbing. I am sure that our party didn’t come to this sorry state in the region because the party men failed to deliver good governance to the people. Landmarks of achievements by PDP governments dot the region.
“It still remains a paradox to me how the presidential candidate of the party would win massively in all but one state of the South West, yet the party failed to produce a single state governor in the region and could only produce 18 State Assembly members in the same election. My experience in politics tells me that this paradox can only be explained in one way that is the leadership of the party must have abandoned the party and negotiated the victory of the President at the expense of the party.”
On the way out for the party, Atiku said the national leadership of the party needs to respect the democratic wishes of party members in the zone and discourage the deliberate creation of factions and upturning the results of duly conducted elections at the various congresses and the national convention.
Why my father was jailed in Adamawa – Atiku
In a related development, Abubakar stunned his audience in Geneva, Switzerland when he revealed that his father was jailed for refusing him to attend school in Jada, his hometown in Adamawa State.
“When my father was put in jail by local authorities because he needed my assistance with herding the livestock, it seemed like a harsh punishment,” Atiku reminisced.
He spoke while being conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations.
“Were he to be alive to witness this day (yesterday) and the last 30 or so years of my life I am sure that he would exclaim: Wow! Education pays after all.”
The founder of the American University of Nigeria, AUN, Yola recalled that as a young lad growing up in his rustic village of Jada, he had dreams, but that it was education that made his dreams come true.
According to him, “education is what brought me in contact with members of the United States of America’s Peace Corps when I was still a little boy; a contact and interaction that would have profound impact on my life, especially my love for education and service.”
Abubakar attributed the modest achievements he has made in business and politics and the contributions in improving the lives of others to education.
He advised parents not to choose career options for their children but allow them to discover their innate potential by charting their own preferred discipline.