The immediate past governor of Niger state, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, has called on the Federal Government to fast track the process of diversifying the economy in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
Aliyu made the call on Sunday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society 2016 national unity Ramadan lecture titled “Ramadan: Modelling Change.’’
He decried the current economic crunch in the country and stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to remedy the situation instead of indulging in blame game.
“For many years we have been talking about the diversification of our economy but we kept on relying on oil.
“Now that oil prices have collapsed and hardship have come, and we need to diversify now; we need to have key economy issues discussed, agreed and implemented fast.
“Let us not leave people in the darkness of thinking that this government caused this, that government caused that, No.
“I think we should look at it that we made a mistake for many years by relying on a mono-economy and mono-culture of oil and this is the time to really diversify,’’ Aliyu said.
He called on Muslims to use the Ramadan period to pray for the nation, help the needy and change positively towards nation building.
Earlier, the Chief Imam of Al-Habibiyyah Mosque, Imam Fuad Adeyemi, said that the annual lecture was part of Islamic Society’s contribution to national development and spiritual awakening of Muslims in the country.
He said that the current economic situation in the country had led to difficulty in carrying out the society’s annual feeding programme (food bank) for indigent Muslims during Ramadan.
“Our food bank programme that usually feeds about 2,000 fasting Muslims with three course meals everyday during this month has also been negatively affected by the situation in the country,’’ he said.
He called on Muslims to use the Ramadan period to donate generously to the food bank programme.
He also urged them to donate money to commence work on the construction of its Mosque project at Guzape, Abuja which had been lying fallow for years.
“The contractor handling the Mosque project has requested for N50 million for work to commence on site, so this is the time for all of us to make the project see the light of day,’’ he said.
Ustaz Abubakar Siddeeq, an Islamic scholar, who delivered the lecture, described Ramadan as “a period of positive change,” which should be witnessed across the country.
According to him, Ramadan period help to cleanse and detoxify the system, apart from the spiritual blessings and favour from Allah.
He called on Nigerians and governments at all levels to brace up for change and contribute their quota to building a prosperous and virile nation.
“The changes we crave are deep and subtle. The initial change will be hard to bear, just like the period of fasting but at the time of breaking the fast, there will be joy and abundance,’’ he said.
The lecture was attended by important dignitaries who included Justice Muhammadu Uwais, former Chief Justice of Nigeria and Alhaji Suleiman Barau, Deputy Governor of CBN.
Mr Issa Aremu, Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Hajia Zainab Bagudu, Wife of Kebbi state governor and some prominent Islamic scholars were other dignitaries who attended the lecture. (NAN)