In the wake of outcries from Nigerians over the current economic downturn, a faith-based non-governmental organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, has cautioned against unnecessary lamentations.
The group, in a statement in the early hours of Monday, contended that every Nigerian is to blame for the situation.
It therefore advocated patience, change of mindset, stoppage of the prevailing culture of waste, hard work and buying made in Nigeria goods.
The group spoke on Monday through its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
It said: “The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has noted the lamentations over the present economic doldrum. Complaints have been loud and clear from various organizations, regional bodies, opinion leaders, private individuals, etc.
“But we must stop crying over spilt milk. Neither should we continue blaming the government because there is more than enough evidence to show that all these are self-inflicted pains. It is now time to turn inwards and examine ourselves. It is time for sober reflections.
“Things are tough, very tough. That is a fact. But they did not just become tough this morning. Neither should we lay the whole blame on a seven-month old administration. We are all to blame and we, the people, must take the lion share of the blame. We must face the bitter truths now.
“Many of us exhibit excessive love for luxury and comfort. Ostentation led many to dance on their fathers’ graves. A culture of waste led to the tying of goats to guests’ chairs at social functions. It led to the ‘aso ebi’ syndrome whereby at least two thirds of those who buy it do so on credit. It led to spraying our currency and its concomitant abuse. For some, even thirteen cows are not enough for a single wedding, The venue must also be the most expensive event centre in town because that is the only way the event will be the talk of the town for a long time.
“Our consumerism is nauseating. All we do in Nigeria is to consume. We produce virtually nothing. Yet we want the naira to be strong. The youths have deserted the farms, leaving only old and fragile looking farmers who now hire mallams to plant ordinary yam and corn. We work like ants but eat like elephants. We sent invitation to suffering a long time ago.
“Many of us are lazy, yet rapaciously greedy. It is true that some politicians are corrupt but so are the ordinary citizens. Nigerians blame the police for corruption but they themselves are worse. The carpenter will ask for ten planks of wood just to build a single desk and chair. The mechanic will syphon fuel while servicing the car. Lecturers make money out of students. The latter cheat in exams and now believe school is a scam. The youths leave the country at will, seeking better life where their parents.
“We are always willing to hang every blame on the government. But we, the people, are the real spoilers and NAFDAC registered saboteurs. The Lagos State Government fixed streetlights on the long bridge at Iba for the safety and comfort of Lagos citizens but all the facilities were removed within two weeks.
“The macadamised Second Niger Bridge which the Buhari administration completed recently is now being vandalized. That bridge had been abandoned by past administrations for more than forty years and Nigerians travelling in the South East saw hell within the period until it was completed. But no sooner than it was eventually put to use than vandals started destroying it. Can we blame government for that? Tracks newly laid for the modern Buhari trains are also being stolen one by one. Did Bola Ahmed Tinubu come down from Aso Rock to do that?
“The economic depression we are experiencing today is the bed we made or failed to make yesterday. But we must lie on it whether it is a bed of roses or a bed of thorns. How can we start passing the buck now when we all used bedsheets of our various choices?
“What is the way forward? Like the Glorious Qur’an says, the way forward is to change our ways. In chapter 13 verse 11, the Glorious Qur’an asserts that the predicament of men will not disappear miraculously unless and until they change their ways (Qur’an 13:11).
“After agreeing to change our ways, the next step is to exercise patience. Anger and hasty conclusion whereby we cast all the blame on our leaders will not solve any problem. Neither will demonstrations, strikes and destruction of public properties. We must know that it is the poor who will fall victim of violent demonstrations because we can hardly reach the wealthy.
“We must stop this culture of waste, no more night parties. ‘Aso ebi’ must become a thing of the past. Our marriage, child-naming, house-warming and funeral ceremonies must be moderate from now on. Happy marriages are not measured by the number of cows slaughtered or by the status and charisma of the musician that played at the wedding. A moderate marriage ceremony can be conducted within the premises.
“Let us take good care of our parents when they are still alive. The sumptuous food served at funeral parties constitute certificated tomfoolery when parents died of kwashiorkor. We have seen the video clip of a Nigerian who buried a whole Lamborghini jeep in the same grave with his mother. If we truly love our parents we will not start dancing and spraying money after their death. We give the impression of saying goodbye to bad rubbish.
“Our young ones must be creative. Every youth must start something on his own. Cottage industries must spring up in every corner, every alley and every backyard. We must stop strengthening the economy of other countries by buying and consuming foreign goods. We must patronize the little produced locally. We must stop this practice of deliberately hurting our foreign exchange. We must stop idolising the dollar.
“Nigerians should change their lifestyle and orientation. Government must adopt an aggressive ‘back-to-farm’ policy. The citizens must live within their means. Our lawmakers must tackle corruption frontally by making corruption a capital offence: the law of ‘Steal and Die’.
“Before becoming Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu was widely known to be kind hearted and philanthropic, but he will be spoiling us today if he comes out of the villa to plant yam for us. Even Allah, the Supreme Creator who made fishes for us in the ocean will not bring the fish to our kitchen. We must find the hook or net, dig up the bait and find the fish.
“MURIC salutes those who still remain on the farms, tilling the soil to keep the nation’s body and soul together. We doff our hats to modern rice and yam farmers. We must join hands with them if we do not want to die of hunger. We are all to blame for our present woes.”