Youth empowerment

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					ISLAMIC VIEW POINT ON YOUTH EMPOWERMENT IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY
          TEXT OF A LECTURE DELIVERED BY BRO. M.F. LAWAL
  AT THE ANNUAL NTA RAMADAN LECTURE AT CHANNEL 10, TEJUOSHO,
           LAGOS ON 7TH RAMADAN, 1426 (9TH OCTOBER, 2005)



Preamble

Assalam alaekum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu. Ameen. May Almighty Allah
(Subuanah watahala) bestow His peace and mercy on our noble Prophet
Muhammad (salallahu alaei wasalam), his household, his companions and the entire
Ummah who follow his footsteps till the end of time. Aameen.

The Chairman, Guests of Honour, The General Manager –NTA Channel10, Brothers
and Sisters in Islam, it is my pleasure to be among you this morning to share my
thoughts with you on the topic of today’s lecture, ISLAMIC VIEWPOINT ON YOUTH
EMPOWERMENT IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY. I am also very pleased to be
given the honour to address a beautiful gathering of this nature, especially in this
blessed month of Ramadan where every act of ibadah and fellowship attract
bounteous rewards from Allah. I pray Almighty Allah to continue to bless and enrich
the sponsors of the program - The families of Late Alhaji Moshood Kashimawo
Abiola and Late Justice Muri Okunola. It is my prayer also that NTA Channel 10 and
its executives would continue to be relevant and prosperous. To all of us, I say
Ramadan kareem!

My paper is divided into four parts to enable me take you through my thoughts briefly
without missing the key areas I want you to note. I have also tried to do away with
economic jaggons and puzzle words, abstract statistics and controversial economic
data, given the diverse nature of the background of my audience. In this regard, I will
proceed to discuss the topic as given to me otherwise, we may step into the
controversy as to whether Nigerian economy is in recession or in a state of
depression. Recession or depression, our common understanding or simple
interpretation is that all is not well with our economy and socio political systems.

The first part will take a broad view of the topic with a view to our having a common
understanding of the issues involved namely, the Youth, Empowerment, Economy
and Governance from the perspective of Islamic injunctions as dictated by the Noble
Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet. The second part will address the Nigerian
socio political economy from independence till date and the roles played by specific
administrations in the shaping of our reality today. The third part will examine the
responsibilities of the Stakeholders in the Nigeria project and what each ought to do
or can do better to empower the Youth and indeed the whole nation. Finally, the
fourth part will discuss entrepreneurship as the sine qua non to empowering the
Youth socially, politically and economically with a view to liberating our people from
the claws of poverty in which we currently relish as a nation.
The need to bring up this topic at an august forum such as this is a clear evidence
that, at present, the youths are either not empowered at all or not sufficiently
empowered or being empowered in the wrong direction; hence the need to consider
the Islamic view point and options which we all believe provide divine solution to
every aspect of man’s socio political and economic dilemma. It is pertinent at this
stage to quickly refer to the attitude of the Nigerian youths to the opportunity provided
by the global information superhighway, the Internet. While the Internet provides
abundant opportunities for veritable trade and technological information for
knowledge upgrade, many spend precious time on it viewing sports events,
pornographic films, and entertainments or experimenting with 419 targets

The practical application of Islamic options in a secular or multi-religious environment
such as ours is, however, doubtful, given the orchestrated antagonism by a section of
our society to everything initiated by the Muslims or that has Islamic flavour.
Interestingly, the two major religions in Nigeria, Islam and Christianity provide similar
guidelines for youth upbringing and training; especially, as regards instilling the fear
and consciousness of God in them. Therefore, one can argue that whatever we do at
present that take us away from the paths of glory and honour must have been the
result of our leaning towards the free world of materialism and satanic indoctrination.

It is evident however, that the youths of this country, especially, the God-fearing and
steadfast among them have been marginalized economically, socially and politically.
Their situation is so pathetic and seems to be getting worse by the day except for
those who are in romance with 419 syndrome or who can organize two million
march in march to Abuja to demonstrate their political solidarity and deceit to any
government in power. I therefore share the concern of the NTA that we need to give
special attention to the plight of the youths even though the harsh economic
environment is affecting both the young and the old. As more attention is given to the
youths by the opinion leaders and men and women of conscience, I hope we shall
find the right solution so that, the youths of this country may not be doomed into
perpetual poverty and political slavery.

The Youths: Who are they?

Just who is a Youth? According to the Noble Qur’an, adulthood is attained at the age
of 40 years ( Qur’an: Suratu Ahkof; Chapt 46 Vs 15). This is the age when man
reaches his full strength and becomes conscious of Allah’s favours and determines to
work righteousness. We can therefore regard any person below the age of 40 years
as a youth. Perhaps, this is why many of the notable prophets began their prophetic
message at age 40! In the Nigeria political terrain however, a man of sixty years still
identifies himself as part of the youths’ wing if only to achieve his political ambition.

Beyond definition, a Muslim youth is however, expected to commit himself to the
Islamic articles of faith so that he may be rightly guided in all his affairs; that is, the
belief and consistent adherence to faith in one and only one God, Allah; accepting
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as His prophet and messenger, believing in the



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presence of Angels of Allah, His holy books, His other Messengers including Adam,
Seyidina Ibrahim, Noah, Musa and Isa (alaei salam), the Day of accountability and
the predestination of all events i.e. that all good and bad things that happen to him or
her is ordained by Allah.

Besides, he or she does his or her best to uphold regular five times obligatory
prayers (solat), pays the compulsory poor due (zakat), fast as prescribed In the
month of Ramadan and lastly, travel to Mecca and Medinah to perform hajj rite, at
least, once in his or her lifetime if he or she can afford the financial requirement and
he enjoys good health to undertake the journey; provided of course, that the road to
the holy land is safe and free from wars and infectious diseases. Such youths as fit
into the above profile are regarded as Muslim youths.

Why focus on the Youths?

We need to show sympathy and concern towards the youths of this nation as
defined; i.e. those who were borne after 1965 when the nation entered the era of
political intolerance and ethnic hooliganism, culminating in the military incursion in the
Nigeria political terrain and subsequently, the Nigerian civil war of 1966/68. The worst
hit are those who were born from 1976 onwards when the Government first declared
austerity measures or the “tightening of belt”. Those in this class have been denied
such good things of life that are essential for their social and economic development
right from infancy. Most of them have not been opportune to see and experience
what a comfortable living is like, even though they have grown up to witness the
opulence and wanting display of wealth and arrogance by a section of the elite.

This is not to say that the adult group is insulated from the yoke of the economic
hardship. The only difference is that many of the adults have tasted the good side of
economic prosperity at one point or another when the country was enjoying the oil
boom of the early 70s. We could all remember when undergraduates in this country
used to feed almost free of charge with half a chicken on a plate for their weekend
lunch. The adult may not have cause, therefore, to moan over the spilled milk.

Perhaps, I need to stress that the Muslim youths are worse hit by the economic
stress of the last three decades as Islam and its community frown severely at certain
classes of business which are declared haram by Allah but which bring in quick
turnover and mouth watering profits; especially, dangerous drugs and alcohol related
businesses, gambling, faking of essential products including medicines etc. which
tend to be counter productive to the wealth of the nation in the long run.

Empowerment

We may ask, empowering the youth for what purpose? How do we do it? Who
should be responsible for the change project? First, let us examine further the nature
of youth. The youth is the adult of tomorrow and the seed that transforms as fruit of
nationhood. It is the nourishment provided for the seed planted in one season that



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will determine the harvest of another season. To have a prosperous nation therefore,
the youths must be nurtured spiritually, ethically, educationally and economically to
perform the due functions of adulthood. He is to grow up physically healthy,
energetic, emotionally stable, productive and socially responsive to the needs of his
society. He must be God conscious and put ethics into all his decisions. To attain
these lofty objectives, the resources of the nation ought to be harnessed and its socio
economic policies and political structures geared towards developing the potentials of
its youths. They are to be prepared for leadership role, as vicegerents of Allah on
earth. The key to all these goals is sound education entrenched with piety and ethics.

Governance

The management of the economy, from Islamic perspective, rests in the leadership
of a nation. The leadership is vested with the instrument of power to control and
administer the resources of the nation for the benefit of the citizenry. In Islam, the
vesting of authority is referred to as AMANAH. It is a grave responsibility to collect
amanah and whoever concedes to take it must realize that he is going to account for
it on the day of Qiyyammah. A sahaaba (apostle) of the Prophet once approached
the Prophet to make him a Governor of a state but the Prophet turned it down
because he considered him not having the capacity to bear the burden of
governance.

This is not to say that a person genuinely interested in serving his people should not
aspire to political office if he has the capacity to cope. Prophet Yusuf once asked for
a specific position in the governance of Egypt based on his special endowment.
Refer to Qur’an 12 Vs 55. Among the qualities required is knowledge of the law of
Allah, piety, the integrity to comply, the energy to cope with the rigour of office, the
ability to stand firm on justice and the charisma to command followership.

In choosing a leader, there must be a consensus from the group of learned men of
proven integrity who can assess his suitability for the position based on the above
parameters. Such people must be pious people as they are also accountable to
Almighty Allah. The leader, on the other hand, must administer through dialogue and
consultation though the final decision rests on him. He is also not immune from any
act of impropriety if found guilty. To avoid prosecution, a Governor in a state
implementing Sharia in the North had once sought solace in the supremacy of the
Nigeria constitution over the Sharia law. This is not true leadership in Islamic
jurisprudence.

In Islam, only a man has the authority of Allah to lead a community of a people, a
state or a nation. Qur’an 4 Vs 34. She is however, allowed to lead a group of
womenfolk. Although there are some divergent opinions on this matter based on the
particular verse of the Noble Quran dealing with leadership, it is evident that
physiologically, psychologically and physically, man is more endowed for the role of
governance than woman. Or may I ask, how legitimate is it for a woman to leave her
matrimonial home to attend political meetings far into the night or traveling for several



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miles or hours among other men? Islam does not condone such free mixing. Beyond,
many of the hadiths of the Prophets attest to this fact. This position does not
however, undermine the importance of women in nation building or economic
development, especially, their roles in education and shaping the moral tone of the
youths, which ultimately shapes the trend for the society.

Followership and loyalty are essential parts of leadership for success. Allah enjoins
Muslims to obey Allah and his Messenger and all those that are in authority over
them. Qur’an 4 Vs 59. Since we are expected to obey our rulers, it is essential
therefore that only those that deserve such positions of authority be installed. This is
where democracy as is being practiced falls short of Islamic prescriptions. Everybody
carries equal right politically. The vote of an Area boy carries the same weight as that
of a pious Imam or a Cardinal in Christendom or a Professor of Medicine or Doctor of
Psychology or even a Professor of political science or economics who are better
placed to make reasonable decisions and choices.

Given the equal right entrenched in democracy and the underdevelopment of the
majority of our people wallowing in abject poverty, the culture of buying people’s
conscience or votes with money is therefore one of the easiest ways of getting into a
political office in our environment. Consequently, we should not expect good
governance from a government formed through this faulty process unless the office
holders simply choose to govern with sympathy; more so when some would have
prepaid for the position by selling their properties.

To my mind, our inability to empower the youths despite the array of social reform
programmes implemented over the years, is a direct consequence of our choice and
actions; namely, the mode of governance and attitude of our leaders. Allah says in
the Noble Qur’an that He will not change the conditions of a people unless they make
concerted efforts to change what is in their hearts. (Inalaha la yugayiru ma-biqaomi
ata yugayiru ma bi anfusihim) Qur’an 13 Vs 11

The Economic parameters

Given that we cannot adopt Islamic option wholesomely, how can we drive our socio
economic agenda to achieve sanity? According to the National Economic
Empowerment and Development Strategy document (NEEDS), about twenty eight
poverty alleviation programs have been put in place since we started our socio
economic reform in 1985. Most of them are good on paper but they have been poorly
implemented. Many of the saboteurs are within the systems. Trust is the bane of our
society. It is not out of place to help or recommend a colleague but will that brother or
colleague perform with taqwa? This is the plight of some people who have been in
position of authority. Our level of faith is rather too low.

Let us examine some of the modern tools for assessing the success of the modern
economy? There are the economic indices and the social indices. The economic
indices include critical statistics such as Gross Domestic Product, Balance of Trade



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Surplus, External Reserves, Strength of the National currency, Direct Foreign
Investment, Per Capital Income and such other economic parameters. The social
indices include the Employment Statistics, literacy level, the school enrollment, life
expectancy, children mortality rate, human right records, internal security,
international and national literacy awards, research & scientific breakthrough and
sports winnings.

The socio economic indices are not however, the only measure of success and
advancement. The moral tone of the society is a critical factor. This will be appraised
not by the number or the elegance of mosques and churches, but by the confidence
reposed in the nation to stand up for justice and fulfill its local and international
obligations. When the majority of our people shun telling lies, fulfill promises and
honour their pledges, the environment will promote confidence. Business relationship
and partnership will flourish, productivity will increase and the wealth of the nation
shall rise. When a nation is applauded for scoring high marks in these areas, it would
earn the respect of other nations, investors will develop interest in its market and the
country will take its pride of place among the comity of nations.

To make impact on the society, the youth must be given the right orientation, to serve
its nation not just for material rewards but also for the advancement of its society and
to win honour for himself for his family and for the nation. He must have access to
good education irrespective of the financial status of his parents, efficient health
support services, stable supply of clean water and electricity. The schools must be
well staffed and equipped with adequate and modern teaching aids and research
tools. The school curriculum must be geared towards self reliance by emphasizing
science subjects that propel the modern world while the spiritual needs of the youth
must be facilitated by providing equal opportunities for children of different faiths to be
taught the basic ethics and tenets of their religions. In this respect, opportunities must
be created for training and retraining of relevant teachers with bias or discrimination.

 It is equally relevant to expose all of our youths to ideals of nation building so that
they can develop strong sense of nationalism irrespective of their religious leaning
and tribal affiliations. The orientation to love Nigeria will propel them to love Nigeria
made goods, consume made in Nigeria products and strive to encourage and
develop our industries to provide their social and economic needs. Can we begin to
persuade ourselves to wear “aso oke” and “adire” instead of imported damask? The
solution lies in our attitude to made in Nigeria for Nigerians and for the world.

The overall objective is to ensure that the youth is encouraged to focus on the
positive side of our national endowment rather than pursuing vain glories or running
about for every opportunity to escape from Nigeria to have access to foundation of
his intellectual development and socio economic advancement. Ultimately every
individual wish to escape from poverty of wants and be comfortable. He or she will
make all possible attempts to scale through the hurdles irrespective of where such
opportunities abound. True empowerment lies in the ability of the youth to grow in a
society that caters for him, that lays down and uphold criteria for reward and



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punishment and encourage people to develop their potentials to the fullest for the
realization of individual personal goals and our collective aspirations as a nation.

The Muslims in particular must take the issue of empowerment of youths seriously.
We must explore ways to empower our Ummah economically, especially the youths,
making them a financially independent and virile body of the Ummah. To put this in a
simple language, we have to prompt the youth on opportunities they can explore to
improve their wealth creation capacity, make more money to meet their private,
social and religious obligations, invest in their future and enjoy a more decent, halal
and dignifying lifestyle. It is when our Ummah is prosperous that we can develop and
increase our capacity to shun haram and fulfill our halal duties consistently as true
Muslims.

Trend in the Nigerian Economy since Independence

We may not appreciate the depth of our economic crisis unless we review our
journey in the last thirty years briefly. It is when we understand the genesis of our
problems and futile and halfhearted attempts made to resolve them that we can
begin to face the future with the seriousness it deserves. Those in the close quarters
of government at the Federal level appreciate the depth of the economic dilapidation
and are aware that there is no quick fix to come out of it. If you have had an
opportunity to read the NEEDS document, you would appreciate the extent of the
decay and the concern being expressed by well meaning Nigerians and our friends.

Most people hustling for the presidency or states’ house least understand the
problems we face talk less of having the capacity to solve them. It is not that we do
not have capable economists and managers of resources, it is just that nobody has
had the courage to confront the human problems we encounter in the
implementation of our various economic agenda or social programs with the seal and
determination to succeed. Everybody in power since independence had taken some
positive steps in this direction but many have always been constrained by the power
that galvanate them to power in the first instance. How can one fight the power that
enthroned him or put it in African parlance, the finger that fed him?

As stated earlier, governance and economy are intertwined. It would appear that we
never had a legitimate government in Nigeria since 1914 when the country was first
christened as a nation entity. The British rule was an imposition aimed at creating a
revenue post for the British Government. The Balewa government was hurriedly
enthroned to shut out the radicals who the British would not want to succeed its
administration. The 1959 election was not a clear victory for the Balewa Government
but an alliance of strange bedfellows, people and political parties of different
convictions and strategic intent; hence, the catalog of crisis that brought the
Government to its knees by a coup organized by militant youths in the army and a
countercoup in 1966 that brought General Yakubu Gowon to power.




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The military regimes had no mandate of the popular majority to rule but there was
always the professional politicians hanging around to assist to legitimatize their
incursion. The Muritala /Obasanjo regime that succeeded Gowon administration,
though welcomed at the time, was also an imposition while the NPN administration of
Alhaji Shehu Shagari came on stage in 1979 just to cling power from the military
without any clear agenda, hence the dismal failure of that administration in the
management of the national economy. Indeed, most of the $31 billion debts we were
saddled with today were consolidated in that regime of carefree spending, unbridled
importation, and misguided industrial projects linked with foreign borrowings.

The Buhari/Idiagbon’s administration that toppled Shagari’s second term’s
administration in 1984 was too uncomfortable for the elite. Their style of managing
the economy was rather crude and unworkable, even though the administration
demonstrated a genuine concern for the common man and was determined to fight
corruption. Unfortunately, the regime played into the hands of its enemies by its
double standards of application of justice in certain respects that came to light then.
Remember the 56 suite cases cleared for one of the Northern elite without due
inspection at the airport and the ban on teenagers from performing hajj which the No.
2 officer was accused of violating by taking his teenage son on pilgrimage?.

The Babangida regime that seized power from Buhari Idiagbon seemed to have
done a little homework before it struck. It had a grip of the economy as many of the
economic reform policies were conceived and began during his regime. Babangida
assembled the best brains into his cabinet to give the semblance of legitimacy and
good governance; first class economists of the time, the best medical doctors and the
best in the academia. The failure of that regime and its consequential fall stemmed
from its innate desire to perpetuate itself in power and in the process, sanctioned
apparent wastes of government resources and condoned indiscipline among the
rank and file. Probes on various cases of financial improprieties were set up only as
parliative measures while people relish in wasting public funds. The excess crude oil
sales earnings of $12 billions earned during the Gulf war for example, according to
probe report was not stolen but expended on less priority projects. Who benefited?

The exit of Babangida administration did not stop the reform process commenced in
1985 but continued by interim government of Chief Ernest Shonekan and to a lesser
degree by Abacha administration. None of these governments enjoyed popular
support though a number of business associations and professional groups were
putting in their thoughts to keep the various economic reforms going.

The Abacha regime however gave the nation a false sense of seriousness and
probity when he first assumed power. Vision 2010 and the Economic Summit were
brought to the fore. He was always wiling to change policy based on popular support
from the professionals and the industries’ giants. However, only very people knew
that the regime was siphoning public funds abroad until very late. Most people would
only remember him for his outward impression of a fierce general. The rest is now
history as we now know that the General, through his business partners, have



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robbed the Nigerians tons and tons of its foreign earnings meant for development of
the nation’s decayed infrastructures that undermine our industrial growth.


The current Obasanjo regime seemed to be carrying all the burden of the earlier
reforms and stealing. The administration has however added its own dimension. The
fist term of the administration was more of a waste wherein all forms of social reform
were experimented to palliate political gladiators who champion those causes for the
financial gains in it for them rather benefits the citizens would derive. The poverty
alleviation program was a colossal waste; paying political thugs for jobs not defined in
various local governments. What about the inglorious exit of many of the office
holders for financial improprieties, four Senate Presidents in succession in six years?.

This is one government constituted by strange bedfellows, where leadership is
divided against itself. The number 1 and number 2 officers are not consulting each
other talk less of agreeing on policy matters. The number 3 officer is sending missiles
to number1 wherever he finds the opportunity to do so. Impeachment threat is all
over the places, hence, the state matters take second consideration and boot leakers
and strategic officers keep siphoning public fund abroad. You all know that as we are
struggling in to bring in Abacha’s stolen funds, others are busy helping themselves.
Immunity is the buzzword. Perhaps, under ethnic pretence and blackmail, our
governors arrested for money laundering in Britain would get some reprieve. That will
be sad indeed if they get out of it without being punished to serve as lessons for
others. Corruption is the albatross Obasanjo regime is confronting since its inception.
Let us pray that he can wrestle and kill the monster or at least, render it impotent.

It is certain that this administration cannot achieve its goals unless the leadership
works as team. We need to understand that unless we have a committed and
sincere team fighting corruption at all levels, we cannot set the stage for genuine
reform of the economy. Privatization alone will not kill corruption. Federalism will not
eliminate it. Resource control is not the answer either. All these must work in tandem
with a long term and genuine re-orientation and empowerment of the youths through
sound education and promotion of justice through effective reform of the judicial
systems and the law enforcement agencies. This is obviously not a one-man show!.

The Nigeria debt burden

Our economic problems began in 1974 when the booming international oil market
that launched Nigeria in the world politics crashed for the first time from about $40 a
barrel to as low as $14 a barrel. It was a major shock for the country that had
developed a strong taste for foreign goods and luxury items. At that time, Nigeria had
opened its doors to all nations for all manners of imports, capital goods and
consumables items, including foods.

The oil glut was followed immediately by an era or political crisis; featuring students
unrest and general breakdown of law and security. To stem the dangerous tide



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caused by what was perceived then as the sit-tight inclination of General Yakubu
Gowon who had lost control of the economy after the exit of his economic mentor,
the Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a coup was staged that swept General Yakubu
Gowon’s military regime out of office and ushered in the administration of General
Mohammed/Obasanjo.

The new era brought some measure of hope to Nigerians, in terns of purposeful
leadership. Unfortunately, General Mohammed was killed in an abortive counter
coup in 1976 after which the mantle or leadership fell on General Obasanjo. In
response to the economic crisis, General Obasanjo officially pronounced austere
economic measures for the first time and a green revolution programme was
launched throughout the nation to revive agriculture and curtail importation of food
items draining the meager foreign reserves.

In an apparent state of desperation and the need to douse political tension, Obasanjo
regime hurriedly handed over the reign of administration to a newly civilian
administration headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari on Ist October, 1979, after a
controversial presidential election that pitched the socio progressive-UPN against the
Conservative party- the NPN in a series of electoral legal battle up to the Supreme
Court. Unfortunately, the four years tenure of the civilian administration was a catalog
of scandals, corruption, socio injustice and economic deprivation for the Nigerian
masses.

In order to stem opposition to its economic policies, the Shagari administration
introduced import-licensing scheme to manage importation but this further fuel the
spate of official corruption in both the public and private sector. So, the economy
came to a stand still as there was no reserve to even pay for a month’s import while
colossal arrears of bills remained outstanding in favour of our foreign creditors. It is in
this era that an opportunity opened for military incursion into the Nigerian politics
once again. A coup was staged in 1984 that brought in General Buhari and his Chief
of Staff, Brigadier Idiagbon, that ran a no-nonsense government for a while.

Then the nation resumed another era of scarcity of what was then tagged “Essential
Commodity” where all items of basic needs like rice, detergent, sugar, and milk
disappeared from the market in order to avoid price Control Board that tended to
control commodities not available in the open market.

The agony of scarcity of essential consumable items coupled with elite’s hatred for
Buari/ idiagbon regime brought in General Babangida who quickly introduced free
market economy for the first time, relaxed price control mechanisms and entered
negotiation with our foreign creditors to resume export into Nigeria, rescheduled the
supposed debts and secured IMF facility to cushion the economy after a maradonic
nationwide debate wherein every market woman or housegirl or gardner became
micro-economicst , discussing what was then referred to as IMF conditionalities with
a view to deciding whether we should take IMF loans or not.




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Of course, the whole campaign was a gimmick as the nation really had no choice. At
this stage, our foreign debts was put at about $ 34 billion dollars which we have since
rescheduled (both principal and interest due) several times over, paid so much and
yet still bouncing at the same level of indebtedness. Today, our foreign debt still
stands in the order of $ 32 billion. This is the genesis of our economic woes, which
we are yet to redress year in year out.

The Nigerian youth is therefore like a chattel mortgaged by his parents to the
imperialists in the same manner as the traditional “iwofa” practice in the Yorubaland
whereby the debtor pledges his child to his creditor. As long as the debt remains
unpaid, the creditor would continue to exploit and drain the sweat and blood of the
innocent child. You can now understand why we are where we are and the
precarious state of our supposed freedom from colonialism that metamorphosed into
imperialism. Unless we are out of these debts somehow, we cannot enjoy good
health as a nation! What then are the ways out of the impasse?

Options are through debt forgiveness or outright rebellion against our creditors.
Neither of these is a possible way out. We have resources convertible to cash and
every day we behave like princes and princesses. No creditor will take our plea very
serious. Outright rebellion, the Nigerian people by our very nature, both elite and the
supposedly grassroot called the masses cannot endure pain for a month before we
begin to shout Amagedon! .The relics of Buhari / Idiagbon stern regime and
Babangida’s SAP dose without human face are good examples. Today, it is
Obasanjo’s turn! Perhaps, we are all familiar with the hard time experienced by the
Ummah during the leadership of Seyidinah Umar when a woman commended a
good Samaritan for providing her food and blamed Seyidinah Umar, not knowing that
the good Samaritan was himself the Seyidinah Umar he was complaining about.

Nigeria: The favoured country of Allah

As it is customary for Allah to smile on Nigerians, the recent global oil crisis caused
by Iraqi war and the terrorist attacks has given rise to a new wave of price escalation
in the price of crude oil in the international market to as high as $65 per barrel; the
highest in history. Nigeria expects to earn about $21 billion by the end of this year as
excess crude oil windfall. This development is the cause of another debate at home
whether to agree to a buy back of our debt and outright settlement of our insured
foreign debt of over $30 billion for just about $12 billion, to be paid from our excess
crude oil earnings. For the past two months, our Government has been celebrating
the debt forgiveness or savings of $18 billion, which is yet to be agreed. A week ago,
Germany again announced the forgiveness of another $3 billion dollars out of its $5.1
billion debt due under the Paris Club arrangement.

It is the consideration of this God’s given smiles that a lot of of our people are
opposed to the current fuel pricing policy of Obasanjo’s administration. While the
Government is trying to avoid quick fix solution of earlier regimes, it is equally right to
allow the citizens to smile an little when Allah smiles on the nation. Why is it out of



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place to spend just one or two billion dollars out of the $21 billion expected from the
oil windfall to subsidise the domestic oil prices at home until the situation returns to
normal. If the entire citizen perish under the yoke of economic burden, who will enjoy
the benefits of the current savings?As Obasanjo himself told Abacha in those days,
policies must have human face.

It is the height of deceit and hypocrisy for the Economic managers to always state
crude oil windfalls in dollars and qoute the subsidies to refined oil consumed locally in
jaw breaking billions of Naira! Even a fool knows that the current pump price is out of
tune with the appalling income of Nigerians. Unfortunately, our leaders are immune
from the upward bound prices because they go about in convoy of exotic cars fuelled
from public funds. What a shame and selfish consideration!

Investment Opportunities

Although the organizers of this forum wanted me to discuss investment opportunities
available and possibly, itemize action steps for career and personal success, I
consider the suggestions not too relevant at this stage of our interaction. We can only
discuss such issues when the economic environment is conducive for would-be
entrepreneurs and there are avenues to source investible funds readily on
concessionary terms if not in total compliance with riiba (interest) free banking
advocated by Islam in the Holy Qur’an.. The economic policies being pursued are
often not in tandem with the realities on ground. Many of our policies are not
designed genuinely to improve the wealth of the society but to further the economic
yearnings of the individuals that are in the corridors of power or their mentors,
including the erstwhile colonial masters.

Priority is misplaced most of the time on projects that are not of significance to
emancipating our people from hardship. It is amusing that the present administration
is just promising availability of adequate power supply by Year 2007 and that the real
sufficiency will only be attainable in Year 2010. Consider all the jamborees we have
had in the last 5 years when the present administration came on board; the All Africa
Games, the controversial World Peagant, the Commonweath Heads of State
Summit, the Abuja stadium etc. etc. How have these improved the investment
environment? Just last week, the Federal Government committed N50 million to
launch a book on Obasanjo’s foreign policy in Accra, Ghana, written by a student of
Abuja University of some sort, going by newspaper article that appeared in Thisday
of August, 18, 2005..

What lasting opportunities have these wasted ventures brought to our people? It is all
motion but no movement! The right environment is yet to be created for investment in
small-scale businesses to thrive though the Government keeps affirming that the
small-scale business is the solution in the short, medium and long terms.




                                                                                      12
The fallacy of foreign aids and investments

Let us get some points right. There has never been “manna” anywhere on the globe
and none will ever come to Nigeria in particular. Every responsible government is
committed to improving the welfare of its people by creating more wealth for its
nation. This is achieved by pursuing socio economic policies, and forging political
alliances with other nations that can assist in realizing its objectives.

Many times, the relationship is based on common interest of the moment and can be
determined once the objective of the relationship is no longer being met. The strategy
of the world economic power blocks is to exploit opportunities available worldwide to
their advantage, using all instruments of negotiation and persuasion including
diplomatic actions, formation of regional associations, military aid and funding of local
NGOs to achieve what their governments consider to be the best achievable in the
competitive world. Of course, Africans and their governments often fall prey to those
mouth-watering aids and technical assistance that are simply tools of deprivation and
suppression from economic freedom.

I wish our people read the liberation struggle and sacrifice of North Korea under Kim
II Sung based on self reliance through development of local technology in spite of
sophisticated machines available from the imperialists just for the asking. Kim Sung
concentrated and encouraged development of heavy- machine making industry,
establishment of light industries to produce daily need-products and placed high
premium on agriculture! True independence is in the ability to do it by yourself before
exploring the advantages of international division of labour.

Many of the aids received by African nations are economic poisons aimed at keeping
them underdeveloped. It is just like a cunny master will feed his able and foolish
servant so well so that he can continue to work harder on the field for the benefit of
the master. Globalization is the acronym for the modern day slavery. The advanced
countries are enthusiastic and ready to commit monumental funds to sell the concept
and proclaim the benefits of the global village in which the competitors are not of the
same strength. As long as these so called advanced countries stand to gain more
from a relationship at the expense of their friendly nations, the pact shall be
maintained.

The tragedy of African nations

For us in Africa, we are stagnating, no more work to do, nothing new to produce; the
masters have produced them for us at cheaper prices that are not possible here. The
fact is, no matter how much we try, we cannot catch up with these advanced
economies in the short to medium terms. Even, in agriculture, they have taken care
of all our needs. There are cheap rice for us to consume, exotic juice and tin foods for
the elite and gold plated dinner sets to serve the delicacies at our homes and public
functions. What else do we need to produce?



                                                                                      13
 Look everywhere; it is affluence in the mist of abject poverty. Our appetite for foreign
goods is insatiable. Our people in urban centers now adorn their heads with damask
materials from Sweden; gone are the days of aso oke which kept the youths in the
rural areas busy even when they were unable to get white collar job in the cities.
Ironically, even the poor members of our populace are also indulged in the craze for
imported items, trying to give the impression of being part of the elite.

So long as we continue in our indulgence, we will continue to have massive
unemployment and exemplary under-employment of able-bodied young men
hawking GSM cards and toilet roles on our highways. There will be little purchasing
power to buy our needs, and most of us will find it difficult to accumulate capital to
build a house of their own or maintain the inherited ones. The jobless people who
have lost their sense of value will continue to molest the society at large and our
budget for maintaining law and security will continue to swell, depriving us the
opportunity to put sufficient funds on health, education and housing that are essential
for good living. Thank God, the president is poised at doubling the size of the police
between now and 2007 based on the NEEDS’ program.

Since enterprising people cannot compete with imported products in terms of quality
and price, they will continue to invest only in services, money lending and the
financial market rather than throwing their resources into the furnace. Unless
Government is serious at curbing corruption in public office, smuggling will continue
unabated and serious investors will continue to avoid the productive sector. We all
know from basic principle of economics that no economic progress can be achieved
unless there is improved production and productivity. Yes, we have witnessed some
giant moves at fighting corruption in recent times; the National ID Card saga, The
bunkering and missing vessels, the Abuja land racket; the end however, justify the
means. We await the outcome of the legal manipulations!

Policies of Deceit

Many ofl the policies we have been designing in the last twenty years are merely
diversionary tactics. They achieve very little. Before the present dispensation, we
were exposed to IMF debate and conditionalties, then came the SAP era. In the days
of the interim government, an executive club came on stage tagged ECONOIMIC
SUMMIT which provided a forum for captains of industries and bankers of the day to
handshake and exchange cards with the political class and the Generals in uniforms.
Today, after the era of Abuja Jamboree tagged Vision 2010, we have been enticed
by NEPAD (New Economic Partnership for Africa Development), now it is NEEDS
(National Economic Empowerment & Development Strategy).

There will always be something new to divert the attention of the public from pressing
economic hardship. In this way, the government can evade the rain of criticism of its
non-performance. The initiators of these novel ideas pride themselves in bringing to




                                                                                      14
the table new terminologies, rather than new industries, new jobs, new ideas and
habit transformation that will improve our economic fortune.

We do not need to recapitulate the fanciful programs of the first ladies in the past
twenty years on which huge resources were wasted to entertain rather than
improving the economic status of the Nigerian women. With the elaborate campaign
being mounted for the actualization of NEEDS, it is obvious we are back again in the
saddle of another Jamboree horse ready to dance and entertain through the length
and breadth of the country. In situation like this, it is doubtful whether reasonable
opportunities will present themselves for our youths to thrive and accomplish their
economic agenda. We are told that NEEDS is on ground but ask Nigerian
undergraduates what is it all about. You will be shocked that 90 out of 100 does not
understand what the acronyms means talk less of its objectives and implementation
modality. We should not be bothered about methodologies. Ordinary people simply
want food on their table and constant upgrade of social facilities. The slogan is JUST
DO IT!

I am sorry if I have taken you through this long route rather than addressing the topic
specifics. The truth is that a tool cannot be wiser than the craftsman handling it. The
macro dictates the direction of the micro while it is the aggregates of the micros that
form the basis of macro’s trend. It is essential that we understanding where we were
coming from to appreciate why we are where we are today and then use the
experiences to plan for a better future. I have deliberately shy away from macro
economic management policies over the period in order not to create confusion in
our mind, given the composition of today’s audience and the real concern, i.e. the
economic empowerment of the youths to ensure a more enjoyable life.


THE WAY FORWARD

Responsibilities of the Government

The solution to free the Youths and indeed the nation from the economic bondage is
to witness a change of attitude at the governmental level towards:
       Re-orientation of our habits towards self-discipline and true patriotism
       Leadership by example and living in tandem with expectation of the public
       enthronement of transparency and accountability in government
       genuine commitment to refurbishment and development of infrastructures
       Sincere commitment to development of local technology through
       encouragement of local initiatives, research, funding and recognition of our
       technical institutes and polytechnics
       renewed and genuine commitment to Agriculture, especially, the
       establishment and management of a credible and reliable agricultural
       insurance scheme and price subsidy,
       Intensifying and accelerating the provision of modern amenities in rural
       areas to encourage youths to go ”’back to land”


                                                                                    15
       accelerated formation, funding and encouragement of corporative societies,
       effective supervision of government policies on Small scale enterprises
       promotion and development, and
       institutionalization of political education to nurture, reform and sustain our
       democratic experiment in line with our cultural heritage as Africans and
       religion-conscious society.
       creating and disseminating true and objective information to promote public
       awareness in efforts and achievement of government in all critical areas

When these have been reasonably accomplished, the right environment would
have been created to enable enterprising individuals to take on tasks and
challenges that are hitherto unattainable because of environmental constraints
such as,
inadequacy of infrastructure, especially, power and water resources,
unavailability/inaccessibility of low cost funds,
 unfriendly tax regime, high occupancy, transportation and telecommunication
costs, all of which culminate in expensive set-up and running costs outside the
reach of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Responsibilities of the Youths

The Muslim youths must take the issue of education so seriously. The level of
illiteracy and drop out from schools is so prevalent among our Muslim youths,
ostensibly due to parents’ incapacity to fund their children’s education. The reality
is now starring us in the face. We played a waiting game on government for more
than twenty years but we could not stop the government from returning schools
to the missionaries. Even then the so-called government schools are Christian
oriented schools with little touch of secularity or Islam despite the preponderance
of Muslim children in many of them especially, in the South-West. Muslim youth
should come together to float remedial schools for our school drop-outs and
those who cannot afford full time studies. The mosques are there for us to
employ to the fullest. Without education, we cannot begin to cooperate with
ourselves because we would not be speaking at the same wavelength.

There is also the urgent need for the Muslim youths to acquire entrepreneurial
skills, wherever it is available. Sometimes we may have to stoop to conquer by
taking on less attractive paid jobs just to master the skills. For example, to be a
baker, you may need to serve in a bakery to expose yourself to the process, the
management techniques peculiar to the trade, the risks inherent therein and the
mode of curtailing such risks. There is nothing more fulfilling than being in
absolute control of your trade process and understanding the trade secrets for
success.

It is also imperative that youths come together to form partnership of persons of
diversified strength and expertise. It is easier to find supportive adult when a
strong team is on ground. Besides, the amount of capital required these days to


                                                                                   16
establish any small-scale business is beyond the reach of most people, even
adults. A cooperative approach of like minds is inevitable if we must take
ourselves from the economic bondage in which we lock in ourselves.

The Muslim youths, through their various associations need to come together
and constitute themselves into a formidable force to be reckoned with by the
political class. The Youths can change the face of politics in this country by
mounting political enlightenment campaign and organizing political education and
seminars in their community devoid of political and religious affiliations. The issue
is to encourage the electorates to select the right candidates in their community
who are capable and can be held accountable. The concern being expressed
here is also making rounds among the Christian congregations. The truth is that
both communities are losing grounds to infidels (pseudo-Muslims and pseudo-
Christians) who see government’ treasury and assets as booties available to the
most ferocious men and women to exploit and are therefore desperate to secure
their foothold in governance at all cost.

The bitter side of the story is that the Christian community is better organized and is
able to speak with one voice in-spite of their differences while the Muslims are trading
different views as to whether Muslims should seek political office or not. Having
serious people in government is sine qua non to changing the economic fortune of
this country. From the look of things, the Ogun State and Kwara State Governments
would seem to have embarked on sustainable program of actions, through their
Agricultural and land use policy, to keep our teeming youths gainfully employed and
making them economically independent. If all the states in the Federation make the
full employment of youths a priority, we may soon witness a dramatic emancipation
of our youths from poverty to prosperity in no distant future.

The responsibilities of the Ummah

As a body of Muslims, what can we do to improve our fortune in the meantime? The
Muslim Welfare Fund (MUWELF), a body set up by four groups, the Association of
Muslim professionals (AMP), The Movement for Islamic Culture & Awareness
(MICA), The Companion and the ladies’ dawah group, the CRITERION, has already
set the tone for the future direction that other interested groups may follow. Articles
2.9 & 2.10 of the Constitution of MUWELF are very pertinent and are quoted below:

       2.9: To play leading and effective roles in alleviating and eradicating poverty,
       youth unemployment and economic insufficiency through job placement
       schemes, entrepreneurial promotion seminar/workshops and to facilitate and
       secure funds for young entrepreneurs for viable business and /or to execute
       contracts.

       2.10: To engage in halal social and economic activities and to pool funds from
       Muslims and the general public together to pursue and realize the objects of
       the Fund.



                                                                                     17
While these are laudable objectives, four years after its take off, the achievements
are far cry from projections. While the training sessions are being pursued
reasonably well, the financial resources to back up the entrepreneurial excitement
are not forthcoming. The international embargo on flow of funds from Muslim world
bodies to the needy as a result of the on-going orchestrated war against terrorism,
has not helped matters as no external aid is forthcoming from either the East or the
West. At home, the Muslim Community is yet to be energized towards this noble
cause as a result of delay in sorting out legal and other technical details.

The advantage opened to MUWELF is that there is some non-religious outfits
already running similar schemes in Lagos and the Fund can borrow from their
experience. One of the successful ones is FATE FOUNDATION initiated and largely
endowed by Tajudeen Fola Adeola, the former Managing Director of Guaranty Trust
Bank Plc. Some of our Muslim brothers have benefited from the scheme although
majority of the beneficiaries and of course, the facilitators are men and women from
other faiths. This brings to fore our apathy towards social schemes and matters of
public interest.

Recently too, an Islamic Bank, Jaiz Bank was successfully promoted by a group of
Muslim investors and hopefully, the bank was expected to take off before the end of
this year and contribute its quota at reducing the rate of unemployment among our
youths. That expectation may no longer be possible unless the promoters learn to
step up their marketing efforts in quantum leaps in order to raise the expected N25
billion minimum capital now required by the Central Bank. The excitement that
greeted the over-subscription recorded following the initial offer early this year has
been ridiculed by the recent public offers on the exchange in recent times, whereby
offers of N10 billion were over-subscribed two or three folds.

The Entrepreneurial Option

The home truth is that Government is trimming its staff by the day while technological
advancement coupled with globalization and free trade agreements are shrinking the
job opportunities available to the youths at home. The only avenue opened to us is to
develop entrepreneurial instincts in us so that we can take advantage of the Small
Scale Business facilities now available in our financial institutions. Today, the
aggregate of the statutory Small Scale Industry Reserves created in the books of the
Nigerian banks should be in the region of N20 billion. The constraints for benefiting
from the scheme is the risk aversion profile of our banks, the lack of competent
supervisory agency to ensure the safety of the equity or loaned funds and the
absence of any form of insurance or indemnity by any credible government agency
where the ventures financed do not succeed.

 Of course, the banks’ shareholders are not going to be happy if their distributable
profits are being given away or invested carelessly. Organized Agents are, however,
springing up to bridge the gap created by these inadequacies in the implementation



                                                                                   18
of the scheme. Muslim professionals should come together and explore this
opportunity for the benefit of the Ummah.

The Challenges of Entrepreneurship

While self-employment is the way forward, it must be emphasized that only
hardworking, highly disciplined and innovative individuals can survive in today’s
competitive business environment. If you are lazy, you must not take a plunge in self-
employment, no matter how attractive the reward may be. You may have to keep
looking for the job that is yet to be created by others. Remember, more graduates
and secondary school leavers are joining the job seekers’ society every year and the
competition for the few white collar jobs are getting keener by the day.

Should you intend to go into self-employment, where should you focus on? My
advice is that you should have regards for your background training, your natural
emotion and personal endowment. Whatever you plan to do however, marketing skill
is fundamental and you must acquire it or team up with someone endowed with such
skills.

When you enter into partnership with others who assisted in setting up or running a
business either as fund provider or skill supplier, try to be just, stick to agreement
between yourselves and make necessary modification to such initial understanding
as deemed fit based on emerging information, trends and reality on ground. Do not
insist on status quo even when you know it is no longer equitable to continue with it.
Try to be just and considerate. It is not the amount of money you make that matters
but how well you live your life and what benefits, happiness and success others
derive by associating with you.

To achieve everlasting prosperity, the following rules have to be observed:

Vision/ Personal Goals

 The first rule is the desire to be wealthy. Some of us may even detest being wealthy
just like some of the sahabah of Rasululah (s.a.w.). Many though aspire to be as
wealthy as Abd Rahman bn Aouf or Abubakri-Siddiq, possibly to be able to assist in
propagating Islam. If you belong to this class, then you have to resolve in your mind
that you are destined to be wealthy. And so it will be because all your faculties will be
directed at attaining this goal in your sub conscious mind, which has been proven to
be moiré powerful than the conscious or logical sense.

Henry Ford, the American hero, once said, “ If you believe you can do a thing, or you
believe you cannot, in either case, you are probably right.” In short, what you become
or what you achieve is a reflection of your mind and aspirations. An individual must
therefore create a mental picture of what he wants to be and articulate his plan to get
there. Dream all you want to be today! Set ambitious goals for yourself. Task your
mental capacity to fashion out a workable agenda to take you there! More



                                                                                      19
importantly, be steadfast and be positive that your goals are achievable. You may
slump along the way. Do not be deterred. Keep your eyes on your set goals. Rise
again on your feet. With determination and prayers, you will get there!

Self discipline

To become financially stable, you have to exercise self-discipline, physically,
mentally and spiritually. The physical discipline starts by denying yourself certain
enjoyment today in order to receive more in future. Cut away idle and
unproductive time and channel it to effective use, something that will take you to
your promise land. Most importantly, cut down on your consumption and put
aside at least 10% of your earning consistently. The usual story is that I am not
making enough money, so “I cannot save anything”. The truth is that if N10, 000
earning per month is not enough for you, it would not make a difference if it were
N9, 000 per month.

Family tranquility

To create a clear vision, you need a conducive atmosphere and tranquility. You
cannot afford to be distracted emotionally. You therefore need to understand
your spouse and your wards. Seek to understand and respect their viewpoint on
matters in which you hold a different opinion. Use must let go occasionally rather
than insisting that you have superior idea and you are always right. Make peace
with them and you will have a free mind and clear vision. Pursuing your goals
require persistence and you must not relent until result is achieved. You cannot
however, be effective in the pursuit of your affairs if there are so much
distractions. Strive to maintain peace in your home and you are on the way to
prosperity.

Hard work

Work as the wise masters told us, accords man his dignity and therefore, man
must work. Dignity stands firmly to serve whoever works, for he shall not beg to
fulfill his personal and civic obligations. Work also brings wealth to man but not
necessarily so. Examples abound around us, the most hardworking labourer or
most brilliant professional is hardly the wealthiest. Unless we observe the rule of
wealth, no matter how much we work, we may never have enough wealth to fulfill
our long life desires that should give us the contentment of our heart.

Develop the habit of working hard day after day, week after week. Always do
more than you are paid to do if you want to be paid more than you are getting
today. Go the extra mile at every opportunity to deliver more than the average
person can deliver.




                                                                                 20
Integrity

This is perhaps the most respected and valued quality of a human being.
Integrity means doing what you say and delivering when you promise. Your work
is your bond. Do not pretend to be what you are not. Show your true nature at all
times and be consistent. Once people can rely on you, they will begin to trust you
and respect you. For example, if you borrow a little money from your bank or
your brother, strive
    to service the facility as promised. In this way, the bank or your friend will like
    to build on his relationship with you and your prosperity will blossom without
    end.

Networking with successful people

Networking is a strong tool for achieving prosperity. You must network with people
who can help you grow. You must realize that you are magnets. You attract people
who have similar interest and aspiration like yourself. Truly, birds of the same
feathers flock together. Once you come across the right partner, cling to him and
seize the opportunities your association creates.

The opportunity in networking is that you avoid the mistakes of pioneers and you can
move at an accelerated pace because you have examples to follow. If you want to be
wealthy, you must take a cue from the experiences of others who have succeeded.
Do not waste your time with laggards. Affiliate with people of action. Join the right
club, invest time in networking with people who are using their brains and time wisely
and you are on the right path.

Quality

Whatever you do, let it be the best you can produce. Your personality, your
behaviour and interactions with others must reflect quality and excellence. First
impression matters a lot and you should endeavour to do it right, first time and then,
at all times. Seek whatever resources and assistance you need to do an excellent job
and you will receive the kudos from your boss and clients. You must earn the
reputation for doing an excellent work. Be painstaking; invest extra time to re- train
yourself consistently. Try and perfect your job at all times so that success may trail
you. Even where your employer is blind to quality work, be steadfast. Sooner or later,
somebody else who appreciates quality will lift you up and you will be on your road to
prosperity. Even the scripture says “Seest thou a man diligent in his work, ye shall
stand before kings and not before mean men.”

Faith & Spiritual discipline

Look at the very prosperous people around you and you will discover that they all
profess faith in one omnipotent and supreme being whom they belie3ve also make
input into their lives. The way they express faith in terms of religious affiliation may be



                                                                                        21
different, but they all have confidence that whatever they aim at achieving will always
come through successfully. Most importantly, they have concern for fellow men and
their community. In consonance with the natural laws, those who have compassion
for others and are kind to the needy, always have more in abundance

When a man is useful to his community, and extends his love to people around him,
he will attract people of similar attributes to himself and steadily, his fortune shall
continue to grow. Helping others offers a tremendous inner feeling of satisfaction and
happiness to a philanthropist. Even, where you have just a little money, share part of
it and compliment it with services to humanity by giving your time, your emotions,
your energy and your knowledge. One way or another, the returns always come back
in multiples. Try it and you will be convinced. One thing is certain, you can regret not
helping someone, but you can never regret making a person’s life more prosperous.

CONCLUSION

Finally, we must appreciate that nature itself does not create wealth for people who
cannot apply their physical and mental energies to seek wealth. Naturally, Allah, the
owner of all wealth hid wealth in obscured and most inaccessible places; diamond in
the rock, gold far deep in the earth and petroleum, largely beneath the ocean.

With physical energy alone, we cannot get to this natural wealth in abundance.
For example, to get one ounce of gold, tons of earth would have to be excavated.
However, when physical energy is coupled with mental energy, innovative ways
to access the wealth are designed, the task becomes easier and the wealth
comes in abundance. Once we have access to abundant wealth, we need
spiritual discipline to employ it to make more wealth and improve our lives and
our environment.

If you agree with the fore-going, I can only advise you to cultivate the wealth
discipline by harnessing your physical, mental and spiritual energies to achieve your
personal goals and unending prosperity. Believe me, you cannot go wrong.
Remember, Government is the custodian of our National wealth. No meaningful
progress can be achieved unless the Government manages the wealth sensibly to
benefit the present and the future generations. It is our collective responsibility
therefore to ensure that we have credible and God-fearing people at the helm of our
national affairs. Remember, Allah says He will not change the conditions of a people
until they themselves take steps to change their ways. May Allah give us the wisdom
and the courage to do the right things at the right time!

Thank you for listening.

Assalaam alaekum waramatulah, wabarakatuhu. Ameen.




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