League of Imams in Kogi State rose from a meeting recently and called on all Muslims in the state to reject rams and other food items from the state governor, Yahaya Bello, during the last Eid-el Kabir celebration.
In a communiqué issued in Lokoja, the state capital, the Muslim leaders said it was a sin for anyone to receive such items from the governor who had refused to meet the welfare needs of the state workers.
The statement signed by the assistant secretary of the league, Qadri Usman, and a representative of Ansar-udeen, Fatai Jimoh and Chief Imam, Takete, Abdul Rasak, said it was “haram” on the Muslim faithful to receive such gifts from the governor who intentionally declined payment of workers and pensioners salaries and allowances for about eight months. To the Imams, there is no justification accommodating such ‘Greek gifts’ because Allah would severely punish any recipient of Gov Bello’s haram.
According to the bulletin, the Imams said, “Based on the above, the league hereby resolved that no Muslim in the state should collect rams and other food items if presented to them in any form by the government; the league will not want to share in the blame for the governor’s nonpayment of salaries and other financial predicaments which the state is facing at the moment, adding, we want governor Bello to publish his stewardship and show us what he is doing with Kogi’s money. We need explanations.”
Curiously, reports have it that so much millions had been deployed by the state government in award of contracts for the supply of rams, grains and other food items that would be distributed to Muslims across the local governments in the state in celebration of the Eid-el Kabir festival. This is really sad and ridiculous that Kogi State, like other states which are grappling to pay years of arrears of salaries of both pensioners and workers in the state, in addition to being completely deficit in infrastructure and human capacity development, could carelessly engage in that kind of profligacy and outright waste.
What is in buying rams, rice, grains and other food items as Sallah gift for a state that is completely broke, indebted and on a monthly financial lifeline from the federal government. Frankly speaking, things are not well with Kogi State in all ramifications and all the government could think out was to stand logic on its head by attempting to swim in another scandal and engage in an ignoble cesspool of corruption. Regrettably, it is absurd and not to try to be immodest to call Kogi State a glorified local government council in the mould of fast growing mega states like Lagos or Kaduna, following its backwardness. Yahaya Bello’s Kogi is poor, underdeveloped and should never dream of in such obnoxious trifling such as rice and ram showmanship at this critical time of the state’s insolvency. The state as it were requires a declaration of a state of emergency for development; those should be the concern of a right thinking and prudent governor and not mundane obsession like rice and Sallah meat. What can be wrong with the state government; what is the economic or spiritual benefit of rams and rice in a bankrupt state where the benefitting Muslim community has also declared as haram such unsolicited gifts?
Like the Muslim brethrens in Kogi, we urge others across the states and predominantly Muslim states across the country to sum up courage and reject such hand-outs from governors who cannot pay mere workers salaries and improve their welfares, but want to play to the gallery by just giving baseless Sallah rice and meat. We even dare ask, after Sallah, what else? How many more times, weekly or monthly, can state governors boasts of supplying such offerings to workers? This is the question. First and foremost, let the governors pay all outstanding salaries of workers and arrears of pension to retirees and in addition, give one bag of rice and other condiments each to every worker and pensioner in the states for the merriment, or else it will be foolhardy and a spite on workers and pensioners to dangle this self seeking donation which is just transitory rather than enduring.


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