Lesson From London By Sola Ademiluyi

When the Governor of Osun State in South West Nigeria, Rauf Aregbesola raised 10 billion naira via the Islamic bond system or Sukuk, it was met with a heavy backlash from the Christian community led by the Christian Association of Nigeria who saw it as an attempt to Islamise the state. The state is agrarian with most of its earnings going to recurrent expenditure. It would have been suicidal to raise funds via a bank loan with the astronomical interest rate. The Sukuk with its interest free bait was the best option for the common good.

The world was amazed when the United Kingdom under the leadership of David Cameron plans to make London an Islamic Financial Hub that can give Dubai and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia a fierce run for their money. They plan to raise $320 million next year. Islamic bonds are backed by assets and they have been rapidly growing. The growth rate of the Islamic financial assets is about 17% a year and is set to hit the $2.67 trillion mark in 2017 up from its current $1.2 trillion. The financial crisis in the west must have made its policy makers critically rethink its economic model. Britain has a Muslim minority and the population of committed Christians is rapidly dwindling no thanks to the wave of secularism that has engulfed the former largest empire in the world since the dawn of the 20th century.

Cameron was visionary enough to put sentiments aside and do what he felt was in the nation’s best economic interest. The vision for the creation of London as Europe’s financial centre was conceived and executed by Margaret Thatcher which greatly opened London to the world. This is a step to sustain that laudable dream that has seen the city swiftly metamorphose to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

We should be more tolerant of models that would move the continent forward without raising unnecessary dust. For all the criticisms which CAN put forward, we are yet to see any concrete suggestion on a viable alternative to the interest rates that can best be described as a man going to meet an undertaker for supper.

A bane of the continent is the elevation of subjectivity to the level of superiority which has accounted for wars, threats of it, tensions and conflicts. If only we could reason more together and be our brothers keeper putting the common good above every other thing, this continent would be a Paradise for all.

One would have thought the Christian community in the UK would have raised fire and brimstone. Surprisingly there has been silence as there have not been any talks of an attempt to Islamize the state.

When the current boss of Nigeria’s central bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi mooted the idea of introducing Islamic banking into the country, the Christian groups vehemently kicked against it as they saw it as an insidious agenda to convert the state into an Islamic one. There was no thought of the interest of the man on the street that is unable to have access to credit facilities to expand or even start a small scale business.

For the continent to experience an exponential growth, it has to be more open to novel ideas that can move it forward and not base arguments on sheer egotism. She has seen enough strife and turmoil which has perpetually rendered her to a state of economic backwardness to allow sentiments take the place of reason.

It is high time we adopted the good aspects of development from anywhere as shameless copying is allowed on the road to success. Ask the Japanese and Chinese!

Let the bigotry stop!


For the continent to experience an exponential growth, it has to be more open to novel ideas