Tijani Opeyemi: Pilgrimage Subsidy And Nigeria’s Misplaced Priorities

Even the blind knows the country isn’t looking fine, not to talk of the deaf who hears the sound of agony and pain our dear country is yelling. The present state of the country is one that has made everyone sacrifice so much, why then can’t people sacrifice for this country at this present time. How do I mean? To get the bulk of what I would want to jump at, read through till I dot my last word.

Pilgrimage is something very important in the life of a faithful. It is a period in time in which believers leave their comfort zones for sacred lands where they get to worship the Almighty. Being a Muslim, I have learnt some critical things about going on pilgrimage. My deen (religion) lays emphasis on the fact that going on pilgrimage is not a must for whosoever doesn’t have the means. This implies that, those who have should make visit the Holy land. Get something here, having the ability to go on pilgrimage means you must have prepared for your family’s upkeep and have something to live on outside one’s own country.

Sponsoring people on pilgrimages doesn’t really seem the best thing to involve in at the present state, even when the country is buoyant. When a dog bleats, you out of curiosity want to know why, and I will justify my stance. Firstly, in the present situation that we are, where the rich are complaining and the poor, in the corners of their rooms hopeless, would it then be appropriate for the government to use the minimal resources available to sponsor people on pilgrimage? I ask.

Secondly, you will agree with me that a responsible man that plans to travel, even to a nearby market, will plan for his family. This will keep them till his arrival, which means they won’t be forced into breaking rules or worst still involving in social vices to fend for themselves. What happens to the person that gets sponsored? And his family, what do they fend on till he arrives? And how is he himself going to maintain himself? Okay, he wants to be up to the task, he goes borrowing. How will he refund the money? Isn’t he going beyond his purse? Won’t he be over zealous in wanting to get the money back? And tell me what can’t such a man do?

Thirdly, this kind act itself still open doors for what a progressive government won’t want to indulge in; nepotism. Will the government that offers to sponsor people on pilgrimage come out to pick by their selves? Of course no, they have people who will do the selection, perfect people who would bat eyelids at helping their people. Omojuwa said something; he said if they would at all want to sponsor people on pilgrimage, let it be all who want to go, at least that would be fair. That’s to make it clear that this good act shouldn’t be funded by the government.

One reason why governments want to embark on sponsorship of people is to repay people back for their kindness to them during the electioneering period, but don’t you think there are better ways to getting to people than just sponsoring a part of them? When a government alienates poverty in a society, people will thrive well, they do healthy businesses and make licit money, they earn well and go on pilgrimages themselves, isn’t that repaying the people? How many developed nations around the world sponsor people on pilgrimages?

Don’t make faithfuls dependent on you; they can as well go without your sponsorship. So many people are now dependent on government finances, which is not good enough. Many even lobby to get slots to visit Holy lands; it wouldn’t have occurred if not for the good but not deeply thought of plans of the government. Just recently, the government agreed to subsidize dollar for pilgrims, I think that’s still a move to helping them. That in every sense would help them keep a reasonable amount of money, rather than paying completely for them.

The state of the nation is that which requires critical thinking before taking actions…

Tijani Opeyemi is a Nigerian undergraduate.