I want the candidates vying to become the next Nigerian president come up with policy proposals that will turn Islam into a instrument of economic growth

Ayo Akinfe

[1] For starters, every year, Nigeria's delegation to the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia should return with a minimum foreign direct investment sum of $50bn. If they do not, their trip is a meaningless jamboree

[2] What is Nigeria getting in return for all this free revenue and publicity we just dash the Saudis? from now on, I think we should sign mutual benefit agreements.

[3] Saudi Arabia is estimated to generate about $16bn annually from hajj pilgrimages. Without it, their economy would be like ours, totally dependent on the vagaries of the global crude oil market. However, they have been smart enough to turn Islam into a money spinner, while we are as usual just consumers. Our ignorance is just mind boggling at times. We cannot even copy things well

[4] Is there anything actually stopping Nigeria from building iconic Islamic architecture and attracting tourists? What stops us building a temple identical to the Taj Mahal for instance? Usman Dan Fidio’s tomb for instance should at least be as grand and should generate a minimum of $10bn for us annually in tourist revenue

[5] Is it not ironic that even the Arabs are moving away from Islamic orthodoxy and fundamentalism while we are becoming Muslim fanatics. Saudi Arabia and Dubai are erecting the world’s tallest buildings and hotels, attracting so-called infidel investors and tourists, while we are home to Boko Haram, Isis and other fanatical outfits. Another case of crying more than the bereaved

[6] Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank is the largest Islamic bank in the country and also the largest Islamic bank worldwide with assets of $87bn. Oga Buhari, we need some of that capital invested in our infrastructure oooooo. Contrary to the belief that Islamic Finance is religious, it is totally harmless and 100% economic. Investors loan you money and want a return on their investment. Period!

[7] If President Buhari had gone to Saudi Arabia with a railway masterplan duting his last hajj for instance, he could have asked Al Rahji Bank to invest $20bn in an Abuja to Lagos high-speed railway link that will run at 250km per hour under the terms of a deal that will see them recoup their investment over a five year period through ticket sales. Similar deals could have been entered into for housing, roads, agriculture, etc. If the deal looks good, it will interest investment bankers

[8] How many Nigerian Muslims know that according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, that $2trn worth of Islamic Finance assets were managed worldwide in 2016/17. Nigeria is not seeing any of this capital and that is totally unacceptable. How come our brand of Islam is just to go and pray in the mosque and carry AK47s? We see none of the benefits which other members of the faith enjoy

[9] Malaysia in particular has benefitted immensely from the issuance of Sukuk’s the Islamic bonds. According to Moody’s, global sukuk issuance reached $100bn in 2018. How much of this capital was invested in Nigeria?

[10] I have always argued that Nigeria needs a Religious Finance Bill that will set targets for the churches and mosques. We have a $100bn annual infrastructural deficit and if we want to be honest, Islamic Finance could easily fund $50bn of this, with our evangelical clergymen pooling their resources together to form a conglomerate called Man of God PLC to generate another $50bn. Religion has got to stop being an albatross around our necks but a vehicle for socio-economic and infrastructural development