Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has opened the maiden annual National Muslims Conference, in Accra, with the call on Muslim leaders to prioritize education in their quest to develop the muslim communities.
He said, “we need to unravel and tackle all factors that hinder our progress in education to enable us to improve ourselves, our families, our communities and to contribute meaningfully to the development of our country.”
The conference organised by the Muslim Caucus in Parliament in concert with the Office of the National Chief Imam and Heads of the various sects as well as identifiable stakeholders in Ghana is on the theme; “Muslim Education in Ghana at the Crossroads — The Need for Concerted Action”
He said one of the surest ways to promote education in muslim communities was for faith-based organisations to support the air-force of Government by not only establishing more educational institutions, but helping to improve the infrastructure of existing educational institutions across the country to supplement public ones.
“Such initiatives will undoubtedly augment government effort towards the provision of quality accessible education for every Ghanaian child.”
Dr Bawumia said, the theme for the conference could not have been chosen at a better and demanding time when education especially in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has become the indispensable tool for rapid sustainable development for all humanity.
He said the time had come to either pitch educational objectives on STEM or perish, saying, “we cannot afford not to prioritize education as the most important pillar for our socio-economic development as a community and as a nation.”
The Vice President said education was the only realistic way to alleviate poverty and engender prosperity in the inner-cities and all communities which were at the peripheries of development as a nation-state. Education ensures social mobility, tackles social exclusion and underdevelopment, and overcomes self marginalization.
Dr Bawumia noted that several studies have established a strong link between education and social mobility, so with the right educational policy and support for uninterrupted schooling, a child from any background should not only be able to succeed in life but also to contribute meaningfully to nation building.
He urged participants to take the deliberations at the conference very seriously to achieve all the expected conference outcomes for post conference implementation.
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu congratulated the organizers for ensuring to bring Muslims together under one umbrella to deliberate on such pressing issues of the Ummah.
He said the Ummah may have been divided into various sects based on the different ideological persuasion, but it was important not to lose sight of the fact that what united them was bigger than what divided them.
“Until we are able to harness this common destiny, by rededicating, ourselves to the tenets and the teaching of Islam, come together, identify our common problem, proffer a solution, and implement it, we would continue to be among not only the poorest of the Ghanaian society but also outside of the decision making systems of the Ghanaian community.”
Mr Alban Sumana Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament said the Muslim community in Ghana should consider itself fortunate to have Members of Parliament who understand how the game of democracy was played and had been consistent not only in providing a voice for the Muslim community on the floor of Parliament, but were instrumental in the creation of platforms and establishment of Institutions such as the Zakat Fund of Ghana, the Annual Night of Power and now the National Muslim Conference for the benefit of all Muslims in Ghana.
He noted that interest groups become more successful in their quest to have their fair share of the National Cake in a Unitary State under a democratic dispensation, by defining their priority and ready to work together as opposed to working as divided groups and individuals.
He was hopeful that the conference would take advantage of the operationalisation of Private Member Bills to push forward legislation that would help further correct the socio-economic and developmental imbalance currently existing between the Muslim dominated communities and other communities for balanced growth and development.
Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, Ag Chairman of the Muslim Caucus in Parliament, said the conference would serve as the mouthpiece and forum at which matters affecting Muslims in relation to Education, Health, Finance and the general wellbeing of Muslims including constitutional rights would be deliberated upon and lasting solutions found to enable the Muslim community in Ghana to contribute its quota to the overall development of the entire Nation.
He said the Conference would also be institutionalized with a Secretariat to ensure the pursuance of its overall objectives as set out in the Deed.
He said this first Conference will focus on Education as it was the key needed to open the doors of a healthy society and economic