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Is Backbiting Nasarawa’s New Trade?

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In a Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS) Hausa discussion programmetagged “Dandalin Siyasa” anchored by Alhaji Gambo Muris and aired recently, Muri’s guest on the programme, one Alhaji Ibrahim Bushasha captured the real but unfortunate situation we find ourselves in Nasarawa state.

Alhaji Bushasha   identified backbiting and gossiping as our major problems in Nasarawa state. Although, I don’t know the spread of Alhaji Ibrahim Bushasha’s acquaintances, but after listening to the argument which he put  forward so convincingly, to support his claim about how backbiting and gossiping have became our trademark in Nasarawa state, I shuddered in bewilderment and felt so sorry for not only ourselves but for our younger generations.

There is indeed, no arguing the fact that backbiting and gossips have been part of human life from all the epochs we have had. History has shown that backbiting and gossips had been the bane of unity and togetherness as well as progress and development of such epochs. There is however, no disputing the fact that any society or nation that has gossiping and backbiting as its people’s staple, progress and development will always elude such a society or nation, hence the need to pay much attention to its consequences.

Today in Nasarawa state, backbiting and gossiping seems to have taken firm root, as virtually all our social life revolves around it. In other words gossiping and backbiting have eaten deep into the social fabric of our people to a very large extent.   Even though, every society has its own share of these cankerworms,  the dimension which backbiting and gossiping are taking and the momentum which the phenomenon is gaining in Nasarawa state is, to say the least, dangerous and alarming. In Nasarawa state if you are not an expert or rather if you did not specialize in backbiting and gossiping, you can not move on. You can only be appreciated if you master the art of backbiting and gossiping.

The most unfortunate aspect of the situation is that our leaders have became so enmeshed and perhaps culpable in this tale of woe.  Our leaders have became so much engrossed in accepting, listening and even appreciating the ‘virtues’ of backbiting and gossiping to the extent that you can only get what you want from them, if only you come with the most fresh and  ‘sweetest’ gossip.

Most ironic is that the virtues of hard work and sincerity have been degraded to a lower level while backbiting and gossiping have been upgraded to premier level.  Regrettably however, hard work and sincerity cannot take one anywhere in Nasarawa state today. What can take one somewhere is for one to study the art of backbiting and gossiping and master the way to deploy them appropriately. But then with these scenarios in place what then are we trying to bequeath or teach our young ones?

The points which Alhaji Bushasha stressed with regard to backbiting and gossiping on that radio programme made me to become so sad. I felt so sorry, first for our young ones, for the type of morals we are trying to impart to them and secondly, I became distressed for my humble self for I happened to have on several occasions, been a victim of these malicious thing called backbiting and gossiping. Many of our compatriots too in the state, I believe, also happened to be victims of these spiteful scourges. But can we, in all honesty continue like this? This question has indeed, became imperative because a solution to this wickedness must be found and addressed squarely, if we are serious about moving Nasarawa state forward.

All known religions, the world over, frown at backbiting and gossiping. Islam for example warns us against it.  Islam calls upon us to bring out the best in ourselves and in others. It enjoins us to treat other people with integrity and respect. It is not permissible for a Muslim to spread rumours, gossip or engage in backbiting of another person. Repeatedly in the Holy Qur’an, Muslims are warned about the sins of the tongue. “Do not concern yourself with things about which you have no knowledge. Verily, your hearing, sight and heart- all of them will be called to account” (Qur’an 17: 36)

Also in Qur’an Allah says “Oh you who believe!  Avoid suspicion as much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. But fear Allah. For Allah is oft- returning, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 49: 11-12). This word “backbiting” is  omething that we don’t often think about, but it is noteworthy that the Qur’an regards it as distasteful and an actual act of cannibalism.

The position of Islam with regards to backbiting and gossiping as narrated above  succinctly stress the fact that backbiting and gossiping are distasteful ways of life. The Bible too, I believe disapproves of backbiting and gossip in all its ramifications.

Now having seen the ills of backbiting and gossiping, the question begging for answer here is: What can we do about these problems to save ourselves from anger of Almighty Allah?  Backbiting and gossiping remain the main causes of destruction of personal relationships. They destroy friendships and families and fuel mistrust among community members.

Undoubtedly, the solution to backbiting and gossiping which has become a thorn in our flesh, rest with our leaders who happen to be cheerful recipients of gossip. Unless and until our leaders, at all levels, stop their habits of “wining and dining” with purveyors of  gossips and backbiting, all the solutions would continue to remain a delusion.

We must work to ensure that gossiping and backbiting is tamed in Nasarawa state so that it will no longer have any impact on our social life.

– Bala writes from Lafia, can be reached at: rayanubala@gmail.com



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