We should then also own up to our laws and the British common law as basically Canon that it is by and largely accept its comparability and complimentary roles to the Sharia law as it exists in Nigeria, Pakistan and the Sudan etc. It is believed that such recognition will enable the right atmosphere for religious security, national harmony and appropriate dues to secularity as well, whatever/ wherever it means. The prayers we also resort to in our times of adversity will also have greater meaning and deliverance having given Religion its communal dues. Strange dogmas, their sources and realism especially where they adopt and claim or copy sources rooted in the universal religions must be isolated to deny them except where they reaped for peace and the world order to reign. On the aggregate also, if the Religions have survived for immemorial past, nothing else, of a grouping or association, should compete with them in terms of space and value as to deny it its own existence.
Natural Antidote Towards Each Other
The duo of Christianity and Islam have not only come a long way but would seem to have evolved as natural anti dote for the survival of each other in times of distress. This conclusion may not be farfetched from their identical definition and outlook on the Devil called Shaitan or Lucipher and his descendants from among the humans and Jins. The Prophet Muhammad SAW asked Muslims who could not bear the Meccan Pagan persecutions as an interim measure to first migrate to Habasha (now in Ethiopia) and to seek for protection from a sincere Christian King Najjashi and this turned out successfully. Again a tradition related that when the Jews (also people of the Book) fasted on the 10 of Month of Muharram to mark the day God saved them and drowned Pharoah, Prophet Muhammad SAW said the Muslims were the most deserving of fasting on that day but that they should add another day of fasting in order to contrast with the Jewish way (Sahih Bukhari). The choice of Christianity and indeed Judaism as a responsible neighbor to Islam and Muslims is therefore, by Devine decrees.
The Quran has distinguished Christianity as most (Surah 5.82) sympathetic and devoid of arrogance thereby being closest to Islam no matter the challenge of one against the other and in many verses described Christians in the best of light. The Quran concedes that there are good and bad of either, just as the good in either are also hard to come by. The Muslim is enjoined to fulfill all rightful obligations towards the Christian the same way the Christian is expected to fulfill all righteousness towards the Muslim. Chapter 5 verse 47 enjoins Muslims in their day to day relationships” to ensure that ‘the people of Injeel (the holy Bible) live and judge according to what has been enjoined there in” as a foundation for mutual coexistence. ”Chapter 5 Verse 5 made lawful to Muslims the Christian food which he has prepared for himself. It has also decreed marriage to Christian women provided the marriage fulfils all righteousness, dowry is paid, the relationship is not built upon extra marital intimacy or taking of advantage without due recognition and acceptance of her parents. The venue for the marriage to Christian women can only therefore be at her parents abode. Thus by divine revelations, the Christian is there for a Muslim and vice versa. It is also natural and conventional that when a Muslim picks the Quran the Christian will not pick some other than the Bible for counterpart relationship and vice versa. The space for their common enemy or any other intruder will naturally also close in.
Pagan Communities As Mutual Grazing Ground
The Northern Nigerian experience is a clear testimony that Islam and Christianity had a latent understanding that pagan conversion to either of the two Religions was the acceptable minimum. They seemed soft with each other on conversion space over time to the extent that each feels as good with the conversion of an outsider or a pagan to either. Muslims and Christians seemed to have peacefully succeeded in turning the pagan areas as grazing grounds for converts and any conversion to one is bringing home a faithful closer to either. Together, the relationship transmuted to what became Indirect Rule with the Bayiah (Islamic allegiances) to rulers residing in the traditional institutions while mundane loyalty, also distinguishable under the Sharia, went to the British colonialists. To date the Bayiah remains a formal allegiance to the traditional institutions, district and emirate by emirate, while citizen allegiance constitutionally rests with the Government of the day discharged through voting, polls and election rights. Therein lay the invaluable roles of the traditional institutions with or without constitutional recognition of their existence.
The British clearly could not tolerate animist and pagan attributes and for that they employed direct rule for Christianity to occupy all administrative and mundane space in the Southern Nigeria. The British had no moral authority then to deny Islam flourishing in the North being equally a universal religion with the two coming a long way from time immemorial. It therefore adopted the indirect rule in the North in order that it could peacefully share space with Islam and also have the leverage for its economic and commercial pursuits unhindered.
Mutual Benefits From Conversion
Conversion of one to either consequently brings a pagan and any third party closer to either Islam or Christianity. This has by congruity made grazing for converts within the same location mutually beneficial, acceptable and to the chagrin pleasure and understanding of both. This was, as earlier said, the spirit that kept the duo going in complimentary roles until they merged in places that included the pre-colonial Northern Nigeria. Similarly, they did same in Sudan and other parts of Africa, the Middle East etc within civility, mutual understanding and minimal combat. I ones asked an Islamic clergy how he felt whenever his style of preaching on radio question and answer sessions was copied or imitated by Christian preachers. He simply smiled in approval, and that it meant no harm and is for common good. It is also in that light around 1987, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, when asked on Nigerian politics said that he (a Muslim Clergy) will vote or vouch only for a Muslim candidate but that Christianity ‘was nothing’ ie not a hindrance. The import in the context of his comment using his infrequent English tongue was that, as a Muslim clergy, he will vote/promote a Muslim candidate in principle but that Christianity and by extension its candidates are harmless. They can have their way, are neither a problem nor a hindrance, if so conceived by the situation on the ground.
Sheikh Abubakar Gumi`s statement was in utter comparison to paganism and other objectionable traits that he considered as ‘something’ objectionable, worth resisting or to have to challenge among the Nigerian elites. That was why some of his senior off springs attended missionary schools unperturbed. But the media then quoted him then out of context and the hype it triggered never allowed a clear explanation until in 1992, when now Prof Ismaila Tsiga took the matter up with Malam in his book ‘Where I Stand’. He then explained his position before his demise (pages 184). In the same tone also Malam, as we fondly call him would always assess any Christian or Muslim leader, not by his physical achievements but by religious affinity and disposition. His impression of Gowon for example was positive and considered his reign as that of a benevolent Christian. He would praise the Gowon regime for its respect for Religion and was proud that the Armed Forces Chaplaincy was consulted in decision making at the highest levels of the military Government.
Malam, on the other hand sounded care free towards the Gen O Obasanjo military Regime because he could not place his religious inclinations (pages 205 of Where I Stand). Even among Muslims and to his disciples, Malam maintained impressions, positive or negative, mostly, only towards his pupils and those he considered religiously inclined and remained mostly blank and uncommitted towards anyone whose religious disposition was not forthcoming. This singular attribute is believed to be a propagation attitude that kept him concerned with his own business while allowing others to keep their own concerns.
This is the background within which Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, with penchant for conversion of his neighborhood to Islam became legendary. Times without number he allowed the media to broad cast the conversions mainly to teach the simplicity of non-Muslim access to Islam. It was common then that pagans were mainly discouraged by our traditional and cultural settings as to be heavily indebted before they are accepted as converts to Islam. Sometimes ram or other offerings were demanded on them as primary conditions for conversion and this is not required anywhere in Islam. The publicity attached to the congregational conversions during his Tafsir (commentary of the Quran)at the Sultan Bello Mosque were never meant to show case Islam ahead of Christianity as many would want to insinuate but to reaffirm the simplistic nature of conversion to Islam in order to nip unnecessary traditional servitude placed on voluntary Muslim converts. It was meant to further facilitate their integration into the Muslim community at the cheapest convenience prescribed by the Sharia and for the society to also benefit from them.
I dove my heart for Prof I Tsiga with the words salam alaikum (peace be unto you) for the novel compilation in the book ‘Where I Stand’. The more I read it the more I realize that it has documented the foundation for the containment of Boko Haram about 23 years ago and yet gave in to its occurrence with explicit manifestations that the book has so profoundly predicted. It was Incident delight one day that Col USA Giwa-Amu (of blessed memory), a learned colleague, who was then President O Obasanjo’s aide de camp , called me up to appreciate ‘Where I Stand’ and how the book improved his perception of life like no other in the past. Accordingly he claimed to have been indisposed to his official engagement for 3 days to be able to have uninterrupted reading of the book ‘Where I Stand’ from start to finish
More On The Indirect Rule In Northern Nigeria
The Indirect rule produced more deliberate Christians in the Northern Nigeria because the conversions also gave equal space for Islam as an alternative. The opposite existed in the South where everyone including Muslims had to conform to colonial identity to be integrated. Thus, while the Indirect rule left clear pagan communities in identified zones and with time and option to go either way, the direct rule in the South cloaked the pagan communities with the Christian garb whether or not they actually converted and lumped them all as Christians. Those yet to convert on their own volition were compelled to identify with Christianity as no other option was available for integration. The pagan communities till today are therefore believed to be more distinguishable in the North. Although the situation has created very deliberate and identifiable Christian North who are as amiable and peaceful like their Muslim brethrens, it has on the other hand also become a source of major friction when Muslims, in their usually casual disposition fail to distinguish between Christians and their pagan kith and kin since they normally would be living together in their mist.
The truth is that the Christian mix with pagan communities in terms of cohabitation is more out of evangelical than tolerant disposition towards paganism. Muslim evangelism keeps the pagan at a further distance because the Islamic admission processes and recognition of converts, simple as it is, seems yet more formal than that of Christianity. And it is in this regard that the Muslims have to be more stringent and careful in reciprocating mutual recognition to their Northern Christian brothers who live amidst the Northern pagan communities. References and propagations to pagans are easily misunderstood by Christians to feel derogated or despised when no effort is made to distinguish that the message was not primarily directed or referred at Christians and vice versa. And how much training do our clergy receive to be able to make particular preaching while distinguishing pagan from the Christian communities. The recognition of pagan as against the Christian North and its shades of character presentation may elude some Southern Christians who live or visit the North for the fact that the South was constructed differently. A reference to pagan in the North, most cases will not be understood by a southern Christian and care must be employed to protect him from taking offence, in obvious show of affinity to his Northern Christian brother. These are areas of emphasis for interfaith dialogue because the desire to continue to propagate on the pagan communities is still as urgent as it has ever been in the past.
The Resilience Of Northern Communities To Forge On Together
The long history of unblemished togetherness and mutual trust built earlier by the way the North was carefully constituted and reconstructed by forefathers is what has kept the fragile peace in the North unshaken. The heritage and trust built in are very formidable to break by transient mischief. It is marvelous and until recently that, the Gwari or the Fulani for instance will out of sheer instinct to accommodate others, move further away from an established habitat or domain to give way unnoticed. This could even be giving way to some developers who encroach discourteously to take over their homes. Sometimes this is done in their very consciousness but they readily offer the benefit of doubt presumably because of past indelible mutual trust that was unparalleled. Again how many times throughout the North that a passerby, would by over speeding kill a child with his car, carry the corpse to the parents inside villages and the parents will simply collect and bury their loved ones. This they do without any charge on the passerby and instantly let it go as an act of God and destiny to the admiration of all. This unequalled quality cuts across both the Muslim and Christian communities of Northern extraction having come a long way appreciating each other and their peaceful coexistence. What could have gone wrong to reverse such an old time harmony in just a short while of our recent history beats all imaginations. Raising material pedestals over and above a populace that were hitherto molded with deliberate religious leanings and propagations, in quantum never seen in recent history is one area to look at for solution.
– Brig. Gen. Gumi (rtd), a former director, Army Legal Services, can be reached through: firstname.lastname@example.org
ARMED FORCES AS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF NIGERIAN RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
- The Nigerian Army and later Armed Forces probably remains the best example of Christian and Muslim convergence at creating and recreating Nigeria with a unique federal character comprising only the Muslim, Catholic and Protestant religious space. The model is designed in such a way that it occupies all the useful space for Muslim, Catholic or protestant in the barracks and in its tight regimental setting. The pagan or any other space seemed unintended and no personnel at the same time could be trusted without a Religion. Even conversion from one to another of the approved Religions must be subjected to scrutiny to ensure that God is not taken for mundane advantage.
- Just like the Nigerian adopted law and legal system avoided recognition then for African traditional laws at Independence, the Nigerian Armed Forces also evaded any space for pagan and traditionalists for enlistment and commission purposes. A pagan therefore must belong to or adopt one of either to be admitted until recently when Religion started to be a weapon of hate and division among personnel. If our growth were healthy some criteria would by now have been put in place for any new religion, sect or denomination, having satisfied some set down universal standards to be admitted into the barracks formally and for the benefit of regimentation, equality, predictability and due process. Why not for paganism or animism if someone with locus can make presentation acceptable to set standards. But still at that one recalls how Islam has or Christianity in the Nigerian setting discovered useful neighbor and antidote for the lapses in one another as they beautifully occupied the space that left no room for conflict, the Devil and other incongruities at least until recently.
MODEL EXAMPLE OF EXCELLENT RELIGIOUS HARMONY AMONG SOLDIERS
- A few examples formed thresholds in our experiences. In 1998, dispute as to who owned the Arakan Barrack Central Mosque arose in order to resolve whether an apartment attached to the Mosque should be given to the Imam or to the Nigeria Army Officers Wife Association (NAOWA) chapter for their skills acquisition Centre. The Imam was favored by the Provost Marshal (PM) being attached to HQ Nigeria Army Military Police (NAMP) and the NAOWA chapter was favored by the Cantonment under then Col JO Arogbofa the Signal Commander. Although the Provost Marshal heading the NAMP Corp was senior to the Cantonment Commander yet the latter owned the Barracks because he commanded greater number of troops. HQ NAMP was only one unit out of so many in the Cantonment and that, in the absence of records to the contrary, gave away the Mosque to the Cantonment Commander. Suddenly Col AA Ochefu, the first indigenous PM was reported killed by armed robbers and an old RSM was invited for additional oral citation of the late senior officer (of blessed memory). His deposition unknowingly altered the decision when he said the deceased then as PM built the Barrack Mosque by direct labor in his short knickers. Col AA Ochefu was a Christian of repute but records will not claim his religious disposition towards promotion of Islamic worship because the society has turned adversaries as the common denominator between the two Religions.
- Even at intangible limits for example the antidote relationship between Islam and Christianity is reality. The only person who dreamt that I was going to marry my second wife was late Col AS Shinga (of blessed memory), a good Christian colleague but by no means of any prophetic personality and yet it turned out true. What were common to us were sheer friendship, sincere loyalty and camaraderie while we served together for our fatherland.
SHEIKH DR AHMAD GUMI AND REV FR EJIKE MBAKA CONTRAST OF CAMPAIGN ANTI DOTES
- The struggle for virtue and sincerity of purpose seemed to have tested the antidote disposition between Muslim and Christian coexistence in the last Presidential campaign and poll exercise. In the first place no one would ever have expected the Clergy to be so personally involved with candidate’s credentials for election. The passion with which Sheikh Dr A Gumi entered into the arena to advise both leading Presidential candidates to step down was unprecedented even against the back drop of his declared intention to play leading role as an umpire to free and fair elections. Rev Fr Mbaka had remained quiet and uninvolved even when he was apparently disappointed by the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s performance all the while. He seemed to have reserved his impressions of President Buhari, for some reasons only known to him. But the moment Islamic Cleric Dr Gumi in 0ct 14 distanced himself from the Buhari Personality, an otherwise untouchable Northern Muslim candidate, the impulse of Rev Fr Mbaka was set to claim the main attraction in the Buhari personality; ‘truth and virtue’. It was as if everything else about Buhari could fall except the personification with the truthful virtue of the President. Rev Fr Mbaka obviously demonstrated passion beyond what could ordinarily be promotion of one candidate against the other as neither of the candidates deserved praise or condemnations of a Christian clergy in that form.
- The only equivalent of Mbaka’s promotion of change against condemnation of continuity by a clergy was in Dr Gumi’s condemnation of both which by proximity was only hard on President Buhari that was his kith and kin and at the same time branded Muslim fundamentalist before then. It seems obvious that what had kept Rev Fr Mbaka to his neutral position all the while was his ethnic, religious and regional affiliation to President Jonathan against the back drop of his difference with President Buhari. He waited too long for the electorates to make the difference but they were not forth coming until Dr Gumi, a fellow clergy shocked his nerves over the Buhari personality to invite puritanical display of Christian claim to truth and virtue instantly at play. Rev Fr Mbaka who could not hold himself any more, after the Parties primaries, to allow truth and virtue to be taken or claimed elsewhere, came out into the political arena in an equivalent manner Dr Gumi had jumped into the arena earlier on. Indeed it would seem coincidental but the Christian and Southern Nigerian support for President Buhari inadvertently sky rocketed from the time Dr Gumi attempted his caution against his candidature and upon its counter by our Rv Fr Mbaka.
- What God has decreed no man can make asunder. He will see through it by any means and for the last Presidential election He (SWT) took charge of both the supporters and the opposition as to put both opposing hands on the deck for His purpose. God’s disposal hand also used all of the performance of the incumbent who at the same time refused to allow any other rival to step out except his own very transparent low rating. A ‘rub dubu’ situation in Hausa that means all hands was on the deck kind of win, of both pro and against. But the antidote lesson in the complimentary roles played by Rev Fr Mbaka and Dr Gumi and their followers transcends mere Devine design to install the APC. It demonstrated the subject of the discourse that recalls many prototypes of such incidents that both Islam and Christianity struggle to keep purity within them and are jealous to have it elsewhere apart from them.
NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE NOT COMPARABLE TO NON MUSLIM WESTERN STATES
- On the other hand Islam seem to be relatively unknown in Europe and the Americas in terms of evangelism and culture spread and its fear/ phobia may have struck a negative impression only out of the large modern day migrations with negative consequences that threaten the true reality of Islamic heritage itself. It is suspected however that the truth may be known to Western and European Countries that there is more origin of modern day terrorism attributable to Islam from the West itself than from Muslim Countries simply because the methods of operations are more Western than Middle Eastern. Again Western converts are less likely to format their understanding of Islam in accordance with Orthodox Muslim scholarship and practices simply because they may yet still believe in the supremacy of their own literacy and educational background that promoted self made scholarship, Independent learning dispositions with or without the traditional Islamic tutelage. Traditional Muslim migrations that could have assisted Western elitist converts to form up behind Orthodox Muslim scholarship is no more in vogue as to alleviate the anxiety of the large Muslim Western converts from late Islamic discovery and desire to catch up. But are the Western Countries who consider their national and strategic interest’s first ready to accept to blame western Muslim converts ahead of Islam itself?
- It is certainly too much of expectation for Muslims to believe that Western Countries will apportion such blame appropriately as to purify the orthodox Islam from terror concepts. The job has to be done by Muslims and Muslim nations themselves. Countries in which Islam is relatively new in terms of preponderance should however be fair, or be obliged to first listen and prepare to support local contents of the Orthodox teachings as developed by different Islamic jurisdictions before making conclusions on the subject of terrorism and its international outlook. Often also indigenous factors and the local content of Islamic scholarship may be exported to simplify what Western countries could interpret wrongly as to save them from otherwise burgoos plan and strategy of activities, attitudes or problems anticipated.
COMMON LAW HERITAGE AND ITS CONVERGENCE WITH THE SHARIA LAW AS BASIS OF THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM
SHARIA DEBATE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF CLERICS.
- It is a great pity that lawyers and jurists have allowed the Sharia debate to be taken away from their domain even as they cling unto being learned in the matters of Nigerian law and its legal system. Who is there to deny that Nigerian law is based on the British law which is full blown Canon law in origin and conception? It only evolved as Gods law on earth following legal development built upon canonical and Biblical roots, interpretations and intendments in a way similar to how the Sharia developed along the accepted Schools of thought that till today more tied to jurisdictions. The English judges were on a higher moral pedestal than Clerics and the situation should not be different under the Sharia or the Nigerian legal and theological setting. Canon law was never smuggled into Northern Nigeria as to cajole or force it on Muslims to adopt in the direct manner it was imposed on the Southern Nigeria.
- Jurists should seize the initiative from Clerics to please explain that the merger and convergence of Canon/Common law with the Sharia law as to form what became of Northern and eventually Nigerian law was a sequence of deliberate efforts to accommodate each other with a workable system that has the confidence of all. It was a union or merger of the Common/Canon law with Sharia law to arrive at what is now referred to as Nigerian law and legal system with less emphasis on which of the two prevailed over the other to arrive at the Nigerian statutory content. Clearly omitted however, especially in our criminal laws are the traditional African and animist customs, laws and traditions from general application. There would have indeed been no starting point for those and especially their methods and operandi. At the same time however the National structures on the ground are adequate and enough to revisit what was earlier left out by our chequered history but let everyone also call a spade by its own name.
- The Nigerian legislature was designed in such a way that it will pick up the Nigerian laws from where the past rested as to form a home grown hybrid that would have taken care of all Nigerians according to their faith, convictions and domicile anywhere in the Country. This is the spirit of the earliest unification of Nigeria and the same for the subsequent constitutional growth and development that saw through the enactment of the Northern Nigerian Penal Code at Independence. My grandfather for example like many locality judges in Muslim North sat with the British lords over cases as they arose for mutual benefit of the local laws and development just as he was also screened by them for elevation at a time.
- Again Sheikh Abubakar Gumi only remained Clergy after having duly retired as the Grand Qadi of Northern Nigeria. He replaced a Sudanese Judge Sheikh Awad who was earlier brought in by the Colonial British to serve like many others in the promotion of their indirect rule. Thus when Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi was brought in from Bauchi specifically to counter the Clerical role of Abubakar Gumi in Kaduna, little did he appreciate that he was set up against a defined character of a reputable judge the consequence of which was to diminish juridical aptitude and eventually the Sharia pedestal from juridical to clergy plat form. And with it the moral high ground Sharia judges had over and above the clerics in the counterpart defense of Sharia as an equivalent source of the Nigerian legal system. Sheikh Bauchi may not have averted his mind to it to have fallen victim of higher mischief and we all joked about it as a mere competition among clerics in our own delusion; democracy in action.
- Second Republic President Shehu Shagari too seemed to have inadvertently given in to this development. While believing that nothing could whittle down Malam’s quality, President Shagari may not have averted his mind to the sharp contrast the then newly adopted Presidential System could have over the Parliamentary System (discarded) with regard to the local content of Sharia status, its strength, prospects or demobilization. While being only courteous and magnanimous, he conceded to the complaint brought before him, that Malam should be withdrawn from “all Islamic bodies and to put a distance between us”. The President replied (page 170 Where I Stand page) “It is true that …..I have known Malam Abubakar Gumi since child hood” but “I do not consider it desirable to down grade his position so drastically at this late hour, but I consider it necessary to raise the position of others to be at par with him in the eyes of Government and the world..We will also choose two or three Malams to be introduced to Muslim countries so that they will be known and recognized as Nigerian representatives”. Unknown to him the concession was to non judicial clergy, to escort Malam to find fortune in international adventures that were otherwise mainly tied to his personal judicial recognition. This irritation became additional distraction to genuine platform necessary for the survival of Sharia legal system. Consequently the emphasis hitherto put in the promotion of the national Sharia debate became over shadowed by the Izala- Dariqa tussle for cleric supremacy, educational endowments, fund raising and clamor for Hajj and Umra delegations. Meanwhile as young participants then, we continued to wonder whether or not a clear cut position was planned for especially as to the effect of National political transformation from the Parliamentary to Presidential forms of government with regard to our local content and the status of Sharia known only to the British system then. With the benefit of recent hind sight however, threat to the security of and value of vote and its casting residing directly in the citizen as against proxy pattern common to the parliamentary system may be due for review.
- Sheikh Bauchi is quite learned and can even see eye to eye with the Izala perception of ahlus Sunna given positive encouragement. Just few days ago he was on BBC Hausa service distancing himself from an exuberant dariqa youth leader who was said to have gone over the board in outrageous dariqa claims (http://audioboom.com/boos/320365-ba-ma-tare-da-masu-batanci-ga-annabi-dahiru-bauchi). For dariqa, Sheikh Dahiru said that they imposed it on themselves as to have no requirement for Muslim general application. Sheikh Bauchi would certainly have fared better if he had remained in Bauchi to focus propagation in the North east and Cameroons to have made BH unattainable in those places. The foundation of aggravated differences within the extended period of rivalry between izala and dariqa, simply gave in to new shades of dogmas just as the secular space widened the outrageous differences inter and intra sects and, attendant with backlash exemplified by the type recently denied by Sheikh Bauchi. Meanwhile, the juridical superintendence of qadis over the clergy in the growth and development of the Sharia legal system was left bare to our lives except of course what we decide to take to the available Sharia courts at individual levels.
- Does the cleric who never had juridical exposure either in training or practical experience knows where it hurts and can they really prosecute the Sharia or improve on the hybrid performance of the Nigerian legal system the way it was designed? A situation where clerics will be rated based on their juridical and similar outings before they are accorded with pedestal for fatwa at various levels of national exposure is certain to help the situation. Sheikh Abubakar Gumi was quick to query the Supreme Military Council’s (SMC) decision to sentence drug offenders who were caught before the promulgation of the enabling Decree then to death. He was able to distinguish between the SMC in judicial capacity as against its executive or administrative roles because of his background as Grand Qadi. He stood out odd to criticize, in spite of his love and respect for the then Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhari, who symbolized the Council leadership, and yet the victims were Christians who were meant to believe that Sharia and its judges are only for Muslims. Most clergy would not see the urgency of this intervention but it is now vindicated by the aggravated situation the Nation has found itself. I am not aware of any other Nigerian judge who felt so obliged to speak out then on the potential danger evident in the judicial slip as to go unquestioned.
- Ironically the opposition during the last Presidential election campaigns used the same Incident that happened about 31 years ago though unsuccessfully, to label the new President with a brand of calumny. The release of the Amnesty International Report (AIR) on Nigeria few days ago has however indicated that we are now far from judicial inadvertence to probable non judicial order. Who is best poised for the Nigerian situation better than our new President and C in C that has seen it from the beginning and until he gave it all chase to be able to arrest it. The opposition is certain to take him up on the action that he does not take over the AIR having tried unsuccessfully to earlier impute that he had no respect for due process. Letting the Nigerian law to take its course for all and sundry is probably the only viable option in the hands of the President.
THE PENAL CODE AND NORTHERN JURISDICTION.
- Many forget the intimacy between Islam and Christianity as to be averse to the Sharia or erroneously compare the Sharia with customary law that came to be recognized by Nigerian constitution virtually only in the post independence period. The Islamic attitude towards paganism is similar to that of Christianity and that is total abhorrence. The Nigerian criminal as inherited from the British did not recognize or take into account traditional African or pagan law with regard to offences, their mode of prosecution and proof or their shades of punishments. But Sharia law was a counterpart combination. It is erroneous to take it that the Penal code of Northern Nigeria is more of common than Sharia law simply because English is the medium and that the Sharia roots were evaded to give it conveyance that sounds more English and Nigerian than Arabic. Compare it with the Sudan or Pakistan Criminal codes and it may be argued that it is even more Sharia than common law in contents. Apart from bigamy which is exclusively common law in origin all the offences can be traced more from Quran than the 10 commandments laid and prescribed in the holy Bible. Of course the Old Testament even has heavier regimen and injunctions than the Sharia for anyone to take Nigerian criminal law as more Canon.
- The Sharia debate however left in the hands of non jurists has deluded the public into looking at Sharia criminal law only in terms of concessions made on punishments that were made common and universal for all Nigerians. Thus instead of the prescribed offences to be regarded more as the substantive law, emphasis is laid on the mode of punishments by unfair campaigns of calumny. It is the offences, after all that concern majority of citizens who are the conformist, while the minorities who are the criminals are concerned with the punishments. Indeed the less emphasis on prescribed Sharia punishments in our Criminal law was in the first place meant to mellow down on Muslims from facing stricter disciplinary code when other Nigerians can only be punished with lighter sentences.
- The same Islam that outlined the Hudud punishments will not have a more severe sentence on Muslims if they are constituted together with non Muslims under an agreement that is put in place, under equity to treat like for a likes in constitutional law. Gods bounty, grace and abundance allow the same Sharia in times of ‘maslaha’, (compromise) and coexistence to be moderated in such a way that the Muslim drops from an alter to even up and build into the spirit of the compromise itself as depicted by the Prophet SAW in the treaty of Hudaibiyya.To raise Islamic criminal law on Muslims alone in the Nigerian context would mean putting Muslims on a higher pedestal of punishments when others are freer to take on the World. Such will only consolidate on the parasitic secular World to hold Religion to ransom and further with hold its appeal for piety, deliberate submission to the Almighty and its germination to spread His worship on earth. Moreover there is no where under the Sharia that maslaha is employed as much as in the award of punishments generally and the Quranic spirit will tell a criminal, not appropriately punished on earth to not to celebrate but to wait for his time at a later date the while forgiveness remains open provided the soul is breathing.
THE 1999/2000 ZAMFARA BRAND OF SHARIA CRIMINAL LAW.
- Zamfara State Government introduction of what it called Sharia criminal law was not only being hard on Muslims in ‘uquba’, but amateurish and narrow in perception. It sent dangerous signal to the public that the Nigeria project had side lined Sharia criminal law and that Muslims had been marginalized before then, not minding the modest achievements yet in place. Ideally the entire Northern States should have been involved in the amendment and/or improvement of the Penal code operational in the North to have built upon the established Sharia content as it were for political purposes.
- The Sudden Zamfara Sharia criminal law, rudely begged to excommunicate the traces of the same Sharia begging for attention from within the then extant Nigerian Legal system instead of fortifying it with measures from within. The transmutation of Boko from apathy perception to Haram may not have been unconnected with Muslim feeling that Sharia under the Nigerian legal system has no developmental space. This could have been compounded by circumstances to have encouraged some lay abouts to exploit other means as to take up arms to drive it down the Nigerian throat. The most potent of countering such feelings of Muslim marginalization and over blown disgruntlement is for jurists and people of learning cutting across all divides to be sincere about our chequered history and drive in the Sharia debate or issues back to their appropriate place, space and context. And for all and sundry to be patient and accommodative of Sharia law the same way the colonial masters accommodated it at the least.
- Let it be known either that Muslim acceptance of Canon/Common law is not because it was smuggled into or driven down the throat of Northern Nigeria by the British but that Sharia itself and the Quran prescribed it on Muslims not to discriminate or make outcaste the law of Abraham, Moses and of course the life and times of Jesus (on all be praises and abundant blessings).
APOLOGY AND ARROW OF THE BURDEN OF BLAME
- If there is any body to apologize for the situation Muslims and the North have found themselves however, the arrow will point at former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR. He has been on the scene for too long to claim innocence and for his own quality and experience. He has danced along the fault lines of secular and Religious Nigeria since 1975 when, as Head of State he collected missionary schools from the churches and Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) and simultaneously recruited retired soldiers to government schools to impose corporal discipline in place of clergy and moral dominance in our schools. He again supervised and restored the first walk out of Muslim representatives to the constitution drafting committee 1979 and was again to benefit from another similar walk out in 1999 after which he became the next Civilian President of the FRN.
- The greatest disservice however was the decision to handle the seeming reckless Zamfara Sharia crisis other than by due process while calling it ‘political Sharia’ and then worse still decided to handle it extra judicially. His Government denied the Federal courts an adjudicative opportunity that could assuage on the situation to probably fill in the gaps that Sharia needed to have natural growth and level playing field like any other sensitive aspect of our lives. The various legislative houses at different levels were consequently also denied the opportunity to pick up better initiatives from the judiciary to carry on together with the executive arm the Sharia discourse and development across those places it needed to make positive inroad like all other matters of common concerns.
- Incidentally President Obasanjo was very privy to the robust role of the judiciary in all matters that included politics like in the interpretation of two thirds of 19 states and many more pursued by Nigerian courts which mainly also upheld public policy to the wide acclaim of Nigerians. Methinks Obasanjo knew the greater implications to the polity and that was why he was bent on a third term to manage it fair enough. When the third term bid failed Baba Obasanjo could only be scanty to the incoming Yaradua /Jonathan‘s regimes over the full brief to the Sharia crisis and its logical link with the BH for them to remain clue less in its management. The guilt may explain why Obasanjo remained too interested as to seek compensation to the BH leader’s family even ahead of the Government initiative while prescribing a carrot and stick approach to the counter Insurgency effort. On the sight of a free and fair election Obasanjo was again quick to shift ground, dance and arrive at the Change pulpit even before the imam’s arrival in order to assure himself credible role thereafter.
- Similarly, President Obasanjo it was who introduced so many laudable national projects that could have nipped the entire security situation at earliest convenience but his Government would down play on diligence required to implement them with dire consequences. Other times they were overtaken by ill motivated forces. The delay in the managing the effectiveness of the National ID card and the registration of mobile phone lines are very handy examples that resemble the slow pace of managing the BH crisis itself because they both could nip criminality in the bud. The sales of Federal Government landed properties, another sensitive item within crisis ridden period of indigene or no indigene, is another example of a project apparently implemented well in some areas while it took years to achieve same in other parts of the Country. The attitude gave the room for system arbitrariness, adjustments, corruption and impugned consequences.
DISTINGUISHING PAGAN IDENTITIES AND THE USE OF THE WORD ‘ARNE’ UNPERTURBED.
- The above background brings to bear on the general conflict situation getting out of control between Muslims and Christians in Northern Nigeria. A contest between the duo as to who owns more virtuous and model qualities ahead of the other transmuted to competition of who survives the treachery of the other unperturbed. Unperturbed because other Muslims see their fellows on the wrong path of the treachery and yet allow it as if their divine claims of holy sources have now been updated to accommodate their new found ways and approaches against their Christian brethrens. How can a learned Muslim refer to a Christian as ‘arne’ when it literally means ‘infidel’ and that the Quran has distinguished the Christian brethren with good and respectful titles not the least in such forms. The word ‘arne ‘Hausa’ word was originally used on pagan communities before their conversion to Islam.
- It behooves on Muslim clergy, knowing full well that use of the word on Christians is a cause of friction and conflict to correct the impression mainly because it is wrong and also in order not to allow mischievous people from exploiting such gaps to achieve different negative objectives. Other tribes and ethnic groups have similar derogatory words for non members but the Muslims must appreciate that Hausa magnanimity brought other tribes to also largely communicate in Hausa to its greater advantage but should not allow a mix up with faulty religious perceptions. The root cause of friction between Muslims and Christians may have been the mischief exploited around the use of the word on Christians by careless Muslim preachers and lay about.
SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE BOOK ‘WHO IS THIS ALLAH’ UNPERTURBED.
- The seeming reaction to the provocation posed by Muslims calling Christian infidels, may have elicited a counter reaction for the latter to lose patience as to paint Muslims in unpalatable ways. The Book print ‘Who is This Allah’ referred to was dedicated to the creation of Christian hate on Islam. The first impression I had after reading the book ‘Who is this Allah’ is that it is not a Christian book to have dwelt into details of Islamic concepts with a view to demonizing them. This is because Christianity predates Islam and cannot therefore gain by demonization of Islam. Christian wellbeing does not at all depend on Islam just as it’s crave for virtue cannot accommodate wild accusations of in dignity. Islam that came much later is the religion that must look for space within Christianity to make a meaning to the latter.
- The dedication paragraph of the edition in question quickly added up the story meant to settle scores with purported Muslim violence against Christians of Northern Nigeria as well as the 911 US twin tower terrorist Attack of 2001. The author, GJO Moshe is clearly stingy with his own religious identity or background to be credible. He left out the link between the terrorist acts and their factual conducts or blame on persons, as to heap the cause of their actions on Islam itself, its Quran, and in the life and teachings of its Prophet albeit out of anger and context. The worry is that this book is receiving high sales in Christian bookshops unperturbed. Much of the impressions on the BH character may have been made up in official quarters by circulation of the same book as to make reorientation within Government circle and change difficult. Christian clergy who are experts in the assessment of true Christian teachings should not remain silent in the event someone is using their exalted forum to impersonate and promote hatred especially when the basis is false and the roots are from non Christian authors.
ATONEMENT FOR THE LOSSES OF THE LIVES OF THE INNOCENT; THE 60 DAYS PRESCRIPTIVE FASTING
- In spite of the general defenses of accident or mistake in criminal liability, the Quran yet prescribed atonement worship for any Muslim who kills another under the circumstance. Chapter 4:92 prescribes 60 days consecutive fasting on the person affected based on stringent Quranic ruling that one life is as good as the entire mankind and so it is for its loss. The collateral damage known to the BH operations, especially in civilian and in built up areas is attendant with high innocent casualties. While members of the armed forces are assumed to be doing their best, Muslim cooperation to the military efforts, in the earlier days were not as encouraging as to help minimize innocent casualties. There is the need for the Clergy to determine circumstances under which those who could have given in to mistaken acts or omissions that led to deaths of persons not known to have been complicit to be advised to atone by the kaffara fasting. And should this be difficult to determine, the Ulama should probably advise on general multiplication of 60 days supererogatory fasting to be encouraged along with the routine prayers for return of peace to the Country at large. It is beneficent that under the Sharia a person obliged to attone with the 60 days fasting is not required to multiply same by the number of persons who died as a result of his mistaken actions within the same circumstances.
DRAWING A LINE ON EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS GENERALLY
- The trial or non trial of those policemen alleged to have killed BH leader Muh Yusuf is not at all a priority when extra judicial killings are in numbers. Taking laws into hands without due process is noticeably rampant and this was precipitated by frustrations within the criminal and judicial processes. Without any lawful excuse ever, we give in to the fact that the system has been overwhelmed by too slow pace of the justice system and the reluctance of criminals to give into or be subdued by justice. My first encounter with extra judicial killings was about the year 2002 when I had to advise against giving permission to a sister security outfit, the use of a military range for ‘some activity’. Extra judicial treatment of criminality is an aberration and especially when it spreads to point of notoriety, as in when aired by credible media sources. Even the judiciary cannot stand aloof to issues of notoriety to wait until cases are brought in for determination. Everyone must be seen to condemn and/or frown at it even for respect of citizenship status, law and order principles and desire to be counted with the civilized.
- At no time therefore, should we allow any one member of the society, not the least a public servant to go about bragging over his extra judicial undertakings. And consequently no one should be made to feel secure from the law for obeying illegal orders related to extra judicial sentences. Efforts must discourage the pardon of affected persons or using the pardon in such a way as to promote the condo nation of such an act. The case of late Muh Yusuf need not be given any particular relevance or isolated treatment for what he has turned out to be but a general line must be drawn by the Government, after due consideration of public policy and this should be seen by all to foreclose any such future occurrence.
TRIBUTE TO OUR NEW PRESIDENT
- I wish to join all and sundry to welcome in the President and Commander in Chief of the FRN, Muhammadu Bukhari GCFR, by no means the most recognized people’s choice ever to be so passionately acclaimed in recent history. Methinks he is from outer space to maintain the brand of the Truthful for so Nigerian long. He is much like his grandfather, the proverbial Bayajidda said to be an Arab from Bagdad who defied all difficulties to kill the snake that would not let Daura be. A journey accurately calculated by him, when those that started with or joined him midway miscalculated it as shorter and along the line became impatient to call him weak, overbearing, under bearing, snobbish, soft, old, uncertified etc and yet they had to follow. They were eventually crawling until the game was up without them realizing that it had been won and over.
- Pretty much like the long journey between Musa (AS) and Khadir (AS) with each of them endowed with a shade of wisdom not known to the other. Musa AS was looking for that person who surpassed him and was to test himself whether or not he could humble himself to withstand following superior specialized wisdom-to train and pass exams of teacher of a kind- much like to run a course of study within a particular time frame. Quran verse 81.67 (Khidir said)“Verily you will not be able to have patience with me,( again and again)and Musa kept on saying ’If Allah wills you will find me patient and I will not disobey you in aught’ ..(18.69). He (Khidir) said ‘then if you follow me, ask me not about something until I myself mention of it to you’ (18.70) Khidir said ‘Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?’ (18.76) Moses said ‘ ‘If I ask you any further question after this, keep me not in your company anymore for I would then give you an excuse’(18.78) Khidir said ‘ This is the parting between me and you (as in Musa failed to qualify, took excuse and Khidir granted it). But (Khidir said) ‘I will now tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience’”.
- For long I saw Baba Buhari with personality akin to the lessons learnt in Suratul (chapter) Kahf and I bet you must read it every Friday as recommended, to get the analogy. It is about a contest of virtue between candidates“ Verily We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them as to which of them are best in deeds.” And “it is an example for us to ponder about:”And “indeed we have put forth every kind of example in this Quran, for mankind but man is ever more quarrelsome than anything to understand it“(18.54). The President was first invited by people as that Man with the Wisdom to wrestle Nigeria from PDP and take it to great heights. Yet these same people will not pass the test of following him. They were impatient and like the example of Musa AS. Everyone can only pass his own test but everyone before a teacher or a particular course of study has a capacity in following or passing specialized field of study. Again Verse 109 said “Say if the sea were ink for(writing)the words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord would be finished, even if We brought (another sea) like it for its aid ”.It means every one must submit to his limit of comprehension as knowledge is unquantifiable. To have a lot of knowledge is therefore not the essence but for it to be useful and to be able to give in to ones limitations, submit to superior wisdom and be patient to the more endowed (the specialist in his own field) until opportunity to ask questions avail itself.
- In the ANPP, CPC APC Trip of about 15 years, we hardly see someone who started with President M Buhari and remained to date without retraction no matter how slight. Indeed we saw some that started with him and those who became elected simply by tagging with him yet moving in and out of his cloak until the game is up and they are caught up on the other side. The President has remained benevolent with carpet movements until almost every one moved to his Party to clearly define the win much akin to the example of Zhul Qarnain (AS):”They ask you about Zhul Qarnain” (apparently also like from outer space). “ Say I shall recite to you something of his story…He followed cause and effect” and met three set of communities one after the other and each will after encounter, it would seem, follow him to the next in the search for solution to a common problem. First at the ‘setting place of the sun’, he met a community which were though corrupt but remained quiet for him to discover whatever they feared that made them to hang on to the state of corruption they found themselves in (compare with the 2003 Buhari appearance before his investigation to free and fair elections).
- Then the second at the ‘rising place of the sun’, another community who have no privacy and at this juncture, (even when they refused to talk) he could discern loss of privacy in them and fright as their main reason to hang on to the corrupt state (2007 encounter). They again all followed him to the third group, the most frightened and in whom keeping quite was no more feasible because the intense lack of privacy had made survival itself improbable through silence. They now spoke to untie the knot in front of the very terror that had engulfed their freedom thereby daring corruption to do its worst (2011 encounter)“Oh ZhulQarnain (verse 94)Verily the Gog and Magog are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them (New party and alliances culminating into the proverbial ‘tsintsiya Sak’). (Versus 96)” Go get me pieces of iron(anti rigging structures and campaigns); when he had filled up the gap between the two mountains cliff(two political parties)he said (2015)Blow then(cast your thumb print) until he made them (red as)fire, he said bring the molten copper to pour upon them then until he made them (red as)fire, he said bring the molten copper to pour upon them(like a tare a raka a tsare) (97) so they could not scale it or dig through it..’( aluta continua into 2015-2019)
LESSONS LEARNT FROM CHAPTER KAHF
- Knowledge has no Limit. The story of learned Musa and more learned Khidr seemed to also indicate the distance of learning and its quantum between the North and South poles of the earth. Since Allahs’ knowledge has no end, it required every soul learned in something to give in to the other endowed with another degree of expertise and that impatience and quarrel is the bane of understanding. It teaches respect and obedience to a teacher in his own specialty and the difficulty on comprehension of knowledge when the time for it is not due. The parting of ways between Musa AS and Khidir is significant to show that a pupil cannot even exhaust the knowledge of his teacher let alone that of Allah who created both of them. The undertaker should only take as much to move on after due recognition and appreciation of the teacher.
- Solution to ones problems belies in self help. A combination of these lessons altogether also made up the story of ZhulQarnain who travelled and used no other than the same people, engulfed by their own corruption, and who did not believe in themselves to free themselves from an intractable shackle of their time. They probably never thought that Zhul Qarnain was going to use them as foot soldiers for their own problem but that was it. The chapter brought the story of Zhul Qarnain in succession after the Musa AS and Khidir encounter as a build up to the phase in which premature questions and argument between a leader and a pupil had been overcome. The success in the Zhul Qarnain episodes are largely therefore as a result of following a leader in submission to his dictates, patience and belief in his abilities. This group followed him with silence as he unraveled the situation by himself and he went on until they too attained similar level of self discovery as to identify their main terror and, out of impulse they called out (verse 94) “Behold oh Zhul Qarnain, the Gog and Maggog are committing atrocities on earth and can we get a way out from you as to keep, between us and them, at bay?” They said it as if they were not part of the problem in the first instance. They are the same lot which, in preceding verse the Quran advised Zhul Qarnain to (verse 86)“either punish them or give them reprieve for some goodness that still resided in them”. It is clear that just as the Gog and Maggog used the same people who were the victims in committing atrocities, Zhul Qarnain also used the same victims for the solution.
- Concept of Drawing a Line. Thus Zhul Qarnain while considering the options (as above given) said (verse 87) “whoever continued in atrocities I will surely punish him and then return him to his Lord for a greater punishment in due course”. I guess that is where the concept of drawing a line also comes in if I did hear something like that from our President and C in C. Persistence on the wrong even when it is outright is what impunity means. If impunity is alleged and proven, Zhul Qarnain insisted that he will surely punish and still return same to the Lord for even greater punishment. For that, another guess, the law and the courts have adequate provisions for admissions, confessions, conndonnation and pardon or as the case may be retribution, restitution, compensation etc. Zhul Qarnain could only achieve the feat by investigation, record compilation and screening. Allah is best endowed with knowledge.
- Elimination of Corruption takes Time. The Central theme of Suratul Kahf seem to be that elimination of corruption takes time and is a natural test for believers over their patience, belief and reliance that Allah SWT is there to worship. Devine sources indicate that test of one person against another or against worship of the Lord is mostly intense and it will not abate until those with doubtful beliefs are separated from genuine, the patient from the impatient, the good and the bad and until people will frequently ask ‘when is the promised reprieve of Allah going to come’ (32.28) and at that time the weak in faith would have long given up.
- Responsibility for success is on the Leader. The most valuable lesson learnt here however is in the fact that it is the follower Sayyidina Musa AS that excused Sayyidina Khidir by declaring that he had faulted his warning three times and had therefore excused the teacher from the obligation to continue to tutelage. Presumably had Musa returned to request to yet follow in the adventure that was strange to him, Khidr would have accepted him as he had done in the past. Indeed even before they set out he had remarked (verse 68) ‘How can you even have the patience to follow me when you don’t have the complete story’. It confirms that the leader or the specialist always anticipates ineptitude in the follower, pupil and undertaker. The endowed leader can therefore never be tired of his followers. He sees beyond the common that eyes can see and it behooves on the undertaker to always give breathing space and not to argue if he is to learn successfully. This is a lesson we often take for granted to encroach on others and deny them their endowed expertise and reign. May Allah SWT guide our leader’s right Amin.
ON DR AHMAD A GUMI
- Mr President Sir, although you came along way with Dr Ahmad A Gumi, he seemed lately to be one other example of your impatient disciples. From what I gathered mainly, he believed in the Yaradua Presidency when you insisted that, personality apart, PDP was the problem. He has now realized the true meaning of ‘Sak’ a political as against a religious concept, and the deficiency of an anointed Yaradua being more or less like the anointed Goodluck Jonathan. Suratul Kahf would still teach that being the big brother whose field we all encroached upon to make contribution, without the least claiming any expertise, that you will during your tenure also look back to say to us, “I will now tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience”. Should Dr Gumi still ask more questions it will still behold on you to either tell him it is premature, timely or to simply say follow me and keep quite? I am sure again that the day he excuses you as having tried enough to accept him in your journey, you will, like ZhulQarnain AS pause a little to let him know where he aired and the interpretations of his difficult subjects.
- You may also wish to yet again console him over an attempted suicide attack aimed at his person on a last day of Ramadan, the subsequent day of the year in which you also faced near identical challenge. Could that have been two lailatul qadrs of near equal in character? Could there have been some 83.3 years gap multiplied in fold, separating the common struggle between you and Dr Ahmad that creates the inability to see that you have so much in common as to blur our vision to one and the same struggle? I thought also that if someone met his luck with Lailatul Qadri, he must appreciate it to again stoop low as be able to relate with commoners 80 yrs down the line. The depth of our struggle to untie the general impression created by your adversaries, that you were a fundamentalist, may provide the insight as to how Dr Gumi would have failed to be patient with you. He is not from outer space any way to have withstood what you could go through unperturbed. He only went for a surgeon in Saudi Arabia to improve on the local content he really is. He remains an asset for you to tap any day and time. Being the People’s choice however, we shall continue to take you up on issues.
- In addition, Sheikh Ahmad also suffered detention and incarceration for two years in Saudi Arabia some time back purportedly for his own safe custody confirming the fact that he could be misunderstood often. The matter of his compensation and restitution to his family again rests now with his Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the clergy their endowed knowledge and to Mr. President his authority and expertise, exemplary politics and voyage, general ship, calm benevolence and all the fatherly dues he deserves. We are also constrained to ask much more from you like the rest of Nigerians. Having ones stumbled on a document that purportedly projected for the building of two appendages to the National Library, in dear memories of the late Waziri Junaid of Sokoto and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi of Kaduna, I cannot conclude without requesting you to please look into it with a view to making amends. The one in Sokoto has been sited on ground while that of Kaduna is yet to be brought to our notice.
THE NORTH BEACONS TO THE SOUTH ONES AGAIN
- Incidentally too the outcome of the elections played out an alliance the plat form of which is similar to continual repeat of Northern beacon to the South to save Nigeria from decline. While some parts will see reason some others will not be comfortable. The North South alliances are efforts of great compatriots and as always it turns out as the saving grace. The last 15 years is replete with agitations from various ethnic, tribal, regional and sectional groups for terms coined relative to desires for self rule, autonomy, true federalism, resource control etc. National conferences and similar groupings were also put in place to look at some of these agitations. What is evident is the preponderance of alliances that emerge to always make civil what has been contrived to look like emergency situations. In the long run Nigeria has been the better for it. The North however seem to have been most stable in terms of these agitations but this record has now been dented by the BH menace.
- It is another delight however, that those who decided to show case MKO Abiola in the North as to turn him into a veritable presidential candidate loved by all have also, by it succeeded in laying the foundation for the alliance with the South West in the recent Presidential elections. The fortunes to the Nigeria project in the trying times not witnessed before can only be imagined. MKO Abiola it was who single handedly partnered with the Federal Government to sponsor Malam and entourage to Saudi Arabia to receive the King Faisal Award out of gratitude to the reception Malam always gave him as a philanthropist of repute and a bridge builder across the Country. Late Alh A Folawiyo and Chief Lateef Jakonde were some of Malam’s finest pupils who were political juggernauts from the South West promoted in the North along with MKO Abiola (may the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace).
- All parts of the Country should make do more with Religion as the most veritable bond to forge genuine relationships that are capable of withstanding all manners of rigor or minimize them to the barest minimum whenever they have to strike. Only Religion has the where withal to reduce wealth and materialism to infinitesimal that is not after all worth dying for. Our love for material being apart, how many people share or care to bequeath their property to loved ones at the point of death to ensure the continuity of their material household the way they do with the Religious disposition of wives and children. Hardly do lawyers survive on wills and its management in Nigeria as to imagine that we are ready to turn resources into chattel of major jealousy that translates to main reason behind self alienation. Most people simply die off to allow whatever interstate administration debut. It is absurd for materialism to stand as a worthwhile dogma.
- More people will even take tribal, ethnic and regional sentiments on higher pedestal than simple ownership of resources buried on earth. The ones untapped and undiscovered are by far more than the ones available. The ones available can never finish on account of our numbers. The Quran would rather raise Religious bonds and pedestal the while it boasts yet again only on the resource of reckon if any should exist as a weapon. Last verse of chapter Mulk (power) “Say have you considered: if your water was to become sunken (into the earth), then who could bring you flowing water”. Yet again you find volumes of people living in the desert area with no urge to run to water bound places or to grab it from others simply because it has high material value. It remains a means and should not stand as an end in itself.
NEED FOR MUSLIM SUMMIT.
- In all there is need for Muslims of Northern extraction and indeed nationwide to hold a summit of all the known Islamic groups in order to achieve common declarations on the BH phenomenon, reaffirm respect and mutual confidence in Christians across and reiterate the universality of and commonality of the local and orthodox content of Islam to fellow countrymen.
- Above discourse is a humble contribution towards breaking the BH menace. Phase 1 concentrated on what the Federal Government may do in addition to the measures already in place to bring the Insurgency to book. Phase 11 shifted attention from the Government to discuss the role of the victim and complainant who also has been up and about to promote the necessary atmosphere to restore mutual coexistence and past glories back. It is believed that an agenda for the North, Muslims and Christians can be set from the discourse required to harness efforts of all and sundry into the project.
- It stands out that there is urgent need for a Muslim summit to discuss the items of the agenda and to re-establish gaps that have eroded in the past to have paved way for the current unfortunate situation. The aegis of the Jamatu Nasril Islam is suggested as the umbrella body under which all Muslim organizations will come in to marshal the communiqué required for Government support and other parallel action. Firm declarations need to be made that will re-establish the confidence of Christians and the international communities in the Muslims of Nigeria that they are peaceful and law abiding like they have always been in the past. The summit may also wish to conclude by a recap of the universality and inmemorability of Islamic heritage and its contribution to the making of the modern World.
- Allahu Aalam and May Allah forgive us our mistakes and wrongs. Aminmmended by the Sunna of the Prophet SAW.
ABDULQADIR ABUBAKAR GUMI
BRIGADIER GENERAL (RTD)
FORMER DIRECTOR, ARMY LEGAL SERVICES.
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