By Femi Fani-Kayode
Permit me to begin this contribution with some basic truisms: Firstly that God is great and that He alone forges the destiny of nations and rules in the affairs of men. Secondly that He is faithful and true and that He alone is worthy of our fear and of our praise. Lest despair and despondency set in, it is right and proper to always remember this and to continue to reiterate these truisms given the horrific things that we are witnessing on a daily basis in our country today. This is a season of brutality, sadness and fear.
A season which has witnessed more carnage and bloodshed than ever before. A season of tears and sorrow that has brought pain and shame to our nation’s doorstep. A season in which the entire world has focused it’s attention on Nigeria for all the wrong reasons. A season in which over 200 of our compatriots were slaughtered in cold blood by a bomb blast in Nyanya, Abuja and in which over 100 pubescent girls were abducted from their school in Chibok town, Borno State. A season in which horror, blood, sweat and tears have pinned us down and gripped us. A season in which children were plucked from their mother’s arms and slaughtered like rams and infants mourned the loss of their parents, grandparents and siblings.
Even by Nigerian standards, what happened last week was particularly chilling. Our story seems to be the same- horror after horror, carnage after carnage, ineptitude after ineptitude and insensitivity after insensitivity. And in all this, it is the poor, the vulnerable, the less privilaged and the weaker members of our society that suffer. What a tragedy. We have entered a season of anomie and utter anarchy. I hereby condemn, in the strongest terms, both the bomb blast that took place in Nyanya and the abduction of the young girls in Chibok. Once again, I hereby call on the Federal Government not to hold back and not to give an inch or a quarter.
They must take off the kid gloves, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. They must rise up to the occasions, crush the terrorists with ruthless precision and protect the Nigerian people. And we the people must give them our full support as they do so. If we can do that, I have little doubt that those who are secretly behind Boko Haram and employ the use of terror for political ends will soon be exposed.
Those who delight in bloodshed and revel in carnage will soon be defeated. Those who secretly encourage them and covertly fund them will soon be shamed. Those who rejoice each time they hear that others have had their limbs blown off, their lives snuffed out and their children abducted will soon be brought to justice. And those who are confused and that fail to understand what is really going on or what purpose this sheer madness and pure wickedness is designed to serve will soon be enlightened.
Let us make no mistake about it: Nigeria is in for the fight of her life. What we are faced with in our country today is nothing less than a full scale war. It is a war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. A war between Islamists and secularists. A war between the agents of the devil and the servants of God. It is a war that was fought in the 19th century in Turkey and in the early 1990s in Algeria. It is a war that was also fought in Lebanon, Chechyna, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Malaysia, Palestine, the Phillipines, the Sudan, Syria and Indonesia in recent years. It is a war that is being fought in Pakistan, Afghanistan and, once again, in Syria today.
In Turkey, Kemal Attaturk, the founder of that great Muslim nation, slaughtered no less than one million Islamists in order to establish a modern-day secular state in which the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims were guaranteed. In Algeria, the military slaughtered no less than 150,000 Islamists in a brutal and prolonged war in order to achieve the same goal. In Lebanon, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, Chechyna, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, the Sudan, Syria and Malaysia, thousands were slaughtered over the years in order to preserve the secularity of the state and to protect it from the evil of Islamic fundamentalism.
Today, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with the full support of NATO and the American military machine, they are waging the same war and are doing the same thing and hundreds of thousands have been killed in the process.
In Syria, once again, we are witnessing the same bitter struggle: you have an embattled secularist government being challenged by a brutal and unrelenting Al Qaeda-sponsored Islamist army that is hell bent on turning that country into a primitive Islamic fundamentalist state. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are faced with the same struggle and war in Nigeria. It is not a war between Christian and Muslim or between the North and the South. It is not a war between the ethnic nationalities or between the Hausa-Fulani and the rest of us. It is a war between the Wahabbi-indoctrinated and Salifist-inspired Islamists who wish to send us back to the stone age on the one hand against the secularists, the moderate Muslims, the Christians, the agnostics, the athiests, the traditional worshippers and all the rest of us, who wish to preserve and develop a modern 21st century Nigerian state, on the other.
And whether we like it or not we must fight that war and we must win. The truth is that an Islamist is not a true Muslim and he does not represent Islam. It therefore does not matter how many Islamists have to be killed in the process of fighting this war. They must all be eliminated and sent back to hell where they came from.
They shall fail and ultimately the Nigerian people shall prevail. Of this I have no doubt because the one true Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the armies of Israel, the God whose name is the I AM, THAT I AM, the God who never slumbers or sleeps and who never lies, the God that is known as the Man of War, the Lord God of Hosts and the Ancient of Days wills it and because He has said it. And every single Nigerian, including this writer, is here to fight that war when and if he or she is called upon to do so.
Yet we must guard against ignorance and disinformation which may further divide our ranks. And one of the most dangerous submissions that is presently making the rounds in the North was well captured by a misguided and misinformed individual by the name of Usman Jimeta who wrote the following: ‘’All northern Muslims must know that the killings in the North of Muslims is solely sponsored by Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan agreed with his people of South-east and South-south that our population must be eliminated through massacres. Those carrying out the massacres in the different states of the North are well trained Igbo and former Niger Delta militants who were trained in Israel and clandestinely in some countries. President Jonathan once told a northern elite that a revolution must be started in the North to pave the way for killing all our elites.
“Jonathan assassinated General Mohammed Shuwa, assassinated Jarman Katagum, attempted to eliminate Ado Bayero, Kwankwaso, the Sultan of Sokoto, to mention but a few. Jonathan has declared a genocide on Northern Muslims! President Goodluck Jonathan gave orders to the Military to wipe off Fulanis in Nigeria. It is now clear to even skeptics that Boko Haram is trained and funded by CAN, Christian Association of Nigeria, and in collaboration with President Goodluck Jonathan. Under the design, Muslim clerics, Muslim elites, Muslim cities are to be obliterated under the watchful eyes of the ethnoreligious Goodluck Jonathan. Why Ayo Oritsejafor, the CAN President, is not talking is because a job well done is carried out by Boko Haram, the militant wing of CAN, in their desire to wipe out Muslims in Nigeria!’’
Have you ever heard such senseless and unintelligent rubbish? Yet as absurd as it is, I believe Mr. Usman Jimeta’s dangerous and hateful assertions deserve a clear response lest some people are misled by him. The suggestion that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is BEHIND Boko Haram and that they are using it to attempt to ‘’wipe out northern Muslims’’ is absurd and reckless.
In case those that are peddling this divisive rubbish did not know, thousands of Christians have been killed by Boko Haram in the last few years as well and hundreds of churches burnt to the ground. Is CAN behind that too? Equally importantly, thousands of southerners that live in the north have also been butchered by Boko Haram. Was that the handiwork of CAN as well
The leadership of CAN may have made some mistakes in the last few years and indulged in one or two strategic errors but that does not mean that we ought to peddle lies and falsehood in order to create even more division and strife in our land. That does not mean that we should accuse them of being homicidal maniacs that seek to ‘’christianise’’ Nigeria and wipe out the Muslim faithful and Islam. Nothing could be further from the truth and, as a Christian, I take great exception to such absurd categorisations.
People like Mr. Usman Jimeta are being misled by some of his own northern Muslim leaders and it is those same leaders that secretly rejoice whenever Boko Haram strikes and kills our people. For example, a highly celebrated northern Muslim friend of mine who is a former Minister has consistently peddled the idea that Boko Haram is a creation of CAN, MOSSAD and the CIA and that they are using it to fight and destroy northern Muslims and the entire northern region. This is absolute nonsense and he must desist from saying such things otherwise he must provide us with his evidence.
His covert campaign to try to discredit the leadership of CAN particularly and to divide the North and the South in an attempt to create a political constituency for himself must stop. If he does not do so some of us shall take up his challenge, rise to the occasion, call him out on it and join issues with him in a very forceful and profound manner indeed.
I would never seek to undermine, discredit or accuse the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs or the JNI for terrorism, mass murder, child abduction, slavery, waging war against the Nigerian state and subversion without any tangible evidence against them out of respect for the Muslim community and out of my fear of God. He should stop doing the same to CAN unless he can provide us with the necessary evidence to back up his claims. Boko Haram is an enemy to EVERY Nigerian, whether northerner or southerner and whether Christian, Muslim or traditional worshipper.
They are not a creation of CAN designed to wipe out northern Muslims. Rather, they are a creation of Satan mandated to wipe us ALL out, to destroy our collective destiny, to put us back in the stone age, to shroud us with a cloak of darkness and to capture and steal the very soul of our nation. They are of the devil and they are from the devil. Anyone that suggests otherwise is simply insane.
Meanwhile I call on every able-bodied Nigerian to brace up and prepare for war. No sacrifice is too great for our motherland Nigeria. Let us remember that we are first and foremost Nigerians and that we must be ready to do whatever it takes to jealously guard and protect the lives and integrity of our people and to destroy the enemies of our destiny. Let the bickering stop and let us identify our real adversaries and face them down.
Whether we are Christian or Muslim, APC or PDP, APGA or Labour, northern or southern, in government or outside of government, believer or athiest, light-skinned or dark-skinned, young or old, rich or poor, military or civilian, our collective enemy makes no distinction and seeks to kill us all and change our way of life forever. If there were anytime to come together, drop our differences, draw the line and say “enough is enough”, this is it.
We must rise up like men and collectively fight this evil. We must encourage and support our security agencies and armed forces and let them know that they are going into battle with the whole nation fully behind them. We must let them know that every single self-respecting Nigerian is praying for them and willing their victory. It is time to knuckle down and get real and to stop running away from the problem.
Our very lives and destiny as a nation depends on it. This is the final battle of the war for Nigerian independence and, no matter the cost, we must win it. And, by the grace of the Living God, the Lord God of Hosts and He that is more than able, win it we shall. May the souls of all those that were cut short by Boko Haram, last week, rest in perfect peace. May God the Avenger, the Defender of the Weak and the Deliverer of the Poor avenge us speedily, defend our nation and deliver us from our enemies.