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To be a critic: A riposite

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By Denrele Animasaun

“My father always used to say, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” Good sense does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large, unruly crowd is always the best arbiter of what is right.” — Desmond Tutu

Last  week, I wrote  about  the  uproar  caused when Osun State took up Sukuk, an Islamic financial bond or certificate for  the   sole purpose of  developing  projects  in  the  state.

The accusations were that by doing so, the Osun State administration was on a fast trajectory of Islamising the state.
So on what basis did they base this? Judging from my mail bag, some of the readers think there is a case to answer and that there is indeed, something going on. I have added some of the comments from last week’s column further down this page. Frankly speaking, I  believe they(apparently there are many!) also  feel  that  the  governor  is a Muslim and is using a Sukuk, which is  Islamic in principle (it  does not  charge interest on the capital) that  therefore, the governor is slowly making  the  state Islamic.

Whatever their rationale, it is important to have a sane and civil dialogue without reducing the discussions to a mudslinging match. It is not going be too good for anyone that we cannot deal  with  our  differences without throwing the baby out with  the  bath  water.

There  is a  big  elephant  in  the room and some  opportunists are using it to  their advantage because  they have  ulterior motives.  While  they  start  the fire, they will stand back and  let people fight it  out and  innocent  people will get  embroiled  in this melee. I felt that the brouhaha was in the least alarmist, and at most, prejudicial with a thick religious extremist profiling. So I question the way some of our people love  stoking  the  Islamic/Christian  divide and  the worrying trend of creating religious hatred  over certain conspiracy theorists that there has been  a dominance  of one  religion over  another.

I  believed  it will  be  wrong  to  start  fanning and inciting hatred on  religious  and tribal  lines  and, a week after I am resolute  that anyone heading  towards this notion  is  treading a hornets’ nest.

So what matters to the ordinary people, what do they really, really want?  Employment, housing, education, training, proper standard  of living, consistent and  regular power supply, better access to health  and social care, safe roads and transports and better governance  in all sphere of  public  and private institutions.

That’s what the ordinary Nigerian wants and should have. So what have they been fed? More of the same; poverty, insecurity, deprivation, lack or insufficient quality education, massive corruption, bribery, abuse of power, misappropriation of resources and capital.

So no one Christian or Muslim, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and other tribes are lily white, they are all tarred with the same brush. Our  politicians are world renowned  for  their level of  corruption and favouring  one  side  over  the  other does not take  the shine off  the fact.  What is wrong is wrong.

The truth needs to be told and I owe it to my children and those around me to do so. Without a doubt, I am a Nigerian, regardless of my tribe and religion. I will not be dictated to by the hate mongers to choose a camp.

Let it be said there is good and bad in people of all religions and tribes after all. What I disagree most vehemently is the need for  anyone  to discard my  opinion as  invalid  because  it is  not  in line with their beliefs. It is a free world, don’t you think?  And  I  will  defend  my  right  and  their rights  to  their  opinion no matter  what.

Let  it  be  said, my  religion  and tribe  does  not  define me as  it  is  part  of  who  I  am  but  not all I  am. It  is  bad  enough  to  face  discrimination as  a black  person  in the  UK  and around  the  world but  to  have to  deal  with  the level  of  prejudice  and stereotype in a  country  we  call our  own I find  this  so  disturbing and oxymoronic.

We fail  to  address this malady within our  so-called elders who should know  better we maybe storing  problems for generation to come.

Mail bag response;
*Aunty Denrele,
Your write up-To be a critic: say nothing positive, do nothing positive and be nothing positive in the Vanguard Newspaper of Sunday, November 17, 2013 is a treasure.

The current crops of Christian leaders are half-baked religious leaders who never studied comparative religion to have a wider scope. They are shareholders in most of these interest charging bank, who see Islamic Banking as a challenge to their business.

They teach their members nothing, but hatred, intolerance and aggressions towards other faith.

Thanks for being your father’s daughter.
Tajdeen Ozimede

Another mail:
I just read your article and it’s clear you belong to the APC; so whatever the party faithful does is okay by you. Your choice really.  Point is, the South West has turned a page and people ARE murmuring and for good reasons. I also assume you’re a Muslim. Kindly read the article of Dele Sobowale( right above yours) and juxtapose that with the rising discontent from hitherto quiet quarters about the perceived Islamisation of the South West. Currently ALL the governments of the states therein ARE governed by people of ONE faith. In a multi faith society like ours, trouble is brewing. Please, please, please know this for sure: many of the people talking about Osun State and his not too subtle tilt towards his faith in the major ARE not officials of CAN nor the PDP: both of which you clearly despise. Apolitical (without affiliation to any political party in Nigeria) people are seriously worried about Osun State and the religious tensions brewing.

Name calling is an APC thing so the tone of the article wasn’t a surprise. Just listen to people more.
My response:
Dear Reader,
I have not stepped on Nigerian soil for over 26 years, I have no affiliation to any political parties in Nigeria! Frankly speaking, The Nigerian brand of politics is too toxic for my liking. If you read my column often, you will know that I am not a big fan of any Nigerian political party. The victims are ordinary Nigerians and if we don’t have an opinion then we are no better than those dividing our nation along religious and tribal lines. Thank you for your email and you are entitled to your views as I am to mine.

Kind Regards,

Derenle.

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