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;
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.
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.
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.