By Sam Eyoboka
THE National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, a non-governmental organisation populated by eminent Nigerian professionals, including several retired military officers, rose, recently, from an executive session where they examined recent developments in the country and concluded that the nation as it is presently constituted cannot and will not serve the purpose of the generalty of the citizens.
According to a communique at the end of the gathering, the body said the British colonialists may have deliberately fashioned the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and the Southern Protectorates as a financial transaction meant to transfer the burden of funding the North from the British Treasury to the South of Nigeria, and was bound to fail.
The statement signed by the Forum’s Secretary, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel insisted that “the list is growing every day, even as the river of blood threatens to keep flowing. Southern Kaduna, Dogo Nahawa, Agatu, Nimbo, Aba, Wukari, Wase, Jos, Chibok, Gworza, Biu, Madagali, Michika, Dapchi, Maiduguri, Damaturu, Madalla, Baga, Bama, Yola, etc, etc. The National Christian Elders Forum, (NCEF) is compelled to ask, how did Nigeria get to this point?
“In this 42-page paper, the NCEF traced the history of Nigeria to the Colonial dinner in 1913 during which Lord Harcourt, in a cynical and twisted joke announced the approval of the Amalgamation of Nigeria. He likened the North as a groom (a well conducted youth) and the South as a “lady of means” meant to sustain the North. From the onset, the Amalgamation of the Northern and the Southern Protectorates was a financial transaction meant to transfer the burden of funding the North from the British Treasury to the South of Nigeria.
“After 104 years of this marriage, the burden has become oppressive with the North claiming the power of everything in the country. The British was correct that “Nigeria was not designed to be a great ‘Trust’ but a great ‘Federation’”. However, not only has “trust” broken down, but the attempt at building a “Federation” has also failed woefully.
Quoting The Times of Nigeria during the era, the paper reaffirms that “the amalgamation of 1914 is, broadly speaking, the conquest and subjugation of Southern Nigeria by Northern Land”. Not content with the unfair advantage handed over to the North by the British the “well conducted youth” has adopted the reckless and intolerant attitude of religious fanatics and has become an extreme Islamist.
The NCEF distinguished between Islam and Islamism in the paper. While Islam is a religion, Islamism otherwise called “political Islam” is not a religion but a political ideology that holds that Islam must dominate the society. To compound Islamism in Nigeria, the franchise seems to be held by the British promoted neo-colonialists. This ethnic group believes that not only should it dominate the politics of Nigeria, but it also has the right to determine who lives or die.
“Hence, it has embarked on Jihad designed to exterminate all non-Islamists in the country. This Jihad affects not only Christians and traditionalists, but also moderate Muslims who are not Islamists of this ethnic stock. Justification for Jihad is found in the Quran’s “Verse of the Sword”: “So when the sacred months have passed, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war; but if they repent and establish regular prayers, and practice regular charity, then leave their way free to them; for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Q 9:5)
“These are not hate speeches but words of the Quran and, more importantly, actions of the present government (suggest an indifference to this). These make it incontestable that modern Jihad is taking place in Nigeria after the one by Othman Dan Fodio.
“The Islamists of Northern Nigeria have adopted the tactics of global Islamist Jihadists.
“One of the most effective tactics employed by Islamic jihadists throughout the world is to intimidate their opponents into silence. Death threats, murders, acts of mass terrorism, beheadings broadcast over the Internet – all these actions are obviously useful to minimize resistance to the jihadists’ agenda.” Nigerians are systematically being cowed into submission to the oppression and domination of the Islamists of Northern Nigeria,” the statement added.
Another common feature of the Islamists, according to NCEF, is concept of Sacred Space in Islam. This concept is a well-developed one in Sharia. Indeed, Sharia is an aggressively territorial system that holds all land on earth has been given by Allah to Muslims in perpetuity. The concept of Sacred Space also explains why Muslims who conquer enemy territory traditionally erect mosques and Islamic Centers literally on top of the destroyed sacred places of other faiths. And it also explains that once the new killer herdsmen overrun any community, their people move in to occupy the space left by the rightful owners of the land.
The Christian Elders explained that the Islamists could not have made so much progress if not for the collaboration of some Christian elites and leaders of ethnic nationalities who for pecuniary gains became victims of “stealth jihad”. The greed and covetousness of the elites turned many of them into “willing tools” as boasted by Sir Ahmadu Bello during Independence in 1960.
“The greatest weakness of the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria is the “willing tools”. Most, if not all, Christian leaders have become victims of stealth jihad. Money and positions in the government in the Muslim-dominated federal and some state government especially during elections, made these leaders shut their eyes against due process. In the process they aid in weakening Democracy and thereby promote Islamism (and not true Islam).
“From 1975 Christians, politicians, religious and traditional rulers were recruited by the Islamists to speak for Muslims in defense of its tenets as a religion of peace. (But in genuine evangelism, there is nothing wrong in that).
“The paper concludes by stating that the British left a country programmed to break up in which one group out of 389 ethnic nationalities saw itself as the new colonial master. The problem is to make that group understand that this is the 21st century and jihad is no longer fashionable. Britain should promote reconciliation by telling the Islamists in Nigeria that Islamism has failed the world and reconciliation is the highest form of forgiveness.
“In the meantime, democrats all over the country must prepare to “shut down” Nigeria if the Islamist Jihadists continue to kill innocent citizens. In other words, democrats must prepare for civil disobedience.
“This write up is not intended to mock genuine and true Islam but to show that while Nigeria was a colony, both Christians and Muslims behaved properly – some will say peacefully. However, after independence and incursion of Islamism (that warped, twisted and violent variant) Nigeria became two countries in one, one promoting democracy and the other Sharia stealthily promoting wars against democracy. What Nigeria needs is true Democracy,” the statement concluded.
And just as has been demonstrated once again by the Islamists with the Dapchi abduction and release episodes, particularly the non-release of Leah Sharibu, a faithful Christian young lady, we need not go any further in establishing the true evil that extremist Jihadists constitute in a polity of multiple interests. To pooh-pooh the folly of the Jihadists, whereas President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim, his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is not only a Christian but a pastor. Yet they work together in harmony. It is now the burden both Buahri and Osinbajo must discharge by ensuring the speedy release of Leah Sharibu.