By Dele Sobowale
“We should under no circumstances let terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because those barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world” – President Buhari after Muslims slaughtered Christians on December 25, 2019.
“A leader is best
When people barely know he exists
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him
Worst when they despise him…” – Lao-tsy, Chinese philosopher, 6th century AD,
VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 124.
Buhari quite frequently reminds me of someone who says great things and does the opposite virtually all the time. I am still willing to give him the benefit of doubt that he dissembles inadvertently and not deliberately – out of respect for his position as our national leader. His statement quoted above is one example of falsehood easily disproved.
If governments represent the wishes of their people on religion, then there is no country in the Middle East which represents its “law-abiding Muslims” which is not at the same time a promoter of terrorism worldwide. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the recognised headquarters of the two factions of Islam – Sunnis and Shi’ites. Both actively sponsor terrorism throughout the Arabian Peninsula and abroad. ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc have never denied that they are Muslims. Those who primarily destroyed a good part of Syria, e.g. Aleppo, were Islamic sects and nothing else. Buhari knows the truth but appears he won’t say it.
Here in Nigeria, from the Maitatsine sect in the 1980s till Christmas Day 2019, the religious terrorist groups who have shed other peoples’ innocent blood have been Islamic. Not even idol worshippers or believers in traditional religions have been as “godless” (to use Buhari’s word) as his Muslim brothers. I challenge anybody to point to one instance in which Christians and so-called non-believers have steadily and, without remorse, slaughtered other Nigerians as Boko Haram and ISWAP have done. It is no longer an accidental occurrence but planned and executed genocide by numerous Islamic groups. Again, Buhari knows the truth, but he it appears he won’t say it. Admitting the truth will destroy his false sense of protecting ALL Nigerians. He isn’t. Obviously, the President who fails or is unwilling to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, is the person dividing Nigerians along religious lines. Let me explain.
Buhari, at 77, is my senior brother but, with me, at 75, in demographics, we would be classified in the same generation. I can state authoritatively that Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims had existed side-by-side before we were born in 1942 and 1944 respectively. No government, colonial, elected or military, had taken sides in the age-long dispute between the two sects of Islam; none had adopted one as the Nigerian Muslim sect until Buhari, a Sunni. When Abubakar Malami, Buhari’s Minister of Justice, a Sunni, filed an ex-parte case before a judge and, most probably a Sunni, asking that Shi’ites be declared a terrorist group, it was the first time any Muslim Head of State – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Murtala Muhammed, Shehu Shagari, Babangida, Abacha, Abubakar and Yar’Adua – would use his position to divide Muslims and to deprive millions of fellow Nigerians of their right to worship the way they want. Incidentally, all the other leaders mentioned were/are Sunnis. But, they never allowed their bigotry to get the better of them as Buhari has done. Furthermore, Buhari and his Attorney General and their biased judge of the Federal High Court labour in vain. They must be self-deluded to imagine that a religion to which millions of people subscribe can be wiped out by a court decision. Long after they have all died, Shi’ites will still be worshipping in Nigeria. Buhari has created millions of sworn enemies against himself. To them, his government, by depriving them of their constitutional rights, is the terrorist.
Two young ladies
“Must one be called Abubakar or Mohammed to get an appointment with Buhari…?” – Dele Sobowale, DAILY INDEPENDENT, January 2, 2020, back page.
It is not only along religious lines that Buhari is dividing us. I recently wrote that next time he attends a meeting of world leaders, Buhari might find himself sitting between two young ladies – young enough to be his grand-daughters. They are Heads of Government in advanced countries. In actual fact, Donald Trump, President of the US, and Buhari, at over 75, are vestiges of a bye-gone era. The Stone Age idea that “Father knows best” has long ago given way to whoever takes the trouble to read widely, be technology-compliant and have the energy for back-breaking work. Such people, irrespective of age, are probably the best for the job. That description, however, is gender neutral. But, unfortunately, Buhari’s own mind-set has already divided Nigerians into male and female. The females are only good for services “in the other room”. Thus, half of the Nigerian population has already been consigned to the bedroom – while more progressive societies are making use of their enormous talents. Let me again explain why I am annoyed at the obvious penchant for dividing us along gender lines.
First, I was privileged to have been drafted into a group which drafted Nigeria’s protocol on Gender Equality during the Abacha regime. The documents that Mrs Abacha delivered in China to a global audience included a segment on how to implement various proposals to alleviate poverty among women – especially in the North-East zone; which was and is still the worst. Even Abacha, not to talk of Babangida and Abubakar, were committed to achieving the goals established at Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing. It was another misguided woman-hater, Olusegun Obasanjo, who halted the march towards more gender equity.
Second, I am the proud father of six children – all girls and all graduates. They have brought home certificates in all the respected disciplines – Computer, Medicine, Engineering, Law, etc. My daughters are so responsible none of them will drive a N100 million BMW motorcycle at breakneck speed in Abuja and almost get themselves killed. Yet, it is the irresponsible males who Buhari prefers to employ instead of more serious girls and women. Do he really wish Nigeria well? It certainly does not show.
Third, I wrote that article after reading in one day and in various papers announcements about appointments made recently. Quite apart from dividing Nigerians into Abubakar/Mohammed and the rest, I counted fifteen (15) appointments and no single female among them. To me, it is inconceivable that any modern leader at any level can in 2019 make such lop-sided appointments. Obviously, women don’t exist in Buhari’s mind. To be quite candid, it was not surprising. His prejudices are usually so deeply ingrained the man is not even conscious of exhibiting them. I once confronted an APC Woman Leader during the campaigns last year by asking her if she believed Buhari will appreciate their efforts and be more equitable when distributing the dividends of victory. She thought I was being pessimistic. She called me after reading the article last week sobbing on the phone. In the end, she got the words out, “Uncle Dele, how could you have known that this is what Buhari would do to us?” Well, UniJankara is not a place for fools. We don’t trade sex for marks. You must be very good to work with us. We work all the time and we don’t even pay anything.
Nnamdi Kanu and Sowore
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Francois Voltaire, French philosopher.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, and Sowore have a few attributes in common. They are young, they are southerners, they hold annoyingly radical views about how to restructure Nigeria and they probably come from Christian homes. None of them has murdered a single soul with their words. Incidentally, I happen to consider their proposals puerile and impractical. But, they are entitled to them. But, the two have been treated like terrorists by the combination of Buhari, Buratai, Bichi and Idris (IGP). The President of Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff and the Director General of the Department of States Services did nothing when Muslim bandits invited the Governor of Katsina State to a meeting to discuss what was in effect power sharing in Katsina. Masari went to attend to terrorists without the Army invading the meeting venue to arrest those who have seized half of the power in the President’s own state. Kanu’s community was invaded and parts of it destroyed in the search for a man armed only with his mouth. DSS in full view of the world sent armed men into a court room to wrestle and brutalise Sowore who did not even have a pen-knife for self-defence. But, they kept away while a northern Muslim governor negotiated power sharing arrangement with declared and armed enemies of the state. So, who is dividing Nigerians into untouchables and expendables?
All the states of the South-East and South-South are predominantly Christian states. Yet, there are mosques in every state. Muslims gather every Friday for Jumat Prayers and celebrate Sallah annually. No single case of Christian fundamentalist attacking Muslims has ever been recorded. No Christian President – Ironsi, Gowon, Obasanjo and Jonathan — has ever had to send a condolence message to Muslim families for any premeditated genocide committed by a minority of “godless Christians”. That already points to a difference. But, imagine, if you can, what would happen if a group of Christian Avengers should start killing Muslims in any of the SE and SS states and openly claiming responsibility for it? What do you think Buhari, Buratai, Bichi and Idris would do about it? Would they stop at sending condolences? Definitely not. And, there is a precedent to support that statement.
After herdsmen had slaughtered over 400 people in Benue and Enugu States alone, as well as uncountable others nationwide, there was a rumour. Five (5) herdsmen had been killed in one of the SE states. Within days, the community was over-run by Daura’s DSS officials in search of evidence and possible arrests. The officials of Buhari administration who were offering excuses for undisputed mass killing were actively in search of people to prosecute for a mere rumour!!! So, who is dividing us?
“Your land or your life” – FG loudspeaker.
About two years ago, one of Buhari’s loudspeakers from the South-West advised his own family (certainly not mine) that they had no choice about giving up their land for grazing. His submission is summarised above. It is on record that no such offer that cannot be refused was made to people in any state in the North-West. That the Yoruba have not surrendered their ancestral lands to marauding herdsmen is not a victory which our leaders in the All Progressives Congress, APC, can claim. Left to the traitors of Yoruba people, there would probably, by now, have been established a RUGA at Isale-Eko, Oja Oba, Osun Shrine and Oba Adeshida Road – to mention a few. It was the tenacity of the Yoruba people and Sango striking cattle dead with thunder which has kept the invaders at bay.
Who is dividing us? Please let’s change the subject.
NEXT WEEK: FOR ONCE I WHOLE HEARTEDLY AGREE WITH LAI MOHAMMED.
NOTE: The books are available at CSS Bookshops, VANGUARD Abuja Office and MM2 as well as GATT in Lagos. www.delesobowale.com