…Preach one ideology as solution to Nigeria’s problems
…Lament tiny tribe ruling nation
…‘Oputa Panel job not thorough, we need Truth and Reconciliation Commission’
In the second part of their open letter to Nigerians born on October 1, 1960, some Nigerian leaders under the auspices of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) speak on the state of the nation.
The leaders include Elder Solomon Asemota (SAN) (Chairman), Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd) (Vice-Chairman), Prof. Joseph Otubu, Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Nat Okoro, Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma (rtd), Elder Matthew Owojaiye, Hon. Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, DIG P. L. Dabup, Sir John W. Bagu, Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Elder Michael Orobator, Hon. Justice James Ogebe (rtd), Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Dr. S. D. Gani, Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, Prof. Yussuf Turaki, Lady Mariam Yunusa, Prof. (Mrs) Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye, HRM Oba Dokun Thompson, Dr. Taiwo Idemudia (Diaspora) and Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
“Today, like old wine, they have matured with age and some went further to obtain doctorate degrees.
“There is the need to question why some of the military men had their training in England while some went to Pakistan and India immediately after independence.
“The impression is that Pakistan was chosen to strengthen Islamization and weaken Democracy.
Pakistan not a Role Model
“Pakistan’s endemic poverty, widespread corruption, and often ineffective government created opportunities for Islamist recruitment.
“Poor education is of particular concern as millions of families, especially those with little money, sent their children to religious schools, or madrassahs.
“Many of these schools provided the only opportunity available for an education, but some have been used as incubators for violent extremism.
“According to Karachi’s police commander, there are 859 madrassahs teaching more than 200,000 youngsters in his city alone.
“It is hard to overstate the importance of Pakistan in the struggle against Islamist terrorism.
“Within Pakistan’s borders are 150 million Muslims, scores of al Qaeda terrorists, many Taliban fighters, and-perhaps-Usama Bin Ladin, Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has come frighteningly close to war with nuclear-armed India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
“A political battle among anti-American Islamic fundamentalists, the Pakistani military, and more moderate mainstream political forces have already spilled over into violence, and there have been repeated recent attempts to kill Pakistan’s President, Pervez Musharraf.
“Finally, Pakistan has made little progress toward the return of democratic rule at the national level, although that turbulent process does continue to function at the provincial level and the Pakistani Press remains relatively free. [The 9/11 Commission Report, pgs 367- 368].
“We must not forget what Lugard wrote concerning the North: “Government did not interfere in the indigenous Koranic schools, in which reading and writing in the Arabic and Ajemi character, and memorizing passages from the Koran formed the curriculum.
“They were estimated at some 25,000 with over a quarter of a million pupils. These Koranic schools had produced a literary class known as ‘Mallamai’, learned in Arabic and the teachings of the Koran and commentaries, from whose ranks the officers of the Native Administration, the judges of the Native Courts, and the exponents of the creed of Islam were drawn. “They are a very influential class, some of them very well read in Arabic literature and law, and deeply imbued with the love of learning. [Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria, Kirk-Greene pg. 149]
“Lugard was thus the architect of two conflicting ideologies for Nigeria – Democracy and Sharia, all designed to weaken the influence of educated Southern Nigerians.
“The two ideologies, in justice, should have been allowed to compete without the assistance of the British Empire in promoting Sharia.
“We have a situation in Nigeria similar to Healers in South Africa viz-a-viz, conventional doctors.
“While we can quantify the qualifications of conventional doctors, the healers’ qualification is subjective. Traditional healers of Southern Africa are practitioners of traditional African medicine.
“They fulfill different social and political roles in the community, including divination, healing physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses, directing birth or death rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counteracting witchcraft, and narrating the history, cosmology, and myths of their tradition.
“Sharia, on the other hand, is very much like the traditional healer – unwritten and uncertain as only the healer knows what constitute qualification.
Sudan not a Role Model
“Sudan, at that time, the model for British administration in Africa, has failed and today it is two countries and, recently, it announced that it has jettisoned Islamic State for a secular state.
“The former President of Sudan, Omar al Bashir, is now languishing in jail. Part of the report reads, ‘Sudan is emerging from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and implemented a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law that sought to make the country the ‘vanguard of the Islamic world.’
‘Al-Qaeda and Carlos the Jackal settled there; the U.S. designated Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993, later imposing sanctions until 2017.’ [Sudan Ends 30 Years of Islamic Law by Separating Religion, State, September 04, 2020].
“This is not to say that America or any European country is a model.
“All we are saying is that the Nigerian youth should appreciate that Democracy is still the best form of governance invented by the human mind while we rate Sharia as inferior to Democracy in which case, Nigeria has no business in the duplicity of Common Law and Sharia jurisdictions. It should have Common Law jurisdiction only.
Traditional Healers and Sharia Judges
“The Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) has suggested that the Governor of Kaduna State should execute those pardoned in 1992 today 2020, after fully serving their sentences.
“We are referring to General Lekwot and six others. Lekwot joined the Army at the same time with President Buhari and both of them, among others, were appointed Governors on the same day: Buhari to North/East, Lekwot to Rivers.
“Buhari has remained quiet on this issue. We know that President Buhari is unhappy at the way Babangida treated him though both of them had the same ambition by staging the 1975 coup, but Lekwot, as a Christian, was not competing with him for leadership.
“It is pertinent at this juncture to state that the overthrow of Buhari by Babangida is permitted under Sharia law, so also was the execution of Mammam Vatsa for contemplating the overthrow of Babangida. These were permitted under Sharia (jihad).
“The treatment of former Heads of State who were Muslims against former Heads of State who were Christians such as Gowon’s implication in the Dimka coup without proof and the recent ‘liquidation’ of his Yakubu Gowon Centre by the Buhari administration, the trial of Obasanjo on trumped up charges for which he was convicted for treason, following a kangaroo tribunal were all jihads under Sharia.
“The same act in different circumstances can either constitute treason and execution or a place in the presidential mansion. This duplicity needs to be stopped.
“Nigerians need to understand how and why this country got to the edge of the precipice and no better explanation can be found there in the book, ‘Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria, published in 1993 by Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah as he then was, who wrote: ‘We conclude therefore that the debate over the secular status of the state is, in the main, the debate over the size of crumbs from the master’s table.
‘Furthermore, it is not an accident that the issues of religious violence have become so decisive in Babangida era.
‘In fact, protest has permeated every segment of the society as everyone is compelled to join the struggle for survival. ‘The administration has combined the politics of divide and rule such as was devised by the colonial administration with the politics of what has turned the state into a fiefdom.
‘Babangida’s regime has made sure that through keeping the civilian population engaged in a relay race of turmoil, the administration can achieve two things. First of all, the government has broken all organized opposition by sponsoring rival factions in all elections. This started with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), then the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Student Union, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) etc.
‘In all these cases, against the tide of popular opinion, the government-sponsored candidates, backed by federal might, have always won the elections.
‘From there, the organizations either became pro-government or they remain locked in internal feuds.’ [pg. 243]
“This was Stealth Jihad per Excellence. It is very clear that the politics of divide and rule culminated in politics of Democracy and Sharia.
“The relay race of turmoil continues and having mastered the art of sponsoring rival factions, it has reached the level of establishing Christian denominations with Sharia components.
“Moral is now being replaced with cash as Christianity and Democracy have been monetized. The foundation was Act No. 1 of 1961 referred to earlier.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
“President Obasanjo set up the Human Rights Violation Commission or Oputa Commission that is being remembered more for what it did not do than what it did, particularly in the use of technicality for the protection of three former Heads of State at that time by the Supreme Court that shielded them from appearing before the Commission.
“What is striking, however, was the fact that Christian Heads of State and Generals were willing to testify: General Obasanjo who was also President at the time testified, so did General Theophilus Danjuma who, in the spirit of reconciliation, had the opportunity to embrace Umaru Dikko the victim of the failed plans to crate him back to Nigeria.
“Ernest Shonekan, on the other hand, testified in private and showed bitterness towards Sani Abacha who overthrew him.
“Will it be necessary to create another Truth and Reconciliation Commission to do a thorough job?
“The answer is yes but in another guise to look at the past thoroughly without being judgmental, judge the present and question the future of Nigeria based on the recommendation of the youths, including those like Omoyele Sowore, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, Dr. Tony Nwankwo Nwaezeigwe, Gabriel Idibia, Jacob Dickson, Agba Jalingo, Luka Binniyat, Midat Joseph, Audu Maikori, Dr John Danfulani, Nasiru Jagaba, Sunny Yayock, HRH Dr Ishaku Damina, Dr Inuwa Abdulkadir, Senator Shehu Sani, Senator Danjuma Laah, Gloria Mabeiam Ballason, Jeremiah Sunday, Adamu Abdullahi, Barack Zebedee, Eng. Bawa Magaji, CP Sani Magaji, Awemi Dio Maisamari, Joseph Abdalla, Tanko Maisamari, Hosea Danladi, Joseph Ayuba, Tanko Wada, Samuel Ogundipe, Abubakar Idris, Sen Suleiman Hunkuyi, Stephen Kefason, Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Segun Onibiyo, Jacob Onjewu Dickson, Dr. Zuwaqhu Bonat and others who are presently being persecuted for demanding revolution of the mind.
“The question of secession in whatever guise should be discarded. It is not a solution.
“Secession was used as a ploy by the British to give the North advantages over the South.
“Then came the East with legitimate reason for secession but was prevented.
“Since then, secession has been the signature tune of dissent. We of the NCEF are vehemently opposed to breakaway as it is cowardly.
“In any case, Christian and Ethnic Nationalities built Nigeria.
“A number of Nigerian professionals have moved abroad and are doing very well in their new abode. They cannot, legitimately, be replaced by Negroids from African countries.
“Sheikh Gumi in his autobiography wrote ‘Certainly the orientation in Southern Nigeria in general was to copy the white man. Sophistication was measured in terms of how this was achieved, which was why individuals went to great lengths to appear ‘European, often for want of affirmative cultural support to do otherwise’.
“He continues, ‘Until 1946, not a single person represented the Northern Region in the national government in Lagos. Part of the problem had to do with the shortage of manpower, since there were hardly any other recognized secondary schools in the North at the time, apart from the Katsina Training College.
‘Indeed, the Northern Region administration was made up almost entirely of British officials and staff from other parts of Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
‘I recall clearly when we had only Igbo and Ghanaians as shopkeepers in Sokoto; they also bought produce from the farmers and sold them to the European companies’. [Where I Stand: Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, pg. 119]
“These honest assertions do not support President Buhari’s interpretation of Federal Character. The echelons of the three arms of government, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive in 2020, are occupied by a single tribe (Fulani) from the North that constitutes less than five per cent of the population from the Northern Nigeria.
“This, we submit, helped to reduce Nigeria to a state tipping towards a failed state.
“NCEF is taking this opportunity to thank and appreciate General Obasanjo for inviting Afenifere, Northern Elders, Ohaneze, Middle Belt Forum, PANDEF and others to collectively warn everyone, including Mr. President, that Nigeria is drifting fast into a failed state.
“In this letter, we are saying that our British colonial masters had two policies concerning colonial Nigeria. One, developed by Whitehall through conferences etc which translated into the Nigerian Constitution of 1960 and the other, by the man on the spot, Lugard and subsequent Governor-Generals after him constructed by the intelligence services and designed to create contradictions in governance to hold back the black man and the black race.
“The other mistake Nigeria has made over the years is the use of old tested and failed methods to attempt to solve modern problems.
“An apt example is a situation whereby a healer/traditional medicine man is appointed to the position of Chief Medical Officer.
This is what is happening to present day Nigeria.
“The solution in Nigeria’s problem of governance is that this administration is trying to use colonial solutions as the British did in the 19th century.
“There is no need for Nigeria to have two competing systems of governance Democracy and Sharia under the guise of Western and traditional administration.
“In any case the two systems have to be exposed to public debate and scrutiny.
Nigeria cannot succeed by admitting Democracy through the front door and Sharia through the back
“This can easily be done by all Nigerians of this age. Nigeria was a creation of Britain through Lugard.
“To re-invent Nigeria, we must agree on one mandate and how to achieve this mandate, not two, a Nigeria that is one nation, one ideology and one future that accepts Boko (Western education) and not regard it as haram (sacrilege)”.