Reading between Sheikh Gumi’s lines (1)By Ochereome Nnanna

You must have wondered why Nigeria, with all its endowments in human and natural resources, has failed as a national experiment. After doing the same thing for over 60 years and getting a result that draws you further and further away from your defined goal, what else is it but failure?

Unless we correct our current manner of approach to nation-building, Nigeria will never work! A day will come – and for many that day is already here – when those still slumbering away in their dream for a blissful Nigerian nation will see the likes of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as not just visionaries but clairvoyants.

The Bible says that two cannot work together unless they agree. There is a world of difference between the Nigeria that you and I see or are hoping for, and the Nigeria that those from the Northern Moslem world (Arewa) see, or are hoping for. I did not say Nigerian Moslems, because I know that most Nigerian Moslems from the South West believe in the same Nigeria of my dreams.

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The Northern Moslem world believes in a Nigeria based on the Moslem Sharia and which is an offshoot of Usman Dan Fodio’s Sokoto Caliphate. Their historical territory used to include areas in today’s Niger Republic and is open to Moslems from the entire Sahel. The rest of Nigeria outside the Sokoto Caliphate is seen as a conquered colony of the Caliphate which is to be exploited for the development of the Caliphate. I must admit that this ideology is not shared by every Nigerian of the Moslem North extraction. Some of them are true nationalists, but they now appear to be in the minority.

The rest of Nigerians, which include yours truly, are those who believe in the rule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My own is a little bit different in that I no longer even believe in the extant 1999 Constitution. For me it has expired.

The 1999 Constitution is a mere military decree drawn up to advance the political and economic interests of the same Sokoto Caliphate and hold the South in subjugation. The 1999 Constitution is being used by the Sharia North to create a false sense of nationhood among the gullible ones while underneath the Sharia and Caliphate rule is being implemented with a messianic zeal.

The only way Nigeria can work is to totally discard the 1999 Constitution, draw up a new one that reflects the 1963 Republican Constitution, and dissolve the 36-state unitary structure used by the military to serve the colonial interests of the Caliphate North. If this is not agreed, then let me go.

Now, let’s talk about Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, a former Captain in the Nigerian Army and the eldest son of the late controversial Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, leader of the Izalah Moslem sect who shot into national prominence in the 1980s and 1990s when he advocated the full Sharia system. Eventually, the former governor of his native Zamfara State, Ahmed Yerima, forcefully introduced full Sharia in October 1999 which 13 Northern states immediately copied.

If you mention Sheikh Gumi junior, many Nigerians will say: Oh, that Moslem cleric who is calling for amnesty for the North West Bandits. Or, the Moslem leader who alleges that “Christian soldiers” are being mobilised to kill the “bandits”, which is a call for them to target Christian populations and spare the
Moslem ones or reposition their criminal enterprise into a religious war. Our security agencies, are you there? Dr. Obadiah Mailafia hadn’t said this much and he was harassed and intimidated.

You may not understand what message Gumi is sending out unless you take the alleged origin of the North West “bandits” into the narrative. Just eight years ago or so, there was nothing like security threat in the North West except Boko Haram attacks. Later, Boko Haram was restricted to the North East. How did the “bandits” come about?

A former All Progressives Congress, APC, leader, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, recently openly accused some “APC leaders” of being the sponsors of the bandits. Nobody has challenged him or denied the allegation. It is said that when the witch cries in the night and a child dies in the morning it will not be a mere coincidence.

A certain politician had on May 15, 2012 wept before his supporters and told them that if he lost the next election “the dog and baboon would be soaked in blood.” He got away with it. In saner countries the security agencies would keep their eyes on him and his cohorts. If our security agencies had done their job, we would probably not be talking about the North West terrorists.

The story has been in the public sphere that in preparation for the 2015 election, some Northern leaders assembled ethnic fighters from all over the Sahel, trained and armed them. Luckily, the war was temporarily averted. But the mostly foreign terrorists assembled in the forests of the North West were typically abandoned to their fates. That has been the pattern in the militarisation of the Nigerian political space by politicians.

If you study the origins of all the armed and militant groups in Nigeria – the Niger Delta militants, the Boko Haram Islamist terrorists and the North West Bandits – their stories are the same. They were armed by politicians who sought to win elections by all means. Then, they were abandoned. With their guns they started helping themselves by targeting the ordinary, innocent citizens.

It is only in Lagos State that motorpark hoodlums armed to support a ruling political clique have been integrated into the political machinery to extort money at the bus stops.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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