By Dr Ugoji Egbujo
Many won’t believe that Sheikh Gumi is a medical doctor and former military officer. Gumi roams around like a peacemaker, flies the flag of mediator but quietly sows division and disorder.
A few months ago, he patted crying bandits on the back and told them the military onslaught against them was the work of overzealous Christian soldiers. That was sacrilegious. But military mewed and looked away.
The presidency pretended Gumi was speaking in a language they didn’t understand. That attempt by Gumi to sow division in the military wasn’t regarded as an actual or potential breach of national security. No former military officer should get away with that piece of diabolical chicanery.
Perhaps, we must now accept the untouchability of Gumi. He lives above the law. Others ruffle feathers of a chicken, and the government descends on them. Gumi kills a sacred cow with his tongue and the government yawns. The government doesn’t think he is a dangerous bigot. They let him go into the forests to have lunch with terrorists whose location they pretend not to know.
He gets there and exchanges gifts with them. He comes out, spits at all of us and tells us to meet the criminal demands of the terrorists quickly. When we meet his absurdity with raised eyebrows, he tells us that we created the terrorists by not allocating resources to the forests as we allocated to the creeks.
Nobody in recent times has struggled to justify evil as much as Gumi. Yet Gumi is a cleric in a prominent mosque. He wields influence. He is a friend of powerful politicians. He is an exalted member of the national peace committee. I must now another feather on his cap; Gumi is a licensed enabler of the insurgency gathering steam in the Northwest.
Two days ago, Gumi declared that the insurgents in the northwest do not constitute a serious security problem. He advised us to hire them if we were bothered about school children being kidnapped. They should be hired by the government to guard the forests and save the government the trouble of paying ransoms and losing school children.
In reference to the developments in the southeast, he said the Fulani bandits were benign. He said they only kidnapped school children to make some money while their counterparts in insurgency in the southeast senselessly killed security agents.
The DSS doesn’t think Gumi is a national security threat. That’s nice. But I will advise no one else to attempt these Guminastics. You can ask Father Mbaka. A friend of mine was once late to a meeting. He looked ahead and saw a traffic build-up. He was new to Lasgidi. He noticed danfo drivers making U-turn and running back against traffic. He followed them. Oh dear.
Two poles down the forbidden lane, a police rider singled him out and stopped him. Before him , in broad day light , the policeman waved the danfo buses on. He reminded my friend that running against traffic was a grave offence in Lagos. As My friend was flailing his hands and pointing at the unperturbed buses in front of him, traffic control agents swarmed his car. Perhaps Gumi isn’t just a cleric , he is a political danfo driver.
I have an advice for the government. Gumi can be indulged, but he is a bad precedent. Gumi warned the government about sending soldiers to tackle bandits. He said the government cant protect all schools. That’s a devilish piece of blackmail. In other words, if the government didn’t pamper the terrorists in the Northwest, more school children would be kidnapped. Gumi is certain about that.
If that insurrectionary outburst were made by an illiterate ethnic chauvinist like Igboho, it would be evil. But when they are made by a former military officer, an Islamic cleric, we deem it excusable. We allow Gumi march around in the robes of a mediator to promote a culture of banditry aimed at shutting out children from schools and pick-pocketing the government treasury.
Let’s continue pampering Gumi. In the fullness of time, the cost of our collective folly would be revealed.