Connect with us

Column / Opinion

Let’s listen to Obasanjo, by Dan Agbese

Published

on

Share


These are the facts. Some people just cannot stand President Obasanjo’s guts. They would rather he be seen, not heard. They want him to padlock his lips and open his mouth only when he is dealing with his favourite food, amala with okra soup. They argue that the nation has had enough of him as a major player on our political turf since July 1975. They say that after being head of state and a two-term civilian president, he has nothing more to offer the country and he should move over and leave the stage for his political pikins.
There is more. They say that his resort to open letters to successive presidents smacks more of megalomania than statesmanship. They also say that he has no right to tell every one of our presidents, from President Shagari to Muhammadu Buhari, what to do because the right he is exercising is an assumed right, not a given.
These are caustic criticisms that nevertheless resonate with not a few people, especially those who would do anything not to hear Obasanjo’s voice any more in our national affairs. I once wrote a two-part column for this newspaper on what I called Obasanjo, the sound of chest beating, to suggest that his immodesty grates on the ears. Vice-Admiral Murtala Nyako once described Obasanjo as “the most accomplished Nigerian so far.” I think it is a fact he likes to rub in. That, to be sure, is not a sin but it irritates those who tend to believe that once a man has had his time as a leading or even a bit player on the political turf, full retirement, including padlocked lips, recommends itself.
None of us can deny that Obasanjo is a looming presence in our national affairs, social and political. He has considerable physical and intellectual weight. He enjoys a surfeit of the respect denied him at home among world leaders. Hate him or love him, each time he fires off his open letter the ground shakes under the feet of the man at the receiving end of his poison-tipped arrow.
It is good that Obasanjo refuses to be a decoration on our political wall. We need the voice of courage when men tend to exercise the option of hiding the under. He refuses to padlock his lips because he believes he still has some vital and positive contributions to make as to how the country is being run and how it should be run as an egalitarian society in which the ethnic and religious labels matter less and the Nigerianness matters more to all Nigerians. He is the keenest watcher of the Nigerian project and feels justified in speaking up when others of his generation choose to be politer than patriotic and allow the repainting of what is wrong in the colours of right.
I think the former president believes, and I agree with him, that it would be both unpatriotic and irresponsible of him to keep sealed lips when he knows that things are going wrong under the watch of a particular Nigerian president. His stance also resonates with those who believe that if those who should speak up when the nation finds itself each time tossed about in the choppy waters of our national politics choose not to do so, they would be vicariously and directly and morally held responsible for what befalls the nation. A clear deficit in mutual trust needs to be remedied to avert mutual distrust and hostility.
To be fair to Obasanjo, I do not think he is motivated by malice or ill-will in his letters to former President Jonathan and Buhari. Each man benefited from his support for his presidential ambition. He ditched each man when he felt that they had taken the country for granted and were and were and are doing what was and is right for them but wrong for the country, its people and its future.
That too, is part of the problem for the former president. People reject his assumed right to choose our leaders for us. That duty, the argument goes, belongs to the electorate and they should be allowed to fully exercise it.
You could accuse Obasanjo of many things but no one could accuse him of paying lip service to patriotism. He has been the architect of the Nigeria that emerged from the cauldron of the civil war, both as a fighting soldier in the trenches during the Nigerian civil war; as head of the military government that introduced the executive presidential system and effected other fundamental constitutional changes to the structure of our government at federal, state and local government levels; as the first military head of state to return to office as a civilian president at a time the country was going through the crises occasioned by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Those are unassailable credentials, undiminished by the petty-mindedness of the petty-minded.
His latest open letter to Buhari, as usual, has generated incendiary reactions across the land. I heard the plaintive shout, Obasanjo again! The phrase refers to what people object to as his intrusiveness and his assumed insistence that his must be accepted as the only sane voice in a nation noted for varied voices, some of which bother on insanity by the breadth of their unreasonableness. Those who jumped into the fray did not bother to read what the former president wrote. It was enough that he dared to speak up and challenge Buhari on the current political and insecurity challenges of the nation; something no one is happy with because through acts of omission or commission, our nation is being put through a wrenching period that has occasioned despairing thoughts on the future of our country, as witness Professor Anya O. Anya: “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation.”
Those who are quick to defend Buhari are not driven by the desire to make informed contributions to the national discourse but by the ambition to benefit from earning their crumbs as defenders of the president, right or wrong. This reaction from Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, is typical: “I don’t see patriotism in General Obasanjo’s letters.”
Buhari has used the same expression to dismiss Obasanjo’s letter. No one has ever defined patriotism as either a deafening silence in the face of existential challenges or the chorus of panegyrics that makes a ruler feel good. Every ruler allows himself the luxury of believing that he has all the answers to his country’s problems and that those who seek to offer alternative views are enemies. This is patently wrong but nevertheless rests on the rather warped wisdom, to wit, the ruler became a ruler because the people believe he is the answer to their problems.
Patriotism is not that simplistic. I do not think Buhari and Yakasai looked hard enough into the letter, a short one by the standard of Obasanjo’s open letters. If they did, they would have appreciated the basic premise of the letter, to wit, Nigeria faces serious existential threats and Buhari needs to wake up to that reality and offer us a leadership that would prevent the country from asking its citizens to pay once more the stiff price it has paid time and again to remain one and united, warts and all. Buhari too fought in the civil war to prevent the dismemberment of the country. It would be a cruel irony if Nigeria under his watch is once more driven to the precipice. We have paid enough prices in blood, sweat and tears to save our nation. Enough.
The president needs to come down from his high horse and accept that his presidency does not come with omniscience. A Nigerian Tribune editorial last week put it this way: “President Buhari nurses a sense of presumptuous patriotism which pitches him against other citizens. In this reckoning, he alone is the ultimate patriot, superior to everyone else. Yet on the issue of insecurity and governance in general, his approach has been quite laid back. He has demonstrated no sense of urgency even though the situation in the country is quite dire.”
I think this was what irked Obasanjo and prompted him to write his open letter. It seems that his primary objective was to tell Buhari that he could not rely on himself alone to contain the worsening security problems that appear to overwhelm him and his security chiefs. A time like this calls for the collective wisdom of the people arrived at through a national dialogue. He made that clear in his opening paragraph: “Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, (that) collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem.”
Would the president’s men disagree with that without hurting their patriotic credentials?
(First published with the title: Time to listen to Obasanjo, on July 29, 2019)

Email: [email protected]
SMS: 08055001912


Share

Column / Opinion

South Africa, so unlike Nigeria, by Zainab Suleiman Okino

Published

on

Share


A few weeks ago, South Africa was in turmoil, having witnessed a reenactment of violent uprisings reminiscent of its ugly past, the apartheid era and the early days of post-apartheid politics in what was termed black-on-black violence then; Mongosuthu Buthelezi’s ethnically divisive Inkatha Freedom Party was in a power tussle with African National Congress, (ANC).
 This time, the Jacob Zuma prison-induced violence cost 337 lives; 79 in Gauteng province and 258 at KwaZulu-Natal province, Zuma’s place, on whose behalf the protesters marched to the streets before looting followed. The former president, who is being tried over allegation of corruption, was given a 15-month jail term, for contempt of court after his refusal to show up. The ding-dong affair degenerated further into protests by his supporters and before you know it, the country was engulfed in more crisis of arson, looting and killings.
Like Nigeria, where peaceful protests often turn violent, South Africa’s similarly became violent and bloody. Such anger found expression in the //EndSARS ‘movement’ last year, which soon spilled over to the street. It started as an organized revolt of the youth against entrenched police brutality; calling out government peacefully, before it was hijacked by hoodlums leading to violence, killing of security and paramilitary personnel, arson on businesses and government property. The economic cost from the //EndSARS protest was put at N1.5tn according to Financial Derivatives Company, while that of South Africa was so far put at 1.36 billion dollars.  For South Africa, the vices that followed made the protest seem like a scene from Nigeria where such problems are common, but in actual fact, the South African protest was planned, going by the rivalry between former President Zuma and current President Cyril Ramophosa on the one hand and the KwaZulu/ business interest groups vehemently supporting Zuma and against his trial from day one. Other than that, the actions and reactions are different and I dare say, South Africa is still light years ahead of Nigeria in many respects. 
In the first instance, how is it possible to arrest and charge to court any ex-president of Nigeria, for whatever infractions without his ethnic group and partners in crime crying foul. Two, it is definitely not possible in Nigeria for any court to send a former president to prison, even when they or their appointees steal Nigeria dry and leave the country in penury or debt overhang. The only exception is the late Sani Abacha, whose infamous Abacha loot became a mantra only because of his ignominious rule after the annulment of the June 12 election and the manner of his death. If he were alive, no amount of allegation of embezzlement would have led to his prosecution not to talk of being jailed. Which gutsy judge has the courage to do so? In Nigeria?
However, after dithering for a while, Jacob Zuma turned himself in and now serving his jail term. In our type of presidential system, the president wields so much power, he can do no wrong.  The Nigerian president is the most powerful in the world; he is deified and his support base is solid. So how could such a man of power turn himself in?
 On its part, the South African government allowed Jacob Zuma to return home for his brother’s funeral. Didn’t former Sultan Dasuki die, while his son, former NSA Sambo Dasuki was in prison. Was Sambo given the opportunity to go for his father’s funeral. What about Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been incarcerated for over five years now. Or was Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 election ever allowed to see the day daylight until Abacha passed away? 
You won’t be wrong to think that Zuma and current President Cyril Ramphosa belong to opposing parties. No, both ex and serving presidents belong to the same political party, the ANC even if different factions. This is almost unthinkable in Nigeria where the party in power gives unalloyed support to ex and serving president under their umbrella, right or wrong.
 Disgraced Zuma was forced to resign in 2018 over allegation of corruption after he lost the support and loyalty of his party, the ANC and after his approval rating was said to have dropped to 34 percent. Could that have happened under Obasanjo, Yar’adua, Jonathan-PDP days or the Buhari-APC government? Who in the ruling APC dares pass a vote of no confidence on Buhari as ANC did to Zuma in 2018?
Zuma’s rule amplified the ethnic (and racial) divides for which South Africa became infamous but this time between the black ‘population and its large ethnically Indian community’ in Kwazulu-Natal province. The violent eruptions further damaged the reputation of the long-established party in Africa-the ANC and of course the credibility of government, even as people have begun to lose faith in the party, once associated with the revered father of the nation, Nelson Mandela. In Nigeria the ruling party is courted by all-opposition and the likes, so does its credibility matter? 
A few people including a Radio DJ have also been arrested on charges of incitement to commit public violence, but in Nigeria they are simply unknown gunmen, who never get arrested or tried. 

Right of reply
 Re: As banditry eclipses the North, by Abdullahi Musa

I read your article in Premium Times. I however know you are a big shot on the Board of Blueprint newspaper, the online version of which I read daily. We ordinary citizens used to think that media practitioners always had their ears to the ground. Rampant, pervasive insecurity in the North has erased that thought. Our thought now? Nobody knows the causal factors behind insecurity, and nobody knows the solution.In medicine, it is vital to know the cause of the disease before a cure is found. Who are bandits? Besides collecting ransom, why do they kill innocent villagers, impose penury on them? And why only in the North?
I read in the last seven days or under, the comment of either CAN or Church leaders that El- Rufa’i invited banditry to Kaduna State due to his acidic comments. He was saying something, but it seems nobody cares to decipher. I doubt if by acidic comments the religious leader meant El Rufa’i’s comments that he would not negotiate with bandits.An eminent person, who has appointed himself as a kind of spokesperson for the bandits (I mean Shaykh Gumi) said that if the federal government refuses to negotiate with the bandits, the killings would continue. And they have! Who are the bandits? Are they under one unified command? What do they want? Gumi must know. Then how did he come to know while Hajiya Zainab, a seasoned journalist does not know? Nobody cares.
I used to respect El- Rufa’i, but not any longer. For I have come to perceive that he believes in a soulless development: with bulldozers flattening the corpses of hapless citizens. Yet, since he is a political actor, I will benefit if I try to understand his thought process.I believe he refuses to negotiate with bandits because he believes they are sponsored. Does he know their sponsors? Likely. Does he believe he will have the upper hand in this deadly political battle? May be that would not concern him, if he would be able to continue with his soulless development. Is there a Chikun (or something like that) local government in Kaduna State?  That is where Bishop or Pastor Adeboye decided to set up his Bethel school. And that is where the recent abduction of students took place. And it falls perfectly into the narrative of Muslims persecuting Christians. But nobody cares.
A year or so back I was active on Facebook. That’s where the impossibility of the Nigerian nation manifests itself fully. I can’t remember what the exact topic of discussion was, but it had everything to do with insecurity in the North. A Biafran replied to my comment with venom: you (Northerners) aren’t seen nothing yet; insecurity will envelop the region right from the Sahel to the whole North. Empty threat? May be. Plausible? Yes, facts on the ground support him.
Ours is the most destructive type of politics. Seems to me that whatever achievement Nigeria recorded as a nation was because of military rule, where the nation was sacrosanct. Today, political actors believe that the nation should be destroyed if their demands are not met. This is who we are. All other 200 or 300 plus tribes must suffer because of the feud between three majors: Hausas, Yoruba, Igbos.Ohanaeze stands by Kanu. Afenifere supports Sunday Igboho. Why?  Because they created them, they are doing their bidding. All Northerners could have been deaf by now as a result of the thunderous screams that could have emanated from the South had ACF decided to stand by Boko Haram leaders were they to come to trial.
Five years into the first republic, Igbos attempted secession, they are still at it. What would comfort Southerners? To have a situation where Northern Muslims would be permanently excluded from federal power? When they wage war against federal character commission, they want to create an impregnable barrier against Northerners from joining federal service: competence simply means Southerners. 
Why is it that Northerners do not want to form their own nation Hajiya Zainab? Is it because they have no oil, no sea? I prefer to believe it is because they have leadership that does not think strategically.Lastly: I ask for forgiveness if I offend you. The greatest threat to Nigeria as a nation is its journalists. The press in the South West is the PR unit of Afenifere.  That in South east barks on behalf of Ohanaeze. They ensure that their citizens are permanently inebriated on the toxic concoction of tribalism.
When Arewa ‘permanently’ had the reins of federal power, Radio Kaduna (Hausa service of course!) was used to keep ‘yan Arewa enslaved to Arewa Establishment. With numerous FM stations now littering the North, wither Radio Kaduna? Come to think of it, there is Ray Power in Kano, does Arewa have a station in the South? If there was, it could have long been burnt down by the armed wing of Afenifere  (OPC), or by Ohanaeze’s IPOB. Are Northerners willingly, heedlessly, marching towards extinction?
Abdullah Musa writes from Kano.


Share
Continue Reading

Column / Opinion

Healing Nigeria in the spirit of Adha, by Hassan Gimba

Published

on

Share

Last week, Muslims the world over celebrated the eid-ul-adha or the “big eid” or “big Sallah”. We are, however, more interested in its meaning, implications and bearing on us as a nation. We need to look at spiritual milestones, hoping to find the seemingly elusive panacea for our ills.

Eid means feast, festival or celebration, while Adha loosely means “sacrifice” (animal sacrifice), “offering” or “oblation”. It so got its name because it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion to Allah (SWT) and his readiness to sacrifice Ismail, his son, for His love.

The Qur’anic story has it that Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream in which God ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). At first, he was sceptical and believed it was the trickery of the cursed devil. After experiencing the dream the following night, he then understood that it was a message and a command from Allah (SWT). Without hesitation, he prepared his son for the sacrifice. Ibrahim (AS) loved his son dearly, yet this was no obstruction to honouring his duty as instructed by Allah (SWT) and thus proving his full submission to Allah (SWT).

Ibrahim (AS) took his son to the top of Mount Arafat, and in his hands, he had a knife and a rope. Upon arrival, he mentioned the dream to his son Ismail (AS) and made him aware that Allah (SWT) has decreed for him to be a sacrifice and, in obedience, his son Ismail (AS) accepted what God commanded of him. Ismail (AS) asked that his hands and legs be tied to avoid struggling during the sacrifice and that his father should blindfold himself to avoid witnessing his suffering. Ismail was aware of his father’s love towards him and knew that this would be difficult to witness.

However, as Ibrahim (AS) began performing the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram and Ismail (AS) was saved unharmed. Allah (SWT) tested Ibrahim (AS) to see his dedication in his submission (Islam) to his creator. In his willingness to obey Allah’s (SWT) commands, Ibrahim (AS) successfully passed the test and the act of the sacrifice serves as a reminder of Prophet Ibrahim’s dedication and devotion to serving Allah (SWT) obediently. Therefore, eid-ul-adha means the festival of sacrifice.

The lesson here is that of sacrifice for a better you. We mostly look at the sacrifice from the point of slaughtering a ram for its meat. Even at that, Islam recommends one to get a healthy, mature and meaty sacrificial lamb that will be a beauty to the eye. Looked at deeply, the sacrifice should translate to sacrificing what one loves in exchange for gaining spiritual upliftment.

Any man uplifted spiritually will spread the love around. He will not be where there will be an injustice. He will not be a party to corrupt activities. Above all, that man will not be where another human being is being harmed. Humanity will be safe with him. If the Nigerian Muslims who took part in the eid-ul-adha all take in the spirit behind the event, our country will be better than it is now.

It is a sacrifice in self-immolation that can only be compared to the myth of the Thornbird in the fictional book, Thorn Birds, a 1977 bestseller by Colleen McCullough. She set the story in Drogheda, a town that does not exist in Australia. In the front matter of the book, the myth is set out thus: There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest, it searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.

The spirit of eid ul Adha teaches us to sacrifice ourselves for God. Ismail (AS) was part of Ibrahim (AS), do not forget. By sacrificing his son, he was sacrificing himself as well.

Nigeria, now more than ever in its history, needs countrymen who are ready to sacrifice for its existence. We should frown at a situation where leaders will call on us to change while they indulge in the perfidies associated with our leaders of old.

It is not fair, nor is it right, for leaders to ask followers to tighten their belts while they punch more holes in theirs to accommodate their ever bulging bellies.

It is also not indicative of leaders with the spirit of sacrifice when they take their children to the best schools around while the public schools are a little better than pigsties.

The spirit of sacrifice is no doubt lacking in the leader who, together with his family, can have access to the best medicare, while a bigger chunk of the people does not have access to basic healthcare facilities.

How can a good Muslim’s conscience not disturb him when he buys good exam results or bribes for his child to get a well-paying job? Why should a good Muslim be happy when he collects money to pass a student or to give him a job?

We are talking of Muslims as citizens because we are referring to an Islamic event that just happened.

But come to think of it, Christianity attaches great importance and symbolism to sacrifices as well. Theirs is even directly and practically connotative of the denial of comfort. Their form of sacrifice focuses on the bodies of its members as a living sacrifice.

And I believe all Christians understand Christ’s death on the cross to be a necessary atonement for the sins of humankind. And if it was so, why should a Christian run away from discomforting himself for God to be happy with him?

In reality, all those who make up a nation must sacrifice for the nation to be great. All religions teach us to sacrifice and all our tribes have stories of legends who sacrificed their happiness for that tribe to survive.

The problem with Nigeria, as my friend Barrister Okoroafor Vincent always insists, is not the North as some southerners would want us to believe or the South as some northerners would insist. He believes it is not even Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw or Tiv, etc. He is also adamant that it is neither Islam nor Christianity. The problem with Nigeria, he opines, is individual selfishness and self-centeredness that border on ‘it is our turn to chop’ and the myopia in putting the self first before the nation. And all people from the tribes have that tendency which is exhibited by adherents of both religions.

The lawyer says if we can put Nigeria first as our collective interest, then we would have a great nation. I cannot agree more.

Hassan Gimba

Healing Nigeria in the spirit of Adha

By Hassan Gimba

Last week, Muslims the world over celebrated the eid-ul-adha or the “big eid” or “big Sallah”. We are, however, more interested in its meaning, implications and bearing on us as a nation. We need to look at spiritual milestones, hoping to find the seemingly elusive panacea for our ills.

Eid means feast, festival or celebration, while Adha loosely means “sacrifice” (animal sacrifice), “offering” or “oblation”. It so got its name because it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion to Allah (SWT) and his readiness to sacrifice Ismail, his son, for His love.

The Qur’anic story has it that Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream in which God ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). At first, he was sceptical and believed it was the trickery of the cursed devil. After experiencing the dream the following night, he then understood that it was a message and a command from Allah (SWT). Without hesitation, he prepared his son for the sacrifice. Ibrahim (AS) loved his son dearly, yet this was no obstruction to honouring his duty as instructed by Allah (SWT) and thus proving his full submission to Allah (SWT).

Ibrahim (AS) took his son to the top of Mount Arafat, and in his hands, he had a knife and a rope. Upon arrival, he mentioned the dream to his son Ismail (AS) and made him aware that Allah (SWT) has decreed for him to be a sacrifice and, in obedience, his son Ismail (AS) accepted what God commanded of him. Ismail (AS) asked that his hands and legs be tied to avoid struggling during the sacrifice and that his father should blindfold himself to avoid witnessing his suffering. Ismail was aware of his father’s love towards him and knew that this would be difficult to witness.

However, as Ibrahim (AS) began performing the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram and Ismail (AS) was saved unharmed. Allah (SWT) tested Ibrahim (AS) to see his dedication in his submission (Islam) to his creator. In his willingness to obey Allah’s (SWT) commands, Ibrahim (AS) successfully passed the test and the act of the sacrifice serves as a reminder of Prophet Ibrahim’s dedication and devotion to serving Allah (SWT) obediently. Therefore, eid-ul-adha means the festival of sacrifice.

The lesson here is that of sacrifice for a better you. We mostly look at the sacrifice from the point of slaughtering a ram for its meat. Even at that, Islam recommends one to get a healthy, mature and meaty sacrificial lamb that will be a beauty to the eye. Looked at deeply, the sacrifice should translate to sacrificing what one loves in exchange for gaining spiritual upliftment.

Any man uplifted spiritually will spread the love around. He will not be where there will be an injustice. He will not be a party to corrupt activities. Above all, that man will not be where another human being is being harmed. Humanity will be safe with him. If the Nigerian Muslims who took part in the eid-ul-adha all take in the spirit behind the event, our country will be better than it is now.

It is a sacrifice in self-immolation that can only be compared to the myth of the Thornbird in the fictional book, Thorn Birds, a 1977 bestseller by Colleen McCullough. She set the story in Drogheda, a town that does not exist in Australia. In the front matter of the book, the myth is set out thus: There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest, it searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.

The spirit of eid ul Adha teaches us to sacrifice ourselves for God. Ismail (AS) was part of Ibrahim (AS), do not forget. By sacrificing his son, he was sacrificing himself as well.

Nigeria, now more than ever in its history, needs countrymen who are ready to sacrifice for its existence. We should frown at a situation where leaders will call on us to change while they indulge in the perfidies associated with our leaders of old.

It is not fair, nor is it right, for leaders to ask followers to tighten their belts while they punch more holes in theirs to accommodate their ever bulging bellies.

It is also not indicative of leaders with the spirit of sacrifice when they take their children to the best schools around while the public schools are a little better than pigsties.

The spirit of sacrifice is no doubt lacking in the leader who, together with his family, can have access to the best medicare, while a bigger chunk of the people does not have access to basic healthcare facilities.

How can a good Muslim’s conscience not disturb him when he buys good exam results or bribes for his child to get a well-paying job? Why should a good Muslim be happy when he collects money to pass a student or to give him a job?

We are talking of Muslims as citizens because we are referring to an Islamic event that just happened.

But come to think of it, Christianity attaches great importance and symbolism to sacrifices as well. Theirs is even directly and practically connotative of the denial of comfort. Their form of sacrifice focuses on the bodies of its members as a living sacrifice.

And I believe all Christians understand Christ’s death on the cross to be a necessary atonement for the sins of humankind. And if it was so, why should a Christian run away from discomforting himself for God to be happy with him?

In reality, all those who make up a nation must sacrifice for the nation to be great. All religions teach us to sacrifice and all our tribes have stories of legends who sacrificed their happiness for that tribe to survive.

The problem with Nigeria, as my friend Barrister Okoroafor Vincent always insists, is not the North as some southerners would want us to believe or the South as some northerners would insist. He believes it is not even Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw or Tiv, etc. He is also adamant that it is neither Islam nor Christianity. The problem with Nigeria, he opines, is individual selfishness and self-centeredness that border on ‘it is our turn to chop’ and the myopia in putting the self first before the nation. And all people from the tribes have that tendency which is exhibited by adherents of both religions.

The lawyer says if we can put Nigeria first as our collective interest, then we would have a great nation. I cannot agree more.


Share
Continue Reading

Column / Opinion

Open letter to NLC, NUJ, et al…

Published

on

By

Share

By Abdullahi Musa

My hope is that since NUJ, NLC have a history of standing up for the rights of their members, ordinary citizens, it is in order for an ordinary citizen like me to call their attention to the need for them to come forward to rescue Nigeria from the precipice.

Let us say for simplicity sake that there are only two opposing camps: Buhari and his worshippers on the one hand, and all others opposed to him for whatever reason on the other. Of course the ‘grass’ upon which they trample upon is made up of living human beings, having, flesh, blood, and families.

There is seems to be one reigning perspective exhibited by Nigeria’s political class: that is, the interest of the governed is of the lowest rung in the hierarchy of priorities.

Was it yesterday that it was reported that a serving army General was murdered along Lokoja-Abuja road? Earlier report showed like it happened in Abuja. Just like coronavirus,  seems like kidnapping is now in waves: there was the wave for students, then that for traders, now seems to be that for Emirs.

The administration on its part seems not to be interested in finding the root cause of the raging insecurity. Why is it that for instance nearly every Nigerian now is a potential kidnapper? Of course being victim is ( Allah forbid) just a matter of time.

Layin dogo is the Hausa expression for rail line. In fact ‘layin’ is a corruption of line. ‘Dogo’ on the other hand means tall or long.

Buhari’s supporters often call him Dogo,  the tall one. Is it because of his height that he is obsessed with rail lines even when the nation cannot afford it?

ASUU must be taking a nap away from strikes. When they wake up they will find on the newspaper racks in their libraries ( if any) stories of new universities set up by the federal government. Some will say it is commendable. But may be for the first time in Nigeria’s history the nation has the prospect of over 90% of its future revenues going to debt service. ASUU, NUJ, NLC have no opinion,  agenda on this? How are the new varsity especially to be funded?

Much more important, a segment of the political class is daily telling us that Nigeria is facing disintegration . In short, Nigeria is yet to establish, in a civilised manner, how the centre is to be governed. So there is the prospect of new institutions like: Modakoke Union of journalists, Nnewi Labor Congress etc.

So if the ‘N’ in NLC, NUJ is under threat, do members not believe it is time to craft a believable agenda for all Nigerians?

I am reading wrong, but the future of Nigeria seems not to be in good hands.

The political party seems to be irrelevant in a presidential system.

Abdullah Musa writes from Kano.  


Share
Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Trending