Are we Ready to change the narrative?

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By Muhammad Sagir Bauchi

In Nigeria, one may not be wrong to say Islam is the dominant religion. This means that, Muslims are the majority in terms of population and followers compared to other religions. This is not just a mere assumption, but a fact.
Shortly, Muslim scholars in Kano State realized that, one of their own scholars by the name Abduljabbar Sheikh Nasiru Kabara, who happened to be based in the state, had deviated from mainstream Islamic teachings, they called the attention of the state government to intervened, as a result of that, scholars from different intra-Islamic sects kept there differences aside, unite and formed a coalition that led to the famous Kano debate, which led to his show of shame. Almost all the followers of various sects were happy with that outcome, for it brought the long awaited UNITY which they had been yarning for a long time. 

Recently, there had been an intense cyberspace intra-Islamic sects debate between followers. The debate generated intensed exchange of words between some supposed students of knowledge. But one notable thing about that cyberspace uproar is that, none from different sects were able to convinced their opponents to switch side, why, because all the parties were trying to do is to depend their SECT by whatever means.

Ideally, exchanging different views on any subject is something healthy, but in a respectful manner that could lead different parties to understand one another. And that has been the tradition of our pious predecessors. Thishealthy understanding is not exclusive to those from opposing sects, but includes those within same sect, they disagreed on certain matters, which at the end would lead them to be closer to one another instead of dividing them apart. If Allah had wished, he would have created all human beings on a single race, religion and beliefs, but he created us differently so that we’ll know each other.

One may think that this writer is trying to call all Northern Nigeria Muslims to keep their differences aside and uphold a single religious perspective! But in reality, the call is far from that, rather, for the Muslims to understand their differences and learn to live with them.

Moving away from the issue of religious differences, I don’t think I may be wrong if I say that Northern Nigeria as a region with many blessings, but unfortunate not ripe to accommodate people that are ready to stand for her and change the narrative. The region is consists of some elements of people that prioritizes their personal welfare/ego above the welfare/interests of all. People that lays on imported costly king-size bed without minding the condition of his neighbor’s sleeping mat, cooked extravagantly and feed the sundry to his exotic dogs, lives on bottle water and not giving a thought that his hardworking neighbor can’t provide his family with three square meals a day and safe drinking water. However, these are the same people that are always eager to debate; whose prayer is accepted and whose are not. They relegated their religion to only as an avenue of division and not an order for unity. At same time, they are at the forefront of blaming the government for the inability to protect them and move the region forward, while in reality they have nothing to showcase as their contribution to the unity and progress of the region, but only elitists arrogance, lamentations and excentric attitudes.

On several occasions that unfortunate incidences occurs in the other regions of the country that, led to lost of lives and properties, northerners living there suffers more brunt of it. Mostly, they lost the lives of their loved ones, properties and they are been chased away from that region losing their life-earned possessions and ended up been jipsees or refugees in their own country! Their women in these Non-Muslim dominated regions are subjected to harassment or lynching for wearing hijab, while their local counterparts are allowed to appear in almost nudity and their businesses suffered an irreplaceable losses (by either arsonists attacks or vandalism). These are happening as a result of being minority in those regions. On a sad note, there is no powerful single voice to speak on their behalf.Was it because of the region’s inability to produce intellectuals that could face the government and voice the plight, marginalisation and oppression of it’s host communities? No! But for a simple reason that, during general elections seasons, whoever goes against the choice of the masses and those self-acclaimed progressives, they tend not to respect his choice with civility. Any religious leader that gives a contrary view to their choice, even the followers of his sects revolts at him with unspeakable forms of abuses and disrespect. The same treatment goes on any traditional ruler that aligned to other than their wish, he is going to be on a hot seat, because his personality and choice are something not worthy of preservation and respect. In a nutshell, there’s no single religious, traditional or political leader that had not suffered either a verbal or physical abuse from those brain-washed masses and self acclaimed progressives or modernists. That’s the situation of modern day Northern Nigeria.

Some years ago, a Muslim army general was assassinated within the Jos-Abuja highway by some overzealous Christian youths, apart from photo trial, nothing is done to the culprits in order to deterred others from committing the same crime against innocent citizens and passers-by, why? The reason is simple, they are having a unified voice to speak on their behalf to intimidate the government not to punish them! With such support, they have the guts to continue perpetrating all sort of crimes to whoever they wish, since they are assured that they could go scot-free! Had been they are sure that something other than photo or media trial could be done just as it was done to some sets of people that five years ago recklessly blocked the passage of Chief of Army Staff, they would have been reluctant to repeat same crime.Just last week, within the same state, about thirty commuters were slaughtered in a broad day light and captured on cameras by another set of overzealous Christian youths. This time, the incident generated less uproar in the print and non print media, because the victims had no media outlets to speak for them. They neither have voluntary lawyers to stand for them and nor activist to call for justice on their behalf, since they are not Chibok or Dafchi Girls!! Government reluctancy to rescue Islamiyya pupils of Tegina in Niger State is another pointer to tell that, we are the worst enemies of ourselves. And that, what we are only good at ridiculing ourselves whenever we have a minor disagreement within us! If not for that, we could’ve put the same energy we used in calling for government to rescue the abducted Chibok Girls.

In respect to the recent killings in Plateau State, the different parties ended up in cyberspace abuses, defence of their own and coloring their Facebook timelines to writing words indicating how touched they are in regard to that unprovoked killings, unknown to them, their action and inaction is a part of the factors that gave the perpetrators the guts to perpetrate their crimes with impunity. For, they are fully aware that, a part from some days of mourning, nothing could be done to them which would bring them to face the wrath of the law. That’s why from the beginning, some silly excuses and justifications were given which would cover their crime.

Another interesting thing is that, those self-acclaimed agents of HUMANITY FIRST stays low and muted on the incident, that’s to tell us how selective and hypocritical these humanity advocates are! 

Finally, In as far as I commended the efforts of the Coalition of Kano State Ulama for the unified position and challenge they exhibited in bringing down a common threat, I must call on them to reunite and lead from the front to face this serious threat of unjustifiable killings in the name of reprisals, I want to believe that, adherents of all religions and true respecters of humanity would rally behind you on this cause. And to the common masses, how well are we prepared to change the ugly plight of banditry, killings, kidnappings and terrorism in gulping the Northern Nigeria Muslims and the North in general to a peaceful and prosperous region?

Sagir, is public analyst. He wrote from Bauchi and can be reached via ibrahimsagir1227@gmail. com or 07019718681