By Nura Jibo MRICS, PQS, MNIQS, RQS
Two days ago, I incidentally stumbled on Governor Sule Lamido Channels’s widely televised interview while searching a reference material on YouTube. I was impressed with the former Foreign Affairs Minister’s political dissection of the entire Nigeria’s crises. I am, indeed, at home with the patriotic position that he had taken in that interview.
Dear reader, to put a record straight, I am not holding any brief for Governor Sule Lamido’s political or analytical prowess or wizardry. Because I am still young to do that! In fact, I can’t even feel very comfortable to start analysing a politician that I barely came to know practically from a very short distance (while in power).
What I feel so relaxed to share with the general public is his dogged and consistent attitude of telling truth to power. This singular habit of the former Jigawa State’s Governor has impacted on so many of his disciples, including some of us that consider him as a mentor-at-large!
To be frank, I am a sole beneficiary of Governor Sule Lamido’s fearless and bold methods of doing things. I often say that I imbibed this attitude of his that I safeguard as an opium in salvaging the rural hapless and the downtrodden.
In that Channels’s interview Sule talked about certain issues that would leave every sane leader sleepless and jittery over our national affairs. However, the current Nigeria’s leadership would, as usual, consider political opinions such as Sule’s a minority one. But nonetheless, if one looks at those views from a critical perspective, the man’s long history of political leadership experience(s) is enough to make the entire country shiver, because his is unparallel to that of all those military oldies that ignorantly ventured into politics and abruptly changed jerseys from Khaki to Babbar Riga in the name of politics. What many people are ignorant about is that minority views or position like ours, is the best even in Islamic theology, western philosophies and Christian doctrines. In any case, it is better to always identify with a few rather than plenty. That’s the honest and honourable position in Islam that Allah the Most-High severally cautioned his prophets to abide by always identifying with the people that are few than a critical mass. Because HE (Allah the Most-Merciful) repeatedly mentioned in his holy books: “Qalilay yata thakkarun; Qalilam ma yu’uminun; Qualilan ma’ya’alamun” and vice versa. Indeed, those people that are always fond of gathering the majority in the name of political party, they are oblivion of the fact that Allah the All-Knowing said, “Wala kinna aktharannasi la ya’alamun”. “Wala kinna aktharannasi la yu’uminun” and vice versa. And once one looks at these holy verses, it means views such as ours will always be treated with disdain by the ignorant. It may only be accepted in a saner clime, but for people of understanding!
Indeed, there are historical backgrounds and the reasons why people like me are often fond of taking a minority position even in the office just to make or prove a case in point!
Now the issues:
Nigeria is today factionalized along ethnic, tribal and religious leanings. This is how the past and its current leaders presided over its affairs for well over five decades now. There is no any iota of human empathy, sympathy and that humane feelings, said Governor Sule.
What is even worrisome is the timidity and dull attitude of the present crop of leaders that had already sown a seed of discord and caused a terrible insecurity in the polity. The perpetual disarray and spread of crimes and criminals in Nigeria are quite unwholesome to our national savvy. This singular act of leadership despondency and very narrow and shallow ideologies has already thrown unnecessary fear in Nigerians. Nobody is feeling secure anymore, because even the country’s constitution is no longer respected. It is very terribly factionalized by making it regional in outlook and design where every Nigerian president is acting on his ethnic people’s personal advice, interest and agenda.
A quick look at how other African countries emerged and evolved based on tribalism and ethnic cleansing of their people shows that Nigeria may have already taken its path to an old Kigali.
A critical look at the liberation struggle of factionalized Guinea-Bissau, for example,
proved that Guinea-Bissauian state of enduring factionalism was not accidental. In fact, it is never introduced to its people, but rather factionalism and tribalism are in that country’s very constitution.
The point is this: Since the international community’s recognition of Guinea-Bissau as an independent, ‘sovereign state’, it was never one-dimensional, formed around a single generic trunk, like a majestic oak tree whose roots are deeply embedded in the annals and soil of history. It’s just like Nigeria with a variable multiplicity of criminal leadership and networks whose underground branches are disjointed and scattered all over the polity. And each underground branch, formal and informal network are competing with each segment of the country in the so-called struggle of protecting and defining access to resources and authority in the name of control.
What actually Governor Sule Lamido raised in that interview is that our sectional, sectarian and political rivalry and system are not different from Guinea Bissau. And this is apparent and noticeable in the banditry and lazy leadership Nigeria keeps on inheriting since independence that if care is not taken is trying to turn the country into post-colonial nightmare of factional strife, unforgiving political instability and dreadful economic somersaults.
May Allah protect Nigeria.
Nura Jibo, a lifetime member/senior research fellow of the West African Research Association (WARA), African Studies Centre, Boston University, United States.