“THE SECULARIZED RESIDUE OF CHURCH DOCTRINE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD”
BY NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
17th May, 2019
Nigeria’s intellectuals by 1984 began to wonder why the country had been unable to reach its potential. The most plausible reason was centered on leadership, which is correct to some extent. However, leadership alone cannot be blamed for some of the issues in Nigeria that lead to violence, cultism and disregard for human dignity. This reality has led us to the search for other reasons. The NCEF has come to the conclusion that the irreconcilable conflict of ideologies is responsible for the unpatriotic conduct of some Nigerians. As can be seen from this write-up, the ideologies of Democracy and Sharia are incompatible to the extent that any country practicing both is engaged in an endless tug of war. This explains the situation Nigeria found herself since independence in 1960. The NCEF has discussed these issues and came to the conclusion that a country running on two conflicting ideologies make the course of National Unity difficult to attain. Combining the ideologies of Democracy and Sharia is in fact war against our unity. The NCEF, in this write-up has tried to show when and where Nigeria got it wrong and came to the conclusion that brain power always supersedes brawn power. Applying this principle, the NCEF has argued that Democracy not Sharia is good for a multi-national and multi-religious country like Nigeria as her two-track ideologies produce two-track cultures.
Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria in a speech at the House of Representatives in 1953 said that “it is British colonies for eventual self-government; I think it will be a mistake on our part, if, prior to discussing this very major issue amongst ourselves, we commit ourselves to fixing a date for independence.” He continued: “the Northern Region does not intend to accept the invitation to commit suicide…” In his autobiography, he wrote thus: “the House adjourned at 11.05 am and we went out into the screams and insults of the large crowd of Lagos thugs waiting for us in the courtyard. I can tell you we were all very glad to get into our special train that evening and head for the high hills and plains of the North. We never liked our sojourn in Lagos and this had been worse than usual. The Lagos politicians had certainly gone out of their way to stir up trouble for us. We found that it was by no means over when we pulled out of Iddo station. Whenever the train stopped, we were surrounded by angry crowds of demonstrators. Even when we slowed down by village crossings, we were assailed by boos. I was warned before I left Lagos that it would be unwise for me to leave the train, but I was not going to be cooped up for fear of a lot of scallywags of railway employees. I got out at each stopping-place to stretch my legs. We hoped that when we crossed the border that we should be all right, but all the way up the line, even to the last station before Kaduna, the railway people and Southern elements gave us no peace.” [pg. 134]
The above statement should be read against the statement of AHM Kirk-Greene to wit: “one is reminded of the quip about the mutual hostility and regional loyalty of the Administrative staff of the Northern and Southern Provinces up to 1939: if all Nigerians had withdrawn from the country, there would have been a civil war between the two groups of Europeans” and lastly, Kwasi Kwarteng who wrote that “it is a mistake to think that administrators are motivated by liberal ideas of Democracy. In many cases, they chose careers in the empire precisely because they are not democrats.”
The events during the Budget sessions of 1953, when Chief Enahoro moved the motion for attainment of self-government for Nigeria in 1956 that triggered off the political divide between the Northern and Southern Nigeria to this day has not been satisfactorily resolved. The other major event which seems also not to have been resolved is the contrived Western Regional crisis of 1963.
Dr. Ajayi, SAN in his book titled In Our Days, showed that the crisis of 1963 in Western Region by implication, encouraged the coup of January 15, 1966 by some Army Majors and the counter-coup of the same year in July 1966. So far, no serious attempt has been made by successive governments – military and civilians, for genuine truth and reconciliation. The above facts notwithstanding, the National Christian Elders Forum has come to the conclusion that Nigeria’s major problem is the conflict of ideologies of Democracy and Sharia, two incompatible ideologies one visible (democracy) and the other (Sharia) by a few militant Islamic jihadists based on the teaching of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt founded in 1928, and exported by Saudi Arabia throughout the world to counter secularism.
Fulani Ruling Minority
The ruling elite in Nigeria since the jihad of Shehu Othman Danfodio, has made the Fulani Ethnic Nationality the ruling Nationality in Nigeria even as they are a minority. As rulers therefore, they have come to constitute the “political majority”. Their rulership status has also been extended to the Christian faith in Nigeria. A fallen Christian or a non-Christian is empowered to fund a Christian organization or organizations with whom the militant Islamists will deal. These are the Christians who speak and act on behalf of Christian majority in the Local Government, State and at the National levels. Persecutions take various forms including reducing or limiting opportunities to education by the introduction of cut-off marks, bombing of Churches, kidnappings such as the one involving Chibok and Dapchi girls – Leah Sharibu is an examples of the persecution of Christians. All this is in addition to the killing and maiming by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen and extrajudicial killings by security officials, Military, Police, etc. Preference for militant vigilante groups rather than regular Police, the suppression of public expressions of Christians, the denial of Certificates of Occupancy to build Churches in Sharia states, treatment of Christians with contempt, hostility and suspicion and, in the most extreme cases, forcing Christians to evacuate their land for the Fulani herdsmen are all also examples of persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
The Bishop Truro Report
The Interim Report of Bishop Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released in May 2019, had this to say concerning Nigeria: “reports consistently showed that in Nigeria, month after month, on average, hundreds of Christians were being killed for reasons to which their faith was integral. An investigation showed that in 2018, far more Christians in Nigeria were killed in violence in which religious faith was a critical factor than anywhere else in the world; Nigeria accounted for 3,731 of the 4,136 fatalities: 90 percent of the total. The single-greatest threat to Christians, over the period under review, came from Islamist militant group Boko Haram, with US intelligence reports in 2015 suggesting that 200,000 Christians were at risk of being killed. The extremist movement’s campaign was not just directed against Christians but towards all ‘political or social activity associated with Western society’ with attacks on government buildings, markets and schools. That said, Christians continued to be prominent target. Those worst affected included Christian women and girls ‘abducted, and forced to convert, enter forced marriages, sexually abused and tortured.’ In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls from Chibok, a mainly Christian village. A video released later purported to show the girls wearing Muslim dress and chanting Islamic verses, amid reports that a number of them had been “indoctrinated” into Islam. In the video, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau warns of retribution for those who refuse to convert, adding: ‘we will treat them … the way the prophet treated the infidels he seized. In its 2018 report on Nigeria, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom described how Boko Haram had ‘inflicted mass terror on civilians’, adding: ‘The group has killed and harmed people for being “nonbelievers”. In Maiduguri city, north-east Nigeria, Catholic Church research reported that massacres by the Islamists had created 5,000 widows and 15,000 orphans and resulted in attacks on 200 churches and chapels, 35 presbyteries and parish centres. [Emphasis supplied]
A Boko Haram spokesman publicly warned of an impending campaign of violence to eradicate the presence of Christians, declaring them ‘enemies’ in their struggle to establish ‘an Islamic state in place of the secular state’. Evidence of intent of this nature combined with such egregious violence, means that Boko Haram activity in the region meets the tests for it to be considered as genocide against Christians according to the definition adopted by the UN.
The Report continues: “the precise motives behind a growing wave of attacks by nomadic Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Middle Belt has been widely debated, but targeted violence against Christian communities in the context of worship suggests that religious hatred plays a key part. On 24th April 2018, a dawn raid, reportedly by Fulani herders, saw gunmen enter a church in Benue State, during early morning Mass and kill 19 people, including two priests. On April 18th 2019 in a detailed account it was reported that on Sunday April 14th Fulani herdsmen killed 17 Christians, including the mother of the child, who had gathered after a baby’s dedication at a church in an attack in Konshu-Numa village, in Nasarawa State’s Akwanga County in central Nigeria.”
To the above, we can add this report published in the front page of the Vanguard newspaper of May 9, 2019, headlined “Worsening insecurity” in which the following were variously reported: “Gunmen storm Sokoto community, killed monarch, razed police station, 34 killed in four states, cult war in Edo, Boko Haram attacks military base, eleven killed in a community in Borno, herdsmen killed eleven in Taraba community, Security agencies alone can’t solve problem, Police experts warn F.G. over ransom payment to kidnappers.” All these stories were reported in the Vanguard newspaper in one day!
A day before, Vanguard of May 8, 2019 reported this in an article, Herdsmen kidnapped me, collected N5.045m for my release – OAU Lecturer
“Prof. Olayinka Adegbehingbe, an orthopedic surgeon at the Obafemi Awolowo University OAU, Ile-Ife, who was kidnapped on Sunday, said that N5.045 million was paid to secure his release. Prof. Adegbehingbe who was Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC returning officer for Osun East senatorial election in February 23, 2019, was kidnapped in Ikoyi in Irewole local government area of Osun state while returning to the campus of OAU with his wife on the ever busy Ife/Ibadan express road. The surgeon, who said he was hale and healthy, attributed his release to the power of God. According to him, the kidnappers had initially demanded N30 million ransom and later collected N5.045 million for his release after much negotiation. He condemned the level of insecurity across the country, saying a majority of the youths were jobless and had now resorted to crime. The Federal Government needs to invest more in security; we need to know the identity of people coming in and going out of the town, state and the country at large. The people who abducted me were Fulani herdsmen and they had four guns and multiple rounds of ammunition as well as different dangerous weapons, he said.
He called for community policing as well as provision of employment for the youths, adding that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I also thank the security operatives, the entire OAU and OAUTHC communities, our families, church members and all other well-wishers for their prayers and other support rendered. Prof. Oluwole Komolafe, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association in Osun, expressed gratitude to God for the release of Adegbehingbe. The Federal Government should look into the issue of security across the country so that citizens would have rest of mind. Prof. Rasaq Adebayo, another colleague of Adegbehingbe and consultant cardiologist at OAU Teaching Hospital Complex, attributed the release to God’s intervention. We thank God for the release of our colleague for we cannot afford to miss an intelligent, competent and qualified surgeon like him, he stated.”
The above shows that insecurity is a daily occurrence. The village of President Buhari was not spared, the Mogai Yari of Daura, Alhaji Musa Umar was on May Day kidnapped from his home and has not been found and no message from the kidnappers.
The Nigerian Police, on the other hand, said in a publication in the Vanguard, May 8, 2019 titled Insecurity: We’re helpless, IGP cries out to Senate, saying
“With shortage of funds, inadequate equipment and personnel, there is little or nothing the police can do to curb the rising waves of insecurity in the country, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, told senators, yesterday.”
The Senate on the other hand has promised assistance “speaking at the plenary after the closed door session, Senate President Saraki said that they deliberated on banditry, robbery, terrorists’ activities and other security challenges in the country. Saraki appreciated the Police efforts at ameliorating the situation and challenges of insecurity, disclosing that the IGP promised to address areas that have to do with discipline of officers that have been found wanting. According to him, Adamu assured that efforts would be made on the problem of insecurity, especially with regard to the Abuja-Kaduna Highway and also on the area of intelligence. The Senate assured of its commitment towards addressing the issues of insecurity, adding that as lawmakers, they were prepared to give adequate funding required to make the Police combat insecurity.”
There is need, at this point, to add that except for former Vice-President Atiku who, is in Election Tribunal and was reported to have asked Buhari to accept responsibility for worsening security challenges, most Muslims in Nigeria, in keeping with the faith of Islam are in support of Buhari. Aso Villa Imam is reported to have in an article titled Insecurity is a test from God in Vanguard of May 9, 2019, “called for repentance and prayers to avert the current security challenges confronting the nation. Sheik Abdulwaheed Sulaiman, chief imam of the state house mosque, says cases of insecurity in Nigeria are a test from God. He made the comments during the daily Tafsir (Quranic teachings) which held at the State House Mosque, Abuja. Sulaiman, speaking on the rise in cases of banditry, kidnappings, and insurgency in the country, said Nigerians should repent and pray to avert the current security problem. --- President Buhari, who also spoke at the event, assured Nigerians ahead of his second term administration that he knows what to do as the leader of the government. --- I know what to do, and I will not fail Nigerians. The expectations of Nigerians will be met. I will not let them down. I will continue to do my best. Buhari had given a similar assurance to Nigerians in March 2019, when the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) paid him a congratulatory visit at the presidential villa, Abuja. Buhari promised to work harder in addressing the challenges facing the country. This is my last lap, I will try to work harder. I assure you, I will not let you down,” Buhari added. It is clear from the above facts that Nigeria’s insecurity is not by accident but by design propelled by Sharia ideology.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria
During the first week of May 2019, the UN threatened to declare the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide a terrorist organization. Objections came from the Islamic world on the main ground that it will hinder the growth of Democracy in the Arab world, which is valid. However there is need to consider the Brotherhood and its activities in Nigeria directly or stealthily.
By the mid-1990s, no thanks to the successful application of the techniques developed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s organizational footprint in Nigeria, the Ikhwan was in a position to target Nigerian society at all levels. With growing aggressiveness in recent years, its operatives have developed operational strategies against Nigerian government, educational institutions, media, Churches and local communities.
Below are some illustrative examples of the Muslim Brotherhood’s progress in Nigeria:
- Federal law enforcement agencies in states and local governments especially the intelligence services, have been targeted and as a result they now blunt investigative efforts that would interfere with the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities. The staff of these agencies have been schooled on the true nature of Sharia, jihad and the strategies of the Brotherhood to achieve its objectives of sharia as an alternative source of legislation in Nigeria.
- The Ministry of Education and school boards across Nigeria have been penetrated for the purpose of encouraging, the inclusion of Sharia in textbooks and pedagogy. The object is to control and soften the history of Islam and how it should be taught to Nigerian students.
- Many well-meaning leaders of other faiths especially Christians and their churches have been penetrated and compromised through Muslim Brotherhood influence operations under the guise of “interfaith dialogue.” The inter-faith dialogue also provides space for proselytizing in areas that are predominantly Christian. Inter-faith dialogue is an invaluable political cover for the Ikhwan to continue to object to the granting of C of O to Christians in the North for Christians to build Churches.
- Prominent secular leadership figures in communities across the country have also been induced to provide what amounts to political cover for the Muslim Brotherhood “operators”. This is done when they lend their prestige and authority to Muslim Brotherhood, Taqiyya/deceit and publicly consort with Ikhwan operatives.
- The financial community has been deeply penetrated via the promotion of Sharia-compliant finance such as Sukkuk financing using non-payment of interest which Christians had discarded one or two centuries ago. Sharia compliant financing is also a method of proselytizing especially among poor Christians.
- The Aniagolu Report of 1982 on Maitatsine riots showed that Sheikh Gumi, Alhaji Dasuki and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) set up Moslem Student Society (MSS) to propound extreme religious views in furtherance of JNI’s objectives.
Some Findings of the Aniagolu Commission
The Report says that “the enemy among us (Muslims and Christians) organized and guided by the Muslim Brotherhood and disguised by Taqiyya, posed a grave long-term threat to our Constitution, government, freedoms and way of life. The Muslim Brotherhood’s stealth jihad operates in conjunction with overtly or covertly violent jihadist organizations like Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen that developed a decade after the Commission showed quite clearly that had action been taken and the military government not complicit, Nigeria today, would not have had Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.
President Shehu Shagari appointed the Aniagolu Commission of Inquiry to investigate the causes, determine the extent of damage and submit recommendations on how best to prevent a re-occurrence” on the Kano disturbances/riot. [Beckoned to Serve, Shehu Shagari, pg. 124] Below are some of the findings of the Aniagolu Commission of Inquiry that comprised Hon. Justice Anthony Nnaemeka Aniagolu (Chairman), Alhaji Ustaz Yoonus Abdullahi, Chief Theophilus Agboola Fagbola, Colonel Datti Sadiq Abubakar (rtd) (members) and Ambassador Oluremi Obasola Adesola (Secretary)
The Findings on Moslem Students’ Society (M.S.S.) in part reads:
“Deputy Chairman, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was expelled from ABU Zaria on 14th December, 1979, for his role in fomenting M.S.S. unrest on the campus, was the brain behind a demonstration in Zaria by M.S.S. members on 4th May, 1980, when ten bus-loads of the members drove round the city with the following inscriptions in the buses:-
(a) ‘Down with the Nigerian Constitution’
(b) ‘Islam only.’
On 20th August, 1980, EI-Zakzaky was reported to be circulating in the Northern States, pamphlets captioned, “Fadakarwa ga Musulmin Nigeria” (Calling on Moslems in Nigeria”) in which he condemned the Nigerian Constitution for being anti-Islamic, called for an Islamic revolution, and urged Islamic students to rise against the Federal Government. He also demanded the recognition of the Sharia Law. El-Zakzaky is reported to have visited, on several occasions and recently returned from Iran where he was said to have received training in planning and executing students’ unrest”. Today, 2019, El-Zakzaki is in custody (even though the courts have granted him bail). He is accused of setting up a ‘mini’ republic near Zaria. The most important findings of the Commission are listed below. They include individuals and groups that, under normal circumstances, would have been interrogated or charged to court immediately after the inquiry but this did not happen until President Shagari was overthrown on December 31, 1983. A close examination of this coup and the one of 1975, suggest that they were staged for the same purpose – to halt Nigeria’s democratic growth.
The Report of the Commission further states: “on the other side, are traceable, such factors as rigid adherence to the dogmatic tenets of Islam in what we may describe as the strict Islamic Conformist group, very learned and constituting the elite but uncompromisingly resentful of any introduction into Islam of "new ways"; impatient of what they describe as “ignorance” and, like the opposing side, (Maitatsine) completely intolerant - a single devastating attitude of mind that we found permeating the whole gamut of the religious conflict in this part of the country. Indeed Alhaji Nariwu Kabara (w. 48) head of the Quadiriyya group, stated in evidence before us that so long as one group insists on describing the others whom they do not approve of as non-Muslims, so long shall there be disharmony.” [Emphasis supplied]
Concerning Alhaji Gumi, Alhaji Dasuki and Professor Galadanci
The Commission wrote: “all of them without exception, whilst recognizing the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution in Section 35, nonetheless insist that, by reason of Section 41, such freedom cannot be absolute but should be subject to some constraints. Section 41 (1) states inter-alia-
“Nothing in Sections 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society-
(a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health….”
This was the 1979 Constitution approved by the Military in anticipation of such argument to weaken freedom of religion. The Commission continued: “They further argued - Professor Galadanci (w.52)- Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki (W.39) and Alhaji M. Gumi (W. 40)- that although the Constitution allows a man to practise whatever religion he chooses, this presupposes also an acceptance of the existence of certain universal but immutable tenets of religion practiced by the majority, particularly in the Islamic faith. That, indeed, the proponents of changes, innovations or variations must treat those principles with reverence and not desecrate them by either introducing wrong interpretations or additions nor by the creation of new "Prophets of their own." If they do any of these things which offend against the religious susceptibilities of the majority, Professor Galadanci stated bluntly that "they should be stopped by Government or the Law enforcement agencies." [Emphasis supplied] It is obvious that these three eminent Nigerians belong to the militant Islamist group.” Professor Galadanci presently holds an important position in the Islamic group Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) while both Alhaji Dasuki and Sheikh Gumi are of blessed memory. Dasuki became Sultan of Sokoto, President General Jama’atu Nasril Islam (who was deposed by General Sani Abacha). Gumi was not only a retired President of Sharia Court of Appeal of the North, he also won the king Faisal Award for services to Islam, an award which some Muslims in Nigeria regard as the equivalent of Nobel prize.
It is very clear to us that it was at this point that the two ideologies like the two great rivers of Niger and Benue met but unlike the River Niger that flowed because it was longer and broader than the Benue, Democracy that was negotiated and agreed upon, continued in its journey after 1999, polluted and dirty.
In Gumi’s autobiography, he wrote: “what I regretted was that General Obasanjo’s government did not make good General Murtala’s plan to incorporate religion into the people’s lives like Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa before him. Murtala wanted to let religion play a greater part in the educational system and other aspects of our social life. He understood that only the fear of God would really influence the nation’s behavior. I think this was behind his decision to establish the Federal Sharia Court of Appeal, in order to give chance to appeals from the states in matters which the Sharia’s courts had jurisdiction.” This statement confirms the view of NCEF that General Gowon’s overthrow in 1975 was stealth jihad.
The Commission continued in: “this Tribunal found it difficult to get this category of Religious leaders to concede that, under our constitution, a man may practice any religion of his choice in whole or modified form or even an entirely new creation of his own so long as in doing so he does not profane or condemn or ridicule other people’s doctrine by means of public speeches or the use of cassettes. That so long as he does not use abusive words or in any way employ compulsion, blackmail or threats in converting followers to his side our Constitution guarantees him the freedom to so worship.” [Emphasis supplied] The above, in the view of the NCEF, is the crux of the matter.
The Commission’s Conclusion
The Commission in its conclusion, wrote: “it was said in conclusion, notably by Professor Galadanci, and strongly supported by Alhaji Abubakar Gumi, that our Governments contributed to the discord amongst the various groups by creating, as it were, a vacuum in its policy formation and thereby the spiritual part of humanity. He said: “I thought human beings have three important parts in them, we have the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual. Now, Government is doing quite a lot to develop and improve the physical wellbeing of the people. Secondly, Government is doing all it can to develop the intellectual abilities of the citizens in this country. We have schools, secondary schools, teacher training colleges, polytechnics and intellectual abilities of the citizens in this country. Unfortunately, nothing has been done about religion. We do not have to declare any State religion before the Government take this …... after all Religion is a very important part of culture.” It is clear from the above facts that JNI was and is presently determined to declare Islam as the dominant aspect of governance in Nigeria.
In the light of the foregoing and the evidence before this Tribunal, in addition to that from witnesses already mentioned, including also the testimony of His Royal Highness, the late Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Sir Muhammadu Sanusi and His Royal Highness the Sultan of Sokoto, any measure designed to promote peace and harmony which includes stability must stem from an acceptance of three basic principles-
(a) That the affected people or group of people are lovers of religion which forms an important aspect of their life. In fact it is more appropriate to say that it goes to the very root of their existence manifested by the total degree of daily devotion to Islamic education and prayers.
(b) That in spite of all efforts by Government Authorities, Emirs and voluntary religious organizations, such as the JNI, including also the partially successful endeavor at legislative control attempted in Sokoto State in 1979, the fact remains that discord and conflicts, sometimes complicated by leadership crisis', (Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki); sometimes by factors of affiliation to political parties certainly since 1979 (Exhibit 83 refers), have continued to feature prominently in inter-religious group relations. And,
(c) That, because instability and threats to public peace and order are a natural consequence of the religious clashes which the discord breeds with the potential for escalating into serious disturbances such as we witnessed recently in Kano, the matter should assume the nature of a major concern to all Governments of the Federation.
From the above, it is clear that some Muslim leaders especially those named above who constituted Islamic fundamentalists wanted and have succeeded to establish the primacy of religion over politics, which, in practice means, the founding of an Islamic State, a theocracy, ruled by spiritual rather than temporary authority and applying the Sharia. First they had to overcome the moderate Muslims which was successfully executed in 1983 with the overthrow of President Shehu Shagari. Now is the turn of Christians to be overcome by the Islamists. Sharia is in competition with Democracy.
Contradictory Ideologies of Democracy and Sharia
In our Rejoinder to Muslim Rights Concern’s (Muric) attack on us (NCEF), we wrote: “the NCEF has come to the firm belief that the experimentation of Sharia and its tenets of apostasy, Islamic supremacy, jihad, Taqiyya among others, in a democratic Nigeria and in competition with democracy have been responsible for the difficulty in peaceful co-existence with other religions and Ethnic Nationalities that do not believe in and are not willing to be bound by these tenets. It is not justice that these facts, notwithstanding, Christians by their contributions to the common purse are made to pay for the injustices meted out to them. NCEF, as a group of Elders, is merely drawing the attention of both the Government and the governed to these injustices due to the conflict between Democracy and Sharia. As Christians, we believe that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world. It is in this spirit that we send this Rejoinder. It is a well-known fact that Nigeria and Nigerians are blessed. You find them everywhere in the world and in the highest echelon of professions and callings, but it appears that Nigerians are unable to find solutions to man-made problems, (some say man-made disasters) plaguing the country which some have attributed to the problem of leadership. The NCEF is saying that in addition to leadership, conflict of two contradictory ideologies is the main problem. The NCEF has suggested severally, that the contradictory ideology of Democracy and Sharia at play in Nigeria is responsible for her instability. Nigeria has to choose one of the two not both.”
President Shehu Shagari in his book on the Aniagolu Commission concluded thus: “there were subsequent ‘Maitatsine’ uprising in Kaduna and Gombe, but each was dealt with decisively by the Police who had, by then, developed some experience and confidence in how to deal with warlike fanatics. It must be pointed out, however, that the re-occurrence of this nasty episode could have been prevented if all the governments of the federation had co-operated sufficiently and implemented the recommendations of the Aniagolu Commission which investigated the first disturbance of Kano in 1982. Unfortunately, some of the State Governments, especially the Kano State Government, for purely political reasons, had refused to co-operate. This is yet another example of the tragedies of the politics of confrontation of our opponents in the Second Republic.” [Shehu Shagari: Beckoned to Serve, page 325]
It is clear, from the above, that the proviso in Section 41(1) referred to earlier, was intended to whittle down democratic norms and provide space for the introduction of Sharia. However, the UN universal declaration of Human Rights which Nigeria subscribed to, states thus: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights) It is also clear that while the overthrow of General Gowon was a jihad, the coup against Shagari resulted from the intolerance of the Islamists and the willingness to edge out the broad-minded Muslims. The consequence is what we see today.
Sardauna of Sokoto nurtured a tolerant North
This portion of write-up is with respect to the “Muslim” North of Nigeria that was granted self-government on March 15, 1959 when the colonial Governor ceased to preside over the Executive Council of Northern Region for the Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello. It was a period of human rights and democracy when Northerners were not repressed and gained the benefits the free world had to offer including legitimacy and security guaranteed in a Democracy that is presently under contest. For this purpose, we intend to rely on events and statements of the Premier of the North, who was also the leader of the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) that was in control of Northern Nigeria, who was loyal to his oath of office and the Constitution. “People of the North, a year ago today, the Northern Region of Nigeria achieve self-government. When I spoke to you on that historic occasion, I said that we were determined to shoulder the responsibilities that lay ahead and that it was our young men and women on whom, in the years to come, we must rely to ensure that our country becomes a model of progress, good will, toleration and freedom, not only to Africa but to the whole world. And it is specially to the youth of the North that I speak today. You live in exciting and stimulating times. Our country has emerged from darkness into the light. You are standing on the hill of achievement and stretching out before you lie the plains of opportunity. Do not imagine that self-government is an end in itself. It is a challenge to us all, from the humblest to the greatest, an occasion to dedicate ourselves to the service of our great country” [A speech delivered at the first anniversary of Northern Nigerian self-government on March 15, 1960, pg. 34] The practice of modern day Sharia seem to have destroy this lofty ambition.
On culture, the Sardauna in a speech delivered at the formal opening of the headquarters of the Northern Cultural Society in 1960 said: “whatever the early historians and travelers may have said and written about our country, we have our own way of life; we have our customs and our traditions and our vitality lies in our capacity to tolerate the different views expressed about us. We have our own social and cultural institutions.”
As President-General of the Northern Peoples’ Congress programmed for independence he said “The Northern Peoples Congress, in formulating a foreign policy for Nigeria, will have regard to the principles on which it has based its home policy, and will therefore rule out completely any idea of adopting a policy of neutrality in international affairs. Nigeria has her acknowledged friends and should frankly accept the duties as well as the benefits of friendship. We must remember that Nigeria has based her advance to independent status on the fundamental principles of belief in the rule of law, belief in the sanctity of fundamental human rights, belief in the right of the individual to freedom under the law, and belief that the government, must depend ultimately on the consent of the governed, that those who wield the political power are responsible to the whole nation, and that the minority shall have the right to become the majority by constitutional means. These beliefs are not inherent in some ideologies and on certain systems of government. It is our view that Nigeria must on no account, fail to protect the principles which she believes to be right. --- We believe that the size of Nigeria’s territory and of her p0pulation together with her geographical situation, will assure her of an important place in the African continent.” [Emphasis supplied] [Work and Worship: Selected Speeches of Sir Ahmadu Bello, pgs. 84 -85]
On Nigerian Unity
He said “the N.P.C. as a party accepts one Nigeria. This one Nigeria should be a union of governments and peoples governed under a system of liberal democracy and committed to a policy of continuing reforms. --- The problem facing Nigerians is of such a serious nature that it would be foolhardy to attempt to solve it by the method of copying or listening intimately to people who have no intimate knowledge of the problem. --- Nigerians to avoid acting covertly or overtly as groups opposed to one another. Opposing groups do not make for unity and, since our independence, all Nigerian leaders have preached unity. --- As far as the N.P.C. is concerned, the only solution to our problem which has a fair chance of enduring, is one which gives all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or region, a reasonable opportunity to serve the Federation and derive from it just and fair rewards. --- It is the exclusionists who want to keep everything to themselves and they must take the blame for disunity. --- In its dealings, in the North and in the Federation, the N.P.C. believes in giving opportunity to everyone without regard to tribe. --- Once again, in our appeal for unity, we tell Nigerians of all parties and of all regions, ‘facts must be faced’. We cannot gloss over the facts and expect problems to solve themselves. If there are wrongs, they must be redressed. Above all, we must continuously remember that in the Federation, no region can be ignored or excluded. Talk about the unity of any number of regions against other regions merely to satisfy personal ambitions only leads to certain danger. Whatever we plan, let us plan it for the good of Nigeria as a whole. Nigerians should not plan evil on other Nigerians. We are one people with one common destiny. There is a saying, “those who dig for evil should dig short. After all, they may, themselves, fall into the ditch”. Let us remember that. [Work and Worship: Selected Speeches of Sir Ahmadu Bello, pgs. 100, 101, 104] We have reproduced part of this speech to show that the North, until 1966, was part and parcel of Nigeria and worked for a united Nigeria.
It is pertinent to emphasize that the Sardauna was not an extreme Muslim in several ways. At the London conference in 1958, he allowed the British government to include Human Rights provision in the Nigerian Constitution even though some Muslim countries had refused to endorse the charter in its favor at the United Nation. He went further to provide for a Penal Code for Northern Nigeria that is all-embracing and applicable to everybody in Northern Nigeria and, above all, was not in conflict with Sharia.
In an address delivered to the Minorities Commission in February 5, 1958, he said,
“Only recently we have arranged for prominent and trusted persons to visit the Sudan, Libya and Pakistan, and making these arrangements, we stressed that with the approach of regional self-government and Federal independence it would be necessary for us to demonstrate that our own ethnic and religious minorities, as well as commercial and industrial interests from abroad, would be treated in strict accordance with internationally accepted standards. With this policy in mind, we sought the permission of these friendly governments, one a member of the commonwealth, one an independent kingdom and one an independent republic, to assist us by receiving a fact-finding commission to ascertain, at firsthand, how these states, which are predominantly Muslim have adapted their system of administration and in particular the administration of Justice, to meet the problems raised by the diversity of racial origins and religious beliefs in these territories. Each delegation has, at least, one Christian as well as representatives of the chiefs or traditional office holders, and of the younger generation now playing so great a part in the development of the country.” [Emphasis supplied] [Work and Worship: Selected Speeches of Sir Ahmadu Bello, pg. 146]
The above facts notwithstanding, political militant Islamists in 2000 decided to introduce Sharia criminal law in some of the states (12 of them) that constituted part of the Sardauna’s Northern Nigeria. We can continue with examples of one of our founding fathers that made the period of self-government of the states up to 1966 the golden period in the history of Nigeria as a country.
Sardauna on Religion
At the same minority’s commission, he stated that: “the question which we, in the North, find particularly of concern to us, is that of religion and moral well-being of our people. --- It is sufficient for me now to say that it is the most earnest endeavor of the Regional Government to create a system whereby all men of goodwill are allowed complete freedom in the practice of their religion, provided only that this is not abused or permitted to threaten the reservation of law and order. The Regional Government has, itself proposed entrenching religious freedom in the Constitution. To this end, it made a declaration in November in terms which have already been communicated to the Commission in the written memorandum. Upon this declaration we stand four square and we are prepared to discuss, at any time, the safeguards which should be introduced into the Constitutional Instrument. --- let the commission ponder the high place which Christians have always had in the respect and regard of the followers of Islam. This has been so since the time of the Prophet himself though, on occasions political consideration and, let us be frank, misguided fanaticism on both sides have tended to blur and obscure this fact, none the less it remains a fact. We, Muslims, have no quarrel with Christians or animists. We believe that the existence of the two world religions side by side in peace and friendship is not merely possible of achievement but well within our powers to achieve.” [Emphasis supplied] [pg. 145]
Sharia in Zamfara
The NCEF cannot but agree with Paul Lubeck when he wrote “the material and political costs of playing the sharia card, within months of Zamfara’s decision a broad-based popular movement for the implementation of sharia spread like a raging wildfire across the northern states. It was spearheaded by committees of the pious, ulama, professionals, students, and Islamic civil society groups who used demonstrations, public marches, zealous vigilantes, and numerous petitions to demand that states immediately implement sharia criminal law without compromise or delay.” [Nigeria: Mapping a Sharia Restorationist Movement pg. 245] NCEF cannot but imagine how much these movements cost the taxpayers.
This, we are told was intended to make up for “decades of political and economic mismanagement by military and civilian rulers have rendered sharia an attractive political alternative for Nigeria’s northern Muslim. At the heart of Nigeria’s crisis of governance lies the resource curse, or the “paradox of riches”. Nigeria’s extraordinary natural resources stand in sharp contrast to its abysmal failure to realize even a tiny portion of its obvious potential. All informed accounts juxtapose Nigeria’s dazzling promise to its miserable performance: chaotic governance, endemic corruption, and criminal indifference to public good on the part of elites, cyclical communal conflict, and an overall failure to mobilize its rich natural endowments for the public good. Most of all, Nigeria represents a catastrophic failure on the part of elites to construct a hegemonic consensus on how to organize, develop, and regulate a national society.” [Nigeria: Mapping a Sharia Restorationist Movement pg. 247] Nigeria failed because of the ideological difference between Democracy and Sharia.
The Golden Era Ended with the Beginning of the Politics of Sharia
The Nation newspaper in an Editorial of May 5, 2019, wrote about Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka re-affirming the concept of wasted generation which he first affirmed in 1984: “I compare today with dreams and aspirations we had when we all rushed home after studies abroad. We considered ourselves the renaissance people that were going to lift the continent to world standards, competitors anywhere. It hasn’t happened. --- After a quarter of a century of witnessing and occasionally participating in varied aspects of social struggle in all their shifting tempi, dimensions, pragmatic and sometimes even ideologically oriented goals, I feel, at this moment, that I can only describe my generation as the wasted generation, frustrated by forces which are readily recognizable, which can be understood and analyzed but which nevertheless have succeeded in defying whatever weapons such ‘understanding’ has been able to muster towards their defeats. In both 1984 and 2019, Soyinka in his characteristic candor, reminded the nation of the negative impact of wasting the country’s intellectual capital in the hands or under the watch of governments that have failed to aspire to global standards. While the notion of wasted generation graphically expresses frustration about what seems to have become a perennial ‘Nigerian situation,’ it is at no time meant to be an accurate diagnosis of Nigeria’s problem. --- Undoubtedly, the country’s problem at most times since 1966 has been, as Soyinka aptly observed, the failure of its ruling group. But it has not been just a failure of character and value; it has also been an abiding lack of will to find the right formula for forming a modern multi-ethnic democratic nation. --- it is significant that proper focus is directed at the roots of the Nigerian situation and a source of frustration for many of the country’s renaissance people. --- Soyinka’s call for change in the substance and style of political leadership is a clarion call. Undoubtedly, men and women of poor character, low values, and tunnel visions have found their way to power and act as if they have sworn to hand over the country to their clones, a practice that has contributed to poor governance, which has made nonsense of the country’s intellectual capital, especially those that have been ever ready to make a difference. Certainly, members of new generation with proper preparation in learning and in character are needed as candidates to be attracted to governance. --- Equally important is the will of political leaders to search diligently and sincerely for a political template that can help to transform Nigeria into a thriving modern multi-ethnic nation for all its citizens.”
It is very clear to us of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) that the golden era was terminated by an invisible government within the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an arm of the Intelligence Service, set up to destroy democracy and promote Sharia. The invisible government was established to set up Sharia in two stages, first to compete with Democracy and thereafter replace Democracy. Nigerians must be reminded that “Britain's empire was not liberal in the sense of being a plural, democratic society. It openly repudiated ideas of human equality and put power and responsibility into the hands of a chosen elite, drawn from a tiny proportion of the p0pulation in Britain. The British Empire was not merely undemocratic; it was anti-democratic. The United States, on the other hand, despite its difficult history, proclaims itself to be democratic: plural and liberal. Its avowed values could not be further removed from those of the British Empire.” [Ghosts of Empire, Kwasi Kwarteng, pg. 7] The Sardauna understood this fact and strived to achieve Democracy for the North. The situation would have been different had the Sardauna accepted to be (as leader of the NPC) Prime Minister of Nigeria and not Premier of the North. With the trio of Sardauna, Awolowo and Azikiwe at the centre, Nigeria ambition as country – giant of Africa would have been realized. Not to worry it, is not too late. The British did not honestly promote the unity of Nigeria.
Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor of Nigeria in 1922 said: “Katsina College was designed to serve all the Muhammadan Emirates in Nigeria, and, as you are aware, the young men who will receive in it their training are drawn from every part of the Muhammadan States. Katsina as a seat 0f learning and of piety; --- is not as yet so close to the railway and to the commercial centres of Nigeria as to make it unsuitable for that quiet and tranquility and that freedom from distractions which are so necessary for young men who are devoting their lives to study. --- For to these young men will hereafter be entrusted the duty of training and instructing the boys who attend the Provincial Schools in which they will later be employed. And it will fall to them to teach those the lessons learned from books which they will here acquire, but the way that good Mohammadans should live, the good manners, good behavior and the courageous deportment without which mere book learning is of little worth. These principles were faithfully carried out and the exhortations were always in our mind.” [My Life, Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto pgs. 28 – 29] Had the Katsina College principle applied to all Nigerians, the unity of Nigeria would have been sacrosanct.
“In 1999, civilian rule was restored after sixteen years of authoritarian rule by corrupt generals most of whom hailed from the Muslim north. The newly elected president Obasanjo, was a born-again Christian from Nigeria's Yoruba-speaking southwest. Although the return to civilian rule was welcomed in civil society and Christian circles, it caused anxiety among the long-dominant northern elite. This shift in executive power was but one of the issues fueling Muslim concerns. Between the late 1960s and the 1990s, large numbers of mainline Christians and participants in African Independent Churches had left their churches to become Pentecostal. Whereas for much of the postcolonial period, provincial politics had been organized around delicate inter-ethnic and inter-religious alliances, the combination of Islamic revival and Pentecostal surge burdened the Muslim-Christian divide with new cultural freight. Tensions were especially high in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, a borderland region inhabited by Muslims, Christians, and adherents of indigenous African religions. The conversion of some in the last group to Christianity provided a new basis for unity among non-Muslim groups, many of whom had long chafed at their subordination to the region's Muslim rulers. In the 1980s and 1990, the delicate issue of ethno-religious relations in the region was torn, and there were outbreaks of bitter communal violence. At a national level, too, Christian-Muslim rivalries were intensified by the ascent of mass-based Christian alliances, like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The CAN leadership opposed Muslim hegemony in the borderlands and saw the implementation of Islamic laws as a threat to Nigeria’s tradition of multi-religious citizenship.” [Sharia Politics: Islamic Law and Society in the Modern World, edited by Robert W. Hefner pg. 39]
We agree with the above analysis. However Christian solidarity has since been penetrated and destroyed as a result of consecrated persons involvement in governance, which is responsible for some consecrated men promoting the policies of militant Islamist jihadist. This is in addition to the fact that the Brotherhood’s treatment of inter-faith has been exercised on CAN – ensuring that the leadership of CAN is controlled and directed by a fallen Christian who, with the right price, is willing, like Judas, to betray his Christian faith. In fact, it will not be out of place to suggest that the leader of CAN is an operative of the invisible government within the Intelligence Service, installed to replace Democracy with Sharia. It is dangerous to accord him a second tenure. The voice of men they say, is the voice of God especially a leader that has had first term of three years, where he worked against the faithful he was supposed to shepherd. It is very clear that the two pastors in position of authority have helped to reduce Christians to a minority in the politics of Nigeria.
With the above background and the period between 1960 and 1999, the Islamists in Nigeria have grown with the assistance of the military. The NCEF accept that Islam is a religion with the purpose of creating a good moral society. Sharia, on the other hand, are laws that are based on the Qur'an and hadith but made by ulama (men). This was at the time the only way in the Arab world. What is required today seem to NCEF, to be a good parliament, flowing from free, fair and credible elections, not a new caliphate or an Islamic state.
Experimenting with Democracy and Sharia
If the question is asked whether Nigeria should continue with this experimentation of both Democracy and Sharia, the answer must be a resounding No. It is very clear that while democratic liberalists give priority to freedom as the supreme individualistic values, freedom in the sense of personal development and human flourishing, Sharia, on the other hand, sees freedom as essentially an inner or spiritual quality, freedom means conformity to the revealed will of God’s Spiritual fulfillment being associated with submission to religious authority. In other words, humans have no rights. Democracy provides for a parliament or national assembly where lawmakers elected freely, fairly and credibly by general suffrage, make laws that are binding on the people. Sharia, on the other hand, consider manmade laws illicit for Allah has provided the only law permitting sharia which cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards. In the circumstance, Nigerians should examine, in some detail, the Buhari rule since 2015 whether, like the Islamic State (IS) experiment could succeed or fail.
War on Jihadism
In an article the Economist on May 2, 2019, titled The new war on jihadism: The West’s new front against jihadism is in the Sahel even with help, governments are struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies, the article provides in part “Jihadists are sweeping across the Sahel, an arid swathe of scrubland on the southern edge of the Sahara that stretches most of the way across Africa. They are also causing mayhem in Somalia. America, Britain, France and other Western powers are trying to help local forces in at least 16 countries beat them back. It is not going well. Since the collapse of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State (IS) has been looking for other places to raise its black flag. Africa, and especially the Sahel, is vulnerable. Governments are weak, unpopular and often have only a tenuous grip over remote parts of their territory. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS was reported to have said, “Your brothers in Burkina Faso and Mali... we congratulate them for their joining the convoy of the caliphate.” According to the site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist communications, Major General Mark Hicks, “Al-Qaeda has taken a very serious long-term view of expanding here in the Sahel, and they’re seeing real success,” he says. His intelligence officers reckon that the groups they track contain about 10,500 jihadist fighters.”
The article continues: “most jihadists in Africa are fighting their own governments (African jihadist groups). Some are strictly local, having taken up arms to fight over farmland or against corrupt local governments. Some adopt the “jihadist” label only because they happen to be Muslim. An offshoot of Boko Haram, for example, is building a proto-caliphate in northern Nigeria. Jihadist groups of all varieties are expanding their reach in the Sahel and around Lake Chad. Last year, conflicts with jihadists in Africa claimed more than 9,300 lives, mostly civilian. This is almost as many as were killed in conflict with jihadists in Syria and Iraq combined. About two-fifths of those deaths were in Somalia, where al-Shabab frequently detonates car bombs in crowded streets. Many of the rest were in Nigeria, where the schoolgirl-kidnappers of Boko Haram and its odious offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, shoot villagers and behead nurses. However, the area that aid workers and Western spooks worry about most is the Sahel. In Nigeria, for instance, jihadists often sneak up and overrun army bases because the bush around them has not been cleared. Or they start shooting at them with a small force to goad the defenders into using up their ammunition firing back, leaving them helpless when the main attack begins. Efforts to contain the spread of jihadism by training local armies or killing insurgent leaders are not obviously working.” “Western governments and armies have started to focus less on Mali and Nigeria and more on Niger and Burkina Faso, hoping that these countries can act as bulwarks to halt the spread of jihadism.
Furthermore, the threat of jihadism has prompted some Western governments quietly to stop promoting democracy in Africa, just as during the cold war, when they propped up awful regimes if they were anti-communist. The Sahel is so unstable that foreign troops will probably be there for years. But unless local governance improves, they will not eliminate the jihadist threat. As one Western officer muses: “Are we just building sandcastles at low tide?” [Emphasis supplied] It is very clear that Buhari and Atiku as Muslims in the circumstance of Nigeria, cannot defend and safeguard Nigeria’s nascent Democracy which was why the NCEF preferred a Third Force than the Muslim/Muslim tickets of the two leading political parties of the APC and PDP.
Clerics Questioning Clerical Rule
The Economist May 2nd 2019, in an article titled: Battle of the ayatollahs: Why Shia clerics are turning on Iran’s theocracy, stated that “Clerics there (Iran) increasingly question the system of velayat-e faqih, or clerical rule. Some clerics are distancing themselves from the regime, which corners much of Iran’s wealth through its vast business empire. Mr. Sistani champions the separation of mosque and state. Clerics should advise, he says, not rule. “If you’re under the heavy hand of Iran’s religious establishment, which tells you what to think and what to wear, it makes you look to the intellectual freedom of Najaf. “Rouhani is sending a signal that there’s room in the Islamic republic for those who don’t believe the rule of the [Islamic] jurist is an article of faith,” says Robert Gleave of Exeter University in Britain.” Sharia as has been shown above, is the marriage of Mosque and state and it has failed in a much touted Sharia rule.
Events in the Sahel
In another article titled Malicious militias: States in the Sahel have unleashed ethnic gangs with guns: A cycle of tit-for-tat murder has begun, The Economist on May 2, 2019, stated: “The gunmen were from an ethnic militia, one of hundreds that have sprouted in Mali and Burkina Faso, and that have killed at least 800 people since the beginning of 2018. The militias are most active in Mali, which has battled a jihadist insurgency since 2012. Many emerged from groups of hunters, who used to stalk game with flintlock guns. Now they are armed with assault rifles and speed about on motorbikes. They say they hunt jihadists. In reality, they are targeting Fulanis, a mainly Muslim minority group.
The army has made no serious attempt to disarm these militias, said Human Rights Watch, a watchdog, in December. Instead, the government has helped them. Some army units patrol with them. Emboldened by the government’s inaction, militiamen hacked and burned to death more than 170 people in Ogossagou, central Mali, in March. This favoritism plays into the hands of the jihadists, who find it easiest to recruit among oppressed minorities such as the Fulani, which are also forming their own militias. Some jihadists have urged all Fulanis to join their fight. The situation is hardly better in Burkina Faso, where thousands of men have joined groups called Koglweogo (guardians of the bush). They started out as vigilante groups that beat or killed alleged criminals. But many now demand money from villagers and torture those who do not pay. Some estimate that there are about 4,500 Koglweogo groups, most with at least 20 men, mainly from the majority Mossi ethnic group. They are being sucked into conflict with the Fulani. In January Koglweogo fighters massacred some 210 mostly Fulani people in Yirgou in northern Burkina Faso. Instead of arresting the attackers, the government told the victims to forgive them. The government’s shameful reaction partly reflects its weakness. But there may be a darker motive. Many members of the government are Mossi, and may think it useful to have an ethnic militia on hand before elections next year. Yet by allowing militias to arm and multiply, governments “have created a monster”, says an official in the Sahel. Having let this demon out of the box, they will struggle to put it back.” [Emphasis supplied] From this narrative, it is clear that the absence of well-trained Police at State and Local Government levels, the conduct of the Federal Government in its war against Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen gives the impression that the Federal Government is on the side of both Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen as the two groups are negroids while the majority of Nigerians who are negro continue to bear the brunt of a minority group with the connivance or indifference of a Federal Government with a majority of Fulani and Kanuri. The above narrative is intended to tell the Federal Government not to be penny wise and pound foolish. The Fulanis and Kanuris now planted throughout the country cannot defeat millions of educated Negros who are mainly Christians. Lives will be lost, properties destroyed, but the end result will be the same as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria where religious fanaticism resulted in the death of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims regarded as kafri or infidel.
Forgotten War against Jihadists
In an article titled Crisis in the Sahel: The West is fighting a forgotten war against jihadists in Africa it is too soon to bring the troops back home, The Economist on May 2, 2019, wrote thus: “Looking somewhat disheveled and sometimes confused, the leader of Islamic State (is), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, issued his first video message in five years on April 29th. His tone was mostly gloomy. His followers have been vanquished in battle. His “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria lost its last bit of territory in March. Yet the fanatic who popularized beheading videos also offered his followers some hope. He welcomed the recent pledges of allegiance to it from jihadist groups in Mali and Burkina Faso, and, singled out for praise Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. The front line of the jihadists’ war against everyone else has moved to Africa. Last year almost 10,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in jihadist-related violence in Africa. That is almost as many as were killed in conflict with jihadists in Iraq and Syria. The conflict is spread across a broad expanse of Africa, from Somalia in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. It is concentrated in some of the poorest countries on Earth, where it is fuelled by bad governance. Some of these states barely control much of their own supposed territory. Many jihadist recruits come from ethnic minorities, such as the Fulani, who see officials as alien and predatory. Many join up after being beaten or robbed by police. Global warming, meanwhile, has withered pastures, intensifying conflict over land. These pressures are most keenly felt in the Sahel. Sahelian governments deserve much of the blame for all this bloodshed. Several have supported ethnic militias, which they see as a cheap, arm’s-length way of killing jihadists and their supporters. This tactic has backfired. The militias are so brutal and ill-disciplined that they almost certainly increase support for the jihadists. Governments in the Sahel should start by disarming the militias. At the same time, they could work harder to curb corruption and human-rights abuses by their armies and police forces.”
Ethnic Associations and Politics
In an article by Ladipo Adamolekun titled Ethnic Associations and Politics revisited published in the Vanguard of May 9, 2019, he stated thus: “until the eminently sensible recommendation in the Uwais Committee Report (2008) on the desirability of accepting independent candidates in electoral contests is adopted, we would not know peace. Party allegiance among Nigerians remains largely weak. For example, in one state in the South-west where a colleague recently conducted a rigorous and robust opinion poll, over 40 percent of registered voters declared that they belonged to neither of the two dominant parties in their areas (APC and PDP). In other words, the country’s party system is still weak with respect to citizen mobilization. Furthermore, the fact that a majority of the visible political actors across parties who have occupied elective or appointive positions for varying periods since 1999 change party allegiance like nomads (literally in search of “greener pastures”) is strong evidence of lack of party differentiation based on principles/ideologies. A party system that combines weak citizen mobilization with lack of distinguishable principles/ideologies – two interlinked negative characteristics – is unquestionably weak.
All ethnic associations should accept that their primary role is the promotion of socio-cultural development. Next, for as long as “sharing the national cake” and the constitutionally-enshrined “federal character” hold sway, ethnic associations will continue to have relevance as lobbyists for political preferment on behalf of their respective kinsmen and kinswomen regardless of whether or not they record tangible results. Finally, based on the evidence of their declining relevance and limited impact as political campaign blocs, they should voluntarily reduce and, within a decade or less, cease to be involved in partisan politics. Perhaps the clinching argument regarding the last point is the strong evidence that involvement in partisan politics is the major cause of interminable divisions within ethnic associations nation-wide. I would like to stress that reducing the salience of ethnic associations in politics would depend, to a considerable extent, on progress in two areas: establishing a strong party system and achieving robust economic growth and reduced poverty.” The NCEF is of the firm view that ethnic associations have been rendered ineffective by the militant jihadists. The only sensible alternative open to Christians in Nigeria is a political party that has liberal democracy as its ideology.
It is clear to us of the NCEF that it is stealth jihad that is responsible for the removal of independent candidacy that was included in the 1979 Constitution. Its removal made democracy exclusive, in that one requires a party to be able to contest election which is responsible for the Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket in the two major political parties of APC and PDP. It is very clear that lack of distinguishable ideologies make the parties weak. The traits did not occur accidentally but by design. The major players in politics in Nigeria is a minority ethnic group that co-opted the majority Hausa to form Hausa/Fulani, that has since being described as an ideology – a system of rule and of society of which the important ingredient is the operation of Islamic laws. Willink added that some witnesses have specifically refer to this system of law as an object of fear. All it has done is to include Christians as part of this ideology that produced Buhari and Atiku. It is in the interest of Nigeria that Christians should have a political party of their own to promote Democracy in the face of Sharia onslaught.
The Limits of Militant Islamism
In this write-up, we have shown the rise of militant jihadism in Nigeria; those who championed the militancy, their success and what we should expect from them in the future. It is clear from the above facts that in hiding under some tenets of Islam, they were able to command a very large followership and like the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria attracted support internally and externally. Like the fighters of Iraq and Syria, most Islamists in Nigeria were confident that they had reached the promised-land. Democratic institutions such as the National Assembly were suspended in addition to the suspension of the Constitution. Military decrees and edicts laced with principles of Sharia were introduced into the Constitution and Laws; ethnic cleansing was introduced in the purge of public service and corporations that took place between 1978 and 1982 which resulted in today’s dominance by Muslims in the top echelon of public service. However, on handing over power to civilian politicians even though most of the soldiers removed their khaki uniform for agbada, the incompatibility of Sharia and Democracy became apparent to the few that understood the game of the militant Islamists. Democracy fought back gamely and today the ordinary man knows that Nigeria the giant of Africa’s problem is the conflict of Democracy and Sharia that equate to brain and brawn.
A write-up like this may not be sufficient to deal with the nitty-gritty of the incompatibility between Democracy and Sharia. However events in the Sahel and the fall of Islamist State – the Caliphate of Iraq and Syria that three years ago was a caliphate with an area about the size of the United Kingdom but today it has been obliterated from the face of the earth. It is being speculated with solid facts that the Islamist fighters have moved to the Sahel in West Africa and the nomadic Fulanis in Burkina Faso are presently at the receiving end while at the same time the Fulanis in Nigeria are giving other ethnic groups the Burkina Faso treatment. They have succeeded so far because of the support the Hausa have given to them over the years that made them a ruling minority. With the advent of military rule and democracy, the support of some Christian groups and the Hausa gave the Fulani Muslim a “majority”. Today the situation is different; the Fulani in Nigeria can no longer count on the Hausa and the Christians that constituted allies that enabled them to obtain a majority in Nigeria as these have become wiser. Thus the end game of the militant Islamist in Nigeria is near. To continue the use violence by the Fulani against other Nigerians will be unproductive and futile. The divine prediction of victory at the last moment which Islamist fighters hoped for in Iraq and Syria but did not come to pass will not happen in Nigeria because Allah loves Nigeria and the Christians, Muslims, Animists in the country. God will not permit war based on religious fantasy to prove that Western education is sacrilege, the motto of the Boko Haram sect.
We have in this write-up traced the politics of Nigeria, ending with the Interim Report of Bishop Truro concerning Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen as perceived by the international community and the incursion of the Muslim Brotherhood to Nigeria and its progress over the years. These facts notwithstanding, Nigeria had a golden era followed by the Maitatsine uprising in the 1980s that showed that the principal actors were in favor of militant Islamism by way of stealth jihad by the government and conventional jihad by the militant Islamists. With respect to the golden age which was from the period of self-government to the Regions, Western Region and Eastern Region in 1957 and the Northern Region in 1959. The Sardauna was a moderate Muslim who promoted Democracy, rule of law and freedom of Religion. The Sharia law of Zamfara in 2000 was the breaking point when, for economic and political reasons, Zamfara State passed the Sharia criminal law as solution to what Northern Muslim elites and student groups saw as an “instrument for solidifying an Islamic identity in the face of continuing Christian advances.” But because Democracy and Sharia are incompatible, the concept resulted in two steps forward and five backwards.
Nigerians do not require a fortune-teller to tell us that only Nigerians can solve Nigeria’s political problems but these problems have to be identified. The NCEF has emphasized the fact that the Islamists have used the tenets of Islam, especially Islamic superiority, apostasy, jihad, etc to promote militant Islamism, which, from the facts enumerated above, has stultified the growth of Nigeria from a country to nation and all that Nigeria can show for the abundant resources, manpower and intelligence is what Nigeria was and she is still ruled by “multi-layered, institutionalized oligarchy comprised of self-serving politicians, businessmen, officers and elite bureaucrats who share a common interest in gaining access to the clientele network responsible for the distribution of petrol rent.” Paul Lubeck on Nigeria titled Mapping a Sharia Restorationist Movement states: “The easy wealth flowing from the distribution of petro-rents has created a system of oligarchic rule in Nigeria, now institutionalized as a pathological social structure of accumulation, one that creates disincentives and barriers to transformative and dynamic investments which could raise the productivity of the agricultural and manufacturing economy. Even though functionaries of the oligarchy occasionally do represent the interests of their ethnic, regional, and religious communities, they have much more in common with members of the oligarchy than with the increasingly impoverished constituencies they claim to represent. Again because political parties are owned by major oligarchs (godfathers), they not only strangle democratic reform movements but, in effect, block developmental gains because they lack any recognizable ideology, active membership, pragmatic platform, or desire to transform Nigerians’ living standards.” [pg. 248] Today, 2019, the gateway to this honey pot is in the hands of one tribe and one religion that are inimical to national unity and integration.
NCEF does not claim the monopoly of knowledge; all it has done is to place in the public domain facts which, if they are convincing enough in the absence of superior ones show that Nigeria two-track ideologies produce two-track cultures more so because they are incompatible. Sharia should give way to Democracy. It is in the interest of peace and unity that Nigeria should do away with the cumbersome plurality of legal system and ideology once and for all.
God bless Nigeria
Solomon Asemota, SAN
For: National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF)
17th May, 2019
TESTIMONY OF HOPE IN DEMOCRACY
“THE SECULARIZED RESIDUE OF CHURCH DOCTRINE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD”
BY NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
Introduction … … … 1 - 3
Fulani Ruling Minority … … … 3
The Bishop Truro Report … … … 3 - 5
News publications … … … 5 - 7
The Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria … … … 7 - 8
Some Findings of the Aniagolu’s Commission … … … 9
The Findings on Moslem Students’ Society (M.S.S.) … … … 9 - 10
Concerning Alhaji Gumi, Alhaji Dasuki and Professor Galadanci … … 10 - 12
The Commission’s Conclusion … … … 12 - 13
Contradictory Ideologies of Democracy and Sharia … … … 13 - 15
Sardauna of Sokoto nurtured a tolerant North … … … 15 - 16
On Nigerian Unity … … … 16 - 17
In an address delivered to the Minorities Commission in February 5, 1958 … 17 - 18
Sardauna on Religion … … … 18 – 19
Sharia in Zamfara … … … 19 - 20
The Golden Era Ended with the Beginning of the Politics of Sharia … 20 - 21
Invisible Government … … … 21
Katsina College … … … 21 - 22
Sharia Revival … … … 22 - 23
Experimenting on Democracy and Sharia … … … 23 - 24
War on Jihadism … … … 24 - 25
Clerics Questioning Clerical Rule … … … 25 - 26
Events in Sahel … … … 26
Government Complicity … … … 26 - 27
Forgotten War against Jihadists … … … 27 - 28
Ethnic Associations and Politics … … … 28 - 29
The Limits of Militant Islamism … … … 29 - 31
Conclusion … … … 31 - 32