Category Archives: Politics

“Aboki” vs. Leviathan: Nigeria Standing on Quicksand of Despotism

By Ahmed Garba

On February, 20, 2014, Nigerians woke up to learn that their stealth dictator, Emperor Ebele has suspended the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a manner consistent with hypocrisy, the emperor waited for Sanusi to be out of the country before carrying out his despicable (some might say calculated humiliation) act. Weren’t we here before, in 1976, when Yakubu Gowon was attending OAU meeting in Kampala, Uganda, only to be told that there had been a coup against his government; again in August of 1985, when Gen. Buhari was away in Saudi Arabia, and evil man Babangida staged a coup? No wonder Ebele once said that Babangida is “like a father to me”. Like father like son? It is important to point out that the first two cases involved military coups, where the coup plotters had to try to minimize insurrection or loss of lives. So, what is the Emperor’s excuse?

Alas, the Ebele that Nigerians thought they knew is not the Ebele there is.

Consider the facts revealed in a recent report that, a few days before the announcement of the CBN governor’s suspension, when Ebele sat down with his Kitchen cabinet, several options were tabled as to how the matter should be handled. The options ranged from the sensible, that is, let the governor run out his course peacefully, to the thuggish/ruffian let’s disgrace him out of office. Needless to say, we have seen which option Ebele found more acceptable. So, we are dealing with someone who truly believes in his own statement: “I don’t give a damn” about Nigeria and Nigerians.

Lest we forget, we have previously seen this display of flight of reason from our closet tyrant. Recall the way he handled the case of former President of Court of Appeals, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. We saw how the emperor pressed the panic button, when he thought that Justice Salami was going to “throw sand in his gari”. In a previous article, written two years ago, I chronicled Ebele’s tyrannical tendencies. It is worth revisiting.

GARRISON POLITICS: BRIGANDS in ABUJA

As noted by Daily Independent in this article, the term “Garrison Politics” was first introduced into Nigeria’s political lexicon by none other than PDP’s own former Senator, and retired Col. Ahmadu Ali. He chose it as a better replacement for the term “amala politics” that was being used to describe the rough and tumble style of politics practiced by Lamidi Adedibu in Oyo state. One now wonders if Senator/Col. Ali was consciously or subconsciously describing the true ideology of his own party–PDP, for, as we have been witnessing, PDP is quite at home in this bare knuckle, “do or die” politics, and they do it with all manners of malevolence. In addition to what Nigerians witnessed under Obasanjo (e.g. the unexplained murder of Bola Ige), current examples include the following:

  • Let us go back to the case of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, which represents the first ‘in your face’ frontal assault against what should have remained a respected Nigerian institution—The Nigerian Court of Appeals. Here was the head of Nigeria’s Court of Appeals being maltreated, disgraced, and unceremoniously removed from office by ballot thieves, who engaged the tools of garrison politics to soil the man, solely because Ebele’s political ambition supersedes justice and fairness in Nigeria. The saddest part of that event was that the National Judicial Council—a body that should have fought tooth and nail to uphold the dignity of the judiciary—shamefully allowed itself to become a willing accomplice against one of its own. And when they “came to their senses”, reversed themselves, and requested that Ebele reinstates the Justice, he “gave them the finger”, because, they had already sold their soul.
  • Then there was the murky case of Gen. Azazi. It had been rumored that, as a cabinet member, he sometimes ran out of patience with Ebele’s indolence, and he made it known at times. But when he left the cabinet, and dared to go out and announce that there is a link between Boko Haram and PDP, his goose was cooked. Without warning and under mysterious circumstances, Azazi had to settle with the lord, in a flaming helicopter above the sky in the creek. This, despite the gun running contribution that he had made to the militants in the creek–an act for which he was retired from the military.
  • When on independence day 2010, bombs went off in Abuja, Ebele wasted no time to exonerate “my people” (MEND). However, Henry Okah, a member of MEND, who confessed to the 2010 bombing was for some mysterious reason tried and convicted not in Nigeria where he committed the crime against Nigerians, but in South Africa. The accused, in his defence stated that he, together with the other perpetrators were instructed to blame the attack on Ebele’s opponents, ahead of the 2011 elections. Do we “know why the caged bird” didn’t sing otherwise? More importantly, do we know why an accused who committed a crime in Nigeria against Nigerians will not be extradited to face charges in Nigeria?
  • How about that veil threat against the governor of Barno state during the recent so-called presidential chat, in which Ebele threatened to withdraw soldiers from the state? Not only was that statement a clear betrayal of Ebele’s mentality, but somehow, it was followed by a barrage of bullets against the governor’s convoy, in less than 48 hours! Furthermore, there are new reports indicating that the wanton killing of students in Yobe state a couple of days earlier, was preceded by the mysterious withdrawal of soldiers manning a checkpoint around the school. The perpetrators also had good four hours to operate, despite the whole state being under “emergency rule”.
  • Nuhu Ribadu, who had previously been chased out of Nigeria by bullet, thanks to ‘vested interests, came back and made the mistake of thinking that when your country calls, you are duty-bound to respond. At least, this was his reason for accepting to chair the committee on subsidy removal crisis. What he didn’t count on was that Ebele never meant well for Nigeria. Soon as he submitted his report, not only was it thrown in the dumpster, but to the chagrin of Nigerians, his name and reputation were smeared by Ebele’s spokesman, Reuben Abati—the man who looks more like a Southern Sudanese than a Nigerian. Where are those people who took care of Shugaba Darma when you need them?
  • Now, it is Sanusi’s turn. That Emperor Ebele woke up one morning and suspended the Central Bank Governor was not unexpected–even Sanusi himself will say that it had been “telegraphed” from afar. But it is unprecedented. But then again, a lot is unprecedented where Ebele is concerned, starting with excruciating poverty in the country, extreme unemployment, never-before-seen level of ethno-religious division, and above all, unfathomable CORRUPTION!

    It is that last part, corruption that the “Aboki”, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi chose to take on, and do so damming Ebele’s commitment to brigandage. It is hardly any secrete within and outside Nigeria that Ebele is a man for whom any fight against corruption is an anathema. In fact, if you ask him, he will tell you that corruption is a “benediction”; and if he didn’t have that inferiority complex before white people, he would have stated this fact in Davos, Switzerland. Trouble is, Sanusi did not “get the memo/email”, that Ebele expects corruption to be photo-phobic; that it must remain allergic to sunlight or light from any source.

  • If Gen. Buhari had WAI (War Against Indiscipline), Ebele has WAT (War Against Transparency)!

    Since this event started unraveling, a lot has been said about the various “sins” of Sanusi, ranging from he talked too much, he was too brazen, he was not apolitical, etc., but I will submit that as far as Ebele is concerned, Sanusi’s cardinal sin is that, the audacious Aboki had trouble accepting that Ebele’s philosophy/ideology is: “It is our oyel”.

    The most surprising public evidence of this bare knuckle fist fight, or the rofo rofo fight as the Yorubas will put it, was the typical crude and crass manner in which the CBN governor was suspended while on official business trip, coupled with the litany of justifications publicly narrated in the letter of suspension. Even for brigands, such display of inelegance and doltish behavior is a new low. But then again, that is right Ebele’s alley. It had been reported that Sanusi was asked to resign but he refused. While confirming the story, Sanusi clarified that the reason given for the request was that, he had leaked his letter of September 2013 to Obasanjo and Amechi, an allegation that he denied. Question: If there was this mountain of evidence against Sanusi, wouldn’t it have been more legitimate to present these facts as concrete evidence for requesting his resignation? I would think that a more dignified way to effectuate the request for resignation will be to present the damning evidence of violations, along with the provisions of the law supporting the request for his resignation. So, most likely, the talk of asking Sanusi to resign must have been the first salvo of the garrison politics that is now unfolding.

    In fact, in all of the sundry list of justifications for suspending Sanusi, our aberrant tyrant–whose style falls way out in the tail end of outliers even for Nigeria, with all of her history of military rulership–did not border to provide Nigerians with the legal basis that informed his “rush to judgment”. Instead, what we got was endless list of allegations, laden with vile summation coming from that obscure Financial Reporting Council—an agency whose intended purpose is to set standards for how audit reports should be prepared. An agency whose own CEO (Jim Obazee) is himself mired in sexual harassment case. In addition, given the tone and style of the FRC report, it begs the question, can an organization that produces such a report, peppered with prejudice be trusted with the responsibility of setting audit reporting standards. Certainly, no Accounting/Auditing company will consider it professional to produce report using such language. In Sanusi’s suspension, as in the case of Justice Ayo Salami, the emperor resorted to the “recommendation” of a council to do his hatchet job, but the emperor did not accord the same value to the 2011 KPMG report on NNPC, or the Ribadu Committee Report on subsidy removal.

    Ebele may very well be showing his tendency towards vindictiveness. In a recent interview, Sanusi mentioned that, as far back as 2011, he had told Ebele that he has no interest in staying on as CBN governor after the end of his current contract. He also added that, Ebele was somewhat taken aback by that statement. Also, right around the 2011 presidential election, Sanusi wrote an article, I believe it was titled: “Why I will vote for Buhari”, in which he praised Buhari’s economic policy dubbed “Buharism”, which might be construed as a slight against Ebele and/or Ngozi. Taking these two events, coupled with Ebele’s established propensity for vindictiveness, one can see that Sanusi has been in Ebele’s cross hair for a long time. Therefore, his whistle blowing about NNPC’s shady activities is tantamount to the case of a chicken that is about to be roasted which then doused itself with cooking oil.

    Furthermore, when Sanusi spoke at a recent TEDx event, where he introduced Nigerian youths to the well entrenched claws of ‘vested interests’ in the country, and the deep-seated concept of rentier state, who would have failed to notice that he was alerting Nigerians that fighting corruption comes with a price?

    Interestingly enough, we have not heard from our northern political champions (NEF, ACF, etc.) on this matter. Even the former Kaduna Mafia (now Northern Cabal) have been uncharacteristically silent. I wonder if the barrage of SCUD missiles that Sanusi has been launching was about to claim them as collateral damage along the way. If so, then you can almost hear them saying, serves him right. Let him roast, after all, he knows enough ‘turanci’ to untangle himself.

    They say there is no honor among thieves, and they are right, whoever they are. As the heat intensifies on this matter, especially in the foreign press, Ngozi may very well have decided that it is time to throw Ebele under the bus. In this article, hear Ngozi trying to sanitize her image by sacrificing Ebele:

    “My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned………I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor-General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”

    Is that the Accountant-General that is also involved in 3.5 billion naira scandal?

    In order to help us understand this sudden sense of duty that has overtaken Ngozi, the BBC reporter, Robert Peston added this:

    “On the face of it, this looks like a declaration of at least semi independence by the finance minister from Nigeria’s president, who has been accused of punishing the central bank governor for raising concerns about the allegedly missing oil billions…..The reason I say that is because – I am reliably led to believe – the finance minister is concerned that Goodluck Jonathan, if left to his own devices, would not have initiated an independent probe of the allegedly missing billions.”

    Isn’t Ngozi the so-called “Coordinating Minister of Economy”? The one given carte blanch authority over Nigeria’s economy, but who never bothered to raise alarm when billions of dollars went missing? Also, isn’t it amazing? when Sanusi raised alarm in his letter of September 2013, both Ebele and Ngozi could not be bothered. Now Ngozi is telling a BBC reporter that she wants investigation because Ebele will not initiate any probe on his own. Why didn’t she second Sanusi when he raised the issue initially? If you ask me, I’d say that somebody (hint, hint, Ngozi)–right before our wide-open, God-blessed eyes–wants to take the high moral ground and extricate herself from the pilfering quagmire that she helped create or sustain.

    Finally, let us not fool ourselves, every time Dokubo Asari threatens Nigeria and Nigerians, he is speaking with his own tongue, but from deep inside the mind of Ebele; and from the preceding instances of plundering banditry, it appears we are witnessing the evolution of an irascible Ebele into an unconscionable Leviathan. Therefore, while in 2011 Ebele’s political mantra was “Fresh Air”, come 2015, his new mantra may very well be “Burn baby Burn!”.

    Mega Stores, Foreign Investors, the Nigerian Retailer, and the Reign of Compradors

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Recently, in a conversation with a friend, it downed on us that slowly but surely, the Nigerian ruling class is definitely hammering the nails on the coffin of what used to be a proud Nigerian class—The Small Business Owners or Retailers.  Once upon a time, the bulk of Nigerian “middle class” was essentially comprised of people/families engaged in the business of buying and selling–from small scale retailer, to some sort of pseudo wholesaler.  The economies of cities such as Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, etc., were heavily propelled and kept alive by the activities of Mom and Pop businesses, where services as little as hawking food on the streets, local eatery/bakery, roadside vulcanizing were legitimate, albeit, marginally sufficient income earning businesses.  It used to be that you could find that street-corner Carpenter to build your furniture from scratch.

    But alas, we are beginning to see the death of this hope! 

    Let us forget for the moment, the widely known perversion of the oil sector.   That is, the decimation of the refineries in preference for the importation of refined petrol–an objective nurtured and sustained by our very own abominable “leisure class”, to borrow from Thorstein Veblen.  Let’s not even talk about the absurdity called “privatization”, where we have seen all sorts of permutations of “investors” consisting of our very own embezzling compradors, and all manners of shady characters from foreign lands.  No, let’s look at more banal, mundane economic life.   If you canvass cities such as Kaduna, Kano, etc., you will find out that, with respect to the business of bakery alone, local bakers have lost out to the Chinese.  The reign of Idris Moro in Kaduna has come to an end.  In places such as Kano, certain markets that used to be populated by “Kanawa” (e.g. Kanti Kwari) have been taken over by the Chinese as well, who now sell to us, things that they were never known to consume or produce until recently (e.g. printed fabric such as, batik, “atamfa”).  Our fishermen are also fast losing out to the Chinese, as even the tilapia that we eat now come from China.  The cabinet makers who used to produce locally made furniture from our local trees (e.g. mahogany) have been usurped by the Chinese, who now sell us substandard products, imported from China.  Even our cobblers/shoemakers have lost out to the Chinese.  The same Chinese people that were never known to be the first name in shoemaking; not even in the business of leather goods. All these while our callous elite class ‘grin’ all the way to the bank.

    Our compradors, from national “leadership” to lowly pen-pushers have sold us out and they continue to do so, without batting an eyelid.  They now serve as “fronts” or “facilitators” to both large and small foreign investors such as Shoprite, Walmart, or what have you, who somehow manage to secure visa and enter Nigeria to conduct business at the drop of a hat.  In fact, in the case of entities such as Shoprite, they simply annihilate/obliterate our small scale retailers and not to the chagrin of our “leaders”. Unfortunately, our somewhat educated but unenlightened city dwellers have been sold the idea that mega stores, such as Shoprite, Walmart are indicators of progress.

    The poor Nigerian retailer has been so beaten down that he/she has had to engage in his/her own little paradigm shift—if you cannot beat them; cannot join them, then crawl over there and take some crumbs off their table.  Now we have our retailers “sub-wholesaling” from the Chinese or from those serving as fronts for the Chinese.  Look around, you will find that whatever is left of your local shop is full of Chinese substandard goods; notice the goods being hawked by those kids who put their lives on the line at various traffic intersections and you will find that they are all made in China or India.  In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that pretty soon, the old lady frying ‘Kosai/akara’ by the roadside, as well as the old ‘Buka’ owner, aka “Mama Put” will soon be overtaken by Chinese, who will set up a Kiosk with Chinese-made gas stove and shoddy plastic benches to impress poor Nigerians, who will be oblivious to the fact that their mothers/grandmothers have just been trampeled! If you are in doubt, observe the sudden proliferation of Chinese eateries in the country.

    Already, the business of bore hole drilling has been taken over by those teaming Indians, who now enter Nigeria in droves.  This, in spite of the fact that one will be hard pressed to find Nigerians doing business in India with the assistance of Indian governments at any level.  One has to wonder how it is possible for Indians in faraway India to be able to figure out that there is money to be made, by going to Nigeria to dig holes all over the place in search of water, while throngs of Nigerian college graduates are roaming the streets unemployed.  Nigeria’s “patriotic” leadership never thought it fit to divert the opportunity granted these Indians to helping Nigerians for the sake of Nigeria.  An example here might be, granting loans to the unemployed graduates who are willing to take on bore hole drilling business.  After all, the Indians trooping into Nigeria might have taken loans from their own governments or family members, with the guaranteed hope of repatriating handsome remuneration right before the eyes of Nigeria’s heartless elite.

    Even Ethiopian Airlines has edged out whatever Nigeria/Nigerians can boast of in the airline industry, thanks to the grand gamin from Otta, Obasanjo, who supervised the shredding auctioning of our erstwhile Nigerian Airways.  Not to be left behind, the Nigerian Police is already being “rented” out to serve the Chinese; even protect Chinese laborers.  I suppose this is what happens when reprobates are at the helms of affairs.

    While Nigerians may have been sold a dummy—that mega stores are good things, let us remember that, even in mega wealthy America, with its diversified economy, local communities often shiver, and rise up against intrusion from large corporations such as Walmart, due to the ‘Pac-man’-like mentality of these mega corporations.  It has never been lost on their small business owners that mega stores mean the death of their own future or the future of their community as they know it. In fact, even American large corporations enjoy government protection against foreign competition!

    Love him or hate him, one of the things General Buhari did as chairman of PTF was to enforce a policy that PTF contractors MUST patronize Nigerian businesses and manufacturers. Call it import-substitution, with a little dose of mercantilism.  However, since that agency was sent to the “defunct pile”, none of the subsequent governments since 1999 has thought it necessary to continue such sensible policy.  One wonders why our “economic policy experts” never bother to fashion a development strategy based on one of the two prominent competing choices available to developing countries.  That is, import-substitution or export-led growth.  For, as we have been witnessing, “consumption” whether conspicuous or not, is a dead end for Nigeria. Remember the countries formerly known as (NICs) Newly Industrializing Countries (e.g. Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil)? They are light years ahead of Nigeria now, thanks to good governance and commitment to sound economic policies. Not the policy of “its own turn to chop”. Instead of fashioning sensible economic policy, we are being led down the path of stupendous borrowing (in billions, trillions, centillions of Naira). All these, in the midst of plenty–Nigeria’s oil revenue has never been quite as high as it has been in recent years.

    We recently read that the Carpet Crosser of Bauchi, Governor Isa Yuguda has committed the lives of the people of Bauchi state, for 25 years, into the hands of some Chinese investors, to the tune of $201 million dollars (320 billion Naira), in order to provide the state with 140 mega watts of electricity. Since no plebiscite was ever approved by the poor people of Bauchi state, who, by the way, are still reeling from the devastating menace of Boko Haram, one wonders why this moral hypocrite of the Northern Governors Forum, did not invite his mother-in-law, Turai ‘Yar Adua, the one time cabal comandante and a master pilferer in her own right, to step forward and join in this “sensible” venture. After all, coughing up some ill-gotten wealth may expiate some sins.

    All these events, coupled with the seemingly endless insecurity; unabated vertical and horizontal corruption; and unbearable hardships make one wonders if Nigeria is not fast becoming a form of dystopia, managed by anti-human compradors.  Unfortunately, such is the Cul de Sac that we have found ourselves. We can only hope that the country’s rulership will one day ‘find religion’, and realize the value of good governance.
     

    Orrery of Misplaced Arguments: Yarima, the Constitution, and the Child-Bride

    By
    Ahmed Garba

    Once again our “hero” is in the news. You know him, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, the self-appointed champion of Islam in Nigeria. That is, champion only with respect to matters relating to the general vicinity of the vulvar of young girls. The man is full of steam this time, even threatening that he will “slap the jinn” out of anyone who dares to curtail his right to marry young girls. But, trouble is, this time around, both Yarima and his antagonists over-shot their respective arguments. The matter at hand was the review of section 29-4b of the Nigerian constitution. More precisely, the issue of a person’s right to keep or denounce their citizenship. Succinctly put, the relevant section says, among other things, two categories of people can renounce their citizenship:

    1. A person who has attained the age of 18 years or above.
    2. A married woman (presumably of any age).

    It is that second provision that set off the sparks. I suppose, the constitution review committee wanted to eliminate this second provision, and that threatens Yarima’s connubial interest. So, the “brother” came out swinging, arguing that such elimination then deprives a married woman under the age of 18, the right to denounce her citizenship. However, Yarima over-extended his point when he front-loaded his argument with all manners of rational from God, to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), to all that is Islam, which consequently gave his ardent antagonists something to bite on. This is the long and short of the issue: The section is not about setting an age limit for marrying or marrying off young girls!

    Then why are they all up in arms? how did the country become engulfed in debate, argument, and fight over Islam, child-bride, pedophilia, right to marry a 13 year-old, etc.? The reason is the culmination of several factors, including: (a) Yarima, the lightening-rod is in the center of the debate; (b) the country has been witnessing pent-up resentment against anything with the word Islam, Muslims, or northern Nigeria in it.

    Some of the series of salvos fired by the so-called social service organizations and other cadre of activists were blindingly off the mark, because they were engendered by hate, and therefore, laced with venomous utterances that ended up framing the debate off-kilter. Anybody who has taken the time to read the section of the constitution in question will quickly realize that there is no mention of under-age marriage or marrying off a 13 year-old. Consequently, we simply ended up with an orrery of unwarranted, and misplaced arguments/debates. Yerima’s antagonists were incensed that the likes of him will even rise on the senate floor to argue a position that they consider as backward and ancient as Babylonia. How dare he, of all people?

    For his part, Yarima bungled things when he chose to couch his argument in terms of his right as a Muslim to marry young girls or marry them off. Here is how the man allegedly made his case on the floor of the senate:

    “In Islam, a girl can be given out in marriage as early as 6 years old, but consummation of the marriage can only be done when the girl becomes physically mature,” I live in a city where young girls at the age of 12 have already became serial fornicators and cannot count the number of man they’ve Were Intimate with…. I live in a City where primary school children disvirgin themselves behind toilets on Valentine day. ….I live in a city where young girls flood the street at night looking for men that would give them N500 to be intimate with them …..I live in a city where parents send their daughters out overseas to prostitute and send dollars down. ……I live in a City where Government officials pick undergraduates from University car parks with Coastal Buses to wild sex parties.….. I live in a city where abortion is so common that even a Chemist shop owner can perform abortion with just N2,500……..These are your daughters, and this should worry you and not Yerima’s private matters. So ask me again why I support early marriage and I will slap the Jinn out of your head.”

    Source: https://www.passnownow.com/?p=posts&id=3324

    Sadly, as he was venting, nobody on the senate floor, not his Political Assistant (assuming he has one, if he has not squandered the money earmarked for that position on another 13 year-old), not even the Senate President, (what a wish) had the common sense to “redirect” the man. At least somebody should have pointed the man to the main issue at hand and confine him to it. To borrow from an American political strategist, James Carville, it is “citizenship” stupid. I suppose this odious failure is what happens when people are consumed by the tyranny of small-mindedness.

    To be fair to Yarima, the section of the constitution being debated was inserted by those who crafted the 1999 constitution–a time when Yarima could not have been anywhere near our hallow hollow chambers–and it is hard to believe that the authors were some sort of “obnoxious Salafis”, nor did they ever expect the likes of Yarima to come along and upturn their intent, and use the provision as a launch pad for some debate on what, and what not Islam allows. Let us also remember that, whenever the subject of child-bride comes up, Yarima has no choice but enter “survival mode”, because the issue is close to home and God knows, the man does not want to be criminalized.

    There is nothing wrong with Yarima wanting to do his part for Islam but, he doesn’t have to expend his energy only on matters revolving around the genitalia of young girls. As a senator representing one of the poorest states in the nation, who also proudly cloak himself in the garb of Islam, you’d think that foremost in Yarima’s agenda would be the upliftment of his people, a much more relevant duty for a so-called champion of Islam. Young kids, mostly boys are dying of poisoning in his Zamfara state and the man is totally unperturbed by that. High level of illiteracy, unemployment, lack of industrial development, etc. are all ravaging his constituency, and ‘brother man’ is throwing down the gauntlet on the issue of child-bride. Here is a man who ever since he entered the senate has been dead-silent, and when he finally emerged, he came out like a cross between a gargoyle and a gremlin.

    The quote above, which Yarima used to buttress his argument actually speaks to his failing as a senator, and the failure of the entire Nigerian legislature. When a country is faced with such series of scourge as he had listed, aren’t the people’s representatives supposed to address the problem? In fact, it can be argued that if Yerima, himself, despite being a Muslim rose to fight the bane that he had identified and enumerated, Allah could very well reward him, even if the beneficiaries are not Muslims. Rather than spending his energy berating those “in the life”, would he not have been a better Muslim if he had chosen to work with other “legislatooters” to change the lives of those unfortunate enough to be bedeviled by such misfortune? Having described Abuja as if it were Rome under Caligula, what solution did Yerima propose?

    Now that we know that Libidinous Yarima can fight to the death to preserve his right to chase the ‘patari’ (undergarment) of young girls, it is pertinent to ask: What has Yarima done for 13 year-old boys, or their mothers, for the sake of Islam? Scandalous, scandalous man.

    Agusta A109E: Kabu-Kabu In the Creek?

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Death, they say awaits everyone.  And for us Muslims, it is unthinkable to question the event itself or its timing.  We generally don’t engage in that ‘jibby-jabber’ nonsense about why? why now? Why this person or that person? etc.  We humbly accept death as an unavoidable finality.  However, the sad crash of Nigerian Navy’s Helicopter, Agusta A109E that occurred on Saturday, December 15, 2012 yields itself to a lot of questions.

    Crash Site

    Crash Site

    According to the reports, and perhaps for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are to learn that our so-called democratically ‘s’elected president had commandeered for his own personal use, in his own village, a $4 million helicopter purchased with public funds, and intended for

    the use of the Nigerian Navy!  Furthermore, as a mark of his I-don’t-give-a-damn generosity, he also thought it appropriate, to permit the use of this helicopter by his advisers.  This is how we now have on our hands, deaths at a funeral.

    Nigerian_Navy_A109

    Nigerian Navy’s $4,000,000 Agusta A109E

    Now, these facts compel one to wonder how appropriate this conduct is to the practice of presidential system of government.  Since Nigeria’s constitution was fashioned after the United States’, it is imperative to compare what obtains in the U.S. with respect to how a U.S. President uses public/military resources with how it is done in blundering Nigeria.  It turns out that an American President has no right to arrogate to himself a military helicopter for use other than official purposes.  In fact, an American president is required to pay part of the cost of running Air Force One–the president’s official jet, if the aircraft is used for non-official reasons, such as, campaign travels:

    “When Air Force One is used for political purposes, the president often reimburses the government for the cost of food, lodging and travel. The president or his election campaign pays back an amount that is “equivalent of the airfare that they would have paid had they used a commercial airline”, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

    Source: http://uspolitics.about.com/od/CampaignsElections/a/Air-Force-One-Cost.htm

    Yet, in our vulgar imitation of the American system, we have found ourselves burdened by an absolute Emperor instead of a President.  We appear to have a ruler, whose sense of impudence is crass beyond believe.  Let us go back and see if we can find any precedent where Nigeria has ever witnessed this churlish, inelegant conduct by previous heads of state.  We never heard of Gowon parking a military helicopter in Wusasa or his village in Plateau.  There was never any evidence of Babangida, despite his evilness, housing a military helicopter in Minna; we have no such proof for Abdulsalam either; nor do we have any proof that Buhari ever stored a military helicopter in Daura.  Now Obasanjo may be a different case, we may have to continue looking all over that expansive farm in Otta, but my guess is that we may still come up empty, because incestuous and crass as he may be, he still knows better than to be so overtly crude.  You’d think that these people, given their military background, and the absolute nature of their reign of power would have resorted to such boorishness, but no, it has to happen when we discovered ‘garrison democracy’ under Ebele.

    Young Commander Daba

    Young Commander Daba

    Six people perished in the crash of Agusta A109E but, two of these people–Commander Murtala Muhammed Daba, and Lt. David Adeyemi Sowole did not have to be there, if we had a president and a system that respected law, order, and human life.  These officers were supposed to be doing true and honest “Navy” work, not taxiing civilians all over the creek, like cab drivers.   I don’t know much about the man, Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas but, so far, I have not been able to come across any evidence that suggests that the man had contributed so much to Nigeria, that his burial commanded the sacrifice of highly trained officers of the Nigerian military, and the use of military resources.  It is therefore, an insult to the Nigerian military personnel to be used in this manner.

    Some people have been eager to justify the use of this helicopter and the young officers because they were transporting a retired General.  This is hogwash, utter and complete rubbish.  We have General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s ruler for 9 years; General Babangida, Nigeria’s ruler and destroyer for 8 years; General Abdulsalami, Nigeria’s ruler for 1 year; General Buhari, Nigeria’s Head of State for about 2 years; Shehu Shagari Nigeria’s President for 4 years; General Obasanjo, Nigeria’s military ruler for 3 1/2 years and civilian president for 8 years!  Now, when did we see any of these people accorded the luxury of flying a Navy helicopter for personal trips after they had left office?  In fact, any of these people will be considered more qualified for such honor than Azazi, a man whose checkered record includes association with the shady characters of MEND.  Furthermore, we have been told that the helicopter made anywhere from 10 to 15 trips on that fateful day, are we to believe that Azazi enjoyed flying in the helicopter so much that he was going back and forth those many times?

    Since Ebele came along, we have been hearing all sorts of noise about the Ijaw nation and their (Oyel) oil.  Everything about Nigeria is predicated on ‘our oyel’.  I have to ask, since they love their creek, their ‘oyel’ and their general so much why didn’t they supply their ‘boys’ to fly their general?  After all, some of their MEND boys have been sent out for flight training at Nigeria’s expense.  Besides, using ‘their boys’ and leaving ‘our boys’ alone would have eliminated the insinuation of foul play, and conspiracy theories that are now beginning to occupy idle minds.

    As for Saucepan, I mean Suswan, who has been trying to capitalize on this incident to whip up ethno-religious conflict, let us recognize his hollering as an indication that, perhaps the deal he signed with the Oracle that got him into the governor’s mansion is coming due.  Consequently he is jumping ahead to pin his imminent demise on someone else.  It wouldn’t work.

    The unfortunate deaths of these young officers should be enough to motivate any well-meaning members of the legislature to sit up, confront and curtail the excesses of the despot that Nigeria calls president.  I would also hope that when Azazi’s funeral rolls around, the people of Ijaw nation do not expect to have another Navy helicopter ferrying them around in the Creek, since Pa Douglas already took down one, along with two non-Ijaw young officers.  Only Yakowa’s people should now be allowed to requisition for one.  May God forgive the dead,  Ameen.

    “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” a Clodpate?

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    I know this title is the most absurd violation of English grammar.  You might say an in-your-face assault on the English language.  But, it had to be done, even if for poetic license.  It is actually a modification of the dialectal title of a popular 1944 Rhythm and Blues song–“Is you Is or Is you Ain’t My Baby”, by Louis Jordan, which has now become a popular Jazz standard, ‘straight up jazz’, that is.

    Now, why did I choose it for a title?  As you will see later, this rather tongue-twisting vernacular expression–common among pre-1960s uneducated Black Americans–accurately captures the addled, befuddled, dodo-like  nature of the main character of this article.  It depicts the fuzzy, gauzy, crepuscular mind of the man.

    Whenever Nigerians discuss the current crop of politicians in the country, you hear them express some sense of resignation that they have been saddled with ‘clueless’ politicians, who, though quite adept at stealing, are alarmingly daft, and unthinking especially, with respect to growth, development, peace and security, etc.  One little demonstration of this lack of perception was the event that recently unfolded at the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna.

    In turns out that Namadi Sambo, Nigeria’s Vice President actually has daughters of marriageable age.  For whatever reason–considering how much money has been flowing around the man–this ‘proud’ father decided to have a ‘2-fa’ (two-for-one) wedding.  That is, two daughters were to have their wedding on the same day, at the same location.  In his not so infinite wisdom, the father of six decided to bring two warring Islamic sects (Ahlus Sunnah, and Tareeqa/Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya) to grace his daughters’ wedding!  As would have been expected, things went hay-wire.  According to the report:

    Trouble started at the famous Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna venue of the event when after conducting all the formalities for a wedding fatiha, two respected Islamic clerics, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi and Dr. Ahmed Gumi were asked to offer a special prayer for the couples…….Sheik Dahiru Bauchi started by reciting ‘Salatil Fati’ and ended it with the same ‘Salatil Fati’ according to his belief……When Dr. Gumi took the microphone, he said “Malam Dahiru Bauchi ought not to recited Salatil Fati in this Sultan Bello Mosque, since we have different views and understanding on the supplication.”……His statement stirred a row between their followers, a development that made the guests including the vice president to immediately rush out to their vehicles and leave the venue”.

    Source: http://leadership.ng/nga/articles/42077/2012/12/09/vp_leaves_daughters_wedding_abruptly.html

    So, members of SSS spirited away Sambo, the dodo, who setup the dumb scenario in the first place.  I tell you, people who live in billion naira houses should not have a ‘2-fa’ wedding.  They also should not take to their heels when their ill-conceived ideas bear fruits.

    What Caused the Raucous?

    For those who may not know what is at stake here, the contention was between the “Originalist” Muslims, some might say Orthodox (aka Ahlus Sunnah–Ahmed Gumi) and the “Innovator”, more like the “Adulterator” Muslims (aka Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya/Tareeqa–Dahiru Bauchi).  One of the gripes between the two is the value placed on a supplication called “Salatul Fatih” by the Tijjaniyya sect.  Salatul Fatih is a little supplication that is said to have originated from an 18th century Sheik by the name of Mustafa Kamal al-din al-Bakri, who claimed that he retreated into solitude for 40 years, besieging Allah with prayers to bestow on him or grant him a special supplication.  In the end, he miraculously found salatul fatih written down for him.  Ever since, those who subscribe to the Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya creed have assimilated this supplication into their own version of Islam, and made it a central element, as if to say, it is an addendum that, somehow Allah forgot to hand over to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) while he was alive.

    Trouble is, Islam is a religion that has always been jealously guarded.  Meaning, anything that was never part of the revelation of the Qur’an, and is not found in ahadith (sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad) is not welcome in the practice of the religion, particularly by the Originalists.  Therefore, salatul fatih, given its origin in the 18th/19th century, roughly 1200 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), is an unwelcome innovation/addition that true originalist Muslims denounce.  Of course, this is perhaps the least of the issues of contention between  Tareeqa/Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya and Ahlus Sunnah.

    To compound matters, the Tareeqa cleric, Dahiru Bauchi was being hosted in a mosque belonging to Ahlus Sunnah, and he had the audacity to come in and recite a supplication that violates the creed (aqeeda) of Ahlus Sunnah.  To analogize with the Christian religion, this is like inviting a Mormon ‘Priest’ to a Catholic Church and listen to him recites a prayer from the Book of Mormons!  I doubt if the Cardinal(?) will not be incensed.  So, that is why, as they say,  ‘shit hit the fan’, at this wedding ceremony.

    What the Incident Revealed

    Respective followers of each sect may have resorted to a shameful display, but if you ask me, blame goes to the host, the dullard vice president.  To say that Sambo is oblivious of the possibility, or is incapable of anticipating this raucous  outcome is worse than an understatement.  You will be hard pressed to find a Muslim Northerner who is not aware of the long running feud between the Tareeqa followers and Ahlus Sunnah.  Regardless of the propriety of their disagreement, it is what it is.

    I don’t know how deeply steeped in ignorance, denseness, opacity, nescience one has to be to even entertain the idea of bringing Dahiru Bauchi and Ahmed Gumi under the same roof, to perform ceremony; no less the wedding ceremony of one’s own daughters.  Even an unborn child, still wallowing in the womb, in Muslim north, is aware of the fact that the Tareeqa and the Ahluls Sunnah sects don’t mix.  They are like oil and water.  What sort of dimwitted dodo will do such a thing except someone who typifies the current crop of northern Nigerian ‘leadership’.  I wonder why the dolt didn’t invite Shiite Zakzaki as well, and really get his hands full.

    As I was writing this article, several questions came to mind: What will possess this man (Sambo)to show this murkiness of judgment?  Is it possible that the two newly-forming families belong to each of these different sects, hence the need to try to accommodate both?  If so,  which sect does Sambo himself belong to?  If he belongs to one and not the other, why would he allow one child to end up in a creed contrary to his that is, in light of the responsibility placed on a parent by Islamic religion? Could it be that Nnamdi Sambo was trying to hedge his own belief/creed?  It was also said that one of the daughters was married off for 50,000 naira, while the other went for 250,000 naira.  I wonder what ‘sliding scale’ was used.  Anyway, I decided not to expend too much energy on these questions because, after all, these matters are best left to Allah.  Instead, I chose to see this man’s fuliginous mind as a loud and clear indictment of his defective sense of perception.  In this man I definitely smell MEDIOCRITY!

    So, inherent in this analysis/observation is the point that I had tried to make in this article, with respect to how the North should try to avoid as ‘leaders’, people with opaque minds that are pregnant with ill-judgment.   I see this whole drama not as a fight between Islamic sects, rather as a question of Sambo’s inability to perceive, even the smallest of things.  It demonstrates his lack of good judgment, pure and simple!  Add to this, the man’s glaring, under-achieving records both as Governor and Vice President.  That is why the question ought to be asked:  Sambo,”Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” a Clodpate?

    Deleterious, Vacuous Imps And The Plight of ‘One North’

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    “Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religions who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…” – Sir Ahmadu Bello source:http://www.arewaonline-ng.com/sardauna/legacy.html

    When I came upon the quote above, it compelled me to start ruminating about the current state of affairs in northern Nigeria. A region once known to be united in creed, color, religion etc., but is now widely known, and sometimes mockingly referred to as another one of those far-off places with ‘stan’ in their names, as in ‘Arewastan’. A place where bombs and insecurity reign

    Those who are old enough to remember Sir Ahmadu Bello often reminisce about a northern Nigeria that was cohesive; headed by a Premier known to even chide his christian friends if he found out that they had missed church services on Sundays, despite being a muslim himself. A Premier who was astute enough to realize that ‘Sultanate power’ was not all there was; broader, more inclusive strategy had better pay off. People often recall a Sardauna who did his best to nurture, promote and groom an all-inclusive cadre of educated people, military officers, public servants, and intelligentsia that would soon be dubbed, ‘the new north’. A Premier who strived to create a northern Nigeria where a Buba and a Michael got along fairly well.

    Then what went wrong? How did the North become “Arewastan”?

    To find out, we’d have to review the unfolding of Nigeria’s 4th republic and the role played by the baleful ogres that the ‘cat dragged in’; those who foisted themselves and their infernal, nefarious ideas on the nation or their respective communities. The adage ‘politics is a dirty game’ is more than axiomatic in Nigeria. In fact, ‘dirty’ doesn’t even begin to cover it, as that diabolical president once called it ‘do or die’. The wave of obtuse, dismal politicians who came in with the boat starting in 1999 also brought with them some calamitous ideas.

    In order to demonstrate this submission, I will focus on two states where certain beggared individuals (former governor of Zamfara state, Ahmad Sani Yerima, and Governor of Plateau sate, Jona Jang) whose sense of politics is laden with cyanide got accepted. These individuals, who, no doubt constitute pernicious polar opposites may very well depict the affliction facing northern Nigeria today.

    Shari’ah or Dirty Politics?

    Let us not dwell too much on that little matter of Ahmad Sani Yerima’s inferiority complex, which possessed him to go clear across the continent to purchase, ehm, marry a 13-year old girl from Egypt for a goodly amount of $100, 000 as ‘dowry’; a sum that Yerima wouldn’t have paid to marry any of his undergraduate or graduate classmates at Ahmadu Bello University, or any other 13-year girl old from Zamfara. Why should he? They are not arabs, and they are not light-skinned enough or ‘muslim’ enough.

    The Ahmad Sani Yerima that we need to talk about is the one who ran his governorship campaign not on the promises of growth and development, but on the platform of making Zamfara a shari’ah state. After taking the mindlessness temperature of the people, and their deceivability quotient, the man chose to give them shari’ah, as his main agenda. “Have shari’ah, will develop…Not!” should have been his campaign slogan. Ordinarily, shari’ah as a tool for development could work, except that it depends on the sincerity of the actors. After all, it may be synonymous with what secularists call ‘good governance‘.

    Most people, especially southern Nigerians tend to believe that the shari’ah hullabaloo of 1999-2003 was the first time shari’ah will enter into political life in northern Nigeria. Far from it, shari’ah has been in existence in northern Nigeria as far back as the jihad of Usman dan Fodio, through the colonial era, and till date. In fact, Sardauna is said to be one of the architects of the shari’ah penal code, used during the rule of the ‘Native Authority’. The system had defined structure which even included an appellate court. However, the role of shari’ah was limited to ‘civil’ matters (e.g. marriage, divorce, debt, inheritance etc.); it never ventured into criminal law, and was never allowed to interfere, at least, egregiously with the life of non-Muslims. It was said that even when he found himself tempted or fidgeting with the idea of broadening the scope of shari’ah penal code, Sardauna maintained a keen awareness of the problem that might result. Consequently, he threaded wisely and carefully.

    The care/caution that informed Sardauna’s politics was the same care/caution that Yerima threw to the wind, when he, along with a new wave of ‘questionable Salafis’ (Nigeria’s version of the ‘Tea Party’–Muslim faction) agitated for, and established broader shari’ah penal code in states where, though predominantly muslim, also tend to have non-Muslim populations. Granted, the proponents of shari’ah made some glib attempt to give their demand a somewhat innocuous coloration, by emphasizing that the whole matter was intended for muslims only. I wonder, wasn’t that how it had always been as far back as the colonial era and the time of Sardauna’s premiership? Oh, I forget, they needed to add that bit about severing the hands of thieves and stoning adulterers to death, especially, if they are from a lower station in life, or what the Americans call, “the other side of the railroad track”.

    As the shari’ah debate became heated, those so-called intelligentsia that Sardauna had been grooming (some of whom were in their various state assemblies), along with those that can be described as ‘intellectual Salafis’, who could have been an effective counter-weight, in the true tradition of ijma (consensus) allowed the inane, zealot Salafis to ‘out-shout’ and overrun them. The result was the ‘mushrooming’ of ‘shari’ah states’ in the north; actually, a mockery, if not a caricature of shari’ah. In fact, judgement under shari’ah seems to vary with the madhab (school of religious law) that the judge subscribes to.

    For example, both Hanafi and Shafii madhabs have more ‘liberal’ stance on homosexuality, but the Maliki madhab which is prevalent in sunni northern Nigeria recommends identical punishment for adultery and homosexuality (married or unmarried culprit), that is, death by stoning. However, in a recent case (http://zamfaraonline.net/go/zamfara/shariah-in-zamfara/113-shariah-one-person-sentenced-for-homosextuality) involving one Ahmad Muhammad charged with homosexual rape, in the state of Zamfara, the culprit was only sentenced to 1-year imprisonment and 100 lashes. This, in spite of the fact that most shari’ah proponents will agree that homosexuality is the most abominable form of ‘zina’; not to mention that this homosexual rapist is now housed in confinement along with other men, some of them young! Some shari’ah. Apparently, this case was not handled by a ‘Maliki’ judge.

    One would think that even heterosexual rape should bag a culprit more than 1 year in prison, how much more if we add the despicable homosexual dimension. Yet, this is the same state that wanted to stone a woman to death for adultery; the state that cut off the hand of a lowly thief. If this is not a capricious practice of shari’ah, and therefore, a mockery of it, then it sure makes shari’ah look like a crapshoot. All that trouble heating up the polity only to settle for what appears to be varying, ‘whimsical’, arbitrary practice of shari’ah? Doesn’t this sound like an expedient use of shari’ah for political gain by deceitful, treacherous politicians?

    The various adornments used to dress up shari’ah implementation and give it an appearance of full legitimacy (e.g. Council of Ullama, Hisbah Commission, Zakkat and Endowment Board, Sharia Research and Development Board, and the Preaching Commission) are just that, adornments, for we all know that corruption flows in the blood of many opportunistic public servants, including Islamic scholars/jurists, who sit in judgement!. As one muslim preacher once remarked, there is a distinction between ‘Malamfada‘ and ‘Malamin fada’. The former is a palace/royal courtier, an outright sycophant, looking out for his self-interest, but fronting as an Islamic cleric/scholar; while the latter is a spiritual adviser, willing and able to offer sincere advise, between man and God. Unfortunately, in the current state of muslim north, there are more of the former than the latter. I would imagine the same is true of christian north as well.

    All through the furore over shari’ah, there was, if not an almost deafening silence of voice of reason, then a vacuum that should have been filled by those who should have vehemently called for the pre-conditions necessitated by shari‘ah law–even in an absolute muslim community–before its implementation. How about first creating a safe, productive, enabling, and nurturing environment for the people? Allah himself did not drop shari’ah in whole, and in one fell swoop on early muslims. Let’s recall also that, Sardauna, Tafawa Balewa, et al, navigated a similar scenario on behalf of the north when the ‘unprepared northern region’ was being dragged along during Nigeria’s independence struggle. They negotiated ‘soft landing’ for the north. Had they not taken into consideration, the prevailing realities of northern Nigeria, how would things have turned out, even for these zealot Salafis or their fore bearers?

    So, “intellectual Salafis” should have demanded good governance first. For example, provide sufficient employment opportunities before cutting off the hand of a thief; or make sure that the punishment for fornication/adultery should not be rushed, or even entertained, especially when the knowledge of the offense is brought to light by an instigator–a fact that even shari’ah will frown upon. Lord knows that the couple of adulterers who suffered death by stoning during the life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) were people who, not only self-reported and confessed profusely to the offense, but they also doggedly sought the judgement/punishment. It was reported that the Prophet dispensed the judgement reluctantly, with excruciating agony, since the loss of human life was involved. At least, this is what we know from various ahadith (sayings and practices of prophet Muhammad). To think that this hurried, inchoate, ‘half-assed’ implementation of shari’ah was carried out in a state as poor as Zamfara; a Zamfara where there was record unemployment; a Zamfara where, like the rest of Nigeria, corrupt elites go unpunished, is beyond mind-boggling.

    It is hardly incontrovertible to say that the push for incipient, haphazard shari’ah implementation–ignoring its broader consequences–by Yerima and company, together with its concomitant tumult, may very well be the one thing that started sounding the death knell of ‘one north’. One thing is also certain, when Yerima left the governor’s office, and moved up to become a senator, he left the state of Zamfara, not a whole lot better than he found it–still under-developed, poorly educated, and lacking in industrialization; all against what shari’ah would have wanted. And this fact is true to some extent with respect to other “shari’ah states”. Quite noticeable too, we have not heard much, not even a ‘pip-squeak’ from fraudster, Yeriama, since he became a Senator. Unfortunately, however, as long as governor Yerima is biding his time in the senate (despite knowing fully well that there is no immunity clause in shari’ah), we can only wait to see which of his appurtenances, the EFCC (assuming they sincerely do their job) may soon recommend to be severed.

    In fact, it may not be out of place to suggest here that, the Nigerian judiciary should have the option/discretion to prosecute and punish any public official on the basis of shari’ah law, if such culprit is from a shari’ah state, and is a muslim, especially, if the individual also voted in favor of shari’ah. After all, you would think that such individual should have the courage of their conviction; stand up and be counted; take one for ‘team shari’ah’. Interestingly enough, one hardly sees ‘aggrieved’ politicians from shari’ah states demanding to challenge their disputed election results in a shari’ah court, even for local elections in their own states. That should be enough to shed more light on the cruel and calculated hoax that they had rendered on the north.

    Indegene vs. Settler: Politics of Division

    If Yerima and his band of ‘zealot Salafis’ constitute one side of a coin, Jonah Jang (governor of Plateau state, a.k.a Czar Jang, the Tiny) is the flip side of the same coin. Here is a man who barely escapes the classification of a dwarf, but appears to be packing full venom, for a politician. That is, a politician who revels in fomenting trouble; a man who appears to take delight in ethnic division and destruction; a man known to whip up tension surreptitiously and provoke mayhem with reckless abandon. This is the miasmic man, who ran his campaign almost entirely on hate for Muslims as well as hate for Christians from tribes other than his. It appears he is determined to leave a legacy that says, “Berom ruled!”, as opposed to “I moved Plateau forward and made it better”.

    Plateau state is a multi-ethnic place having perhaps, more than 30 ethnic groups, with a rather large muslim population. In fact, some reports indicate that the city of Jos alone has up to 40% or so of Hausa-Fulani/Muslims as its population. The table below shows a much more detailed picture:

    Muslims by ethnic group in Plateau State’s LGA

    LGA Muslims by ethnic group
    Bassa Majority of Muslims are Fulani with some indigenes and few Hausa.
    Jos North Majority of Muslims are Hausa/Fulani followed by Yoruba and few others.
    Jos South Majority of Muslims are Hausa/Fulani with some few indigenes.
    Jos East Majority of Muslims are Fulani with some indigenes and few Hausa.
    Riyom Majority of Muslims are Fulani. Very very few Muslim indigenes.
    Barikin-Ladi Majority of Muslims are Fulani and few Hausa and Kanuri. Very few indigenes.
    Bokkos Majority of Muslims are Fulani. Few Hausa and indigenes.
    Mangu Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Pankshin Very very few indigenes are Muslims and followed by few Fulani.
    Kanke Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by few Hausa /Fulani.
    Kanam Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Qampan Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Shandam Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Fulani and Hausa.
    Mikang Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Lantang North Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Lantang South Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Wase Majority of Muslims are Fulani or Hausa/Fulani now counted as indigenes in Wase LGA, and few others.

    Source: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/nrn/BP4Modibbo.pdf

    The glaring spread of muslim populations across the state shown in the table above, does not stop Jang the Tiny from running an exclusively Christian-dominated government, with special preference for his own tribe of Berom. Depending on who you want to believe, anywhere from one-third or more of the 28 permanent secretaries in the state are from the Berom tribe alone! But more importantly, what is shown by the table above only scratches the surface of the reality of things in Plateau state. As they say, the ‘devil is in the details’. The bulleted points below amplify the reason Plateau state is perennially consumed by ethno-religious conflicts; why it is the epicenter of ethnic and religious conflicts in the country:

    “• The incumbent Governor and his Deputy are Christians. 

    • The House of Assembly which consists of 21 elected members has only 4 Muslim 

    representatives. 

    • Of the 17 elected Local Government Chairmen two are Muslim. 

    • The Executive Council which consists of 18 commissioners has two Muslims only 

    while the rest are Christians. 

    • Out of 28 Permanent Secretaries in the various Ministries and Parastatals, only two 

    are Muslim. 

    • All three of Plateau’s senators are Christians, as are six out of eight of its 

    Representatives. “

    Source: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/nrn/BP4Modibbo.pdf

    Can we say stupendous marginalization? Yes, we can.

    In volume 14, July 2011 of Africa Security Brief, entitled “Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflicts”, Chris Kwaja, Lecturer and Researcher in the Center for Conflict Management, University of Jos, makes some interesting observations:

    “The Nigerian constitution, adopted in 1999, and the Federal Character Commission, a statutory body established to ensure equality in the distribution of resources and political power in the country recognize the validity of indigene certificate. These bodies also accept the authorities of local officials to issue the certificates to constituents whom officials deem qualified–a practice that first originated in the 1960s……Defining indigeneship is extraordinarily arbitrary. For instance, a Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba–groups that tend not to be from Jos–could legally be termed settler and denied a certificate, even though this family has lived in Jos for generations….In 1990, several local jurisdictions, in Plateau, including Jos began to restrict the distribution of indigene certificates”.

    So, the ‘teeny-weeny ‘indigeneship’ provision intended to be a side note of the 1999 constitution; a provision meant to rectify the consequences of numerical disadvantages for minority tribes, was pushed front and center by Czar Jang especially, and used for full frontal assault against the populations that he arbitrarily considers as ‘settlers’. As the report notes, indigeneship classification “..has often been used to determine who “belongs” to a particular locality, which in turn determines whether citizens can participate in politics, own land, obtain a job or attend school….”. It is this fact that enables Jang to disenfranchise people who, on ‘any given Sunday’ can be classified as ‘settlers’. Never mind that he himself might have benefitted from the all-inclusive policies of the likes of Sardauna. Now he makes it tenable for any divisive, daft, obtuse, corrigible urchin pretending to be a politician to start throwing up the claim of indigeneship, in order to justify some senseless, ill-advised, alienating agenda. As Kwaja highlights:

    Nigeria’s statutory framework grants local officials authority to extend or deny basic rights to citizens in their jurisdictions, thereby creating incentives for the politicization of ethnicity and escalating intercommunal violence”.

    One glaring evidence of such violence was that under the watch and/or command of Czar Jang the Tiny, Nigeria witnessed, in plain sight, an unbelievable act of real, unadulterated cannibalism. The event of 2011 Eid’ul Fitr, where Muslims conducting prayers, were attacked, killed, roasted, and eaten was beyond belief. Religion historians have told us much about the Christian Crusaders (1095 to 1291 C.E.), who attacked and sacked Jerusalem; piled up the dead bodies of Jerusalem’s Muslims and a few Jews, and ate some of these bodies right under the watchful eyes of the Knight Templars. This seemingly mythical story unraveled right before our eyes on the day of Eid’ul Fitr, 2011, in the city of Jos, under the watchful eyes of JTF, STF, as the Knight Templars; Jonah Jang as Pope Urban II; and some of the ‘indigenes’ of Plateau state collectively as Emperor Alexus!

    Who would have thought that, while the Fang people of Equatorial Guinea, known for their cannibalism are giving up the practice in the 21st century, there will be Berom people in Nigeria who will take delight in reviving it? Worse still, the absentee governments–state and federal have not been willing or able to redress this atrocious matter, despite the copious amount of available video evidence of the incident. Thanks to ‘indigene rights’, I suppose. Again, the Africa Security Brief report notes:

    ”….the ethnic or religious dimensions of the conflict have subsequently been misconstrued as the primary drivers of violence when, in fact, disenfranchisement, inequality, and other practical fears are the root causes. Capitalizing on such conditions, many political rivals have instrumentalized the ethnic and religious diversity of Jos to manipulate and mobilize support”.

    It is indeed a shame that masters of perfidy, such as, Ahmad Sani Yerima (mijin balarabiya) and Czar Jang the Tiny have been riding their dark horses into the governor’s mansion, tearing up the northern region along the way. Intentionally, or inadvertently, they may have put the nail on the coffin of ‘one north’, or, at the very least, they may have handed over the mantle to Boko Haram–the Muslim and Christian chapters. Now, who is the Hercules that will clean the ‘Augean stables’? And can the Hercules find his own Alpheus and Peneus rivers? In order words, can the north pick up the pieces and clean up this blight? That is the question.