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


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”.


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?

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