By Yushau Shuaib.
After the chief Imam ended the prayer in the mosque, his deputy collected the microphone and delivered strong worded condemnation on insurgents for the killing of innocent people in the name of Islam. The deputy ended by saying “terrorists will roast in hell-fire!” Surprisingly, the Chief Imam retrieved the microphone from his deputy and declared to the bewildered congregation: “Salam Alaikum. I am the Chief Imam of the mosque. The man who just condemned Boko Haram ‘citizens’ is the deputy Imam and his house is the one painted in white and blue behind the Emir’s palace by the right-hand corner…”
Sometimes the silence of Northerners and Muslims over monumental atrocities being committed in some parts of the North, is being viewed either as a sign of complicity or endorsement of atrocities being perpetrated by insurgents. The reality however, is that most of the victims of the attacks are actually northerners and many are even notable traditional rulers and Islamic clerics who dared to condemn such activities just like the killing of Emir of Gwoza. On the contrary, challenges against complacency should rather be directed at the political class that has the resources and network to address the insecurity even during its infancy. It became clearly evident that there was trouble earlier on when there was proliferation of groups that are now challenging our corporate existence.
There are various conspiracy theories being parroted about the crises being engineered by outsiders against the north and northerners. This is a cheap argument that someone will use northerners to fight northerners in the north where ringleaders and arrested suspects are mostly Northerners without a trace of the so-called outsiders or Southern collaborators. It is also doubtful if top Northern security officers at the national level and commanders on the battlefields will be willing tools in the plan to destroy their own region. Could the so-called northern conspirators intend to relocate to the South after the total destruction of the North? Some conspiracy theories don’t just make sense.
As northerners, we should be wary of those playing politics with the lives of our people and face the real challenges of good governance. We should realise that only very few states in Nigeria can survive without revenue from the federal government in the name of the Federation Account. We should question our leaders about what they have done with all the resources which are meant to address the stark backwardness of the Northern region. We should also urge them that rather than merely expecting monthly revenue from Cheap oil Money, they should diversify and invest in the productive sector that could improve the economic bases of their respective states and make our people self-reliant and independent from revenue from the central government.
Our leaders should also stop flaunting ill-gotten wealth through accumulations of mansions and ostentatious marriage ceremonies to the envy of the uneducated and poor in the society which to some extent also provoke militancy. We should de-emphasise debate on imaginary conspiracy theories by being constructive in our engagements as well as work on practical actions to tame widespread insecurity presently threatening to completely destroy our region. Our leaders should not exhibit traits that portray them as overly ambitious and selfish. We can’t continue to remain silent when this crisis is razing and may consume everyone.
As a Muslim, I believe Islamic leaders need to do more to promote and protect the faith from activities of some followers that give a contrary image to the religion of peace. Common sense dictates that Daawah or preaching for good conduct and morality should start within by advocating religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence so that our great nation will not disintegrate by 2015.
Yushau A. Shuaib via email@example.com