By Musa Bayi Muhammad
It is an axiomatic saying of Winston Churchill which says a person would never reach his destination if he stops and throws "a stone at every dog that barks," that nearly tempted me to ignore Uche Madu John's outrageous piece for I never wanted to reply to this intellectually faceless pygmy, but looking at the way his sentiment-laden rejoinder to the Chairman of Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy, (CEDRA) Dr. John Danfulani, generated too much storm,
I feel compelled to write because if reply is not written to prove him wrong, the write-up could mislead many a reader.
As an activist who knows a lot about Danfulani, a feisty rights campaigner whose audacity to speak out against injustice and oppression landed him in prison; whose refusal to let himself be gagged made him pay a heavy price to the extent that he lost his job, I know for sure that if Uche Madu John was not a paid writer who wrote under a pseudonym to disguise his identity, he could have written this piece to shoot two birds with a single stone: maligning Danfulani and casting aspersions on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in order to achieve certain objectives.
It is not the writer's desperation to deride the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a lawless organization that spurred me into writing this piece because as a member of the IMN, Zakzaky once told us that followers or sympathisers with the cause of Ahlul-Bayt, must be ready to cope with persecution, ostracism and targeted assassinations, but to deride Dr. John Danfulani as a wailer and desperado who sides with the oppressed religious minorities in order to gain publicity, the writer's dramaturgical balderdash left much to be desired. John Danfulani is an indefatigable fighter who is famous for protecting minorities long before the engineered massacre of Shiites in Zaria, the massacre that left more than a thousand Shias dead and their dead bodies were cruelly cremated and buried in mass graves, so it is ill thought to claim that Danfulani is here only to gain public attention.
Moreover, the continued marginalization of the Shiites by the northern politicians, is a plot that sent and continues to send shock waves across the other religious minorities like Christians who, with the surreptitious connivance of the Salafi clerics are being cleansed by many agents of persecution: Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and misinformed Muslim youths who in the past few years alone, have killed hundreds of Christians across the northern part of the country.
Why does the writer expect that a freedom fighter, like Danfulani be mute in the face of the current tribulation of Shiites and think that his fellow Christians would not be marked for the same
persecution as Shiites? The current waves of attacks which after the Zaria massacre was first meted out to a Christian for not fasting in broad daylight in Kaduna, the beheading of a Christian woman for allegedly committing a blasphemy in Kano, and the sporadic skirmishes in the settlements of Christians under a cryptic pretense are a wake up call that adds credence to the fact that after Shiites, Christians would be the next target. Despite the journalistic bias exhibited by the mainstream media, the media are too hypocritical to admit that members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are the most peace loving religious group in Nigeria: they never attack Christians or other religious groups just because they differ in ideology; they in fact shield Christians from Muslims who during religious crises massacre Christians like ants. Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria used to invite Christians to their programs because they are subconsciously
attached to Imam Ali's philosophy that a person is of two kinds "either your brother in faith or a counterpart in humanity, " and it is only through interfaith discussion that various religious groups can coexist peacefully in Nigeria. Therefore, it is vacuous or more to the point illogical for a writer like Uche to lampoon Danfulani for his altruistic efforts to speak out against injustice.
I must in a nutshell commend Dr. John Danfulani for his tireless efforts to protect humanity from the rudderless northern intellectuals who are more interested in wiping out minorities than delivering dividends of democracy to their toiled people who are grappling with illiteracy, abject poverty and starvation. Otherwise, I would not have wasted my precious time writing to a ghost writer whose visceral hatred towards humanity has made his piece look as if it is penned by a writer lost in a bizarre bazaar of intellectual ineptitude.
Musa Bayi Muhammad