By Nasir Hashim
In Middle Eastern countries, religion is used as the only “Ideological State Apparatus” of subjugation since most of the citizens are not poverty-stricken. In Africa, particularly in northern Nigeria where most of the political as well as religious leaders are cunning, callous and cruel, they take advantage of poverty, illiteracy and religious faithtomentally subjugate their people. For their selfish interest, they maintained conservative cultures such as the culture of loyalty to traditional authorities and legacies even though their custodians are no longer connected tothe original spirits of these legacies and authorities. They keep feudal structure operational over the years in order to maximize their wealth and happiness at the expense of the vast majority of their misguided and misinformed people.
In the experience I acquired through readings and travelling, I have never seen a society in this era of modernity, where leaders exercise absolute power and control over their people like northern Nigeria. In this part of the world, one may be a fraud star, a thief, a killer, a kidnapper or an armed robber, but with one million naira or less than the amount, one can be changed into a saint. How does this happen? It is very simple. Just get a glorified Mallam in your locality; he will do the magic for you. There is still the simplest way. Leave your cash. My people here are blind in loyalty to any person they consider a hero. Once you know the hero, just identify yourself with him. Before you learn ABCD, you are already cleansed into an upright man worthy of celebration. As a matter of fact, the people can now die for you.
Sometime in 2016, I went to Kawo market in the evening to buy some food stuffs. There I met some market men exchanging ideas about the politics of the day. I heard one of the men say,“ Mu wallahi mutun indai namune ko harbimmu yakeyi da harsashi, to gara shi.” This means we prefer our own man even if is he shooting us with live ammunition. I expected the othermen around to reject this dangerous opinion, but to my surprise all of them applauded him for saying what they believe was the only truth.
I know many people may ask, how can you use the opinion of a market man as example when he may be a village illiterate man? Well, I think you are right but don’t forget, I know many graduates including some of my friends who some five Months ego,they began to express their dissatisfaction with the political and socio-economic situations of the country. However, before I knew what was happening, my graduate friends began to shout “Next Level”. I was so surprised that had to find out the reason for the sudden change of attitude. I actually didn’t find it difficult to understand that effectively false propaganda in the mosques and other public placeshad already gone very far. I realized that some Mallams, especially from Izala sect were seriously doing “Jihad” telling their adherents that Christians and Shiites were united to defeat Muhammadu Buhari and Nasiru El-Rufai. I also stumbled on some messages on social networks which claimed that Iran had earmarked billions of dollars to making sure that Buhari was defeated in his re-election bid.
That baseless propaganda was initiated by Izala Mullahs and promoted by their disgruntled and half-educated followers who can hardly separate fact from opinion, truth from falsehood and logic from emotion.
The same Mullahs who are now eulogizing Buhari even on their Mosque pulpits, in 2007 they have said he is a Shiite. For example, I was at Zangon Daura Mosque in the Month of Ramadan of the same year when the loquacious and self-styled Sheikh Sanusi Khalil said, “Glory be Allah who has given us an Islamic government under Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. But then we nearly made a mistake by bringing in Shiite’s government.”
Back then in 2007, Buhari was Shiite because he lost the election. In 2015 and 2019, he is Sunna because he won the elections. Two years ago, I listened to an audio by Abubakar Giro Argungun – the half-educated and half-civilized Sheikh who always simulates being acivilized Mallam. In the audio Sheikh Gero boasted of Izala’s achievements in Nigeria. Among the achievements, he mentioned that they had uncountable number of mosques and Madarass across northern Nigeria. He also mentioned that the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari was part of Part of them (Izala).
I think for these people,Shiites’presidential candidate is a person who seems to lose or who has already lostelection. For instance,in2013 because it became apparent that Mr. Ebelle Jonathan was going to lose his re-election bid, Sanusi Khalil claimed that, then in Nigeria only Shia Muslims and Christians were given American visa.
This year (2019), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is consideredShiites’ presidential candidate since they know thatin Nigeria, rarely does an incumbent lose election to opposition. We are now waiting to see who is going to be Shiites’ presidential candidate in 2023.
More often than not, I pity the followers of such pseudo-Mullahs, and I pray they will soon realize that these Mullahs receive the reward of their lopsided, contradictory and controversial speeches while they (the followers) are shouting Allahu Akbar! They keep deceiving you with promises of reward in the heaven when they themselves can hardly make it to the heaven.
In 2015, most of these poor followers stormed the streets of northern cities and villages celebrating the end of poverty and insecurity in the region. Alas! It has been about four years since the appearance of the messiah but:
– hardly can my people afford three meals per day.
– hardly can my people send their children to good and decent schools.
– hardly can my people arrange for a befitting wedding of their 25 years old daughters.
– hardly can my people eat in the open without a dozen of Amajiris around waiting for left-overs.
– hardly can my people travel safely from one state of the region to another.
Since then poverty and death rates keep increasing day-by-day but celebration is still on-going as if the people of my part of the world are born to celebrate others.
I am very conscious about the fact that many of my brothers and sisters particularly those who are capable of reading and understanding this article may be angry. I know they may give me many names else than Nasir Hashim. In case they do, let me take them back to history. The famous northern politician, Aminu Kano (1920-1983), was a true democrat. He was an honest and progressive politician. Yet his struggle for fairness and justice did not qualify him to receive a popular support of northern common men. The religious and the political elites of the region were united against him. They labeled against him many false allegations. For example, they said he was fighting the Islamic establishment of Sheikh Usman bn Fodio. They said he was teaching the youths to deviate from Islamic and Hausa beautiful norms and values. In fact some of them even called an infidel. They cast doubt into the minds of the poverty-stricken people of the region. Thus, the majority of the masses were skeptical about his ideas even though they so much liked him. In short Aminu Kano was rejected butAhmadu Bello Sardauna had been celebrated as the best man ever had in the region, since then on.
In 1993, northern masses woke up in one particular morning and found Moshood Abiola’s posters fixed in every public space. When they went to observe Junma’at prayer in their mosques, the Imams told them that Abiola “Mutum ne maikishin Addinin musulunci.” ( Abiola is dedicated to Islamic religion). Thus, when election was conducted on June 12 1993, he defeated Alhaji Bashir Tofa even in Kano where Tofa came from.
In 1999, when General Ibrahim Babangida wanted to pacify the minds of Yoruba people for annulling the June 12 election, he had to work with some of the northern elites in support of Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidential candidature. Before you realize what was happening, Obasanjo was re-named “Oban Surajo”, and the gullible people of my region began to shout oyoyo baba! Oyoyo baba!! Oyoyo baba!!! In both his presidential bids, Obasanjo received more votes in the north than in the south. He received more votes in Kano than in Ogun (his home state). After his eight years of presidency, Obasanjo attempted to amend the constitution so that he could contest for third term. The attempt was supported by many northern politicians. Some of them are today regarded as “Yankishin Arewa” Some of them today call Obasanjo a devil while they are saints.
At that time Buhari was welcomed to any northern city and village by only Okada people. Today, the same Buhari is eulogized as if he has been sent by Allah to give manna to the hungry people of the region.
In 2007, Obasanjo campaigned for Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adau. Many people in the north said there was method in Obasanjo’s support for Yar’adau. They alleged that Obasanjo plotted to make Ebelle Jonathan the president by making him the running mate of the ailing Yar’adua. Whatever the case might be, the same people voted massively for Yar’adua instead of Buhari.
Unfortunately, Yar’adua died after two years of leadership. Jonathan took over and completed Yar’adua’s remaining two years. In 2011, he contested against Saint Buhari and beat him hands down.
Unfortunately for him, deaths amid bomb blasts and gun shots became the daily experiences throughout his second term or third term if you like. Afraid for their dear lives, the northern elites ganged up against him. They now said Buhari is the best man for the security-challenged country.
This year (2019), the region’s political and religious elites were at logger head. While most of the politicians wanted Atiku Abubakar in the Aso Rock, the religious leaders supported Buhari’s re-election. The religious leaders, especially Izala Mullahs said voting for Buhari is “Jihad” whose reward is established in the heaven. Therefore, the followers had no option but to shout “Next Level”. Some of them say “Nes Lebel”. If you don’t know, I sure you that the Mullahs receive their rewards here on earth, but the poor adherents have to wait until they get to the heaven.
I suppose it’s time for the northern masses to think and re-think. It is high time they understood that they were born to make progress – not to celebrate the personal achievements of others. They were born to work hard for prosperity – not to work hard in promoting the images of some men and their families. It is high time they realized love for their leaders without material benefit on earth here, is worthless and waste of time.
My sisters and brothers in case you are angry at my writing, i am sorry but I will continue to say the truth until I die.