By now, Nigerians might have realized that President Buhari did not use the Holy Quran or Holy Bible as is the custom and norms, when he took oath-of-office for his second-term on May 29, 2019 at Abuja. Being a Muslim, Nigerians expected the President to use a copy of the Holy Quran for the oath-of-office, but this did not happen.
Indeed, many people, especially Christians, moderate Muslims and non-Muslims alike were disappointed to see President Buhari, carry a “Sharia law bag” for his oath of office at Abuja on May 29, 2019, in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country like Nigeria. Government officials thought that ordinary people would not find out, so they hid the Sharia law book in its bag Buhari used for the oath of office that day.
In a normal clime, where things are normally well done and the norms properly followed, the Holy Book (be it the Bible, Quran or even the nation’s Constitution), whichever one is used for the swearing-in ceremony, is not hidden in any bag at all. Rather, it is placed on a well-prepared lectern at the view of everybody on the arena and the candidate himself places his hands on the Holy Book as he takes the oath of office.
This is what it means when people say you take oath of office by placing your hands on the Bible or on the Quran, depending on one’s religion. It could also be by placing your hands on the text of the nation’s Constitution. None of these happened at Abuja on May 29, 2019.
Even the Vice-President, Prof. Femi Osinbajo, a pastor in one of the Neo-Pentecostal born-again miracle centers, serving in this administration, could not have his supposedly a copy of the Holy Bible placed on a lectern for the oath of office. Rather he causally held it with one hand, floating the pages of the Holy Bible as he struggled with his other hand to hold tight the text of the Oath of Office from which he was reading. As I looked at this embarrassing scenario and saw the wife standing beside him at the podium, I began to ask myself. What prevents this man from asking his wife, who is also believed to be a neo-Pentecostal born-again Christian, to hold the Bible for him so that he could place his hands with reverence on the Bible as he read the text of the oath of office? This could have been more symbolic and made better scenario than what we saw that day.
In some countries like the United States of America, the wife of the President may hold the Bible for the husband who places his hands on it as he takes the oath of office. Moreover, in the US, copies of the Holy Book used by past Presidents at their swearing-in ceremonies are all kept at the White House in archives. Often a new President would ask for a copy of the Bible used by a particular past President of his choice for his own swearing-in ceremony.
In other words, copies of the Bible or Quran used in any swearing-in ceremony becomes automatically the property of the government. This means that the Sharia law bag and its content Buhari used for his swearing-in ceremony on May 29, 2019 is now government property and therefore is supposed to be preserved at the archives of Aso Rock Presidential Villa. It means also that future presidents or heads of states are free to use that Sharia law bag for their own swearing-in ceremony.
A question naturally suggests itself here. Who provided Buhari with that Sharia law bag, instead of a copy of the Holy Quran for his oath of office on May 29, 2019 at Abuja? In a normal circumstance, to prevent a breach of the established norms and tradition such as this, it is the duty of the government to provide copies of the sacred Books for the swearing-in ceremonies.
I hope that many of us might have noticed that Muhammed Tanko, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, goes about in most of his official duties, carrying his Sharia law bag, the type that Buhari used that day of his inauguration. Tanko was a former Sharia Court Chief Judge before Buhari appointed him to his present post after the controversial and unconstitutional removable of Justice Onneghen (a Christian) as Chief Justice of Nigeria in the build-up to the 2019 elections. Who knows, perhaps, it was at the instance of Chief Justice Tanko that Buhari carried a Sharia law bag at his swearing-in ceremony that day?
According to experts in Islamic and Arabic studies, Sharia law or Sharia Islamic law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. Again, that Buhari took an oath of office carrying a Sharia law bag is the first time such a thing is happening in Nigeria political history.
We could imagine what would have been the reactions of Muslims in Nigeria, for instance, if a Christian president (e.g., the former President Obasanjo or President Goodluck Jonathan), had taken an oath of office carrying the Church’s Canon Law or Catechism Book in a handbag? I am sure everywhere would have been on fire in the country that day. But this was what Buhari did on May 29, 2019. Yet, nobody seemed to be bothered! People are yet to critically, reflect on the implications of such religious insensitivity of the President to the secular nature of Nigerian state.
One begins to wonder, ‘who and what has bewitched” Nigerians, especially our Christian politicians and church leaders? Why is it that nobody has summoned the courage to speak out on this matter? Till date, nobody seemed to have raised any serious alarm over this most disturbing cloud presently hovering over the nation? Not even members of the main opposition party, or our intellectuals, renowned journalists, writers, media houses, etc.? It is still business as usual. Everybody is keeping mute while the house is on fire!
OIC Islamization Agenda in Nigeria Is Real
The symbolic meaning of President Buhari carrying a Sharia law bag in taking oath of office is in conformity to the decision reached at a Joint Conference of major Islamic organizations that took place at Abuja, Nigeria on November 28, 1989. At the Abuja Islamic Joint conference, the OIC and its allied organizations confirmed Nigeria as an Islamic country and asked the Federal government to do something urgently to show the whole world that Nigeria is truly an Islamic nation.
This is the symbolic significance of what Buhari did at his Inauguration Day on May 29, 2019, by carrying a Sharia law bag in taking oath of office.
Again, on 28 November 1989, there was an important Joint conference of all allied major Islamic organizations, which took place at Abuja, Nigeria. The Abuja Joint Conference issued a landmark Communique, in which they sealed the fate of Nigeria for the Muslim world (forever).
Among the member Islamic Organizations present at the Abuja Joint conference were the following:
- The Islamic Council, London.
- The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
- And the Newly Founded Islam in Africa Organization (IAO).
The Abuja Joint conference marshalled out some strategies on how to make Abuja, Nigeria’s Seat of power, the new headquarters and center of spreading Islam in the rest of Africa. Thus, President Buhari carrying a Sharia law bag for his swearing-in ceremony on May 29, 2019 at Abuja, wanted “to show the whole world that Nigeria is truly an Islamic nation.” For him and the Islamic world, it was a mission accomplished. That is why he had to rush to Saudi Arabia immediately after that show to receive accolades from the OIC member-states and the Saudi Monarch.
In fact, to appreciate Buhari’s gesture and symbolism of the Sharia law bag he was carrying at his Inauguration Day, it suffices to refer the reader to the following two paragraphs from the Final Communique of the 1989 Abuja Joint conference. In their Communique, the Abuja Joint conference, among other things, issued the following statements:
“The permanent headquarters of the Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) shall be in Abuja, Nigeria. The steering committee has been assigned the special task of the details establishing the IAO in Nigeria, including structures and the constitution within six (6) months. The conference decided that the steering committee should also work out detailed plans for transforming a national political party in each member nation into a National Islamic Party, and that the National Republican Convention (NRC) of Nigeria should be made to serve this purpose in Nigeria as the only recognized National Islamic Party of Nigeria. These political parties so approved shall be the only ones to produce the leading (executive and legislative) functionaries. The NRC of Nigeria and other parties shall have their names changed to reflect the Islamic nature of their purpose.”
Continuing, the Communique says:
“The conference further agreed and decided that the IAO should, for the time being, operate from the facilities of the Islamic Council, London, not from that of the OIC (that has become too controversial in Nigeria). The Joint conference finally rectified the admission of Nigeria as a full member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and thanked the Government and people of Nigeria for having generously donated US$21 billion to the Islamic Development Fund of the OIC, and sincerely requested the Federal government of Nigeria to implement all policies and programs of the OIC to show the whole world that Nigeria is truly an Islamic nation.” (NB: For full text of the 1989 Abuja Islamic Joint Conference Communique, see the official website of Islamic Council, London).
All these imply that what we have today at Aso Rock, Abuja, is a group of religious bigots and ethnic irredentists. Power-driven individuals, who want to turn the whole Nigeria into their personal fiefdom and mercantile vessel, hand it over to the highest bidder among their foreign sponsors and partners in the Islamic world and their allies. They are Cabal been used by some international based radical Islamist organizations, the Arab league of Islamist countries, led by Saudi Arab and the infamous OIC and its allied Islamic organizations.
These groups recruited Buhari, the Miyetti Allah, and the Cabal for the actualization of their Islamic project in Nigeria. Unfortunately, they have the blessings of their Western partners because of our Oil and other mineral and natural resources.
This is precisely, why President Buhari left the Eagle Square on that fateful day of May 29, 2019 without delivering the traditional inaugural speech of a newly sworn-in President. He had to jet out of the country immediately to Saudi Arabia to attend the meeting of the OIC. This tells us where the heart and mind of this man is. Certainly, the aspirations of all Nigerians, especially Christians, moderate Muslims (including many Nigerian Fulanis who don’t agree with their evil agenda), and all other non-Fulani Ethnic-nationalities, are very marginal for the man and his administration.
This is why he spends more time travelling to London and Saudi Arabia at any given opportunity. It is as if Nigeria under President Buhari is been governed from London and Saudi Arabia, under the archaic medieval Monarchical Feudalism and theocracy operative in those countries. They do this because they know Islam does not prosper under democracy but rather under colonial patronage, military dictatorship or Islamic theocracy. That is why they want kill democracy in Nigeria to enthrone Islamic legal system and governance structure.
Thus, the President’s total disregard to the rule of law and federal character injunction of Nigerian Constitution. For the past four years he had been in power, he sacrificed equity, justice and fair-play on the altar of ethnic and religious bigotry, military and police impunity and recklessness, empowering his tribesmen and herdsmen to carry AK47, massacre and destroy villages and farmlands of indigenous populations of non-Fulani ethnic nationalities in various parts of the country.
He sacrificed also inclusive leadership, balanced political appointments as enshrined in the constitution, to pursue a primitive Islamic fundamentalist agenda in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation state such as Nigeria. That is why from day one of this administration, the President chose to work only with people of his ethnic clan and religious configuration, in a total disregard to the federal character principles in government appointments as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
To be fair to Buhari, however, Nigeria’s romance with OIC has long history. What Buhari did on May 29, 2019, was to make a spectacle of it, position and advertise Abuja Federal Capital Territory as the new headquarters of Islam in Africa.
General Yakubu Gowon was the first Head of State to take Nigeria to OIC during the Nigeria-Biafra War. This was one of the reasons General Emeka Ojukwu alerted the world that the Nigeria-Biafra War was a religious one. That one of the primary objectives of the federal government for the war was to execute the extermination of the predominantly Christian Igbos in South Eastern Nigeria.
The Nigeria-Biafra War was to pave way for Northern Nigeria Fulani Sokoto Caliphate long-term project towards achieving total domination and Islamization of Nigeria. The pursuit of their unholy desire to dip Quran on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Southern Nigeria. Unfortunately, the reluctant world refused to listen to Ojukwu, the result of which led to the Biafra pogroms (1967-1970). Today, the chicken has come back to roost!
General Gowon, backed by British and Russia during the Nigeria-Biafra War, wanted to secure the support of Arab countries for the war against Biafra. He went and registered Nigeria as an Observer member of the Islamic organization, OIC. Any surprise that Egyptian pilots operated most of the Rocket Jets the Nigerian Federal Troops used in bombing Biafra towns, villages, market places, churches, farms, etc. in Biafra-land throughout the war period?
It is interesting to note that Gowon, a Christian son of a former pastor, was used to sell Nigeria to such a controversial Islamic organization, OIC! In all, however, one may say that Igbo response to the Genocide targeted against them and the War itself, neutralized or rather delayed the Islamization and Fulanization project in Nigeria in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
In 1986, Ibrahim Babangida, as a military Head of State, paid some alleged billions of US Dollars to the accounts of the Islamic organization, and officially, although secretly, registered Nigeria as a full member of OIC. This generated a lot of bad blood and hot-debates in Nigeria that resulted eventually in the sacking of Ebite Ukiwe, the second-in-command to Babangida. Ukiwe, an Igbo and Christian, in a Press interview said that the issue of Nigeria’s membership of OIC was never discussed at the Supreme Military Council meetings. Babangida didn’t like that and so he immediately dismissed Ukiwe from the military and replaced him with another person of his choice as his second-in-command.
Unfortunately, when Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999 after the Abacha inglorious regime, the infamous 1999 Constitution of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was forced upon the country. The Constitution was written by handpicked individuals. There was no convocation of Constitution Drafting Constituents Assembly. The Constitution was signed into law with a military decree of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a Fulani Muslim and head of the ruling transitional military junta.
With the 1999 Constitution, the foundation for today’s phase of Islamization of Nigeria was laid. Almost every page of the 1999 Constitution is dotted with Sharia or Islamic words and legal terms. There is no mention of any Christian word in the whole of the 1999 Constitution. The 1999 Constitution was skewed in such a way that it could favor only Islam. The Constitution ushered-in the gradual enthronement of Sharia legal system and Muslim dominance in Nigeria’s political system and structure of governance at all levels in a manner never witnessed before in the history of the country.
The 1999 Constitution opened the floodgate for the enthronement and adoption of Sharia Islamic law system in all the twelve states in Northern Nigeria during the Obasanjo regime; a situation Buhari administration is doing everything possible today to extend to the rest of the country. This is why, many concerned individuals have been calling for a convocation of a new Constitution Drafting Constituent Assembly that will correct the abnormalities of the 1999 Constitution. A new Constitution that will introduce true federalism, a return to a modified form of the type of regional system of government we inherited at independence in 1960.
Furthermore, General Olusegun Obasanjo complicated the matter when he assumed office as civilian President in 1999. Obasanjo went to Saudi Arab and rectified Nigeria’s membership of OIC. In other words, a Christian head of state (General Gowon), registered Nigeria as an OIC Observer member. Thereafter, another supposedly Christian civilian President (General Obasanjo) rectified Nigeria’s full membership of the Islamic organization (OIC). Wonders never end!
Even today, a good number of our highly placed Christians and political leaders who have decided to remain naïve and docile, are busy helping the present administration of Buhari in advancing the cause of Islamization and Fulanization in Nigeria. What a shame!
From the preceding discussion, it is obvious to every Tom, Dick and Harry, that what Buhari is doing presently is to take Nigeria to his supposedly “next-level”, that is, the Islamization and Fulanization agenda under the directives of OIC and its allied Islamic organizations. This is what Buhari meant each time he speaks of taking the country to the “next level” in his second-term in office as President.
Buhari’s “next-level” was launched at his inauguration day on May 29, 2019, when he carried a Sharia law bag in taking oath of office. He had immediately, after that, to travel to Saudi Arabia to attend OIC meeting in order to confirm the take-off of the “next-level” of his administration to his sponsors. Thus, it is high time Nigerians begin to understand the meaning of Buhari’s “next level.”
That expression (“next-level”) of Buhari has nothing to do with improving the lots of Nigerians. Because improving the lots of the suffering poor masses of Nigeria has no place at all in this administration’s agenda. The sole aim of the present administration, as Obasanjo and T.Y. Danjuma had lately alerted the nation, is Islamization and Fulanization of the whole Nigeria. Period! After all, who has more insight or better informed of Nigeria’s myriad of problems than Obasanjo and Danjuma themselves?
Thus, the “next-level” this administration is talking about means one thing: It is their ongoing efforts to convert all the political, religious and cultural governance structures and styles of life in Nigeria into Islamic and Arabic. This is the reason why the New School Curriculum recently approved by the Ministry of Education had to suppress Christian religious studies in a bid to impose Islamic and Arabic studies on all Nigerian children in schools.
The same applies to the recent policy of the federal government, which says that to gain admission to study law in Nigerian Universities, candidates must have credit in Arabic language and classics. There was no mention of Latin or Greek in the New School Curriculum, which are the basic languages of both civil and common laws in use all over the civilized world. There was no mention either of our local Nigerian African languages. Only Arabic and Islamic studies are highlighted and made compulsory for all!
It is also for the same reason that Justice Walter Onneghen, a Christian from South-south region, was unconstitutionally removed from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria by Buhari in the buildup to the last Presidential elections. Today, the three-arms of federal government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, are all headed by Northern Fulani Muslims. The same applies to military Service-Chiefs, Police Inspector-General, etc.
It is the same story in the financial sector. Nigerian economy is configured already to the whims and caprices of OIC inspired Development Banks. In other words, the Mujahedeen Fulani Northern Muslims have taken over the full control of Nigeria’s center of power and structures of governance. This is the ugly situation the country has found itself today under Buhari administration.
Wider Implications for Nigeria as a “Secular State”
By using a sharia law bag for his swearing-in ceremony on May 29, 2019, President Buhari at the back of his mind, was enthroning Islamic government and Sharia law system on the whole of Nigeria. What happened that day, on May 29, 2019 was symbolic for the Muslim world. The OIC Arab Islamic countries had slated their Plenary Assembly to coincide exactly with that day of Nigeria’s inauguration of the newly reelected President Buhari. It was not by accident at all. They were at Saudi Arabia waiting for Buhari to finish the job, come, and report back to them officially.
This is why those people who are castigating and abusing Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the way he was disgraced at the arena of Presidential inauguration that day should stop it. The man did not breach any protocol at all. Because his name was on the official list of dignitaries invited from the word go to be at that position. He was invited and positioned there by competent authorities.
But what happened that morning was that as the inauguration ceremony and military salute was about to begin, Oshiomhole was spotted out by the Cabal as the most visibly non-Fulani and the only Christian standing among the Fulani Muslim ruling Oligarchy high ranking dignitaries, waiting to take salute and have handshake with the President. He was like a “Gentile” to them. They had to order him out immediately.
This was the major reason Oshiomhole was ordered out in disgrace. I can assure you that if his deputy Chairman of APC, a Fulani Muslim, or Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State, was the person standing in that place, nobody would have dared ordering him out. The fact is that Oshiomhole standing with them and wearing his habitual Western and Christian comrade attire, that enough was a wrong signal to the Cabal and the Muslim world. For them, it meant that the battle is not yet over. So, Oshiomhole became their victim that morning.
We should not forget that Oshiomhole’s position in the political setup of Nigeria is very significant. He was a former Governor of an important State, Edo, and the current National Chairman of the ruling Party, APC. In fact, after the Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives, Chief Judge of the Supreme Court, and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal, the National Chairman of the ruling Party and his counterpart from the main Opposition Party, come next before the uniformed men.
In civilized world, the National Chairman of the ruling Party as well as his counterpart from the main opposition Party, take dignified positions of that grade on inauguration days. This is because, as the National Chairman of the ruling party, Oshiomhole has an enormous responsibility in determining the direction of the political administration of the country. This is why National Party Chairmen enjoy some privileges and are highly respected.
In fact, in normal circumstances, the National Chairman of the ruling Party, is supposed to keep an eye on the President and his ministers as well as on members of the party in the National Assembly. This is because he has to make sure that the Party’s electioneering Manifestos, are strictly, adhered to by the executive and legislative arms of government.
If Nigeria is a functioning country really, following what happened that day of inauguration, the National Assembly is supposed to have by now, summoned the Police Chief and Chief of Protocol for interrogations for the embarrassment Oshiomhole suffered that day. The fact is that Oshiomhole was disgraced at the inauguration arena because of his Christian religion and ethnicity. This is the naked truth, many may not like to discuss.
Furthermore, with that symbolic act, the President and his handlers are telling the world that Nigeria as a whole, has finally, been won over for Islam. That sooner, or later, Christians would come to know their new status as “protected” second-class citizens (dhimmi) in an Islamic nation, Nigeria; that is, like their counterparts in modern Egypt (Copt Orthodox Christians) or in Turkey.
After the Muslim conquest of Egypt and other parts of North Africa between seventh and eleventh centuries AD, the organized life of the churches in the early centuries’ Christian North Africa disappeared, or at best became disintegrated. The churches could no longer hold their faithful against the stimulating effects of the “new” and vigorous” Islam. The Coptic Church survived in Egypt as a minority (dhimmi), for which it had to pay tax.
Lets hope and pray that God will never allow Christians and indigenous populations of Nigeria to experience such a thing like what happened to the first centuries’ churches and Christians of North Africa. Neither would we like to have in Nigeria the recent experience of Christians in Lebanon at the hands of their Arab Muslim Palestinian immigrants, whom they had welcomed in their country some years back as refugees.
The picture of a Nigerian President carrying a “Sharia law bag” in taking oath of office is very disturbing. It portends a grave danger for the future of Christianity in Nigeria as well as for the continued existence of our dear country as one indivisible African nation state.
In fact, that Christians did not go violent on May 29, 2019 because of Buhari’s religious insensitivity does not mean that they condoned it. Rather it tells us how serious the whole matter is. The disenchantment of majority of Nigerian people today with the present dispensation is evident in the present atmosphere of the reign of “silence of the grave” in the land. The type of silence that descended on Nigeria as a nation state since the end of last February and March 2019 fraudulently rigged Presidential elections exceeds any human language.
Since the last fraudulently rigged Presidential elections, a good number of Nigerians have given up on the hope that the present administration, even in its second-term has anything positive to offer. Thus, at a time like ours today in Nigeria, when words have gone dry and darkness is fast approaching, the only language available to the oppressed people is that of silence, signs and symbols. Such a language, however, does not signal good omen for the fast-decaying Nigerian nation. Because anything can happen anytime. This is why the present precarious situation of Nigeria calls for urgent response and remedy.
Many Nigerians, especially, ordinary citizens, Christians and indigenous populations, no longer feel any emotional link with the government in power. Many people have indeed given up to the hope that anything good can ever come out of the present dispensation.
For many knowledgeable Nigerians, by choosing to carry a Sharia law bag and wear it like a turban in taking oath of office on May 29, 2019 at Abuja, Buhari has drawn a battle line between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. He has as well declared a kind of “cold-war” between his Mujahedeen Fulani Muslims ethnic-group and Non-Fulani ethnic-nationalities and indigenous populations of Nigeria. Will he be able to accomplish the devilish ambition? Certainly no!
The fact is that Nigeria belongs to its indigenous populations, and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Nobody will ever succeed in his or her inordinate desire and attempt to take away the ownership of the land from Nigeria’s indigenous populations, majority of whom are Christians and followers of African Traditional Religion (ATR).
Likewise, nobody will ever succeed in his or her evil design to impose Islamic religion and Fulani culture on non-Fulani Ethnic nationalities of the country. All those who attempted such things in the past, none of them ever succeeded or even survived thereof. I am sure, the fate of the present dreamers of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria won’t be anything different!
Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic Priest. He lives in Rome where he is a Professor of missiology (mission theology) in a Pontifical University. He runs a column on The Trent. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.