The recent interview granted The Punch by one Professor Ishaq Akintola titled “We want Fridays work-free for Muslims” wherein among other things he acerbically nay needlessly criticized the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria over their stand on issues affecting Christians and Christianity in Nigeria, including the surreptitious attempts at spreading sharia and other purely Islamic practices all over the country, is, as usual with some of our over-zealous Muslim compatriots provocative, divisive, selfish, illogical, unconvincing, watery, porous, misguided, hate-filled and puerile.
As it has always been with fanatical Islamic scholars, Ishaq called for the practice of the Sharia law all over the federation even in places like the South East and South South where Muslims, though in negligible minority, have enjoyed enormous support from their host communities in the practice of their religion without let or hindrance even when some regularly go on killing sprees of innocent men, defenseless women and helpless children, unlike what is obtainable in the north where Christians who, in some places, are even in the majority, have always been the subject of senseless maiming, cold-blooded, hair-raising and chilling murders by some adherents of Islam.
If people like Ishaq want to know why Christians will continue to resist the spread of Sharia all over the country as being currently peddled by insensitive Islamic leaders like himself, it is because those who practise the system in the core Hausa/Fulani north for generations have fared worst in our polity.
Over the years, the Hausa/Fulani north where Islam is the major religion has produced nothing but death, sorrow, blood and tears. It is a region that encourages macabre murders, arson and other forms of destructive practices over inexplicable flimsy excuses like ‘blasphemy’, minor arguments, innocuous evangelism and Christian gatherings just like the ones recently experienced in Zamfara, Kano, Abuja and Suleja.
Christians have every right to resist any such system that has produced nothing but over ten million illiterates and beggars while the leaders see nothing wrong with that. A system that practices and encourages indolence, laziness and parasitic relationship among its adherents is unacceptable to us in Christianity and the south. The same indolence and laziness that is causing people like Ishaq to call for further reduction of working days to four by agitating for the declaration of Friday as a work-free day just to satisfy a mundane ego!
We cannot afford to accept a practice that encourages our political leaders to be totally unimaginative and dependent on their more entrepreneurial, hardworking and highly educated counterparts from the south for food and handouts. A system that is comfortable with bringing nothing to the table and carting away almost everything in the name of federal allocation.
While the Christians keep flying high and keep working so hard to educate their children( even some of these childen have to work so hard doing menial jobs to send themselves to school in situations where circumstances have not allowed their parents to do so) it is the lazy and beggarly ones sired by the likes of Ishaq that never gain admission on merit because they can never ever compete with their Christian peers who have been taught the importance of meaningful, helpful and relevant education through the teachings of Christianity.
Rather than work to extricate its teeming population from the ills of illiteracy, poverty and disease despite the enormous resources available to them, Ishaq and his co-travellers are still caught in the facile web of hijab-wearing protestations even while lying that “Christian schoolchildren use Christian school uniforms”, just to justify their vain positions. The question is, which school in Nigeria allows Christian uniforms which include flowing robes, surplice, vestments, skull cap, etc? None, absolutely none! So where did Ishaq get that idea that Christian children are allowed to wear Christian uniforms while Muslim children are not allowed to wear theirs? Did he not see the chaos caused in Osun when Christian students attempted to wear their religious garb to school as the Muslim students were being allowed to do? When men want to satisfy their ego and put the nation on fire, they play the religious card. That is exactly what Ishaq Akintola has done with his interview.
Have people like Ishaq asked themselves why the world is suffering today and its resources stretched by playing host to a wide range of Muslims from Muslim countries who have been turned into refugees by fellow Muslims? Has he asked himself why Muslim refugees would rather turn to Christian nations (as he described them) like France, UK, Germany, Australia, USA, Italy etc rather than go to Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Iran etc despite the enormous resources available to these Muslim countries? Has he ever wondered why a Muslim family would rather settle in Australia as refugees and allow their children to be served pork meat as part of their meal at school rather than go to Saudi Arabia where they can easily fit in as fellow Muslims?
There are more fundamental questions for Ishaq Akintola to answer about his own version of Islam that thrives on imposition and subjugation of people and their freedom.
What, for example, has Ishaq done or what suggestions has he put before JNI, MURIC which he leads and such other Muslim groups to improve the standard of education of Muslims generally? Rather than fight for the rights of the Muslim child to be properly educated and removed from the streets as beggars as they cover the whole country, he and his cohorts are busy fighting for hijab-wearing rights which in any case does not contribute to the intelligence of such students who have so shamelessly been described as “disadvantaged” by the same people who ought to “advantage” them by ensuring they are properly educated.
A situation where the pupil from Anambra and Ondo, predominantly Christian states, is expected to score 131 and 126 respectively in order to gain admission to federal government colleges while the pupil from Zamfara, Nigeria’s Mecca of Shariah, who sits for the same exam gains admission with just 3 marks, I mean just 1, 2, 3, is not only shameful but parasitic. These are the fundamental issues one expects Muslim leaders like Ishaq Akintola to address by radically addressing the reasons behind the imbalance in intelligence between children of the two faiths.
The attempt by the Islamic scholar to defend Buhari’s lopsided appointments in favour of Hausa/Fulani Muslims is puerile. Using ministers appointed from the South West as a yardstick to measure the lopsidedness is a deliberate attempt to run away from the truth. It is shameful that a high ranking Islamic scholar would deliberately descend into the arena of falsehood just to create some perfidious impressions in order to win himself some pecuniary gains from his sponsors. His claim that “The parastatals are replete with Christian chief executives is false. For example, of the 8 educational MDAs whose chief executives were recently appointed by Buhari, 7 of them are headed by Hausa/Fulani Muslims while the eighth one is from the south west, a Muslim nevertheless. The eight of them are all Muslims!
All our major security organs are headed by Hausa/Fulani Muslims, from the Ministries of Defence, Internal Affairs, the National Security Adviser, the army, police, DSS, EFCC, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, NSCDC to the NDLEA. When one considers the ethnic nationalities of those being retired or sacked in the security organizations for various “offences”, then one would know that the whole agenda of Nigeria’s Islamisation is in full gear.
Furthermore, while Ishaq claimed nothing was wrong in the obvious recent one-sided visit of John Kerry, USA’s Secretary of State, the United States embassy, having realized their error, has since opened up a “communication channel” to CAN to balance what they, by opening up the channel, believe was actually one-sided and did not reflect the touchy and delicate plurality of the Nigerian state. The opening up of a communication channel by the US embassy is a copious testimony in support of CAN leadership genuine concerns over the visit. Even if Kerry’s visit was purely humanitarian, everyone knows that Christians have been the largest victims of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria as perpetrated by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. So, why then would anyone want to justify the discriminatory visit by Kerry?
In any case, the USA having realized their error, have taken steps to right the wrong. This goes a long way to prove that Ishaq is wrong on CAN leadership’s position on the visit.
Ishaq should consider this hard fact: if Tunisia and Egypt, two Muslim countries, could so reject Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood through revolutions just about one year of putting them in power because they could not tolerate their Islamist agenda, then the plans to subtly Islamise Nigeria with all her complexities can never ever work. It would only drag the nation ages backward.
Let me conclude this piece by telling the Ishaq Akintolas of Nigeria that the days when Christians would sit idly and watch their leaders addressed in derogatory manners and insulted by anybody no matter how highly placed, connected, powerful or influential, without getting a fitting response have since gone. There is a new generation of Christians who have now realized from the age-long experience of persecution of Christians in Nigeria that the fear of death keeps them in perpetual slavery and emboldens Islamists, and have resolved to stand up for their faith at any point in time they are required to do so. This is an assurance, and it is a blessed assurance. So help us God!
Jude Ndukwe is a political analyst who lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a member of The Trent’s Elite Columnists. His column is published every Friday. He tweets from @stjudendukwe.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.