Guard Your Health...Political Storms Raging, Colliding - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

Guard Your Health...Political Storms Raging, Colliding




The Daily Crucible | Saturdayday, July 30, 2022

By Femi Kusa

I AM a Christian. But I do not feel threatened by a Moslem Moslem presidential ticket. In the south west region of Nigeria where I come from, all the six governors are Christians. Check them out. Yet there are more Moslems in this region, going by population figures. Even in Osun state, few people know that the governor elect is Nurudeen Adeleke, a Christian convert and that his deputy, from Ile Ife, is a Christian. Does the Christian Association of Nigeria wish to plunge the south west into a crisis and load religious "software" into our brains?
I ask this question as the CAN becomes more unjustifiably vicious in its attack on the APC Moslem Moslem ticket. Why did it not pull us by the shirt collar over Osun state PDP christian - Christian ticket? Or, are all Osun indigens Christians? The latest of the CAN's vicious attacks was in respect of the unveiling of Kashim Shetima in Abuja as the vice presidential running mate of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the APC. The battleground this time was over the authenticity of some of the guests at the ceremony who were presented or presented themselves as bishops. In Christian churches the office of the bishop is high in the ladder of the priestly order. So, the CAN was right to either adjust its spectacles or to remove them to see better who the bishops in attendance were. Alas, the bishops were not on its membership register or even known to it. But was that enough reason to desecrate the persons of these folks? How many CAN bishops were not self appointed or appointed by men and foisted on their congregations as "called" from on high? The truth about the church today is that it has deviated grossly from the pure teachings of the Lord. The man who is an apprentice pastor today who believes he is a better preacher than his boss quits the fold to start his own ministry and, before you can call Jack Robinson, he has become a general overseer or a bishop. Anyone who listens to radio stations from about 3 am everyday will encounter all sorts of preachers, churches and nomenclature of these churches and their leaders who are mainly "prophets". These fellows may not be CAN members, and the ones who were presented Shetima's unveiling did not claim to be CAN members. Why does CAN then seek to arrogate to itself the representation of all Nigerian Christians? The way CAN is fighting the Moslem Moslem ticket may have a backlash on all of us Christians. Does CAN realise it can arouse Moslem moslem fears and gang up against Christians, especially in the South-West?. The last time we witnessed this gang up was in the 2019 governorship election in Kaduna state. In the 2015 election, Elrufai a Moslem, successfully ran with a Christian deputy. In 2019, Kaduna Christians picked up a quarrel with him. So he ran with a Moslem deputy in that election and won, to prove that Christianity was of poor electoral value in the state. I hope that is not what the CAN wishes inadvertently to foist on Nigeria!
   Additionally, the case of CAN appears to be like that of a man who spikes his head and tries to wear his cap on his buttocks! For several years and especially in the Buhari presidency years, the CAN has learned to peacefully co exist with Islamic fundamentalism, the burning of churches and Christians, the influx of foreign Moslems with territorial ambitions and,above all, the fear of Islamisation of Nigeria. This and considerations about the management of church finances and eligibility or ineligibility of the church to pay tax made the CAN indirectly support the presidential bid of Atiku Abubakar in 2019. The Buhari administration of only four years became cash broke and was exploring new revenue sources. Someone must have mentioned the church to it. The church had humongous income, but was not paying tax. General overseers sat on top of this treasure trove flying about in private jets. So, the government asked general overseers to take their hands off the money, face pastoral work, and let the finance authorities of their various churches deal with mamon. Some general overseers agreed. Some objected and wriggled around the law. What we then observed was a strange, that is unusual meeting with former president Olusegun Obasanjo at which his bitter foe and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, was present. The meeting was to reconcile both men so that Obasanjo would forgive him his "sins" and back him for the presidential election forthcoming against Mohammadu Buhari. Atiku Abubakar failed in that election. So did CAN. Now, Atiku is out again, running. Some CAN watchers believe CAN still has a soft spot for him. It would not matter to CAN, in their view, if he is a Moslem , if he is a fulani, a possible tool in the hands of islamising and fulanising factors if, indeed, there is any such agenda. In the end, the CAN may find itself shooting itself in the foot by foraging into politics.

       Muhammadu Buhari

 We are no longer in those days when, for example, the National Concord newspaper, owned by a Moslem jubilantly supported the government's smuggling of Nigeria into the organisation of Islamic countries (OIC) to counterbalance  NIGERIA'S recognition of Israel as a sovereign country. Israel was in a war of survival with Arab countries. The Arabs were Moslems and did not want the existence of Israel. Nigerian core Northern Moslems relate more with the Arabs. So, the Nigerian military government of that time thought making Nigeria an OIC member would balance a religious equation. Christians took it out on the National Concord whose publisher, M.K.O Abiola, put his newspaper in support of the OIC vanguard to massage his presidential ambition among Moslems. In every church on Sundays, a campaign was waged on the National Concord. Circulation income began to drop as sales dropped. In the end, the National Concord could not survive the Gen.Sanni Abacha's incaceration of Abiola who would have kept pumping money into it.
    At about that time, I was Editor of The Guardian newspaper, which Moslems were going to make a scapegoat of the Concord's misfortune. Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru was the military governor of Lagos State when the attack on The Guardian would have taken place. He was born a Moslem, but he grew up to recognise grains of Truth in other religions and embraced them. For the first time in a long while, there were more Christians than Moslems in the cabinet of Lagos State under him.This annoyed Moslems who believed they were losing power in Lagos state. Thus, they went on a protest visit to the military government. The Guardian reported the visit more elaborately than other newspapers strictly because of the news value. A new fish had entered the pond, and the water was swirling.  Interpretatively, The Guardian questioned the protest by raising questions about the secularity of Nigeria. A Moslem delegation was dispatched to me as the editor of the newspaper, to warn that the Moslem community had discovered it to be anti Islam, and that Moslems were going to be instructed to stop reading it. Fortunately for The Guardian, its editorial policy made it independent of any society's or groups, including religious groups. I was and still am a Christian , but a Christian whose Christianity is founded solely on the Pure Teachings of the Lord Jesus, not on the false interpretations of man. This made me to hate no religion but to seek the grains of Truth in them, accept them and reject the chaff. It was in this regard I came to recognise the mission of the prophet to Arabia which many of his followers have distorted, just like Christians have altered the pure teachings of Jesus Christ. The delegation expected me to be agitated. I was not because I had done nothing wrong. That morning, there were no fewer than two photographs of Islamic events in the newspaper. In those days, Many editors sold their front page photograph space. We were not selling ours or any inside page photograph space. On the front page was the photograph of the dome of the Lagos Central Mosque. It was golden. I sighted it when I was in Lagos island and sent one of our best photographers, Yusuf Oseni aka Zoom Lens to photograph it for publication. On the third page of the paper was the photograph of an Alasalat women's group. Even if we were an Islamic newspaper, we  possibly couldn't have done better. The delegation, led by a Ph.D fellow, was shocked. I was not done yet. I asked the librarian, Titi Oba, to bring the  file of my newspaper cuttings and that of Mount Arafat. Bulky files were brought. Although I was not a Moslem, I took it upon myself every year to personally write about the climbing of mount Arafat by the  Moslem pilgrim in Saudi Arabia. Silence fell. Then I invited to my office Moslems who held top editorial positions in the newsroom. There was Mac Alabi, Night editor. His first name was Mc Donald because he attended a Christian secondary school. He remained a Moslem nevertheless all his life. Every sallah, hundreds of us journalists in Lagos dined and wined with him, irrespective of our religions and contributed money towards the feasting, because he was our professional teacher and guardian. There was Razak Adedigba, Chief Sub Editor. There was Kunle Sanyaolu, news editor. These three offices are the most powerful"gate keepers" in a newsroom. What would pass into print without their permission? So,  if the newspaper was anti-islamic, their own sons, not me, were to be held responsible, I told the delegation. In the end, the delegation apologised and saluted The Guardian. I will ever remember the repeated Statements of the leader of the delegation..."I was misled...I was misled".
I have told this story to show the Christian Association of Nigeria it can overturn society the way it is going. What if The Guardian had been killed like The National Concord.
  There is something else CAN should be careful to not instigate and impel. It is the religious economy. The day Christians start patronising only Christians in business and in the professions, and Moslems start doing the same, the country may be gone. We saw the possibility of this when NASFAT produced a malt drink brand in Mushin or Illupeju in Lagos. Whatever the quality, it hit home asTiwantiwa (Ours is Ours). When you keep chasing a goat, it will turn back when it gets to a brick wall!

President Buhari

He will be most remembered for bringing upon Nigeria the most insecure seasons of Nigeria's several seasons, political, economic or social. He will also be remembered as the most beloved president against whom no finger was lifted despite the agony or rot of society. How badly run or insecure was Nigeria before major general Muhammadu Buhari and major general Tunde Idiagbon, acting in concert, pushed away president Shehu Shagari?   Even now that the impeachment sword dangles over his head, I do not support his removal from office, because it may create more problems than it can solve. But the blame for NIGERIA'S descent into agony and rot will not be his alone. For the seeds where sown by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigerian first and only  African Governor General and ceremonial president of the First Republic and major General J.T.U.Aguiyi Ironsi, Nigeria's first military Head of state. An orator and charismatic leader, Dr Azikiwe was nevertheless a slippery politician and tribalist under the garbs. Throughout the struggles for Independence, he  continually opposed chief Obafemi Awolowo, premier of Western Region, and sir Ahmadu Bello, sardauna of Sokoto and premier of Northern Region, on at least two major constitutional platforms which would have prevented today's problems. Awolowo and Bello wanted regionalism. Azikiwe vigorously advocated strong federalism. The cuning British agreed with him. Awolowo and Bello wanted a CLAUSE OF CECESSION in the Constitution. It would enable any region dissatisfied with the federation to peacefully leave or abandon the union in a political divorce. Azikiwe disagreed. Again, cunning Britain supported him. When the Igbo inspired coup  of January 1966 occurred and Gen.Ironsi emerged as Head of state, he imposed a Unification Decree on the nation to nail the hopes of Regionalism and Cecession on the assumption that his kith and kindred could govern an illiterate and seemingly docile Northern Nigeria on one hand and a politically weakened and divided Western Nigeria.  Isaac Adaka Boro, from Bayelsa, announced Cecession of the Niger Delta region which was Under Eastern Nigerian governance.  Ironsi sent Lt.Col.Chukwuemeka  Odumegwu Ojukwu, military governor of Eastern Nigeria, after him. Ojukwu defeated Boro, who was tried in court and sentenced to death by hanging. But before Boro's execution, rebellious Northern officers killed Ironsi in a counter coup. Their annoyance was that Igbo officers killed northern officers and politicians in the January coup, but spared Igbo officers and politicians and still went on to "slam" a unification decree on the country, in order to grab it in the mode of a conquest. However, rather than right the wrongs by returning the country to true regional Federalism, northern officers tightened the hold on the county under the unification decree and waged war on Eastern Nigeria when it announced it's  Cecession under the name of Biafra. Had Dr Azikwe not been politically slippery and supported Awolowo and Bello over the cecession clause, it was possible Biafra would have been achieved in 1966 without gunshots. Isaac Boro took his revenge on Ironsi and Ojukwu by joining the war on the side of Lt.Col(later Gen) yakubu Gowon, who freed him from the hangman. Obasanjo prepared the grounds for Buhari's stranglehold, just as Azikiwe and Ironsi created the grounds for the northern emasculation of the igbos... Obasanjo, followed by president Ebele Jonathan from Bayelsa state refused to loosen the federation and allow state government policing of their states . Now out of power, and seing the calamities of an overly federal union in a plural society of about 300 nationalities, they are belatedly calling for regional policing. I recall once asking Jonathan on this page to remember what Boro stood for and loosen the federation. Now, he and Obasanjo are like fish out of water, powerless, and power has slipped into the hands of people who know how to use and deploy it with more viciousness, should the need arise. This is the scenario in which the nation find itself under president Mohammed Buhari. Many people says he knows what is going on (terrorism, banditry, Fulanisation etc) and he is enjoying it, but is pretending that he is a simpleton held in captive by powerful northern mafias. Many others believe he is innocent but overwhelmed because, intellectually, he was not well equipped to deal with the struggles for power in a complex society like Nigeria's. They believe he is a fine military fighter caught in political webs. My thinking is that president Buhari is treading where, probably, the "angels"dared not tread. Obasanjo preferred to fight a needles "war" in defenceless Odi because a handful of soldiers were killed there,even if the population was wiped out. He failed to deal with the Genesis of Boko Haram,insurgency  and kidnapping. Jonathan brazenly told us he was "not a soldier". Under him, Boko Haram took over substantial areas of Borno state,once sacked the Nigeria police headquarters and the United Nations Headquarter, both in Abuja, and made Eagle square unsafe for presidential functions. President Buhari  reversed these trends until recently when , again, the federal capital territory (FCT) came under terrorist threat. Although the forests are still booming with gorilla fighters and their captives, president Buhari has waged war on his brother moslems, what the Christian Obasanjo and Jonathan couldn't do. And when the courts ordered him to release El Zazaki from detention, he declined, saying state security was superior to The Rule of Law. Remember El Zazaki is promoted by the Iranian government and he says he would not recognize a non Islamic Nigeria. I have heard it said, though, that the president is at war with an Islamic sects opposed to his own Islamic sect. Whatever it is, he has taken steps Obasanjo and Jonathan failed to take. The military has been infiltrated, no doubt, and it may be dangerous to frontally  take on the moles without first neutralising their networks. The storming of the prison in Osun state to release Wakili and that of Kuje to freels Wadume and Co attest to this. Reportedly, soldiers killed policemen who went to arrest terrorist wadume, rescued him in hand and leg cuffs only for another group of policemen to re-arrest him and keep him in Kuje. Is the infiltration of the military the reason the war on terrorism seems to be sluggish and the government keeps saying it knows the big shots behind it but, cautiously, is not naming them?

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