The Supreme Council for Shari`a in Nigeria: Jihadists or Self-Seekers?
Yusuf Danbaba Yariyok, Ph.D.
I have watched recent events in Nigeria and the continued irresponsible utterances of some Muslims of northern extraction with a keen interest. These so-called messiahs and champions of northern Nigeria have filled the air-waves and print media with their message of hate and destruction to score cheap political points. In the first place, neither the Muslim leaders who met in Kaduna nor the Supreme Council for Shari`a in Nigeria can claim to speak for the over 50 million peace loving Muslims in Nigeria. The two groups have been spitting out venom, promising jihad if their needs were not met. The truth is that none of these demigods has lost a child, wife or other relations in any of the recent Muslim-Christian conflagration. They know they always have a hiding place for themselves and their relations when crises break up. It is the gullible masses that run to make a shield around them while they look for the slightest opportunity to evacuate their families overseas. If any of them had lost child, wife or relation they would not be calling for Jihad.
I am particularly appalled by the fact that Nigeria has become a country where individuals wishing to settle their political squabbles borne out of greed say and do what they want without consequences. It was not too long ago that Datti Ahmed, used the Supreme Council for Shari`a in Nigeria and the Council of Ulama to unleash bloodbath on Nigerians. The year was 2002 and the occasion was Ngozi’s article on Muslim’s response to the Miss World Pageant in Abuja. Datti Ahmed called on the Muslim Ummah to rise to defend their religion by killing innocent Christians and other “pagans” for defaming the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The gullible peasants who are often used heeded the call and before one knew it Kaduna was already inflames. The government did nothing neither did Datti face any consequences.
In Nigeria, being a religious leader shields you (although not always the case as seen in the arrest of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership in Kwara state in 2004) from the law. Blood sucking demigods like of Datti Ahmed and Sani Yerima will never sleep unless they see blood flooding the streets of Nigeria. Other wise, how could one explain the recent outburst of the so-called Muslim leaders meeting in Kaduna and the SCSN recent statements declaring jihad on Nigeria? For one thing we know these self-seekers do not represent the will of the northern Muslims whom they claim to be speaking for. How could a responsible religious leader threaten bloodshed if the Federal Government failed to coarse the Military High Command into ignoring all military rules and protocols to appoint junior officers to take command over their seniors simply because they were Muslims?
One is not surprise however because it has been done in the past to favor Muslims. In 1977 then Lt. General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo ignored such protocol by forcing the Military command to promote late Lt. Col. Shehu Musa Yar’aduwa to a Brigadier-General in order to make him Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters over the likes of Lt. General Theopholus Danjuma. The likes of Datti could not see anything wrong with Major General Muhammadu Buhari picking Brigadier-General Tunde Idiagbon to be his second in command even though both of them were Muslims from the north because it served their interest. Again the likes of Datti saw it as an inalienable right when Nigerians gave Alhaji MKO Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Khingibe the mandate under the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Had General Ibrahim Babangida not annul the election Nigeria would have elected President and Vice President who were all Muslims.
It is imperative to reproduce General Ibrahim Babangida’s cabinet in 1989 to buttress my point. To their shame, the likes Datti Ahmed did not see any thing wrong with Babagida’s utter disregard for the religious plurality of Nigeria by this action.
GENERAL IBRAHIM BABANGIDA FEDERAL CABINET
(The Whole Truth 1990(1):7).
Out of the twenty-nine positions only six were occupied by Christians. The Christian Association of Nigeria called Babangida’s attention to the lopsidedness of his cabinet but he simply ignored it by saying appointments were made on merit. The implications of Babangida’s response was that Christians did not qualify to serve in his cabinet. Christians did not issue threats neither did they boycott the 1991 census or the Politcal Bureau appointed by Babangida. It is important for the likes of Datti to remember that it takes the efforts of all to keep Nigeria united. There is no single social group that can claim to have monopoly of violence.
The likes of Datti Ahmed must be told in clear terms to be aware that history has shown that other ethnic nationalities would not just fold their arms and watch the jihadists operate with impunity. The unity of Nigeria is the responsibility of both Muslims and Christians and I hope that bloodthirsty demigods like Datti Ahmed and his cronies would not allow the events of 1967-1970 to repeat in Nigeria. No country survives two civil wars. I therefore call of President Obasanjo to use every instrument at his disposal to bring the enemies of Nigeria to book. Datti Ahmed and his group pose a security risk to the nation and must be treated as coup plotters. Any thing short of this will give them opportunity for a second round of bloodshed. I say this because my people in Kaduna State especially Southern Kaduna are tired of being slaughtered like animals. The government must cut the neck of this monstrous snake before it spits further venom on the county. We have had enough bloodshed orchestrated by Datti Ahmed, Sani Yerima and their cronies using Kaduna State as their operational base. The government must act now without intimidation. Failure on the part of the Obasanjo government to arrest these so-called Muslim leaders is tantamount to an abdication of its responsibility. After all, it is the same Obasanjo who called the Plateau State CAN Secretary a “total idiot” and said, “CAN my foot.” If Obasanjo had the guts to insult Nigerian Christians he must show the same guts by arresting Ahmed Datti and those calling for jihad. The heavens will not fall sequel to their arrest!
Yusuf Danbaba Yariyok, Ph.D.