The Voices Reach Out
Friday, January 8, 2010
Nigerian Headache (Part3) Eucharia Mbachu
It is in this context that, what Umar Farouk al- Abdulmuttallab, the Nigerian terrorist did on the Christmas Eve, became simply a nightmare that is incomprehensive and frightening. We can see how a Nigerian, whose father is as rich as Osama Bin Laden’s family, could engage in such a deadly and unacceptable action as that perpetrated at 9/11. Through the monopoly of power by the likes of this young man’s father, the wealth of Nigeria is siphoned off and the victims in the North suffered the same global shame and humiliation as other Nigerians. . To explore the dynamic interaction between religious bigotry and political instability in the nation, some serious attention must be given to the occasional eruptions of ethnic and religious violence in the land. The most brutal are those inspired and driven by religious intolerance. The most recent religious outburst in the North a few weeks ago testifies to this. What is most disturbing to me is that, despite the fact that a Northern petrodollar rich Muslim man tried to kill about three hundred innocent people aboard a Northwest Airlines carrier, and his activity which has turned every Nigerian a suspected terrorist in the world, the northern leaders have not yet taken effective action and are yet to promise better ways of using religion as a means of political pursuit. Adding insults to Nigerian injuries, let us just remind ourselves about the cohabitation between local terrorism and internationally inspired terrorism. According to local news report, “thirty eight people died at Zango village on the outskirts of Bauchi in what the police said was a clash between members of a fringe Muslim sect described as the Kala Kato. This nonsense is in place because some bad elements among the northern clerics allow these kinds of groups to form in order to use them as their religious tools to achieve their selfish narrow-minded and myopic political illusions. The action of these Islamic radicals, such as the Kala Kato, the Maitatsine, the Boko Harem groups and others not so well known, belongs to that category of system-challenging operations need to be cleaned out of the Nigerian system for the sake of national unity. These bad eggs in the society are subversive; their provocative preaching does not foster unity and social solidarity in the country. Apparently linked to the much discredited Maitatsine group, whose activities were forcefully brought to an end under President Babangida, these new groups claimed to be the resurrections of the old Maitatsine Movement and are characterized by their religious fanaticism, militancy and superstitions. . Taken together, this volatile religious craziness in the North, plus the Nigerian criminally- minded, corrupt bad government, has added heartburn to strings of problems facing this nation of 150 million people. The radicalization of religion in the northern part of the country has not been helpful in getting Nigerians on the path towards development. Being wedded to state power, the leaders from that region have not solved the problems of elite-mass gap. And illustration of this crisis was captured when, during the recent uprising, Alhaji Abubaker said: “before they were subdued, the sect members were shouting at the top of their voices that they were the real Yan Tatsine, i.e. followers of the late sect leader Muhammad Marwa alias Maitatsine who was killed during a major uprising in Kano in 1980.” What these utterances from the resurrected Islamic fanatical group tell us is the survivals of Old bigotry in the country. While modernization and social change are being effected in many African countries, there are the paradoxes of the Boko Haram. Like many religious bodies today, technology and science are seen as partners for social change. However, in their affirmation of their metaphysical beliefs many of these groups act opportunistically and aggressively towards the destruction of anything progressive. . Could there be a worst moment of a religious uprising in the country than this time when the world sees Nigeria as a terrorist nation due thanks to the misadventure of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab and his Islamic nut heads. In as much as I strongly disagree with the Islamically deep-seated fanaticism of the North as well as a Gambialization of Nigeria, it is also important to ask ourselves, if it would not be better and safer for the nation to say, to your tents oh, Nigeria. We can call this DIVIDED STATES OF NIGERIA (DSN) under different religious attitudes and political principals. Although every sovereign nation has a right to decide how individuals enter and leave their country, it is equally important to know and reject any form of cut and dry and clear evidence of name profiling because of a country’s geographical location. By saying this, I mean to ask if Great Britain, Germany or France citizens had carried out this senseless act of terrorism, would the United States have black listed any one of them as sponsors of terrorism? This brings flash blacks on the inferior relationships between the West and Africa. President Obama and his ruling class know very well that Nigeria is a sticky rotten 419 crook who loves good life. This is true, and sure we are. But to say that Nigerians are terrorists is not a simply argued case; rather, we know Nigeria has better representatives than this fellow in the news. And this very terrorist has a father who has lots of money in the USA, the father’s money was not ceased because the Obama administration felt that he tried to prevent the terrorist act to happen by informing the security agents who by their omission or commission missed the point. So tell me, where in the world does Nigeria have anything to do with this? If not, because Nigeria is a Third World country with leaders as rotten and corrupt as dead vultures? Therefore, the situation facing Nigeria is not a Nigerian problem, it is an African problem, as the saying goes get the leader and his disciples will scatter. Nigeria has a big role to play in the stability in Africa; so once Nigeria is hit and cowed, then the other African countries will be yummies for the rest of the world. Let history be everyone’s best teacher, We all remember a couple of years ago when President George W. Bush called the sleeping North Korea and Iran “axis of evil” Bam, there began trouble that seem to be spilling out of country. Or Pakistan, see what is happing in that country today. So my suggestion is that The United States should remove Nigeria from this harsh categorization in the name of peace and unity for the rest of us. I want to be able to go home with pride without being treated as a hardened terrorist.
Eucharia Mbachu is the President and Founder of Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora. (VOWAC.org)
Labels: conflict and Religion
Nigerian Headache (Part 2) Eucharia Mbachu
Through their reckless acts of blending religion and politics, these lackadaisical and self-appointed ‘Imams’’ sadistically find pleasure in using religion as a weapon of mass destruction. In so doing, they stifled the nation-building efforts at the national level, causing many people in various parts of the country to be divided and polarized with division as the outcome, religious differences began to undermine the stability and unity in the nation resulting in the break down of the creation of structures to maintain law and order. From the 1980s up to the rise of Abacha the political chaos spawned by religious ignorance and fanaticism, brought us back to the rise of the Yanizala group which fought against the spread of the Maitatsine religious sect, a very dangerous group that waged a very dangerous religious war in the North. During this period, the regime of President Ibrahim Babangida found itself wobbling on a tight rope of ethnic balance on the one hand and regional cooperation on the other. He had to do something drastic to keep the peace and to hold the nation together after a bloody Civil War. In retrospect, one could maintain that the sources of inspiration for such a strategy and the implications that flowed from the action unfortunately placed greater role on the state than on the corrective powers of northern local and state institutions to calm stormy waters. Such a strategy continued the idea of the northern interest as defined by the colonialists as well as the post independence leaders, is responsible for many of the woes of Nigeria today. Rather than examine the historical realities that come together to bring pain and grief in their respective communities, they, on the contrary have developed all kinds of rationalizations to justify the primacy of Federal power over the Nation or alternatively the primacy of the respective states over their local jurisdictions. As a result of this development, the northern part of the country has become dependent on the Federal government. Without the state, there is limited or no independence. With the state, Big Brother rules supreme; and the politics of numbers and the predominance of northern group dynamics within the military determines the elements of categorization. The Civil War and the ethnic and religious antagonisms of the past fifty years have made the modern state a rich uncle to the politically savvy and to those with long legs. On the other hand, it is a zoo that domesticates all the weak, the ignorant and the helpless. It is indeed against this background that modernity becomes the source of power for the powerful and the self-victimizing instruments at the hands of the state against the politically unconnected. To those of us who are familiar with the logic and rationalizations of colonial rule, “the ideology of martial races” provided the mantra of colonial domination. Divide and rule through the reasons and instruments of Lugardian statecraft was the order of the day. Our post colonial rulers play with that buck of emotions our literary sage, Chinua Achebe, called “primitive loyalties.’ In the North, it is the application of Divine commands to love and embrace fellow humans which are deliberately twisted by the so called Imams and their groupies
Nigerian Headache: All Signs Point to the North (part one) By Eucharia
Call it Whiteman effect, call it religious fundamentalism, call it Animal worshippers, or African Traditional religion, Africa before the White man took shine on its soil with chains and guns, Bible and Quran, Jesus and Mohamed, , Africans were peaceful, loving and relatively straightforward people. As a result, Africa was privileged to welcome both Christianity and Islam as world religions. This appropriation of African emotional energies in these two world religions has propelled many Africans to invest much of their thoughts and activities on things Christian, Muslim or cultural. These two belief systems must be systematically organized to give meaning to social life of the Africans to build a just and stable society. Unfortunately, this noble idea of building community and changing human lives was aborted and thwarted by bigoted religious extremism. Such act of fundamentalism has brought into the African society division, bigotry and violence. And the consequences of this situation now put Nigeria on the spot. .
It has been rough for all Nigerians of good standing to continue to keep smiles on our faces when Nigerian nears a zero down slope as the nation’s fate is being debated as a terrorist nation caused by miserable diversity fight of control, power, conquer and rule. All because one segment of the country feels it is their birth right to cow others, while at the same time there is zero credibility to paint themselves the sole authority of patriotism. Reflecting on what just happened with respect to the young Northern Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on his attempt to blow up the Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, it is clear to all that, all things considered, our attention on issues of primary importance in Africa, are currently undercut by this reported act of terrorism. It highlights the unhealthy relationship between religion and violence in Nigeria and brings to the surface what Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab represents and the implications of his botched airline scandal for Nigeria, the Nigerian people and for Nigerian-American relations in the Age of Obama.. One of the consequences of religious violence and its effect on Nigerian society is the pollution in the moral life of the country. And its pervasiveness has affected the mental world of many people in the northern part of the country. Such a characterization is not grounded in ethnic or regional bias; rather, it is based on my careful analysis of the political maneuvers of the Northern religious leaders and their politicians. Religion in the North has become a political football more than any other ethnic groups in Nigeria. As a result of this development the nation is now psychologically overwhelmed by the desire of certain leaders from the North to do whatever they think is worthy doing to hold onto power.
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