(Vanguard of Sunday, August 9, 2009).
It is no longer news that an extremist Islamic militant group rose against the authorities in some states in the North two weeks ago and would have left more destruction in its rampaging outing but for the fullmilitary force unleased on them. the precondition for the military to take part in quelling internal unrest seems now to be hidden and unannouced. but that is what is happening, and has been happening and will continue to happen if we refuse to see the Boko Haram sect as the harbinger it is of a reaping we are entitled to for the total negligence of the duty imposed on government to ensure the security and welfare of the citizens.
Such security and welfare have meaning only when those who come through us as children have something programmed at all levels to be imparted to, and so, planted in the offspring. Tell me this is not the time to blame anybody for what has happened and I will tell you that this is the time to remind ourselves that if we had done what we were asked to do by those who sent us, we would be enjoying the reward of service, not sorrowing over the failure of those sent to serve. The sending does not and should not be seen to start and end with being elected to office. No, that would be too narrow a seeing.
It must start and end with what the Creator of all the worlds asked of us. He told us to do to, and for others, the like of what He has done for us. How much did He charge us for the goodies we had no part in providing- sunlight and rain, the moon and stars, the land and the the bodies in which we live, and the blood and the water the air and the food that nourish these bodies! As the only provider, He provides. The conditionalities? None, yes. none. What He said, what He has been saying and will continue say to is that we do Down Here on earth as it is done Up in Heaven.
But in a division of labour setting, we, being Down here, must know what is down here if we must be useful to ourselves and to anyone else. Science has been doing this work, which is a journey of discovery and so neither a native of the West nor the East; nor is it owned by any culture or religion or person or groups of persons. So, while science rummages the earth and the sun and the stars for insights to what to do down here, prophets download for us what it is that is done Up There, that should regulate and advise and focus what we do Down Here. Thus, The Down Here role is played by science; and the Up There downloading is the domain of religion.
There are more than 6,000 religions on earth today and one of the most revolutionary that was anchored on total seeking for recognitions of God and His Creation and His Ways and His unchangeable Will was Islam, not the political weapon we have turned it into and which is coming back angrily to us in the reaping. Anyone who professes that religion and is ignorant of the contributions it made to science, mathematics and illumination of cosmic order, orderliness and discipline, has no’ business calling himself a Muslim. And to think that Islam is one of the most documented religions as to its origin, spread, and straightforward message makes anyone who denies knowledge as the basis for its sustenance as an idol worshipper.
Can any serious Muslim deny the immortal words of Abu Bakar when he addressed the assembled Muslims after he had been elected Khalifa on the death of Prophet Muhammad: He told them, “You have elected me your Khalifa although I am not better than you. I need all your advice and all your help. If I do right, help me. If I do wrong, correct me. In my sight the powerful and the weak are alike and to both I wish to render justice. You should obey me as long as I obey the Lord and His Prophet. If I disobey them, you should forsake me.” (Quoted in A. Rahim, Islamic History, page 55, Islamic Publications Bureau, Lagos, Nigeria, 1981)
The expansion of Islam into Europe was not a war that ignorant people fought to destroy superior civilizations. Even during the Crusades which saw Christians battle with Muslims for control of key areas in the Middle East between the dying years of the l0th century and the middle of the 13th century, many were the gains on both sides, Muslims gaining from Christians and Christians gaining from Muslims. And if Uthman Dan Fodio could control the North the way he did when the Hausa States were replaced, then something more than ignorance was at work, the introduction of an order that had pegged human relationships on justice, equality and service.
Import the teachings of the prophets and what teachers of those teachings have made of them, and you will be sorry that unquantifiable harm has been done to man and the way he manifests life in his environment. See why Boko Haram is a metaphor? Kill all the followers of the dead 39-year-old hater of western education, and many more who are worse will emerge. What deliberate and focused programme have we to grow our children the way they should be, the way that reminds us of what the prophet said in March 632 on the Farewell Pilgrimage speech from the top of the Jabal-al Arafat. He told the multitude, “0 people! Listen to my words, for I do not know if I shall be amongst you again. Remember that you shall have to appear before your Lord and give an account of your actions to Him”. (Rahim, page 42).
In his life time, the prophet was apprehensive that many sects would emerge in Islam. He even predicted the number that would come and warned that only one would reflect what he brought for mankind. That one is what is there in the Holy Qur’an. Today, there are more sects in Islam than the prophet even foresaw.
Have we asked ourselves why in the whole northern belt of the West Coast, from Cameroun to the Gambia, it is Nigeria that has been the most fertile breeding ground for all sorts of views? You see, man is like a gourd to be filled with water. If you do not fill it, it will still be filled, with air, perhaps foul or fouled air! Boko Haram is a statement made boldly to us that if we do not do what we ought to do about human beings, human beings will do to us what we may not have bargained for.
Just as Boko Haram is a message, so are the militants of the Niger Delta, the OPC of the South West and Massob of the South East. They are all symbolic statements, telling us that we are not working hard enough to do what is right, what is just, what is fair. They are telling us that we are taking instead of giving, lording it all over everyone instead of serving them. So, in spite of their ignorance of what Abu Bakar told the multitude, their spirits revolt when wrong is done, sensed. And so, they forsake us who rule them, just as Abu Bakar begged them to do.
If a stitch in time saves, nine, this is the time for nine to be saved; when all sorts of bodies under any guise are making bold statements that we have failed them. Can’t we for once see beyond the pictures reflecting boldly to us the language that failure merits! if we can’t see, can’t we hear it; and if we are deaf, are we too leprous to feel the heat on our skins?
(Published in Vol. 3 of Democracy Watch, A Monitor’s Diary by Tony Momoh, pages 363 – 367; Lagos, 2011).