Healing Nigeria in the spirit of Adha
By Hassan Gimba
Last week, Muslims the world over celebrated the eid-ul-adha or the “big eid” or “big Sallah”. We are, however, more interested in its meaning, implications and bearing on us as a nation. We need to look at spiritual milestones, hoping to find the seemingly elusive panacea for our ills.
Eid means feast, festival or celebration, while Adha loosely means “sacrifice” (animal sacrifice), “offering” or “oblation”. It so got its name because it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion to Allah (SWT) and his readiness to sacrifice Ismail, his son, for His love.
The Qur’anic story has it that Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream in which God ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). At first, he was sceptical and believed it was the trickery of the cursed devil. After experiencing the dream the following night, he then understood that it was a message and a command from Allah (SWT). Without hesitation, he prepared his son for the sacrifice. Ibrahim (AS) loved his son dearly, yet this was no obstruction to honouring his duty as instructed by Allah (SWT) and thus proving his full submission to Allah (SWT).
Ibrahim (AS) took his son to the top of Mount Arafat, and in his hands, he had a knife and a rope. Upon arrival, he mentioned the dream to his son Ismail (AS) and made him aware that Allah (SWT) has decreed for him to be a sacrifice and, in obedience, his son Ismail (AS) accepted what God commanded of him. Ismail (AS) asked that his hands and legs be tied to avoid struggling during the sacrifice and that his father should blindfold himself to avoid witnessing his suffering. Ismail was aware of his father’s love towards him and knew that this would be difficult to witness.
However, as Ibrahim (AS) began performing the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram and Ismail (AS) was saved unharmed. Allah (SWT) tested Ibrahim (AS) to see his dedication in his submission (Islam) to his creator. In his willingness to obey Allah’s (SWT) commands, Ibrahim (AS) successfully passed the test and the act of the sacrifice serves as a reminder of Prophet Ibrahim’s dedication and devotion to serving Allah (SWT) obediently. Therefore, eid-ul-adha means the festival of sacrifice.
The lesson here is that of sacrifice for a better you. We mostly look at the sacrifice from the point of slaughtering a ram for its meat. Even at that, Islam recommends one to get a healthy, mature and meaty sacrificial lamb that will be a beauty to the eye. Looked at deeply, the sacrifice should translate to sacrificing what one loves in exchange for gaining spiritual upliftment.
Any man uplifted spiritually will spread the love around. He will not be where there will be an injustice. He will not be a party to corrupt activities. Above all, that man will not be where another human being is being harmed. Humanity will be safe with him. If the Nigerian Muslims who took part in the eid-ul-adha all take in the spirit behind the event, our country will be better than it is now.
It is a sacrifice in self-immolation that can only be compared to the myth of the Thornbird in the fictional book, Thorn Birds, a 1977 bestseller by Colleen McCullough. She set the story in Drogheda, a town that does not exist in Australia. In the front matter of the book, the myth is set out thus: There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest, it searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.
The spirit of eid ul Adha teaches us to sacrifice ourselves for God. Ismail (AS) was part of Ibrahim (AS), do not forget. By sacrificing his son, he was sacrificing himself as well.
Nigeria, now more than ever in its history, needs countrymen who are ready to sacrifice for its existence. We should frown at a situation where leaders will call on us to change while they indulge in the perfidies associated with our leaders of old.
It is not fair, nor is it right, for leaders to ask followers to tighten their belts while they punch more holes in theirs to accommodate their ever bulging bellies.
It is also not indicative of leaders with the spirit of sacrifice when they take their children to the best schools around while the public schools are a little better than pigsties.
The spirit of sacrifice is no doubt lacking in the leader who, together with his family, can have access to the best medicare, while a bigger chunk of the people does not have access to basic healthcare facilities.
How can a good Muslim’s conscience not disturb him when he buys good exam results or bribes for his child to get a well-paying job? Why should a good Muslim be happy when he collects money to pass a student or to give him a job?
We are talking of Muslims as citizens because we are referring to an Islamic event that just happened.
But come to think of it, Christianity attaches great importance and symbolism to sacrifices as well. Theirs is even directly and practically connotative of the denial of comfort. Their form of sacrifice focuses on the bodies of its members as a living sacrifice.
And I believe all Christians understand Christ’s death on the cross to be a necessary atonement for the sins of humankind. And if it was so, why should a Christian run away from discomforting himself for God to be happy with him?
In reality, all those who make up a nation must sacrifice for the nation to be great. All religions teach us to sacrifice and all our tribes have stories of legends who sacrificed their happiness for that tribe to survive.
The problem with Nigeria, as my friend Barrister Okoroafor Vincent always insists, is not the North as some southerners would want us to believe or the South as some northerners would insist. He believes it is not even Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw or Tiv, etc. He is also adamant that it is neither Islam nor Christianity. The problem with Nigeria, he opines, is individual selfishness and self-centeredness that border on ‘it is our turn to chop’ and the myopia in putting the self first before the nation. And all people from the tribes have that tendency which is exhibited by adherents of both religions.
The lawyer says if we can put Nigeria first as our collective interest, then we would have a great nation. I cannot agree more.
A well deserved leadership & The Sun Awards For Mai Mala Buni
A WELL DESERVED LEADERSHIP & THE SUN AWARDS FOR MAI MALA BUNI
By Abba Dukawa
The hallmark of a great leader is not measured in Castle and materials, but in ability to groom and lead successful discipline. The caretaker committee under Gov. Buni had regained the party and made it stronger and able to put the party back on track by addressing all the grievances that, in the first place, brought it to its knees.
Preceding to June 2020,there was euphoria from other oppositions politicians camps and even some political analysts were writing off that governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party was on the brink of either serious leadership crisis or party might be in its last days. But like a miracle the parry found a lasting solutions by dissolution of then National Working Committee (NCW), led by Adams Oshiomhole.
The award Conferred on APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, as a Politician of the Year at the 2021 Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony of Leadership Media Group. Also It is for other reasons that the Board of Editors of The Sun Publishing Limited chose him as winner of The Sun Political Icon of the Year Award 2020. Both the awards are marks of recognition of his led committee in retooled the ruling governing party and also a convincible pointer and a well deserved award on this humble grassroot politician in addition a morale booster to serve Yobeans and the country at large.
Reassessing the emerging success recorded by National Chairman APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in rebuilding the APC in line with the CECPC’s core mandate: to engender unity in the party, promote true reconciliation and give a sense of belong- ing to every party member. At the inception of the committee he had met Party national leaders like Chief Bisi Akande, John Oyegun and Tinubu and other aggrieved members toward restoring crisis-ridden ruling party back to life.
His uncommon dispute-resolution skills have paid off, with many formerly aggrieved members withdrawing and terminating many litigations involving the party. This efforts have put the party on the path of greatness again. Governor Buni’s CECPC led the party to unprecedented nationwide membership registration, revalidation and register update, to shore up the party’s membership and support- base nationwide.
HMB’s efforts have also resulted in three PDP governors comprising Ebonyi State (David Umahi), Cross River State (Ben Ayade) and Zamfara State Bello Matawalle) decamping to the ruling party, prominent politicians return the APC, including the former PDP national chairman, Barnabas Gemade; former speakers of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Dimeji Bankole, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, Senator Joy Emordi, Senator Stella Oduah and recently one most critical to the APC led administration Fani Kayode joint the party.
In Buni’s led committee, the ruling governing party found a peace Regaining it soul as and was able to made the party stronger through a successful drive of hard work, building through peace reconciliation trait. HMB reconciliation drive save the party from being a divided party. APC witnessed gale of defection to the party, from its closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party governors, federal and states legislators and other influential political leaders across the country.
In fact, HMB proved himself as a huge asset to the ruling governing party and the country that his three decades experience in politics are giving the party a sense of directions as National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Committee members acts together in ensuring party discipline, and cohesion are made sacrosanct and are imbibed by members by high and low.
This Piece Is To Celebrate With Strategist , Grassroot Politician And A Great Achiever Of Transforming Socioeconomic And Infrastructural Development Of Yobe And Also Leadership Newspapers Award Conferred On
Governor Buni’s As “politician Of The Year 2020 Of The 2021 Annual Conference And Awards Ceremony Of Leadership Media Group And Also Political Icon Of The Year Award 2020 Of The Sun Publishing Limited.
Dukawa write in from Kano and can be reached at email@example.com
Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram And An Unholy War, By Hassan Gimba
Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram and An Unholy War, by Hassan Gimba
From the beginning, the quasi-Islamic jihadist movement with the high-sounding name, Jama’atu ahlus sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad, loosely translated to mean “People committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad”, was anti-West. Many believe, albeit erroneously, that Boko Haram started in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2002 and that the founder was Mohammed Yusuf.
The group, not with its latter-day and most known name, started in the mid-‘90s in Yusufari, Yobe State. Popularly called “Taliban” or “Sahaba”, a name derived from what the prophet’s companions are called, it comprised mostly the children of the well-to-do in the society. With white as their preferred choice of colour, they were always attired in white garments and used camels for their transportation.
They were mainly idealistic youths who opted to shun worldliness, sacrifice the flesh and nourish their souls in seeking the favour of Allah. They started romanticising a Utopian world where God does for them whatever they fancied. That was what governed their thoughts, and they concluded that the best way to achieve that was by divorcing themselves from a world filled with sin.
Most of them came from Borno and Yobe states, and being from the same social class and having met at the university, that of Maiduguri precisely, they all agreed to migrate (hijrah) to a virgin land where they would worship their God undistracted by temptations that feed the flesh and starve the soul. They chose the desert of Yusufari in Yobe, bordering the Niger Republic.
Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a three-term governor and three-term senator, was the governor of Yobe State then. Those whose children got involved were top shots in the two states. Naturally, the Yobe State Government was concerned that ‘heirs’ were derailing and abandoning the path being paved for them. What to do? Disperse them as gently as possible, causing no harm to the prodigal children. And so the government, using the security agencies, tenderly dislodged them with each bigwig advised to rein in his ward so as not to lose his scion.
The kids sired by the elite got ferreted out of the country to Europe, America and Asia to study and, in the course, got drowned in the world. Better take the path of the world than the futureless life of asceticism they were so enamoured with, their bigshot parents in government thought.
They left those sired by the nobodies stranded with nobody to give them succour. They did not in reality do anything that may warrant the government giving them ‘amnesty’ then, but a serious society would have done something about those idealistic kids whose eyes were blazing with religious fervour. But no, society left them to their devices. And so they congregated in Maiduguri and paid allegiance to Mohammed Yusuf, who started his rise to infamy.
He, it was, that popularised the ‘Boko Haram’ (western education is sinful) mantra. ‘Boko’ stands for western education and ‘haram’ is sin in Arabic.
Most of the sect’s early adherents dropped out from western education-based schools, from primary schools to tertiary institutions. Some of those who had completed such schools tore their certificates. It became an obsession for the Boko Haramites to stop western education wherever they could.
Some measures they took included but were not limited to abducting school children, killing some of them, and burning their schools. In one such gruesome campaign, they slaughtered 59 young boys in their sleep at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, on February 25, 2014. They also razed twenty-four buildings in the school.
Similarly, later in the year, on November 10, one of their suicide bombers, disguised as a student, detonated an explosive device during a morning assembly session at Government Senior Secondary School, Potiskum, in Yobe, killing 47 students and maiming 79 others, some for life.
In between the two massacres, on April 14 they hit Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, and abducted 276 of the students, aged between 16 and 18 – a raid that forced the entire world to sit up and take note. Seven years have gone by and over a hundred of these girls are yet to be accounted for. Then, four years later, on February 19, 2018, there was another mass abduction of schoolgirls at Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, where about 110 schoolgirls were carried off in a strike reminiscent of Chibok. Weeks later they were released, but not before the death of five others, and returned to their town by their captors, except one Leah Sharibu, who would not accept being forcefully converted to their form of Islam. Authentic Islam frowns at forced conversion.
While the North East is daily getting free of the menace of Boko Haram, with life slowly but steadily returning to normal, it is not so for the North East and the North Central. Appendages of Boko Haram in the disguise of bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers are having a field day abducting people at will. Herdsmen’s nefarious activities, which started taking a turn for the worse in Zamfara State in 2011, are now more complementary to Boko Haram’s.
Mass abductions of pupils and students have become so commonplace in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger over the last two years that it is no longer ‘unexpected news’.
These brigands go to houses in towns and schools to take whoever they fancy, and whenever they want. Apart from turning kidnapping into a lucrative vocation where they rake in hundreds of millions by squeezing family members, they have forced state governments to do their bidding by shutting down schools. Some states have ceded roads and sizable portions of territory to them. Sad, but that is the reality – a sort of victory for those who believe there should not be western education.
Those who were left to their own devices when the bigshots took their kids abroad have now forced all of us to sleep with eyes wide open. They have unleashed an unholy war on all of us, the haves and the have nots. In the process, they have recruited foot soldiers in almost all sectors of society. They have their sponsors, informants, associates, suppliers and apologists among politicians and the clergy. Those that minister to them can also be found in the security sector, among students, trade unions and the business class.
Insurgency and related criminal activities have taken their toll on the North. In every society, those between the ages of 15 and 40 build it up, being the most vibrant age bracket. But those in the region’s most active age group are daily joining the increasing groups of bad eggs or spending energy running away from them.
The North has long suffered this breakdown of law and order. It has crippled the economy of the people and the people’s mainstay, agriculture, has taken a back seat because of the nefarious activities of the criminals. People in many parts of the region cannot go to their farms, and where they could, they have to pay taxes to insurgents or bandits.
As a result, revenue generated by states has fallen to an all-time low. The revenue from agricultural produce, livestock production and personal income tax, except for those in government employment, has thinned out. Many businesses – big, medium and small – have closed shop, throwing more able-bodied youth into the unemployment market, further putting stress on society and fuelling more reasons for social discontent.
Things in the North East, as earlier stated, are getting better and the current successful onslaughts recorded by our security operatives in the other parts of the region are commendable. Hopefully, the government has woken up from its inertia and has taken the bull by the horns. Nigeria looks forward to having a peaceful and secure North.
To avoid regressing to the days (of course we are not yet out but hopefully soon) of fear, Northern states must aggressively pursue all means to improve their internally generated revenues. There should not be any hypocrisy in that. I truly believe Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol. Not only that, it prohibits its production, transportation, sale, or using the proceeds of the sales. Therefore, if you are a genuine believer who destroys alcohol in your town, refusing its sale and punishing those who take it, why should you gleefully accept any money, in whatever name, from the proceeds of its sale?
By the way, do bicycles and dogs have licences anymore like we used to see decades ago? There is an increase in using bicycles with the banning of motorcycles for security reasons across the states. Northern state governors must think out of the box for their states to survive. They need to build projects, not for fancy, but those that can bring more revenue to their states. They need to open up the hinterlands and invest in education and health. A healthy, educated person will feed himself and others and can generate revenue.
I believe when all states start generating reasonable amounts of revenue, the country’s unity will be cast in concrete and guaranteed. Come to think of it, each state will have what the others need and we will look at none as a parasite because each contributes a necessary portion to the general purse.
PMB Approves Reappointment of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE
PMB Approves Reappointment Of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE
By Adamu Mohammed Dodo, Yola
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the renewal of appointment of Prof Bashir H Haruna as Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE)
The appointment letter signed by the Hon Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, dated September 1st, 2021, explained that the appointment was for a second tenure of five years with effect from August 30, 2021.
The appointment shall be under the same terms and conditions as that of the first tenure and as stipulated in the NCNE.
Some of the staff of the Commission seen jubilating said the reappointment of Prof Bashir was a worthy development.
The National Commission for Nomadic Education, the Implementation and the delivery of the Nomadic Education Programme (NEP) were commended by the commentators to have witnessed giant strides and made landmark achievements under Prof Bashir’s first tenure of five years; from August 2016 to July 2021, which ensured the strategic planning and systematic implementation of policies and programmes of NEP, making it more responsive for the 21st century generation boost,
thereby ensuring that there is a cardinal link between goals/objectives of
NEP and implementation of key projects and programmes.
Some of the achievements of the Commission credited to Prof Bashir include; acquiring a permanent and befitting head office complex with a view to getting the Commission out of the rented building.
Gaining ministerial approval for the allocation of the Office Complex at the Defunct National Educational Technology Centre, Kaduna, in addition to being allocated 21 units of houses at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Kaduna Study Centre.
Institutional strengthening and human capital developmen, establishment of a robust and expanded the Administrative Structure of the Commission to address emerging needs and repositioning of the Commission and improve its operational efficiency towards meeting its goals and objectives.
In response to the demand for the provision of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Skills for the nomads, new Departments of Extension Education and Skills Development and Social Mobilisation and Women Development were established, in addition to the establishment of Directorate of Special Duties under the Office of the Executive Secretary, to effectively coordinate activities of Sections and Units under the Executive Secretary’s office.
Partnership Peace and Conflict Resolution Unit was established for the promotion of peace-building and constructive engagement of the farmers and herders for improved relations and ensure effective management and amicable resolution of conflicts.
Establishment of Consultancy and Outreach Unit as part of measures to step up resource mobilisation and utilisation through the improvement of internally generated revenue base for the Commission, improvement and diversification of funding pattern for the Commission and provision of critical infrastructure and facilities under capital projects and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) interventions.
Pioneered the conduct of Tracer Studies on the implementation of Nomadic Education Programme across the over 4,026 nomadic schools spread across the 36 states and FCT.
Revitalization of activities at Nomadic Education University Based Centres at University of Jos, University of Maiduguri, Usman Danfodio University and University of Port Harcourt.
The University of Jos centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation for education of Nomadic Pastoralist, Usman Danfodio University Sokotocentre is responsible for Curricula and Textual Materials Development, while University of Maiduguri centre is specifically saddled with the task of Teacher Training and Outreach Services. The University of Port-Harcourt centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation, Curricula and Textual Materials Development and Teacher Training and Outreach Services for the education of Migrant Fisher-folks and farmers.
Academic support services and quality assurance mechanism and securing approval from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the establishment of an AM Radio Broadcasting License (Frequency Channel 720 KHz and a bandwidth of 9KHz) for an initial period of five years from October 2018 to October 2023.
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