Has El- Zakzaky not suffered enough?
Sir: Many people have said that the Muslim establishments in Nigeria aren’t comfortable with the fundamentalist ideology of Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky and his Shi’a movement. Why aren’t the establishments’ players giving reasons why this is so? Besides is this man the only problem of Nigeria? The courtiers, as in the case of the peasant Joan of the French Army of the tempestuous days during wars with Britain, may not be happy and may want to dis-empower him, in the way the French dis-empowered Joan, despite the fact that she led them to victory. Part of their plan could be to ensure that he remains behind bars, but for how long? I believe though that the state must be above the individual especially in Nigeria where some individuals and groups hold the erroneous belief that the state must be beneath them. It is for such people that national interests should override individual rights to cause trouble.
The Nigeria state shirks in her duties to citizens’ otherwise national interests shouldn’t have generated the so much uproar. While it is true that a state is made to take care of man’s interests, to take care of man in all sense, providing homes, employment, security, education, health care, social benefits etc man is also made for the state even if not literally.
The state despite its importance should not be beneath man. Man and state must work hand-in-hand to develop society and boost civilization. The state in my opinion should be on a pedestal higher than man, to regulate the activities of man and bend man to do its bidding while not ignoring stately duties. I watch events in the Americas and Europe and see how liberalism policies are tearing societies apart, from abolishment of prayers even in countries founded under religious precepts, to freedom of speech taken too far leading to religious radicalisms, gun rights, disrespect to the elderly by youngsters in the name of rights etc., etc., and I can’t help but shake my head at the weakness of state.
All through history men negotiated with the state when push came to shove. The confederates in Southern America had no choice but to negotiate with Abraham Lincoln to end slavery. I remember that Margaret Thatcher did not have any choice but to resign her office as prime minister when members of her cabinet forced her to; Federick Wilhem deKlerk found himself in a Cul-de-sac, had no choice but to free Nelson Mandela; Adolf Hitler had no choice but to commit suicide when the allied forces closed in on him; Richard Nixon didn’t have any choice but to vacate the presidency after the water gate scandal; General Ibrahim Babangida didn’t have any choice but to step aside due to the fall out after the annulment of June 12 presidential elections in 1993.
National interest does not mean the following of Manichean routes of seeking consensus, quashing the opposition and seeking agreement always for selfish reasons called national interest but a sense of humanity, vision and purpose. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it and it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”
The same applies to matters of development: differences have to be tolerated and do not have to be eliminated by violence.
Simon Abah writes from Abuja.
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