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Leah Sharibu as metaphor for opposition


Leah Sharibu

I refer to Yakubu Mohammed’s opinion piece in The Guardian of May 23, 2018 with the title Leah Sharibu as metaphor for opposition.

Mr. Mohammed’s pieces just like the pieces of other grandmasters (Ray Ekpu, Dare Babanrisa, Dan Agbese) in The Guardian reverberates with me because they position my thoughts for nationalism.
People who read their pieces surely wouldn’t be politically inert if they keep an open-mind, although readers like this present writer know where the biases of the grandmasters lay.


Biases are okay so long as they do not lead to the subjugation of people. Mohammed harped on the oft repeated platitude held by Christians that President Muhammadu Buhari is a religious extremist and he sort to shatter the illusions of Christians away from holding on to such views with facts presented in his piece above.

It takes only three-five seconds for people to form mental impressions about people and it falls on those people to alter the impressions held about them by the displaying of pleasing temperaments and not cementing it.
I have thought about this over and over again. Why do people think the president a bigot? A general who soldiered for Nigeria?

Could it be because the human character isn’t static and personalities could change based on changing circumstances, but gathering my thoughts later on in my cocoon, I wondered again, is this restricted only to Christians, aren’t Muslims also guilty of same distrust when Christians are at the helm of affairs?

Have we evolved as a people?  Most of the things we do are with borders even when kindness has no church, peace has no religion, compassion has no temple, and love has no borders.
When General Azubuike Ihejirika (a Chrsitian), former Chief of Army Staff went with the soldiery to prosecute the war on Boko Haram, did Muslims not threaten to take him to the international court of justice for genocide, wondering why he was killing Muslims? Was the outcry against him not overwhelming?
The president of a democratic country is not free from criticisms and must be responsive to issues because stakeholders today in the democratic stake want an open and transparent government.

And it doesn’t matter from which groups such criticisms come from. What matters is the proactive response that aggrieved people get from same government.

And it is not proactive when parents of abducted persons are the ones who make moves to seek government’s attention and feedbacks on the plight of their children, neither is it a good strategy when protests marches have to be staged when people die before this president rises up to make political speeches which should be the norm for every politician and not an exception, and when a president fails to do the needful by not communicating to the Nigerian people about their plight when people die, a thousand pieces from Yakubu Mohammed downplaying the idea that the president is a bigot wouldn’t go far in changing the view held about the president.

I think Buhari is president Buhari’s problem. He has a blind spot which he has failed to deal with despite protestations and when people fail to deal with their blind spots even when they are told, stories about their personalities therefore do not become apocryphal stories but factoids in the minds of people.
The achievements of the president in the military outside the shores of Nigeria, in world class military institutions are in the public domain and I am mindful of people who love to sink into the ghetto of the ossified traditions of hating him for its sake especially most people who love to blow small straws in the wind.

The president has to show that he is non-partisan in deeds not words.

What his government should seek to do is to promote a culture of religious tolerance, ban discrimination, reprimand defaulters and make government a government for all regardless of religious leanings of the people, what we see everywhere is indulgence of certain groups and the covering up of maladroitness with defensive strategies forgetting that “defensive strategies = skilled incompetence.”

The reason there is sanity in society is that there is law and order. People know that there are lines they must not cross, and if they cross such lines, they know that they will face the consequences. Thus, anarchy is prevented from society.

Impunity breeds nothing but impunity. Lawlessness breeds nothing but lawlessness. We play politics with the welfare of the people.  And so while a Leah Sharibu (a Christian) is in captivity, politicians are gearing up for 2019 elections.

Her plight and those of other people (Where are the rest of the Chibok girls?) are not Nigeria’s problems. Does Mohammed expect Christians to be silent?


Does Buhari understand the age-long advice, of “understanding the mastery of the tribe for the benefit of all, with denizens everywhere in the middle-belt and in rural areas in many places causing malevolent mischief sending people away from their ancestral lands and to lands of permanent silence?

It strikes me that the soldierly president has resigned to fate even when a soldier never quits in time of stress.

Aren’t we privileged to have a president that is au fait with – the history of Nigeria, the challenges and solutions to nationhood, someone bestowed with presidential powers to quickly resolve conflicts, encourage true democracy, and improve the economy, a bridge-builder, a goal-getter and a stabilizer?

Politics, after all, is about solving peoples’ problems. Mohammed, this is the chief reason Christians accuse the president of being a bigot and Buhari has to do more to earn the trust of Nigerians.

To not act when it is incumbent to do so and to not say anything when people expect him to think, feel and act quickly is certainly not the way to earn the trust of Nigerians.

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Leah Sharibu
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