When shall we have Nigerian Muslims’ Elders Council (NMEC)?
What an interesting Council that would turn out to be; I mean Nigerian Muslim Elders Council (NMEC). But in order to have such a Council, we probably have to launch and inaugurate yet another council. Here I am talking about the necessity, going by the events of last Friday in Abuja, for the formation of Retired-Muslim-Generals Council. Perhaps that exactly is what Muslims in Nigeria need now: a council of Nigerian Muslim-Generals. But I guess such a Council of Retired Muslim Generals of the Nigerian Army would probably be populated and constituted by generals who now desire the balkanization of this geographical entity known as Nigeria after having fought for its unity for the greater parts of their life.
Thus if I were to be asked to propose a list of retired Generals of the Nigerian Army, Muslims and Christians, who would not want to be included in such an assemblage of casuistry and sophistry, I know GeneralYakubu Gowon would be one of such. General Gowon would pooh-pooh all posturing that seek to negate the necessity to Go-On-With-One-Nigeria; General Obasanjo would excoriate all attempts to tarnish his heritage, yes, his heritage and patrimony, by his inclusion in any experiment that would be tantamount to felony and treason against the Nigerian State. I know that General Ibrahim Babangida and General AbdulSalam Abubakar equally know this- that mention shall not and should not be made of General T. Y Danjuma in the circle of those who would seek the dissolution and liquidation of this nation notwithstanding its inherent slippages and fissures. Each of these Generals, and others I cannot mention because of lack of space, are truly Generals. Or are they not? I thought they are the ornaments of the Nigerian military and the Nigerian nation. They are putatively the most detribalized and the most de-religionized class of the Nigerian nation. These are Nigerians that have indubitably benefitted the most from what Nigeria has had to offer its citizens. These are Nigerians, including President Muhammad Buhari, whose presence in the midst of theatergoers would call to question their military pedigree and the gravitas of their professional affiliation.
Fellow Nigerians, whenever members of the military class become missionaries on behalf of the Crescent or the Cross, not the nation or their profession anymore, then murder, robbery and unmitigated rape of the nation become fashionable; the air becomes rent with the cries of distress, the soil becomes soaked with blood and the nation becomes black with crimes. Is there a heart in this nation that contemplate such a scene without shivering with horror!
But even if in our best imagination we do not contemplate the above, that still leaves the question of the necessity for the launching of the NMEC. We need the NMEC for sundry reasons. We need it partly because this is a nation where whatever a Muslim does the Other would want to do same even when there are no scriptural backing for same. For example, it is a fundamental principle in Islam that Muslims go on pilgrimage to Makkah, at least once in their life time. Nowadays, in United States of Nigeria, every faith now goes on ‘pilgrimage’. It is obligatory in Islam that Muslims wake up at night for tahajjud, nowadays every creed in Nigeria now do night vigils. In fact it has a reached such a stage in the life of this nation that when some misguided elements in the Northeast began to invade places of worship desecrating the sacred, elements in parts of the South began to develop their own versions of terror. If we succeed in launching the NMEC, it would probably be the first time we have done it simply because they did it. It is not in our character, as Muslims, to begin to dance on the street simply because a masquerade has taken over the market square.
But I could sense your disagreement. I could hear your rhetorical disputations even as this proposition remains tentative as it should be. I could hear my interlocutor as he queries: is it not late in the day to begin to launch NMEC? Why is it that Nigerian Muslims always have to wait for nonsense in order to begin to make sense? Why did you Muslims fail to launch your own Council of Elders when President Jonathan was in power? Why do you have to complain now that we are accusing President Buhari of Islamization of Nigeria even at a time predominantly Christian parts of Nigeria such as Abia and Ebonyi states have been granted permission by the Senate to enjoy loan facilities from the Islamic Development Bank? What other evidence of Islamization do you want? Afis A. Oladosu is a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan.