When shall we have Nige­rian Mus­lims’ El­ders Coun­cil (NMEC)?

Daily Trust - - ISLAMIC FORUM -

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.

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