NCEF: No de­nial from ‘Chris­tian lead­ers’ yet?

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

So none of the so called Na­tional Chris­tian El­ders Fo­rum (NCEF) who pur­port­edly met in Abuja sev­eral days ago could dis­own what they said? Many news­pa­pers said among those who at­tended the un­pa­tri­otic meet­ing in­cluded Theophilus Dan­juma (of all peo­ple), Do­gon­yaro, Za­mani Lek­wot and some and other el­e­ments. This is shock­ing but not sur­pris­ing in­deed!

As I read what I called naïve and emo­tion­ally un­de­vel­oped out­come of the NCEF in the Daily Trust on Satur­day News­pa­per of 15th July 2017, I was shocked, wait­ing anx­iously for the next edi­tion of the paper and oth­ers to see a re­but­tal but none came till date.

Ini­tially I did not in­tend to com­ment on the is­sue, for it was not worth of at­tract­ing any at­ten­tion; but peo­ple sent me texts mes­sages urg­ing me to say some­thing.

Th­ese so-called el­ders beset Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari ve­he­mently. In fact, I was per­plexed when I read that the likes our former de­fence min­is­ter, a hith­erto well­re­spected per­son­age in this coun­try, and who par­tic­i­pated ac­tively in keep­ing this coun­try one and united dur­ing the Civil War, is now en­gulfed and buried in my­opic re­li­gious sen­ti­ments.

Some of th­ese el­e­ments knew PMB very well, for he was their col­league at a time. As such they sup­posed to de­fend in his oner­ous task of keep­ing Nige­ria one, and at most ad­vise him gen­uinely if they felt some­thing is miss­ing some­where in this try­ing mo­ment of our na­tion­hood; but they threw cau­tion to the wind and sim­ply as­sailed him out of jealousy and an­tipa­thy as their ut­ter­ances sug­gested.

I have no iota of doubt that, th­ese lots do not rep­re­sent the ma­jor­ity of our Chris­tian brethren in the coun­try. Like­wise, any peace lov­ing Nige­rian will keep a dis­tance from them.

Their dis­cus­sions in the meet­ing were full of scar­ing and startling words such as ‘eth­nic cri­sis,’ ‘Ji­hadist,’ ‘armed con­flict,’ ‘herds­men/farm­ers crises,’ ‘con­fla­grate in war,’ and so on. May Almighty Al­lah save Nige­ria from such by­words. May He pro­tect pa­tri­otic Nige­ri­ans from lis­ten­ing to any lo­cal cham­pion who show­case him­self as war­lord in order to achieve cheap pop­u­lar­ity.

We should em­u­late peo­ple like our Na­tion­al­ist Vet­eran Gen­eral Yakubu. His­tory is wit­ness to the role played by some of th­ese NCEF mem­bers in Zan­gon Kataf cri­sis, Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, and mur­der­ous Jos killings dur­ing the last regime and re­sent vi­cious and bar­baric an­ni­hi­la­tion in Mam­bila in Taraba State.

Th­ese lots shame­lessly blamed the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion for the cur­rent eth­nic cri­sis and ag­i­ta­tion for se­ces­sion in Nige­ria; al­lud­ing that Buhari was the one who called Nnamdi Kanu to come to the coun­try with two pass­ports and start ag­i­tat­ing for Bi­afra, and he was the one who in­cited oth­ers to at­tack Fu­lani on the Mam­bila Plateau; say­ing ex­trem­ists were push­ing a ji­hadist agenda.

Our friends as­serted that a need­less armed con­flict may oc­cur if the sit­u­a­tion is not well man­aged. Who will man­age the sit­u­a­tion when some so called lead­ers are urg­ing their fol­low­ers to kill in­no­cent peo­ple at Mam­bila as they did in Zan­gon Kataf in the past? They called for im­me­di­ate nul­li­fi­ca­tion of ap­point­ments that give un­due ad­van­tage to a sec­tion of the coun­try! Who is favoured in cur­rent ap­point­ments?

They al­luded that if PMB’s govern­ment is not will­ing to of­fer them po­si­tions and take them out of ir­rel­e­vance and iso­la­tion, they may re­sort to in­sti­ga­tion and vi­o­lence. They counted many ag­i­ta­tions which are hap­pen­ing presently. They should cen­sure them­selves be­fore cen­sur­ing oth­ers; char­ity be­gins at home.

The Chris­tian self-ap­pointed el­ders asked Nige­ri­ans to be alert and fo­cus on the re­al­ity of what is ac­tu­ally oc­cur­ring in our coun­try Nige­ria. They said real democ­racy as na­tional ide­ol­ogy and Sharia as usurp­ing ide­ol­ogy are re­spon­si­ble for the cri­sis un­fold­ing in Nige­ria.

They stated fur­ther that Nige­ria is in the throes and parox­ysm of ji­had but since Buhari came to power, has he done any­thing or said any word which in­di­cated Sharia? Has he called any per­son to em­brace Is­lam? Has he formed any group to em­bark on Ji­had? Please tell us the ac­tions com­mit­ted by Buhari or by his ad­min­is­tra­tion which in­di­cated ap­pli­ca­tion of Sharia.

They called for the re­turn of re­li­gious stud­ies in schools which was an al­lu­sion to Chris­tian Re­li­gious Knowl­edge (C.R.K.). Has PMB’s govern­ment at any time re­moved re­li­gious stud­ies in our schools? They al­leged the re­moval of the study of (CRK) from the ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum. Here, if they are in­di­rectly re­fer­ring to the ad­dress of the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion at the 61st Na­tional Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion (NCE) Con­fer­ence held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sher­a­ton Ho­tel Abuja in 2016 does not hold wa­ter.

This is sim­ply what he said: “That Chris­tian Re­li­gious Stud­ies (C.R.S.) and Is­lamic Stud­ies (I.S.) be­come core and com­pul­sory sub­ject for all Chris­tian and Mus­lim learn­ers re­spec­tively from Ba­sic to Se­nior Se­condary School Lev­els”.

Please what is wrong here? Where is the Is­lamiza­tion of the coun­try in this con­text? I am very cer­tain they can­not be Chris­tians more than right honourable John Onaiyekan, the pa­tri­otic and na­tion­al­ist, for he al­ready dis­missed such dele­te­ri­ous, malev­o­lent and ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions.

They should do jus­tice to PMB and his ad­min­is­tra­tion and must not be car­ried away by in­jus­tice and parochial­ism. If we want per­ma­nent and ev­er­last­ing peace to be es­tab­lished in this great coun­try, such peo­ple should be called to order. Why don’t they em­u­late and fol­low in foot­steps the Arewa El­ders who carry ev­ery­body along with them. They wel­come and cher­ish all Nige­ri­ans ir­re­spec­tive of their re­li­gious be­liefs.

Whether some peo­ple like it or not, Buhari has al­ready es­tab­lished a record which no one can ever beat or break it eas­ily in this coun­try. All Nige­ri­ans at­tests to his in­cor­rupt­ibil­ity, hon­esty, up­right­ness and ad­her­ence to rec­ti­tude. PMB’s virtues are crys­tal clear. No amount of ha­tred and hate speech or aver­sion can erode them. It suf­fices that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in­clud­ing IMF ac­claimed and ap­pro­bated him.

To me, the prime aim and ob­jec­tive of this group is to shat­ter and scat­ter the north along re­li­gious line, so that they could be rec­og­nized and come out from the obliv­ion they are in. Nige­ria in gen­eral and the North in par­tic­u­lar will re­main one and united for­ever.

My coun­try­men, please let us give our full sup­port and breath­ing space to our Act­ing Pres­i­dent to do his laud­able and com­mend­able job he is cur­rently do­ing. We thank him very much, for he is a man of ethics and trust.

They should do jus­tice to PMB and his ad­min­is­tra­tion and must not be car­ried away by in­jus­tice and parochial­ism. If we want per­ma­nent and ev­er­last­ing peace to be es­tab­lished in this great coun­try, such peo­ple should be called to order. Why don’t they em­u­late and fol­low in foot­steps the Arewa El­ders who carry ev­ery­body along with them. They wel­come and cher­ish all Nige­ri­ans ir­re­spec­tive of their re­li­gious be­liefs

Prof. Nguru is the CEO of Nige­ria Ara­bic Vil­lage, Ngala, Borno State.

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