Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Buhari’s unerring popularity was also tested to the core with the recent open letter from the renowned scholar, former navy captain and medical doctor Sheikh Ahmad Gummi, son of the most renowned Grand Khadi of the Northern Region Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gummi. Open-letters have surely being a norm during this democratic dispensation, adding a positive spin to our freedom of information in the country and proving a strong showing of our democracy. However, a large hullabaloo always follows almost every open letter by any renowned personality to most specifically our politicians.
Despite our orthodox political connections, if there is one thing Nigerians can submerse and tolerate, it might as well be anything that has religious affiliation. The backlash that Sheikh Gummi’s honest letter received however, was with baptism of fire, and served as an exception to the religious rule for one simple reason: it was perceived as a disregard and denigrating towards ‘The People’s General’ and it is only Muhammadu Buhari that would command such strict deference towards his personality and credibility without dotting a drop of his ink on a paper, nor without sending any PA or SA to do damage control. Such is Buhari’s over domineering awe, that it is improbable for one not to discuss the General’s ambition, without having to do so while treading on a steadfast path, because any iota of slight towards his personality will let the powder keg below to explode.
This is not a rejoinder to the Sheikh’s letter, never, nor is it an outright defense or cleansing of General Buhari, not by any means, but just an outright opinioned analysis of events on social media that followed that well-publicised letter. So what did Sheikh Gummi did, or say exactly to cause this uproar? Well, it was an honest attempt by a religious preacher, within every ounce of his right, to correct and guide his Muslim brother and one he has utmost respect for, towards certain peculiarities. Preaching on Public Avenue’s even on social media is what Gummi never shied from, and his reputation for doing the spectacular rather controversially has been duly noted, a distinct peculiarity from his father, who always leaned soft, but one thing they did have in common was leaning towards the common truth. It is worth noting that Sheikh Gummi Snr was one of Sardauna’s closest confidante and always advised the late premier on the right path no matter what the consequences might be, and most of the time the fiery Premier will be upset but in the long run would see the right of Gummi’s comment and would indeed ring him and apologise for his furious outburst. Gummi Snr, played his part in every regime up to the time of his death, in sound advisory notes to the generals and the civilians alike, but one thing he always avoided was a public rant. He famously never agreed to start radio broadcasts of his preaching till he believed the Muslim population were united enough to avoid unnecessary interpretation of his preaching in a medium where he would not have an avenue to explain himself further, and risk irking controversies. That was Gummi Jnr’s first startling spectacular.
Having noted in the opening paragraph of his letter, that he has access to the “Humble People’s General” personally, but was trying in his capacity as a religious scholar to also educate others through this simple honest means, shows one is not to blame the Sheikh as he was doing what he does best, to the General and to the society at large, offering guidance. But one peculiarity here is what the lessons are for other Nigerian’s of Buhari’s similarity to take from the open letter. Which other Nigerian in the current political climate is like the General? Which other Nigerian political aspirant has the soft heart of the general and an excessive overburden of getting rid of corruption like the general? As Mahmud Jega, on the issues around Buhari, asserted ‘Where can you find another Army General, a former State governor, former Federal minister and a former Head of State who on top of that has a reputation for firmness and incorruptibility?’ The answer is resounding, ‘it will take several generations to breed one!’ Hence the peculiarity of Gummi’s letter is most certainly driven to the people’s general alone, and a simple visit to the General’s residence by the learned Sheikh, which undeniably wouldn’t be denied, would have sufficed, and a more general preaching to us sinners on a public podium wouldn’t be bad afterwards, we do log onto Facebook more than Buhari after all.
Another striking issue is the timing of Gummi’s wall post. That this letter is just emanating after Buhari has already bought the whopping 27.5 million Naira APC Presidential form, underscores the impact it can have on Buhari jettisoning his presidential agenda. Maybe it would have been wise if Sheikh has sounded his warning drums much earlier than Buhari’s official declaration and most certainly before he had parted with what would take him albeit 23.5 months as President of this country to recoup back if he crosses the bridge and becomes a civilian president, because I really doubt if Oyegun and co. do refunds.
What endeared me more as I read this letter however was Gummi’s brutal honesty and utmost respect for the general, and the way he persistently addressed him as ‘Your Excellency’. Candid points were indeed raised by the learned Sheikh, who grew within the tribulations of Nigeria’s botched regimes and who has had scuffles of his own being a Muslim scholar around the world, and it is from those trials that he has learnt for the good, that “good intentions are never enough”. That was a Nigerian talking, a person who knows the handiwork of our upper class, not just an Islamic Scholar, and these are lessons our next President no matter whom should take to heart. Buhari’s good intention on his first coming as President surely weren’t enough, and his miscalculated ruling with an iron-grip were not giving the chance to succeed, by antagonists who will always exist in any dispensation.
It is really ironical, that today Buhari is considered too Islamic, but here is a man who yes, practiced his religion, but was never concerned about being in the forefront of any religious agenda. Buhari was an earthly, pious General with a good heart, but not the religious chauvinist he is portrayed as today, he was a military man, and Islam was never part of his propaganda, war against indiscipline was. It was of course the same General Buhari that prevented top Islamic clerics and Christian faithful from Pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem respectively, amongst whom were respected scholars like Sheikh Abubakar Gummi who had his passport also impounded, as part of the obsession with the moral cleansing of the General which Gummi Jnr constantly referred to in his letter, and one he should albeit have a firsthand knowledge of from his learned father. Buhari’s war did not segregate towards religious lines as we are made to believe, he was indeed infatuated with cleansing the gross indiscipline brought about by the civilian rule and not even religion would stand on his way. That is one thing Gummi’s open letter is afraid of, burying the coffin without the devil in it.
Gummi’s take on the age precedence was in no credence fair though. The General’s age has been a weapon that has been dangled at the electorate always. But if he is too weak because of his honesty, I doubt if age and comparison with the late Sardauna is another factor too. Sardauna was his own man, just as Muhammadu Buhari is his own person, if the Sardauna felt he had enough of the political atmosphere at his ripe 50s it doesn’t mean it should dictate Muhammadu Buhari’s decision, he should be allowed to adhere to what he believes in too, if he doesn’t think the time to retire is yet then so be it. But when do you actually retire actively from a struggle of emancipation and become a passive on-looker?
What is amazing however, is the Sheikh’s hypothesis, having admitted that the present administration has charged up the religious divide so incredibly well, and also the need as a priority for peace and stability to reign even for a few years before good governance comes into view, but yet coming up with an arbitrary unfathomable hypothesis, which I doubt is meant for next year’s general election. Indeed by no means will President Goodluck step aside for an Akpabio/Muazu/Ribadu/Shekarau potential combo in the PDP, and it is a highly improbable factor an Amaechi/Okorocha/Kwankwaso/Elrufai/Tambuwal combo might out sit President Jonathan, not impossible but highly improbable. So if to have peace and stability, this present administration has to be shelved, then surely we have to admit that the Buhari factor comes in handy as the only probable choice to oust the President together with more likely one of the Sheikh’s hypothetical combo in the APC, or the other option is to let President Jonathan finish another four year term of this transformational horror and instability for an upcoming fresh era of stability come 2019? I wonder if that’s the Sheikh’s conclusive rough mathematical calculation! 2015 is getting nearer though, and we are in the middle of the bridge and it is indeed tangling!
Indeed viewing Jihad through the extremists own point of view, is certainly playing into the hand of the extremists, ignorant of the core teachings of Jihad. Now, following through America and its media-backed propagandist hyping and linking of the term “Islamic Jihadists” as ‘Supremacism’, ‘Oppression’ and ‘Violence’, then along the tilt of history, there is no one guilty of this form of ‘Jihad’ than America itself if we take it through the Supremacism-Oppression-Violence point of view.
The United States has in the course of its history altered the politics and events of the Middle East to favour its overall ‘Supremacy’ for better or worse of the region until it tilts across its desired line. It is without gainsaying that the United States could end the bloodshed in Syria (a bloodshed which they effectually started as we will see in due course) but either due to cowardice or indifference, with the latter amounting the most it chooses to let Syrians die. Three million Syrian refugees are now scattered across the Middle East and another 6.5 million internally displaced summing to a little less than half the entire population of Syria. At what price? Simply, American policies are made around a single idea; everyone pays a price, but America gains.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war initiated to depose President Assad out of power, the Free Syrian Army has been receiving arms and ammunition from the West to fight the regime, which stubbornly failed to collapse. Now the ragged army has been left to decompose as they no longer serve a purpose to American interests, but then the ISIS sprang up amidst the artillery-laden environs and are on a mission of liberation of their own, contrary to the American-Organised FSA; basically, a lunatic group that existed but wasn’t given much concern when the prize was Assad’s head is now a full grown nemesis. A FSA commandant’s plea summarises the whole caption of the ‘American Jihad’ interest: “…the problem now is that they (ISIS) came back to fight with sophisticated weapons, weapons they stole from the Americans…we are just asking the West for some cooperation, some support to be able to fight these monsters and free our lands with our hands..” Months ago, there wouldn’t be a need for this plea from the FSA before America supplied ammunitions, sadly for the FSA and the Syrian people, they were just a pawn in the ‘Oppressive’ American policy, which certainly didn’t start now, but is embedded in American ‘Jihad’ doctrine as we shall continue to see.
Back in 1946, Syria became a republic, but in March 1949 a coup by Army Chief of Staff, Husni al-Za’im ended the initial period of civilian rule, a step stone in the long-standing Syrian violence that has seen them merge with Egypt, separate, and then engulf in a lasting terrible ‘Violence’. Za’im met at least six times with CIA operatives in the months prior to the coup to discuss his plan to seize power. Za’im requested American funding and personnel, and once in power made several key decisions to benefit the US. And ‘Oppress’ the Syrian people who are still suffering from that insult to their democracy 65 years ago.
A few years later, the ‘Oppressive Jihad’ trend continued. President Eisenhower helped overthrow Iran’s democratically elected president Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. Mosadegh had sought to audit the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company now BP and change the terms of agreement and access to Iranian oil reserves. America’s collaboration in the coup was confirmed in August 2013 when the CIA admitted it was involved in planning and execution of the coup, by bribing Iranian politicians, security, and high ranking officials as well as pro-coup propaganda. The CIA can be quoted admitting the coup was carried out “Under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government”. Some of the most feared mobsters in Iran were hired by the CIA to conceive their “Violent Jihad” by staging Pro-Shi’ah riots in which about 800 people were killed and America continually supplied arms to the increasingly unpopular Shah and CIA trained SAVAK his repressive secret police, for the American vendetta to survive.
And the list is not exhaustive by any means. The entry of Soviet Union into Afghanistan in 1979 prompted the US to support rebels fighting against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan by arming terrorist groups. The CIA worked closely with Pakistan in arming the groups through foreign support hence attracting other Arab extremists known as Afghan Arabs which included a certain Osama bin Laden. With the demise of the Soviet Union, American interests and motives waned as such leaving armed groups sprawling, and ensuring decades of ‘Violence’ in the region. Also after the Gulf War in the 1990s, an uprising in southern Iraq was encouraged by the CIA after airing “The Voice of Free Iraq” from a CIA operated radio station out of Saudi Arabia and in the north Kurdish leaders took Americas vow that they would support an uprising and began fighting hoping to trigger a coup d’état against President Saddam. In March 2003, the ‘Violence’ in Iraq resumed as US government advised UN nuclear inspectors to leave their unfinished work and exit from Iraq. America then conducted a surprise military invasion of Iraq without declaring war leading to the capture and death of Saddam, leading the country to turmoil.
The US still refuses to take responsibility for the Libyan ‘Violence’. The military intervention in Syria was alluded to as the ‘Responsibility to Protect Policy’ of the UN. According to America’s version “the international military intervention in Libya is not about bombing for democracy or Muammar Gaddafi’s head. Legally, morally, politically and militarily it has only one justification: protecting the country’s people”. But immediately America’s ‘Jihad’ was completed and Gaddafi’s head was gotten, NATO rolled out of Libya despite pleas by the new government for an extension in order for stability to reign. Less than three years later, how are the ‘Protected People’ of Libya faring? Silvio Berlusconi of Italy who played a substantial role in NATO said, “This wasn’t a popular uprising because Gaddafi was loved by his people, as I was able to see when I went to Libya”, eventually Gaddafi had to pay, America wanted Libyan oil and he wasn’t going to stop them from getting it.
In January 2011, the Western media was awash with stories of a spur-of-the-moment, indigenous uprising sweeping across North Africa and Middle East which they dubbed ‘The Arab Spring’. Months later the media would admit the US has in fact been behind the uprising and it was anything but indigenous or spontaneous. In April 2011, an article posted by the New York Times stated: “A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms…received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, a non-profit human rights organization based in Washington…they were created by congress and are financed through the national endowment for democracy…” incidentally, more than a quarter of the world’s oil is shipped through North-Africa’s Suez Canal.
Is it that America is frightened of Arab Democracies? Not in the least, but they are amply afraid of losing their role and dividends in an autonomous democracy. There were struggles in Yemen and Ivory Coast when America was attacking Libya, but their compass didn’t have much bearing there, nor does it have bearing in fighting Boko Haram where the struggle is Nigeria’s fight not theirs. Over 250 million dollars were earmarked to support moderate factions of the Syrian opposition; you will wonder what such an amount would do in catering the Syrian refugee crisis.
That the US was once popular and respected throughout the Middle East as Americans were seen as good people untainted by the selfishness and duplicity associated with the Europeans who defeated and conquered the vast Ottoman Empire and colonized the Middle East, now seems ridiculous. History tells another tale!