Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Discourse 351 Azazi: End of a Dream

Discourse 351 AZAZI: END OF A DREAM By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde I knew little about the late General before the publication of a Nigerian Army Intelligence Corp (NAIC) report that indicted him in the colossal theft of weapons from the military warehouses in Kaduna and Jaji when he was the GOC 1DIV. The report was titled “Investigation Report into the Theft and Sale of Arms to Niger Delta Gunrunner by an Officer and Some Soldiers of the 1 Base Ordinance Depot Kaduna. It was submitted to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Read at and 'like' the page if you feel compelled. I am sorry the blog page doesn't break paragraph anymore. I will be referring readers to the facebook page before i could fix the problem. Thank you. Aliyu

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


CHRISTMAS MEALS FROM MY NEIGHBOURS AND A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM ME@@@ By Dr. A. U. Tilde@@@ One gesture begets another. And when the gesture is good, it becomes all the more important in this moment of darkness.@@@ As I sat to take my breakfast an hour ago, my daughter told me that one of my neighbours has brought a Christmas meal. I saw knew it coming. As I was editing this article too, another neighbour sent in another dish along with some measures of raw rice from her harvest. We do not need to cook dinner, she said. I will enter the neighbourhood later in the day to distribute some few coins as happy Christmas to their children.@@@ May be I manufactured it. Last Sallah, I tried to revive the tradition of my family. I started sending Sallah meals to all my Christian neighbours. This is their turn. Happily, they have not failed me.@@@ I can't count the number of times I took Sallah meals to the Christian friends of my father. They were Afezere (Jarawa) whom he allocated land to when they moved from the Shere Hills where his own father once stationed his cattle.@@@ I remember carrying the Sallah meals to at least three families. They were those of the late Malam Danbauchi, Masinja Azi and Baba Carpenter Itse. On a day like this, they too would send to us dishes of their sumptuous Christmas meal.@@@ For some time now, the tradition has died out. I cannot remember any of my brothers or sisters sending meals to them on Sallah, neither can I remember theirs bringing any meal to us on Christmas. However, the importance of such gestures has suddenly dawn on all of us. I being the ward head of this section of the town, I should take the lead.@@@ Moreover, so long as they live here, I consider it a matter of duty to protect them, drawing from the commitment of my father to them. He invited them here. He gave them land. That trust between us has never been breached. They are not alone. There are many other families with whom such ties exist between us. That is why during the last post-election violence, while I was in transit to the US, my elder brother, 64, did his best to protect their houses - and succeeded. On my part, I advised my neighbours on phone to seek shelter in my house and to pack in their properties there. Many of them did. I was not alone in that duty. The entire Muslim population of the neighbourhood also came to their rescue. The neighbourhood was cordoned off and youths - who were unknown to almost everybody in the town and who have settled in the neighbouring villages after migrating from Plateau - that came to attack them were put off fiercely by the ring of Muslims there. Few of them in the outskirts were not so lucky.@@@ I am sorry for this digression. I am just revealing how passionate I am about my Christian brothers here. Their meals and drinks, whether as the 'asiri' or ‘tuwon accha’ that we used to take at Sarkin Rimi's house when we were tending our cattle as kids, have formed part of anatomy. Our stay together in primary and secondary school has contributed to my growth and would later moderate my perception of the world in no small measure. It is permanently there. I cannot dismiss it, even if I attempt to. I cannot delete it, even if I try to.@@@ I am extremely indebted to Islam for allowing me this degree of tolerance and accommodation. I remember once as a kid asking my late father whether it is lawful for us to eat the meals of the Christians. He said, yes. God has permitted us to eat their meals and marry their women. Later, when I grew up to learn directly from the source- the Qur'an - I discovered this golden verse - and its verses are indeed golden - that expressly gave that unconditional permit:@@@ "This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of he Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book revealed before your time..." (5:6)@@@ This verse is among the final verses revealed to Prophet Muhammad, coming after the one that said,@@@ "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.." (5:4).@@@ Beyond food, I would have taken a Christian wife too, at least once, but my effort has always met with failure. I take it as fate. If the middle belt had given me Mary, that would have accomplished my dream. Mary, like others before and after her, was aware of our cultural differences and politely turned down my request.@@@ God has foreseen the interwoven nature of the fate of the three revealed religions. He knew that Islam being the youngest needs to be moderated with the understanding that the other two religions were also from Him. In many places, He expressly committed the testimony that He is the source of all the three. In many places, he calls for mutual dialogue and understanding in an atmosphere of mutual respect, using the best choice of decent words. Only with the People of the book has He gone this far:@@@ "And do not dispute with the People of the Book unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One (i.e. Allah) and to Him we have submitted as Muslims." (29:46)@@@ I am so grateful to Islam for this degree of tolerance that has paid off during the days of Muslim Caliphates. Muslims have lived with People of the Book in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa for centuries. Together they built the legendary centres of civilization and learning in Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo. An overwhelming number of civil servants during the Omayyad era, for example, were Christians. The Muslims from Arabia were hadn't sufficient writing skills and experience in managing empires. If Islam had prevented them from dealing with Christians, little would have been achieved. Likewise, on many occasions, Christian and Jewish physicians have served in the court of many Muslim princes. Nothing could have carried a heavier weight of trust. All these necessities were foreseen by God, hence the room for tolerance.@@@ Never in the history of Islam, unlike that of Christian Europe, were The People of the Book, other than those expelled for the Arabian Peninsula in the early days of Islam. It is to the credit of Islam that whenever Jews were expelled form Europe - and it did so three times - it was the land of Islam that has given then sanctuary. It is to the credit of Islam that its conquerors were the most tolerant in the administration of the Jerusalem for example. Salahuddin or Saladin that is so much respected for his noble conduct as a conqueror by the Christian West was a product not of his native Kurdistan but of Islam. Umar bn Al-Khattab has done it before. Unlike the Christian crusaders that went about killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Jews at the holy city a century earlier, not a single drop of blood was let when he regained the city. Compare this with the present apartheid treatment of Jews to Muslim and Christian Palestinians and you will not fail but behold the tolerance of Islam. That is not to say that there were no periods of trial, most of which were created by Europe, anyway. However, coexistence as envisaged by God, has prevailed during the tenure of Islam except for the brief times of conflict.@@@ Relationship between Muslims and Christians is strained since Europe came into contact with Islam. Here at home, in Nigeria, relationship between Muslims and Christians especially in the North has gone sour especially after the civil war, the politicization of the church and the arrival of less tolerant strains of Muslim sects in the 1970s which even refuse to acknowledge the 'Christianity' of our Christian brothers, much less their right to be seen and treated as People of the Book with the respect, cooperation and understanding that God has ordained in the verses we quoted above.@@@ There just so many factors at play: politics, geography, history, climate, poverty, name it. Most important on the Christian side is the politicization of the faith to serve as a tool for assertion of identity and power acquisition; the instigation of Christians from outside the North - especially from Eastern Nigeria to generate a civil war in the region; the eagerness of the south generally to support northern Christians in anything including massacres in order to weaken the region and override it politically; the provocation by undignified utterances and abuses by a section of the Muslim population; encouraged by some two Presidents with the ulterior motive of dividing the opposition in the North and remaining in power forever; etc. These factors are what precipitated the Christian offensive which started manifesting itself in the late 1980s.@@@ On the Muslim part, the militant Christian response has generated the feeling of genocide persecution, which undeniably exists but certainly only in the minds of a few Christian leaders in the region. It is true that about 40 Muslim settlements have been wiped out violently on the Plateau, for example. But it is also true that the Muslims, since the importation of those intolerant strains of Islam, have failed to live up to the tenets of the religion that demands for respect, decency and dignity in relating to the People of the Book. A testimony from a Christian contributor, Wilfred Lawrence, on my Facebook page, reveals the truth about how unguarded and uncensored utterances of Muslim preachers that are openly aired in megaphones and sold on the streets of the Plateau contributes so much to its sectarian crises, a point I have mentioned times without number. Lawrence: @@@ "There two categories of hate enhancers: the politicians and the theologians. There was a day I heard a taped sermon through a horn speakers kai that day I did not sleep because of the hate message that was relayed and some youths were saying they would see it to the end. As long as we have such then the soldiers are going be here for a long time to come."@@@ I could not have put it better. I cannot count the number of times I have deleted comments that refer to my Christian brothers as "arna" on my wall and in any page or group I am made an administrator. In fact I make it a point of duty to ban such "friends". Haba. This is shameful, derogatory, un-Islamic and extremely provocative. This is not Islam. It is something else. Where then do we place the fact that "our God and your God is one" which Allah attested to in the Quran? By calling me "arne", you are not inviting me to Islam; you are repelling me. That is the greatest disservice any Muslim can do to Islam.@@@ If our past scholars have behaved so in the 1900s, there would not have been so many converts to Islam now among the tribes of central Nigeria. The moments of their success is still fresh in my mind, like when my father convinced late Pastor Barde to convert to Islam in 1971 (?). A special gathering was made under the Chairman ship of late Sheikh Ahmadu Arabi at our primary school. Those were the days of constructive theological debates between Muslims and Christian in the Northeast and North-central Nigeria. Those moments of positive work for Islam are now turned down.@@@ I also remember clearly his explanation to me when as a kid I asked him on a Christmas day about the Muslim stand on Christian food. He said then, "Ai su ba arna ba ne. Arne shi ne wanda ba yi da addini. Amma su kirista mu na ce musu Ahlul Kitabi." i.e. "Note that they are not pagans. A pagan (arne) is he that is not a follower of a divine religion. But Christians we call People of the Book." May his soul rest in peace. That tolerant species of ulama are now replaced with terribly intolerant strain whose commentary and jurisprudence can only lead to bloodshed.@@@ I hope, as a matter of duty, the Muslim community will wake up and fight this trend of intolerance with all its force. This is alien to us. We must do all we can to stop it. It is far more damaging than Boko Haram. And it starts here. Let anyone who believes in Allah and the last day say good or keep quiet. Let him address our Christian brothers with dignity. Let no one again print the word 'arne' anywhere in reference to them. What harm, for goodness sake, would it cause to call someone a Christian?@@@ Sorry, this simple Christmas greeting has taken too long a space here and too much of your time. These are the frustrations one has been faced with in his attempt to build a modern, tolerant and peaceful nation. Frustrations are rampant from every corner and every quarter. There is not anywhere a reformer would find respite in this country, not among his people, not among others. Solace is impossible, the obstacles abundant. Must we give up?@@@ No. Our life is a chance accorded us by the Almighty to make a difference, even if it would be for a just a day: by helping someone, by saving his life or property, by relating to him, by understanding him, and by wishing him the best. It is with this spirit that I live with my Christian neighbours. With it too I pledge to continue working for a better Nigeria. With it I will close this discourse and move on to my dining table to enjoy the meal sent me by my Christian neighbours. And With it I say happy Christmas to my Christian brothers.@@@ 25 December 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

From My Facebook Posts (9): Cry Not, Plateau

CRY NOT, PLATEAU £££ By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde£££ The picture below is that of the once famous Jos Main Market, the best of its kind in West Africa. It was conceived by Dan Suleiman, completed by Solomon Lar, commissioned by Muhammadu Buhari, and destroyed by the agents of hate.£££ Yesterday, the market was the centre of commerce for most of the Northcentral and Northeastern states, with hundreds of millions of naira exchanging hands among Nigerians from possibly diverse backgrounds and origins. It was a centre of unity and progress.£££ Today, the market is a home to wild grasses and reptiles, criminals and addicts. The beauty of the different African attires, faces and fragrances that occupied it yesterday is replaced by pathetic sights of ruins, faeces and danger. Five days ago, as I stood amidst the ruins of its spacious courtyards and basements which served thousands of traders from whom we used to shop daily, I could see the darkness that has overtaken the Plateau since 2001; I could breathe it; and I could almost touch the odorous atmosphere. The state of the market illustrates the difference between our yesterday leaders who worked hard to build and those of today whose mission is to destroy as their own way of rewarding the country of the rights and privileges it accorded them yesterday.£££ The ghost building is an epitome of powerful the evil of hate is. After an attempt to burn the market during the day failed in 2011, the agents of hate resorted to use bombs, the first time a bomb was used in civilian conflict in Northern Nigeria. The bombs exploded in the early morning hours when the traders were asleep in their far away homes. The heavily steeled structure gave in to the power of the explosives - and to the evil will of the bombers. To them they have succeeded in ruining the businesses and livelihood of thousands of Nigerians.£££ However, the market was only one calamity among many that hit Plateau since the advent of democracy. This year, children have not been enrolled into public primary schools. Teachers and workers have not been paid for over seven months. Today, filth and waste occupy the islands of the once beautiful Ahmadu Bello Way.£££ Everybody laments at how the city of Jos is now divided into Christian and Muslim quarters. Everybody is filled with a nostalgia for yesterday, when you could drive around Jos beyond midnight, with cinema and bars shared between adherents of the different faiths, with mosques and churches sharing the same neighbourhoods. The question here is: If the people on the Plateau want to extricate themselves from the present state of underdevelopment and fear, what is stopping them?£££ They are stopped by the leadership that thrives on the crises. People on both sides of the divide build their hope as elections approach. However, at the turn of every election, the government manipulate religion in places of worship to hold a section of the voters captives of its manipulations. The propaganda of calling the opposition candidate all sorts of unprintable names goes full swing and, behold, leaders of religion swallow the poison which is laced with maddening amounts naira. Immediately after the election, despondency returns as every promise by the government is thrown into the garbage bins. Services are not rendered to the public, salaries are not paid, the treasury is looted.£££ The relative peace in Jos and its environs is the result of two things: the presence of the military on the streets and the dichotomy of its geography. We civilians like bashing the military and often complain of its highhandedness when we continue to blow every opportunity to live peacefully. However, the military would continue to be on the streets of Plateau State only at the cost of its treasury, thereby exacerbating the financial incapacity of the government and the deprivation that is now prevalent. The average Nigerian on the Plateau is undoubtedly poorer today than he was before September 12, 2001 when the crisis first broke out.£££ In a democracy, the only way to get rid of bad leaders is through free and fair elections. That may seem a tall ambition in Nigeria. However, I believe one day it will be a reality. That day, Plateau people will vote for candidates that will ensure the atmosphere of peace that is necessary for their economic progress.£££ The sun of leaders who thrive on bigotry and chauvinism will one day set. So cry not, Plateau. The day will come. Your market will be rebuilt. Your workers will be compensated adequately. Your children will go to school. Then, you will answer your name, "Home of Peace and Tourism."£££ Before then, sad to note, you will continue to remain in the hands of the bad hands of our unpatriotic leaders, painful as it is, with your population divided, your market in ruins, your workers in poverty and your children sitting idle at home when their counterparts in other states are schooling.£££ 19 December 2012


CAN THE BROTHERHOOD SUCCEED IN DEVELOPING MODERN, ISLAMIC EGYPT? By Dr. A.U.Tilde Unofficial results of the just concluded referendum have shown about 64% of Egyptians voted "Yes" for the constitution that was drafted by a constituent assembly that was dominated by Islamic reformers from Muslim Brotherhood and other related parties.£££ The opposition which comprises of secular, liberal and christian blocks have, understandably, been against the constitution and wanted one that did not favour shariah in state legislation. It may need to wait a bit, as the end of this article would show.£££ This is a test not only for Egypt but for the entire Muslim world. The long journey of the Brotherhood in the past 70 years and its patience have finally paid off. That experience has over the years also made the Brotherhood more conversant with the need for moderation in its vision of the Muslim society and government. Yet, that experience did not come without some prices.£££ One of such prices is the painful regime of mass arrests, excruciating tortures, long jail terms, and executions of hundreds of thousands of its members and leaders. Its founder, Hasan Al-Banna, was murdered in 1948 when he was returning from his Fajr prayers. His death was greeted with jubilation in Western capitals.£££ It was this jubilation that drew the likes of likes of Sayid Qutb to the Brotherhood after he returned from a two year study in the US. Qutb injected a lot of intellectual energy into the organization. He churned out a number of Islamic books, including a 30 volume commentary of the Qur'an, Fi Zilal. However, his prominence attracted the attention of the Naserite regime, which jailed him for ten years, only to be released in 1965 on the intervention of the Iraqi Prime Minister who pleaded with Naser to release him on health ground. Again, in less than a year, he was rearrested and executed at the age of 60 on grounds of treason, largely drawing from allegations of his association with a militant faction of the Brotherhood.£££ Such was the bitter experience of the Brotherhood since 1951 until last year. That bitter experience has led to the second price, unfortunately: the emergence of militant Muslim organizations like Islamic Jihad and, some say, al-Qaida. The delay in the success of the Brotherhood has also yielded some anti-modern Muslim organizations to emerge and dilute the moderate views that the Brotherhood has been presenting to the Egyptian public with views that can only lead to intolerance and conflict. For example, the Salafi movement accounts for about 20% of votes during the last election and in the constituent assembly.£££ Three things attract me to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Its resilience, its moderate views and vision of a modern Islamic state that will accommodate divergent views and traditions, and its emphasis on social work as an integral part of its commitment to the Egyptian public. These were the same qualities that attracted the Egyptian masses to it over the past 70 years. And when the moment for the masses came to speak, they did so in resounding support for the Brotherhood. They spoke during the elections. They so spoke during the referendum.£££ However, a bigger challenge is ahead of this victory. In their books, the Brotherhood have convinced us that a modern Islamic state is possible, that Islam and modernity are not irreconcilable. President Mursi himself has said that the building of a modern, Muslim Egypt that is based on social justice is his main objective.£££ I am raising this concern because many scholars in the West and many Muslim organizations have posited that modernity and Islam are irreconcilable, meaning perpetual conflict is the logical fate between Muslims and other people; that ideologically Muslims cannot advance beyond their 6th Century achievement, etc. In fact, some commentators say that the democratic vision of Muslim groups is "one man, one vote, one time".£££ When I look around and see the proliferation of hate speech among us Muslims, the mushrooming of what i call groups of 'Pentecostal Islam', the mimicking by many Muslim groups of Catholic doctrines of the Middle ages in rejection of reason and its results like science and other disciplines, I become tempted to lend my ears to such scholars.£££ It will therefore be great if the Brotherhood in government will succeed in its effort to reconcile Islam with scientific and civil rights doctrine. It will go along way to prove those Western scholars and Muslim groups wrong. Egypt then would serve as a good example for other Muslim nations in the Sunni world to follow. From their light, we can also lit our path for coexistence between Muslims and other Nigerians. Our present state of conflict is not tenable.£££ Its failure, I am afraid to say, will lead to the conclusion of Professor Bernard Lewis: that Muslims will return from the support of political Islam as the Christians in Europe turned down the authority of the Church in the Middle ages. The Muslim world would then seek shelter in the same secularism it rejected earlier.£££ The Muslim Brotherhood therefore has a great task ahead. The victory is only a mandate to the realization of the great dream of its founder, Al-Banna: the dream of a Muslim state that is modern, just and - at the same time - shariah compliant.£££ In pursuing that goal, the Brotherhood must not forget that its is democracy - the right of the majority to form government - that accorded it the best chance for the realization of that dream. Would it attempt to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs as some people predict or would it allow its live longer and prosper?£££ 23 December 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

From My Facebook Wall (4): Social Media and Our Integration

Social Media and Our Integration By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde Do you truly want peace in Nigeria and in the North especially? Are you truly concerned about the deterioration of our communal understanding across tribes and faiths especially in the North? Are you ready to take practical steps to contribute in our peaceful coexistence without waiting for the government or our so called leaders to do someth ing? Do you know that you can achieve a lot in this regard without resort to bogus conventions and high cost? I guess your answer to all these questions is “Yes”. Now, come with me. This is the way. The social media way. First, let me awaken you to one reality. Check the list of friends that you have on Facebook for example. If you are a Christian, count the number of Muslims you have on the listand work out the percentage. If you are a Muslim, check out how many Christians you have on your list. If you are from the Northwest, see how many friends do you have from the Northeast or Northcentral that do not belong to your religion. If you are from the Northcentral or Northeast, do the same. If you are a Fulani, see what percentage of Beroms you have as friends. The gap that the devil and his agents has created between us will immediately unveil itself before you. The result? Of course, you will have more friends from your religion or tribe. This is normal. However, you are likely to find out that the number of friends you have from other religions is very likely to be between 3 and 10% only. If you have beyond that, you have done well and you deserve my thumb. Please let anyone that has more than 10% intimate me. I have something for him. If you post a comment, see how many Nigerians from the other divide respond to it. Very small. That tells you akwai problem. Babba kuwa! I can forgive a Muslim from the Northwest for not having plenty Christian friends. But I will not forgive anyone - and myself - from the Northeast or Northcentral for having less than 30% of his friends coming across his tribal and religious group. That is because the Northwesterner can be excused for his more homegenous environment but the other two are living in areas that are heteregenous. They have schooled with children and students of different faiths. Why would they now as adults have an unforgiveable negligible number of them as friends? The answer lies in the existence of two groups of people that have worked hard to divide us. The first group are our political and tribal leaders who have failed to live up to their responsibility and instead use our differences to create the huge gaps that breed suspicion; the suspicion in turn breeds hate and, finally, the hate breeds violence. These people in most cases got the best out of this country but are presently rewarding it with destruction. Their mission is to destroy, not to build. The second group are clerics who are hungry for money and power. They cannot find a better place for realising their dream except in the houses of God – the madrasas, seminaries, mosques and churches. Innocent children and unsuspecting masses – Muslims and Christians alike – are injected lethal levels of toxic doctrines of hate and abusive language against anyone that does not belong to our faith, as if our God is not one, as if religion’s primary mission is hate and not love, violence and not peace. Exalted is God, far above what we ascribe to Him as a result of our little understanding and selfish interests. We are the perpetual victims of any crises they instigate, while they remain free. We die in our scores, while the live to ride their jeeps and fly their jets the following morning. We must stop them by building what will frustrate them. Peace. Salam. Shalom. Now, the issue is: If we were hitherto captives to these leaders because they control the airwaves and religious milieus, our liberator is here. We can reclaim our freedom, if we indeed are interested in our liberty. The social media accords us the opportunity to reach out to others, correct our wrong perceptions of them and forge a path of unity for a better future worthy of bequeathing to our children. We can have no excuse. The social media, especially the Facebook, gives the full details of the other Nigeria we could not access before, from far and near. It tells us their names, show us their beautiful African faces, gives us their addresses through which we can instantly contact them, including, in many cases, even the telephone number we can use to speak to them. It accords us, with just a tap of our finger, the opportunity to become their friends, something that would have taken so much effort to achieve before. What are we waiting for then? This is the time to liberate ourselves from the clutches of those who have failed us. Together we can open a new chapter in the book of life that we write daily. The social media gives us the opportunity to first interact virtually and then physically until the atmosphere of fear that looms over our land and minds is replaced with the eternal breeze of understanding, love and justice. One to one, or collectively, we can discuss anything here under the sun without the barriers that estranged us. Together we can fight for the cause of justice and together we will build the bridges of understanding that are necessary for our peaceful coexistence. So let us invite as many friends as possible from divides other than ours. Let us confirm their invitation too with the speed of light. Let us always engage them, sometimes privately if we feel the discussion is likely to be misunderstood. Let us share our views and understandings of national but especially of local events around us, with an objective mind that is divorced of those toxins which were injected into our bloodstream by the two groups of power seeking Nigerians I mentioned before. Let us walk the extra mile to meet with the friends in our immediate vicinity and, if possible, even with those a far, individually and without recourse to convening meetings that will require resources that we may not have. Let each of us do this. Let me see the Muslims and Christians in the North take these honest, bold and practical steps. Let me see the improved variety in the composition of our list of friends on the social media. Let our accounts be more cosmopolitan and reflective of the ethnic and religious diversity of our region. And before we know it, our gaps would become bridged and peace will reign in our minds and environment. Together we will build a better North and a stronger Nigeria, our own way, different from the failed one constructed by the generation above us. As for me, my Facebook list is full. 5001. I am not permitted to add more friends. So I have opened a page that will enable me receive a limitless number of friends. You are welcome not only to add me as a friend but also to post on it anything you think will foster our unity and peaceful coexistence. Please do not be afraid to discuss any issue. If you are wrong together we will correct you; if you are right, I will defend you against any undeserving attack. Feedback My last weekend’s trip to Ganye, Adamawa State, for our 50th Anniversary of GSS Ganye was most rewarding. I had the opportunity to meet with my former classmates, breathe the wonderful air of the Benue Basin, enjoy the exceptionally beautiful scenery of the Northeast and see the charming faces our people. The visit has sprouted in me fresh buds of respect and love for our diversity and also renewed my commitment to our unity. I look forward to more of such visits in the near future. But, meanwhile, let us not hesitate to meet here in the social media, every day, hour, and minute. It is our Tahrir Square, our square of freedom. 13 December 2012 30

From My Facebook Wall (7): Soldier Checkpoints de Kill Nigerians Here Plenti

Help! Help! Soldier Checkpoints Here De Kill Nigerians Plenti By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde Everyone saw it coming. Immediately the STF mounted a checkpoint at the bottom of Hawan Zakaliyo, the clock of the disaster started ticking in the minds o f the inhabitants of this mountain basin and those who frequent the Jos- Bauchi Highway. From the traffic history and nature of the mountain slope down the highway from Jos, we were certain that ghastly accidents would happen soon. At another checkpoint, in 2011, just kilometre away from the new one in the basin at the border with Bauchi State, scores of people were roasted alive as dozens of vehicles were unexpectedly caught in an inferno that was triggered when a fuel tanker lost its brakes and rammed its way through the long queue of vehicles waiting to be cleared at the border checkpoint. The soldiers and their MOPOL counterparts then disappeared immediately and the rioting civilians were left to handle the situation. Few days later, the checkpoint was back and is still there. That was not the last incident there. It continues to occur frequently. Even as I passed yesterday, I witnessed another trailer at the same border checkpoint avoided killing many motorists by swerving into the side drainage. Nobody was killed but the truck had to be cut into pieces. So mounting a checkpoint up the valley and closer to the bottom of the slope was surely a recipe for trouble in the estimation of any intelligent person. The prediction came to pass, sadly. Three days ago, a trailer run through the new checkpoint causing the destruction of four vehicles instantly. (See picture above). No civilian was killed, though few, including a boy hawking dates, were lightly hurt. However, a soldier at the checkpoint was killed instantly according to eyewitnesses and a MOPOL was taken to hospital in a very critical condition. You can imagine what the comments of Nigerians passing the checkpoint would be. When I arrived at the point on my way to Jos two days ago, I felt pity for the law enforcement agents that lost their lives to the unintelligent decision of locating the checkpoint there. But I pity more those that may lose their lives in the future. Though the STF dismantled the checkpoint immediately after the unfortunate incident and people were glad that it has gone for the good, my experience told me that it is returning soon. Experience is not useful in Nigeria. And it has. As I was driving into Jos yesterday, I saw labourers filling fresh sand bags for the reconstruction of the checkpoint. Huh. Our lives mean nothing. Do not forget that this checkpoint is just a kilometer away from another one at the border down the road and less than two kilometers from another one up the hill at “WELCOME TO JOS”, Home of peace and tourism ba! You may wonder why is the new checkpoint necessary. Soldier! Na dem sabi wo. I am raising my voice only because we civilians are the usual victims at these badly located and poorly mounted checkpoints. I narrowly escaped from death from two of them recently. One was just four days ago. As I stopped at the new checkpoint at Babale from Jos after overtaking a trailer way back on the slope, the truck lost its break from behind me and it had to shift, to the other lane which, thank God, was empty. It continued to move some meters before it could stop. If there were a vehicle coming, one could only imagine one result: a ghastly accident in which yours sincerely would have died. The other incident was when I ran into a poorly lit military checkpoint last August at the Bauchi-Gombe border. It was dark and rainy and a vehicle was passing in the opposite direction. I was driving in company of my two sons. All I knew was that one of them shouted “Baba” but before ‘Baba’ would inquire he was right there before the first column of sand. He dodged that one, but the second was too near for him to avoid. So crashed into the sand bags before the vehicle could stop. The soldiers immediately come over with their rifles trigger ready, thinking it was Boko Haram, not knowing that it was just an innocent citizen that has fallen victim to the legendary African’s lack of regard for human life. Fortunately, they did not shoot, but continued shouting at us: “No commot. No commot. If you commot I will shoot you.” Na nwa! We stayed put until they permitted us to leave the vehicle. Before then I asked my two sons if both of them were safe. They confirmed to me that they were okay. All of us were wearing our seat belts. It took me four days to extricate myself from the military boys at the roadblock. During those long days, I had a taste to the good and the bad of our military. In any case, I counted myself lucky, having left the scene with my limbs and children intact, though I had to reconstruct the sandbags and prepare to spend at least N350,000 to repair my vehicle. The soldiers were lucky too. If I had swerved the car to the right, definitely I would have jammed it into the hut some of them were relaxing. Those outside would have opened fire on us, believing that we were Boko Haram attackers. We for don become obituary be dat. We may not even have had the privilege of a decent burial. Before any investigation would commence, the JTF in Gombe would have issued a release that it has killed three Boko Haram members at the checkpoint last night. Our bodies would have been dumped in a mass grave. Even if the truth unveils itself later, the Defence Headquarters will simply deny any responsibility. End of discussion! It has happened to many. The case of the Apo Six in which the police killed six of our Igbo brothers some years ago is still under ‘investigation’. But before it even started, they were declared ‘armed robbers’. Nigeria! The military boys manning the checkpoint told us that two nights before, a vehicle crashed into the same sandbags. But it never occurred to them that it was their fault. Two weeks later, in September, as I was returning from Gombe around 9.00PM, I met a fresh accident at the same checkpoint involving two vehicles. It was ghastly and the vehicles were beyond repairs. I parked my car and looked around. Wallahi there was not a single flame signal at the checkpoint from both sides. The place was pitch-dark. Yet, we no fit talk. Na Soldier wo. So many Nigerians have died at these killer checkpoints. I think it is time for the Nigerian military authorities that have taken over the internal security of the country from the police to do something about it. They must ensure their safe location, unlike the one at Babale and Sabongari. It is high time they start showing regard for human life, at least of their own personnel. Once a position is not safe, let them please find a safe alternative means of policing that segment of the highway. The lives of their subordinates who man those dangerous roadblocks and indeed that of bloody civilians too deserve a better regard. Two. Every checkpoint must be properly lit with the proper traffic lights as required by law. How would Nigerian authorities – the VIO, Road Safety, Highway Patrol, etc – pressurize ordinary citizens to buy “triangle” when their soldiers are mounting pitch-dark checkpoints or poorly lit ones at best? Let that be reflected in the 2013 budget goldmine. Three. With the huge budget on security, it is time for our JTFs to graduate from crude tactics of checkpoints and develop more effective surveillance strategies. I hardly hear of any weapons intercepted at checkpoints when thousands are circulated across the country daily. Etc. I will also advice that when you are at these checkpoints, become alert. Fix your eyes on the traffic behind you and watch the one approaching as well. You never can tell. The clock may be ripe for the final tick. Finally, I will say that we are desperately soliciting for your prayers. Here in the Northeast we pass through these killer checkpoints daily. They have become part of our life and more of our nightmare. When we pass through them, let us do so safely. Help us. Biko. 14 December 2012

From My Facebook Wall (5): Governor Ramlan Yero, Don't Betray God

Governor Ramalan Yero, Don't Betray God By this time yesterday, you didn't know that you will be a governor today. You were even alienated and billed for impeachment, for whatever reason, it is said. Now that you are a governor, you are likely to be infected by the virus that make Nigerian leaders turn away from God and embrace Satan and the cabal that has been destroying this country. Don't be o ne of them. It will be the greatest betrayal to God. They did not give you the position. God did. So embrace God and none else by facing your job with courage, diligence, dedication and justice to all. You are leading a state that is cosmopolitan and at a time that demands a lot dexterity to ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging. Each citizen in your state, Muslim and Christian, is a stakeholder like any other. Please stand firm against the different power blocks and individuals that will attempt to manipulate you subtly or intimidate you openly. If you follow any of them you will be betraying God and his servants that He placed now under your care. Open your doors to people through various means including the social media such that you will know their problems directly. Listen to every advice with wise ear. Reject anything that would lead to injustice and accept all that will lead to fairness and peaceful coexistence and good governance. May God be your guide sir. Aliyu 94Like · · Share Yunana Maida, Sanusi Adamu, Aminu Reza Abdullahi and 179 others like this. Abdulaziz Abdullahi Yakubu you have said it all,what more do i add apart from 'amin' Yesterday at 14:53 via mobile · Like Mansur Musbahu Thanks Aliyu. For the beneficial Advice! And Prayer. May Allah (SWT) gives Ramlan the Courage and wisdoms to exercise and excute All the Advices Yesterday at 14:55 via mobile · Like Mohammed Bello Yakubu You have given the best of an advice, what left is the usage of the wisdom. Yesterday at 14:59 via mobile · Like Kaka Kyari Abba Hope this golden msg will get to him Yesterday at 14:59 via mobile · Like Ibrahim Umaru SarkinNoma May Allah guides him. Yesterday at 15:00 via mobile · Like Muhammad Bala Wunti May Almighty Allah protect and be with him in his duty as Governor. Yesterday at 15:00 via mobile · Like Aliyu Adamu A word is enough for the wise!!It's in his interest to work hard,fear Allah and carry every citizen along.Any departure from the truth will fail!!Prayers and best wishes. Yesterday at 15:02 via mobile · Like Abdulsalam Habibu Let d ear that hears, hear Yesterday at 15:07 via mobile · Like Salisu Saleh Salisu Thanks Dr for the words of encouragement to the Allah`s Choice.Definitely what you said if used can provide a road map to Kaduna people and will clear off doubt from their minds that some class of people or group will be segregated.Thanks for the service offered for humanity. Yesterday at 15:09 via mobile · Like Hamza Tafawa Kukan kurciya jawabi ne, mai hankali ke ganewa Yesterday at 15:09 via mobile · Like Abdulazeez U Rafindadi Words of wisdom! Yesterday at 15:11 via mobile · Like Muhd Kabeer Ahmad Thumbs up to a true NATIOALIST@A.U.Tilde am proud to be part of your immense contributions. May Allahu SWT rewards you abondantly. Yesterday at 15:14 via mobile · Like · 1 Aisha Ohunene Amen,nice update Yesterday at 15:20 via mobile · Like 'Qs Muhammad S Jibril Words of wisdom from a wise man. Thank you sir for this wonderful peace. Yesterday at 15:21 via mobile · Like Babangida Danjuma Kaduna Even his father he will nt hv more Dan dis to him. Yesterday at 15:28 via mobile · Like Mustapha Ibrahim Zigau Gud advice. Well done Sir. Yesterday at 15:30 via mobile · Like Aliyu Abubakar Ramalan u should remember that Power belong to ALLAH & he gives who ever he wishes may u be a just leader for all we wil mis u PIY Yesterday at 15:32 via mobile · Like Ibrahim Dule A good pice for good ears to hear. Yesterday at 15:33 via mobile · Like Abdulkadir Zailani A gud advice indeed so take action, ALLAH will help u. Yesterday at 15:35 via mobile · Like Abdullahi Suleiman Good advice,no doubt.However,the sweet taste of power,more often than not,normally intoxicates Nigerian political leaders,but time will surely tell on the tenure of the newest governor in Nigeria. Yesterday at 15:36 via mobile · Like Aminu Agbo Justice and fair play should be your watchwords, Gov Yero! Yesterday at 15:37 via mobile · Like Alhaji Jibrin Kawu Ofcourse these piece of words are enough for him to lead his ppl.A TRUELY WORDS OF WISDOM Yesterday at 15:37 via mobile · Like · 1 Idris Gabdo Well said Yesterday at 15:38 via mobile · Like Musa W Kolere Allah juttin balde, Allah sa ya ji kuma yayi ampani da sawarar. Yesterday at 15:40 via mobile · Edited · Like Shuaibu Ismail a good advice Yesterday at 15:44 via mobile · Like Muhammad Dikko iam with you Dr Yesterday at 15:47 via mobile · Like · 1 Salisu Isah Your excellency,the ball is in your court & Allah (swt) is watching u from all directions. GOOD LUCK,SIR! Yesterday at 15:49 via mobile · Like · 1 Ismaila Abdulkarim Comfirm Yesterday at 15:50 via mobile · Like Arabee Muhammad Impressive advice with a worth of widoms 2 rytheoutness of lyf. Yesterday at 15:50 via mobile · Like Auwal Alh Galoji Allah kadiran ala manyasha,u. Hmm.idan yaw kaine.wlh gobe.bakaine,ba. Yesterday at 15:51 via mobile · Like Ayuba Mohammed This makes me 2 remember ur colum 'path to second term'a colum that u advice and preached 2 our leaders.pls mallam put it on ur blog,i checked it wasnt there it teaches a lot Yesterday at 15:52 via mobile · Like Sa Za may Allah be ur guide,and may He grant u the wisdom to govern the state ameen. Yesterday at 15:52 via mobile · Like Hashimu Tafida may Allah guide him through, Yesterday at 15:53 via mobile · Like Barau Emmanuel Great epistle, Dr, sir....Congratulations to the new governor. God is supreme and so moves mysteriously to mortals. That same God should be the centrepoint of his administration and he may end up writing his name in gold, celebrated by all and sundry! Yesterday at 15:55 via mobile · Like · 2 Halliru Gamagira What a wonderful contribution may God guide him aright. Yesterday at 15:58 · Like Auwal Ahmed Allah ya taya riko yabaka ikon wanzarda adalci amin Yesterday at 16:12 via mobile · Like Sani Dangogo All is said by the Dr. The key words here are, BE FAIR TO ALL MANNER OF PEOPLE. Pls go back to the oath you took today, its there! Yesterday at 16:14 via mobile · Like · 1 Abdul Zubairu Dr. Tilde plz, advice our new govrnor, dat tarin mutane shine kasuwa ba tarin rumfuna ba. our locality zaria nd sabon gari is turning in 2 ghost town many youth r deserting bcos of d curfew enforced on us, election is over nd yet u cud see soldier on d street ed yet we r not at war. Plz help us 2 in4m him 2 remove dat curfew on us so that we cud enjoy freedom of movment. Yesterday at 16:16 via mobile · Like Umara Lawan May god guide and protect him through out his service as kaduna state governor. Yesterday at 16:27 via mobile · Like Sulaiman Umar Magama This is very gud advice. A word is enough 4 d wise Yesterday at 16:32 via mobile · Like · 1 Abdullahi Isiyaku Aliyu indeed a philosopical,logical &emotinal piece!!! Yesterday at 16:34 via mobile · Like Ruwaisu Hussaini allah ya taya riko Yesterday at 16:38 via mobile · Like Bulus Yaro God'll grant him d wisdom 2 govern. Yesterday at 16:39 via mobile · Like Adamu Mamser We need more of your type Dr. to move this country forward not sentimental and ethnic Governors like that of Plateau State. Pls mr. Governor remember the last day and do jsutice to every Kaduna State citizen by given everybody his due, so that posterity will judge you rite, May Allah guide and see you through. Amin. Yesterday at 16:43 via mobile · Like · 2 Suleiman Umar May God guid nd protect u throutout. And peace contined 2 ren in KADUNA amin Yesterday at 16:46 via mobile · Like Abdullahi Mati Usman Nigeria Dr. have said It all. Mr. Governor is left for you to choose the right path and have Allah's mercy upon you, or do as you wish, witch at d end faces Allah's wrath. May Almighty Allah guide you to d right path and do justice to all Kaduna people. Yesterday at 16:50 via mobile · Like · 1 Ijeoma Onuoha good advice.. Yesterday at 16:55 via mobile · Like · 1 Jamilu Aliyu Kagara May allah gide u 2 d right path Yesterday at 17:21 via mobile · Like Kabiru Muhammad Bello What a piece! Yesterday at 17:24 via mobile · Like Abdulmalik Danbirni Allahu Akbar. I pray he should work with dis. Yesterday at 17:27 via mobile · Like Abubakar U. Bube Excellent Yesterday at 17:27 · Like Isah Danlami Suleiman Tnx 4 ur advice all! May God help us all ameen. Yesterday at 17:33 via mobile · Like Umar Abdullahi Excellent. May Allah be wt u. Yesterday at 17:47 via mobile · Like Shiitu Danlami Amir Muhammad May allah guide him to the right path. Yesterday at 17:50 via mobile · Like Yaseer B. Umar My olmighty guide,nd protect u against evils,enemies nd mk u independnt 2 ol,bt i wld lyk u to remembr ALLAH at anythng u do nd at anytym nd at any moment,nd do justice in ur work,nd kindns.Bcos kindness is d language wch d deaf cn hear nd d blind cn see,once again prophet muhammad saw said:kindness is amark of faith nd whoevr is nt kind has no faith.I wshg u ALLAH guidance. Yesterday at 17:52 via mobile · Like Ishaq Mapis Nice advice. May Allah guide & giv mr. Governor d wisdom 2 perfectly lead kaduna state. Yesterday at 17:54 via mobile · Like Yusha'u Pro May God make it easy 4 him. Yesterday at 18:02 via mobile · Like Samaila Rabiu Good aphorism from an eloquent personality. Yesterday at 18:08 via mobile · Like Nasiru Kukawa Your advice has captured all that has to be said for the new governor & indeed all our other leaders. Welldone! May those for whom the message is primarily meant reach it. Yesterday at 18:11 via mobile · Like Abubakar Adamu This is one of the advices that most of our leaders need, we hope the present governor will pay attention to must of what are being mention in this special post by our brother. Good job brother! Yesterday at 18:14 via mobile · Like Shehu Halilu Kagarko I hope he will do all that. Yesterday at 18:16 via mobile · Like Rabiu Inuwa Thanks alot 4 ur contribution. Yesterday at 18:31 via mobile · Like Tafida Lawal May Allah (SWT) guide him through. Yesterday at 18:34 via mobile · Like Aliyu Isah K What a gud advice may God guide him and be able to do justice to muslim and christians of his state amin. Yesterday at 19:00 via mobile · Like Jalal Muhammad Allah ya tayashi riko Yesterday at 19:04 via mobile · Like Sani Salihu Aliyu this is a good advise not to him alone,but to all those in the mantle of leadership Yesterday at 19:10 via mobile · Like · 1 Ismail Muhammad What a brotherly advise. Yesterday at 19:28 via mobile · Like · 1 Basiru Ibrahim Akuyam Jazakumullahu khair! Yesterday at 19:35 via mobile · Like Lawal Shehu Aliyu Zaria It really a well-wishing and wonderful advise given by a wonderful person. Allah yata shi riko. Yesterday at 19:40 via mobile · Like Asogya Rufai Allah yatayashi riko ammen tsuma ammeeeen. Yesterday at 20:08 via mobile · Like Hussaini Ya'aribe Mohammed Good advice Yesterday at 20:09 via mobile · Like Jibril Abdullahi Gud adv nt 2 him alone bt 2 all our leaders Yesterday at 20:18 via mobile · Like Muhammad Yahaya Jiyah that good may Allah asist and gaid him. Yesterday at 20:29 via mobile · Like Aliyu Usamatu Azare Allah Sarki DR. wato shi ilimi abun so ne! Allah yakarawa Dr. Ilimi da basira!! Yesterday at 20:40 via mobile · Like · 1 Balarabe Umar You have said it all,'IDAN KUNNI YAAJI ......' Yesterday at 20:42 · Like Mohammed Umar Wat a nyc advice may GOD bless u too. Yesterday at 21:05 via mobile · Like Ishaq Muhammad Haruna nyc advise bros, kudos to U. Yesterday at 21:25 via mobile · Like Aminu Maikudi What else can any one add to this? May God guide you. Yesterday at 21:34 via mobile · Like Haruna Auwal Ina maka fatan alkhairi Naturunku ka girma da gaga. Yesterday at 22:02 via mobile · Like Hafizu Nazifi Allah yasa wannan sako ya isa ga wanda aka rubuta dominsa kuma yai aiki da shi. Yesterday at 22:12 via mobile · Like Sadi Samaila Inama ace mai girma gwamna zaiyi amfani da wannan shawarwari? Yesterday at 22:52 via mobile · Like Ibrahim Ladan Very reach advice. 16 hours ago via mobile · Like Meena Zubairu Nyc 1,Amin 15 hours ago via mobile · Like Hadiza Bello Lovely.u hav spoken well Aliyu.God bless u 4 dis 15 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1 Muhammad Bala Dat is intellegent advice tnk u. 12 hours ago via mobile · Like Kamilu Zee Adamu Aliyu u hv gud advicebl an gud spok,ALLAH ya bashi ikon anpani da wannan shawarar amin 11 hours ago via mobile · Like Lawal Abdullahi No any advice can pass Aliyu's one.may ALLAH be with you any time.ameeen. 11 hours ago via mobile · Like Mohammad Mahe That is the actual true 7 hours ago via mobile · Like Usman Alh Abubakar Good advice. 7 hours ago via mobile · Like Aminu Bello Gud one 5 hours ago via mobile · Like Maaruf Salisu Mohammed That is d actual truth ,u hv said all. 3 hours ago via mobile · Like Al-Hassan Haruna That is true my Allah help us 2 hours ago via mobile · Like Idris K. Shehu Do hope ur advice gets to him Dr about an hour ago via mobile · Like Mustapha Dalhatu May Allah help him n make it easy 4 us all. Thnx 4 ur kind words. 38 minutes ago via mobile · Like Write a comment... Promote

From My Facebook Wall (6): Governor Suswam is Irresponsible Here, A Bad Christian

GOVERNOR SUSWAM IS IRRESPONSIBLE HERE, A BAD CHRISTIAN By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde I consider this comment published in Blueprint Newspaper by Governor SUSWAM as irresponsible, coming from a Christian leader of his position. Help me please. What is this politician trying to put across when he says "only four Christians from the north were elected governors of their state", (Me: How many does he want in a game of numbers?) that "he was likely to be attacked by the dreaded Islamic militant sect, Boko Haram and therefore called on Christians in the country to fervently pray for him", (Me: Has Boko Haram given him any notice, nay, did they ever even mentioned him or is he just trying to win the sympathy from his people?) that "with the demise of Sir Patrick Yakowa and the almost hopeless condition of Suntai, only two of them are left standing adding that going by the security reports he receives on a daily bases, it is clear that he may be attacked any day, anywhere, anytime hence the need to include him in their daily prayers" (Me: Were Yakowa and Suntai attacked?) that "the plane crash which killed Yakowa was a source of worry for Christian northerners" (Me: is this a revelation?) and that "he could not believe what he saw adding that Suntai’s condition was pathetically critical." (Me: And so was 'Yaradua. What do you expect from a surviving pilot of a helicopter crash?) And a whole serving Governor was saying this in a church. Where is God in the heart of these politicians who have looted our treasury and are doing their every best to destroy us and our society? Has Suswan taken the statistics of Nigerian leaders who died in power and the religion they belonged? Help me count please: Balewa, Sardauna, Ironsi, Murtala, Abacha, Yar'adua. Did any Muslim governor, Emir or even cleric complain? Suswan is a live specimen of the two groups - politicians and clerics - that are destroying the North and Nigeria. May God deliver us from them and deliver them from themselves. As you read the full text of the Blueprint's report below, please help me decipher what he is trying to say but couldn't do so eloquently, for whatever reason. The Full Report: Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has described the condition of his Taraba State’s counterpart, Governor Danfulani Danbaba Suntai as horrible and very critical. This was just as he said that he was likely to be attacked by the dreaded Islamic militant sect, Boko Haram and therefore called on Christians in the country to fervently pray for him. Suswam, who stated this while addressing communicants of NKST Church, in High Level quarters, Makurdi yesterday, decried a situation in which he said only four Christians from the north were elected governors of their state. He noted that with the demise of Sir Patrick Yakowa and the almost hopeless condition of Suntai, only two of them are left standing adding that going by the security reports he receives on a daily bases, it is clear that he may be attacked any day, anywhere, anytime hence the need to include him in their daily prayers. He stressed that the plane crash which killed Yakowa was a source of worry for Christian northerners adding that when he went to Germany to see Suntai, he could not believe what he saw adding that Suntai’s condition was pathetically critical. He called on Christians not to be carried away by the social aspect of the yuletide but to always find time to offer prayers to God for their leaders. Meanwhile, Suswam has described the death Governor Patrick Yakowa, and the immediate past National Security Adviser to the President, General Andrew Azazi, in a helicopter crash as tragic. In a press release signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, Suswam said the incident was a national loss to Nigerians adding that it was a thing of regret that Yakowa and Azazi perished in the crash. He further said that the death of the two leaders has created a big vacuum in the leadership strata of the country which would be difficult to fill and therefore called for prayers from all Nigerians to avert such disasters in the Nigerian airspace in the days ahead. 148

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Facebook Wall (3) OBJ Exports Rigging to Ghana

From My Facebook Wall (3) By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde OBJ Exports Rigging to Ghana Wonders never end, they say. Uncle Segun was the head of the ECOWAS election monitoring group in the recent Ghanaian elections. Aren't others correct to enquire whether we Africans could really be serious at anything at all, even for once? Here was a guy who squanderd many chances of becoming a true statesman of his own country, who had the opportunity like no one else before to institutionalize democratic values but who blew them in pursuit of ethnic chauvinism and his characteristic megalomania, manipulating religion to divide the country and overseeing the looting of its treasury at the expense of its existence. Yet, he is the statesman that Africa and the international community find worthy of recognition. Obasanjo is not alone. Yesterday, I saw former President Abdulsalami Abubakar mediating between Sudan and Southern Sudan. Abdulsalami it was, in connivance with other retired Generals, manipulated the democratic process and delivered the monster which in turn gave birth to our present state of instability and unprecedented level corruption. It committed the cardinal sin of power shift which has resulted in so much rancour and mistrust among Nigerians today. Abdulsalami's tenure, like that of his chosen successor and former boss, witnessed one of the highest frequencies of multibillion dollar corruption in the country. Are these the best men that African womb could produce? Well, not unexpected with Obasanjo and the many Nigerian observers that included INEC team and members of our National Assembly at the elections in Ghana, the results were tampered with, charged the opposition, which has accused the ruling party of what we can call a PDP culture. I heard Obasanjo justifying the rigging, generalizing that every election in the world is bound to have problems. I agree with an ECOWAS official who was reported saying that the utterances of OBJ alone were capable of jeopardizing Ghana's political stability, were it not for the maturity of its democracy and the patriotism of its politicians. Beware Ghanaians! Please don't learn from the beasts that have devoured their own country. They weren't in your country for election tourism alone but also to infect you with the dangerous virus of election rigging, a heavy load of which they carry. And unless Africa is serious about itself, nobody will take it serious on anything. True. Africa, the dark continent! Your wonders will never end. 12/12/12.

Monday, December 10, 2012

From My Facebook Wall (2): A Pleasant Meeting with Timawus Mathias

From My Facebook Wall (2)@@@ By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde@@@ A Pleasant Meeting with Timawus Mathias@@@ One of the most pleasant moments I enjoyed at the 50th Anniversary of my secondary school, GSS Ganye, which took place last Saturday, 8 December 2012, was when I listened to Timawus Mathias, the MC of the occasion.@@@ Immediately he started speaking I couldn't help asking my friend, Dr. Gida Sarki, who it was. Timawus Mathias, he replied. My God, the voice was so captivating: deep and beautifully adorned by his excellent command of English and the typical northern accent that bewitched the British audience of Tafawa Balewa in the 1950s. That voice kept me seated for hours without any complaint.@@@ I couldn't help but approach Tim to introduce myself. "Hello sir," I greeted him. "Hello my dear," he replied. "I am Aliyu Tilde", I introduced myself. Suddenly he opened his eyes in surprise. "Happy to meet you. You are quite an inspiration to us," he exclaimed. I received the greeting but returned the praise. "No sir, it is you who is an inspiration to my generation. It can never be the other way sir. How I wish we can live to the standard you set."@@@ Later when he stood up, Tim introduced me to the gathering, repeated his praises of my writings and views with a bit of exaggeration. He said that when he was invited to start a column in the Daily Trust, he made me his benchmark and doubted if he could write as I did. Knowing fully well that I didn't deserve the pedestal accolade, I hid my head such that he couldn't see me and ask me to stand up for recognition. He looked around but little Harry was not in sight.@@@ It was a pity that I couldn't stay till the end of the occasion. I left 30 minutes to the closing time, afraid of the bad road back to Yola. I would have loved to chat with Tim for a minute. The following day was Sunday and the idea of visiting him in Numan crossed my mind. But I didn't want to disturb his Sunday commitments as a Christian and so I drove past Numan the following morning, missing the important opportunity the visit would have accorded me.@@@ It is with great pride to note here that Tim has done better than me as a columnist since he picked up the challenge from the Trust. He has been able to navigate the difficult waters of commenting on Nigeria with a dexterity that would remain the envy of other writers. He has truly proven to be a seasoned journalist, a true nationalist and a believer in one North. Let me add another good thing about Tim that is worth mentioning here. He is indisputably the greatest contributor on Facebook from this part of the country amongst people of his generation. While many of his colleagues are afraid of approaching a computer, Tim is already a master of the social media. There he speaks to the younger generations, giving us the necessary guidance we need from a man of his age. Let me confess: I envy him. But don't tell him, please.@@@ Tim is not alone. He belongs to a group of broadcasters who were groomed in the culture of Northern journalism, a tradition which they not only mastered but also perfected. Their voice has become the standard northern voice in broadcasting. As he spoke during the occasion, I was consumed by the nostalgia for the similar voices of Abdulkarim Albashir, Khalifa Baba Ahmed, Ibrahim Samaila Ahmed, Nyako Mindava and others at FRCN and NTA Kaduna in the 1970s.@@@ Sadly, Nigeria did not allow for the likes of Tim to be replicated in the generations that followed theirs. I am afraid to say that after they pass away a similar voice may never be heard again in the North. Today, due to lack of dedication to duty, insatiable penchant for wealth and the influence of corrupt leadership, merit is discouraged, allowing sycophants to take over our media and other institutions.@@@ My trip to Ganye has paid off even if it were only for the opportunity to once again listen to someone like Tim from that generation of broadcasters. I have no regrets, despite the long journey, the bad road and the flat tyre.@@@ May he last long enough to allow us similar opportunities, times without number.@@@ Aliyu

Friday, December 7, 2012

From My Facebook Wall (1): My Hierarchy of Identities

From My Facebook Wall (1) By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde My Hierarchy of Identities@@@ My recent postings on Northern Nigeria necessitate a clarification about how we view our identities at any given time.@@@ Personality is what you earn, but identity is many times what others give you, whether you like it or not, by the way they treat you or refer to you. A lot of us would have forgotten the name northerner if we were not constantly reminded by others that we are northerners.@@@ I thus agree with Zubairu A. Rufa'i who pasted the massive map of Northern Nigeria below and said, "If your state falls in the green you are a northerner." someone added, "Whether you like it or not."@@@ After our last presidential elections, I can not remember how many times I was asked by the people I met in Washington DC from which part of Nigeria I came. I was surprised that even our Cameroonian neighbours insisted that I had to tell them. "Northern Nigeria", I replied proudly.@@@ We northerners may squabble and even fight bloody clashes here at home. But as soon as we find ourselves outside the region as students, corpers, travelers, etc, the clock of brotherhood derived from our common regional identity becomes begins to click. We are referred to by our common name: northerner.@@@ Back in 2005, while leaving Heathrow airport in a train to Richmond, judging from my northern accent, a Nigerian from the so called Middle Belt heard my voice speaking to my VSO partner, Hanna Nauke and immediately turned to me and said, "You are from Northern Nigeria. Right." I replied, "Yes." He extended his hands to me, saying, "Hello my brother."@@@ But let me tender my apology, if I must. Confessing my northernness doesn't in any way make me a lesser patriotic Nigerian. It is just my identity at a certain level. Above it is my identity as Nigerian, African, Fulani, Black, and Muslim, just as below it is that of Northeasterner, Bauchi'ner, Toro'ner', and Tilde'ner'.@@@ It is perplexing how we deal with this hierarchy of identities in everyday life. What is harmful is not the identities themselves but our use of them to gain undue advantage over others.@@@ What we must do, despite our inescapable hierarchy of identity that is inherently human, is to constantly embrace and practice the universal values of brotherhood, justice, peaceful coexistence and the readiness to accord everyone we meet his rights even if it is only a smile when our eyes meet on the street, "peace" when we greet him, a kind word when we speak to him, a help when he needs it even without requesting for it. This is important especially when our identities at the level we are interacting differ.@@@ To those we share the same identity, we additionally owe them the difficult duty to prevent them from treating others unjustly whether in business or in government, whether in words or in deeds. We must never support them tocheat, though, of course, we must readily help our own in self defense and doing good. We must not forget that those others also share our identity at higher levels, being Nigerians too, or Africans, blacks, or, more importantly, belonging to the large and all encompassing family of humanity.@@@ This message is for realist who want to reconcile the different forces that compete for his soul in everyday life. In Nigeria those forces are many, given our rich hierarchy of identities. Reconciling them will harness our mutual undrstandng and make our country more peaceful. God bless the human race, whose blood we must never let, whose propert we must never destroy and whose dignity we must never abuse.@@@ 6 December 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Discourse 341: Who KIlled General Shuwa?

Discourse 341@@@ By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde@@@ Who Killed General Shuwa?@@@ This article explores the possibility of another theory and calls for a panel of investigation into his death to be set up by the Federal Government.@@@ When the Nigerian Civil War veteran and hero, General Muhammadu Shuwa, was killed at his residence in Maiduguri on 2 November 2012, the official narrative implicated Boko Haram. Nobody expected a different version. Yet, many doubted the authenticity of the story. The truth, people believed, will unfold in the course of time.@@@ The doubt stemmed from a number of facts. First, General Shuwa did not have the credentials of would place him on the Boko Haram hit list. Not at all. He has distinguished himself by leading a quiet life among his people, far away from the Government Reserved Areas of Maiduguri, Kaduna, Lagos or Abuja. He lived in the neighbourhood of the less privileged where his relatives and commoners reside. This has enchanted him to everyone in the city. He does not comment on national issues or indulge in our corrupt and self-seeking politics. He does not go about begging Nigerian heads of state, presidents or governors. Like him or hate him, he was the quintessential elder statesman, a rare gem among his peers, many of whom returned from war to milk the country dry and sink it in the bloody sea of disintegrative politics after their enviable war records as champions of its unity. Even on the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency, Shuwa has not uttered a word in public. When all is considered, General Shuwa was one of the most ineligible victims of Boko Haram.@@@ The above could be dismissed as mere speculation by the authorities, but not after his brother shocked the public with graphic details of the scene of his assassination. What invites our minds to abandon the official tale of Boko Haram culpability is the unfortunate role the Nigerian military played - or failed to play - in aiding his assassination: its personnel failed to stop it when they were right there, on its spot. The assassins appeared, only two of them, before the armless old man, unexpectedly, when he was receiving a prayer from a passerby. Shouting Allahu Akbar, they gunned him down and kicked him to confirm that he was dead before walking away, laughing, not shouting Allahu Akbar anymore. His guards – some eight heavily armed soldiers – that were at the scene did not put up any resistance. They stayed put and watched the murder of the master they were sent to protect. Neither did they give the two assassins any chase. It is this dereliction of duty – a deliberate room for allow murder – that made the official narrative of ‘boko haram’ assassins an unpalatable pie to ingest.@@@ It did not take time before Boko Haram denied the charge of killing the General just as the Defence Headquarters was equally quick in denying the complicity of its agents. One question remains unanswered though: why did not the soldiers put any resistance?@@@ After following the activities of Boko Haram since it started its insurgency, I have learnt to concede it one thing: accepting its denial whenever it issues a disclaimer on any operation it did not undertake. Unfortunately, the world is reluctant to accord the Nigerian military the same veracity status because it has earned a notorious reputation of denying even the most obvious. Just last week when Reuters released a video of some Nigerian soldiers executing people on the street, the military spokesman instinctively denied the charge even before watching the video. Nigerian soldiers cannot do that, he said – that is all – and he expects the world to believe him. The people of Maiduguri, like those of Zaki Biam and Odi before them and, indeed, other Nigerians as well, will definitely find it difficult to swallow this claim.@@@ Horrendous things have been reported from Maiduguri in the last two years. Unarmed civilians are trapped in their neighbourhoods and killed by people wearing military uniforms. The military authorities denied carrying out the executions, as they denied the rapes that were reported by foreign media at the debut of their intervention in the conflict. Markets were burnt to ashes by armed men in uniforms. Ordinary citizens are subjected to a constant regime of harassment. Again and always, it is one denial after another from the Joint Task Force and the defence headquarters. Even where accounts were given by human right groups such as Human Rights Watch, the denial never ends.@@@ What the Nigerian military cannot deny is that these atrocities are happening in areas under its effective control and continuous surveillance. All roads leading to General Shuwa’s house have roadblocks manned by Nigerian soldiers. And so is his house to date. (One wonders what the soldiers are still doing there) Yet his assassins could comfortably scale through the roadblocks and kill the general right before the eyes of his military guards, unrestrained by their presence, unconstrained by their guns and superior demography of eight to two – and walk away laughing with impunity.@@@ I think the military authorities and the government should wake up and start exploring other possibilities that could be behind these atrocities, not least the possible involvement of some elements in the military in the death of General Shuwa. This is what many Nigerians are doing. The military can take exceptions to this inquisition only at the peril of totally losing the confidence of the Nigerian public. Given the variegated nature of its cultural composition and its factional history, it is naïve to think that every Nigerian soldier has shed off the garbage of ethnicity and history from his shoulders. They are human, after all. People are therefore asking whether Shuwa was a victim of some kind of vengeance. Does his civil war record leave an enduring bitterness in someone, for instance? They now ask these questions not only because of their sheer possibility but also because of the indifference that his guards showed during his murder.@@@ This strong speculation can only be dismissed after the government has carried out a thorough investigation into his murder, digging out the reasons for the nonchalance of his soldier guards and the identity of the real culprits. Anybody can shout Allahu Akbar as he shoots his victim to confuse his identity with that of Boko Haram, as did the Christian who attempted to burn his church in Calabar last year. Outright denial and pointing an accusing finger at Boko Haram alone will not suffice. It is either a rebuttal – denial backed with convincing evidence – or a revelation of the unalloyed truth. Anything short of that will continue to leave the gates of the rational mind open to all sorts of possibilities, including that of an attack from outside space.@@@ If the armed men that burn markets in Maiduguri, rape women, execute youths before the eyes of their parents in the middle of the night and kill war veterans like Shuwa are neither Nigerian soldiers nor Boko Haram, then could they be aliens from a neighbouring country – as Governor Jang often claim in his state – or some creatures from outside space? And who can save us from their wrath other than the Nigerian military? But the same military was at the spot where Shuwa was killed and its boys declined to put up any fight.@@@ It is not uncommon to find people expressing the view that Boko Haram or a part of its dimensions is nothing but an orchestration to destroy the North – its people and its economy. The circumstances of Shuwa’s death will definitely add fuel to the fire of this conspiracy theory. Only a full investigation by a body independent of the Nigerian military will discount it.@@@ Panel of Investigation@@@ In view of the above, I would like to raise two points in the concluding part of this article. One, there is the need for the federal government to investigate the death of General Shuwa. A panel should be set up under the chairmanship of a prudent, unbiased personality. Its members should include, among others, officials of the Borno State government, Borno Emirate Council, Borno Council of Elders, a representative of civil society and a veteran of the Civil War. This is a call that should be heard loudly coming from other civil war veterans, members of the Borno Elders Forum, the Arewa Consultative Forum and every champion of social justice.@@@ This matter must not be left in the hands of the defence headquarters. The military has already given its outcome that many of us are not satisfied with. It is hard to see it revoking that verdict and issuing a new ruling on the case. Since its personnel were involved – through negligence or connivance – the military as an institution has a case to answer before the panel. Government must not allow it to be a judge in its own cause.@@@ This investigation will not be of benefit to the relations of Shuwa alone. It is likely to unravel the identity of the mysterious soldiers who commit other atrocities in Borno and Yobe States that involved many innocent but less privileged Nigerians than Shuwa. The Nigerian military may also find the report important to its operations against Boko Haram.@@@ General Shuwa is dead. May God forgive him! The other point is that I would not like to accuse him of naivety at this moment when our prayer is all he needs. But I will dare suggest so for the benefit of others. A war for a general does not end with peace but with his death.@@@ With the death of Shuwa under questionable circumstances, we are challenged to review his status vis-à-vis his military career: Was he a hero of the war for Nigerian unity or its latest victim or both? Some would say he lived as a war hero and might have died as its victim forty-four years later.@@@ The controversy may never end until the truth is told. And the truth will always surface no matter how long it takes. We remain patient.@@@ 23 November 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yuguda Dismisses Abbass over Facebook Post

Yuguda Dismisses Abbas over Facebook Post@@@ Yuguda, the Bauchi State governor, deserves to be on Guinness Book of Record for being the first known governor in the entire world to dismiss a civil servant over sharing a post on Facebook. This inglorious record was set yesterday, Monday 19 November, when Abbas who was until then on suspension formally received a termination letter from the office of the Head of Service. The letter read thus:@@@ TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT@@@ I am directed to refer to the civil service commission's letter No. CSC/PRO/S/001/T.V dated 1st November 2012 to convey the commission's approval of your suspension and termination of appointment from Bauchi State Service with effect from 10th October, 2012 as your service is no longer required, please.@@@ Signed@@@ Ibrahim shehu@@@ For: Head of Service.@@@ The letter was expected given the vindictive nature of the regime, which, surprisingly, came to power partly as a result of the Yuguda's tales of victimization in the hands of his bosom friend and predecessor, Muazu. But it didn't take much time before the world came to know who is more quickly given to vendetta between the two.@@@ From the content of the letter, it appears that the government is trying to avoid controversy. Thus it failed to provide any reason for the termination other than the mere expression of discretion to keep or fire Abbas. It is however questionable whether under our civil service rules a termination can be slammed at any civil servant without resort to due process.@@@ Instead, he was gagged and kept under police detention for ten days before he was granted a bail by the court. The filing of his case before the court was itself dubious as it violated every letter and spirit of the penal code regarding defamation. It was, therefore, easy for the Nigerian Bar Association to throw spanners into the charges and the case was summarily terminated. Having failed in the courts, the administration is resorting to impunity and arbitrariness. Neither in court nor before the committee he appeared did anyone requested Abbas to provide any evidence to support the allegations on the post he copied from another page and shared. In law, such evidence provides a complete defense in any case of defamation. @@@ Bauchi State government is a public body that can be challenged before the appropriate court of law if it violates the rules that govern its operations. The attorneys of Abbas should explore the possibility of appeal. Doing so will greatly leap the cause of justice.@@@ The irony is that I have never seen where the government denied the allegations of corruption labelled against the governor in the Facebook post as the happenings are common knowledge in Bauchi. Neither did it challenge Abbas to provide any evidence. The world, however, will one day know who is telling the truth: Facebook or Yuguda. We are not in a hurry.@@@ I will still reiterate the advice I once gave to my brother Yuguda. He should shun injustice and vendetta. They are characteristics of a weak leader than cannot tolerate criticism. One expects that a person that will victimize someone for a simple Facebook posting will be strong enough to face Boko Haram. But Yuguda simply walked away from its threat to kill him and literally abandoned Bauchi for a hideout in Abuja. This is very much unlike Fulani. I hope he listens this time. It is just two years left before everything becomes history. Many before have come to Bauchi and left.@@@ As for Abbas, I will advise him to remain patient and steadfast. He should follow his case to its logical conclusion. As he does so, I hope the public will support him by expressing its sympathy and encouragement.@@@ Aliyu

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Tribute to Dr. Ibrahim Waziri by Dr. F. B. Damagum

A Tribute to Dr. Ibrahim Waziri Dr. Fatima B. Damagum, a female classmate of a slained medical doctor in the Northeastern town of Potiskum, Northern Nigeria, recounts his virtues and laments his departure. It is a heart-touching account among hundreds of others in the ongoing Boko Haram crises that has ravaged that part of Nigeria. I remember a discussion I had with my kid’s nanny once. She was recounting the death of her son and how much of a good son he was, and finally she ended up with “Ai Allah ba ya barin nagari”, literarily meaning Allah (SWT) does not leave the good ones. (In actual sense it means, the good ones always die early). Apparently it is a common Hausa saying but having never heard it before and being a bit hot-headed, I immediately reprimanded her and told her not to utter those words again, preaching to her instead that everyone’s time of death was already written and we should not speak such blasphemy against our creator. As she could not argue with her employer and thinking I was more knowledgeable than her, she let the matter rest. I have since regretted the way I handled the situation. Since graduating from medical school in 2008, our class has experienced its share of death - Ahmad Yaqub and Ibrahim Ajiya Waziri. I am not ashamed (and I’m sure many will agree) to say that the two were the best in our class, not academically - though they were quite brainy - but, more importantly, in terms of character. They were good, morally upright, well read, serious minded, ambitious young men that any mother would be proud to call her sons. Ibrahim was the Amir of REMSA (Remedial Muslim Students Association) and Ahmad was Amir of both POMSSA (Part One Muslim Science Students Association) and NAMHS (National Muslim Health Students Association). Both of them are gone. I know it is customary to sing the praises of people after their death when in real life their faults were all people could see. But wallahi in the case of Ibrahim waziri, it is the golden truth. To put it plainly, he was a rare gem. After my move to Maiduguri after secondary school, I was opportune to be his neighbour on our street behind School of Nursing, Damboa Road; and after we both gained admission to study medicine in the same university we quickly became friends. He was smart, good-hearted and honest. But his best quality was how well he got on with people. He loved his mother dearly and doted on her. He was a bookworm and we used to tease him about being a suffer-head. He didn’t mind, his nose was too buried in his books to care. He would come over to our house and gist with my family members and even after I got married he would still go and keep my mother company. Ibrahim was the brother I never had. In our final year, we were required to pick a group with which we would spend 8 weeks in the village while we carried out final year project. Because the boys were twice our number, each group was to comprise of two girls and four boys, I immediately picked "Ibbi". The reason was simple: I felt safe with him. I can go on and on. Ibrahim was nice, very nice. How many guys do you know who sleep and tend to their mothers while on admission in a hospital? Ibrahim would go to classes during the day and sleep at night by her hospital bed whenever his diabetic mother was admitted. He changed her and tended to her every needs. She once confided in me that with him she didn’t miss not having a daughter. Meanwhile, in our street, he became everyone’s family physician. I have lost track of the number of times my mother would call him to attend to my sisters’ many ailments and he does it without any fuss or excuses. I remember quite vividly once when my mother was acutely ill and he was called at night to come and attend to her. Not only did he go, but he also took her to the hospital where he worked, admitted her, treated her and kept checking on her until she enquired if he was interested in one of my sisters! How many times did he give me a ride to and from school? How many times did my friends and I pile into his then Toyota in the early days of school when we went to the lab for gross anatomy or biochemistry practicals? How many messages have I had him deliver for me while I was staying in the hostel? He even gave me my first driving lesson! He was there at my wedding. He also there when I delivered my first son. Here, I seek the indulgence of my readers to recount his modesty. In his typical shy nature, he refused to enter the labour room, even though he was doing his Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) rotation then as a House-officer. Instead, he preferred to sit at the nurses’ station where he could observe the happenings around me and at the same time respect my privacy as I laboured in pain. In addition to all these, Ibrahim was industrious. He was enterprising enough to rent a shop as a student and start a photocopying business while many of us were still living off our parents and feeling like kids. I received the news of Ibrahim Waziri’s demise on Saturday, the 20th of October 2012, with a shock, as if my whole world was shattered. A couple of months ago I was pleased when he informed me about his new appointment with the Federal Ministry of Health. After the customary orientation procedure in Abuja however, he was posted to Potiskum, Yobe state to work in the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) as he was an indigene of the state. He sent me a text message to that effect. I was appalled at first but immediately called and reassured him that it could be for the best and wished him well. Over the past few months, he would post pictures of the sorry state of some local government hospitals on Facebook and my classmates and I would discuss at length and lament over the decline of healthcare in our rural communities. I remember the way my hand shook when my husband broke the news of his death to me that morning. Ibrahim and his father were murdered and their bodies dumped unceremoniously somewhere on the outskirts of Potiskum. I can figure out death from from natural causes, illness or even an accident but I cannot understand the way my good Ibrahim died. Why? Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un! Unfortunately for me, I was on call that day and had to go to work. I tried to put on a bold face but I could not. I was a bundle of nerves, crying on the phone and messing up prescriptions and diagnosis. For the past couple of months, Maiduguri, Damturu and Potiskum have been under siege and residents have been caught in a crossfire between the alleged “Boko Haram” and the JTF. Therefore, the news of indiscriminate killings have reached us and sensitized us a little. But the truth is unless someone you really know is hurt you are not likely to feel the real weight of the sorrow. According to a report Ibrahim and his father were both kidnapped from their residence at about 1:30am after their house was pillaged and burnt. The two were then taken to a remote destination where they were killed and dumped. Some say they were shot; others claim they were slaughtered. But in the end, all that matters is that Ibrahim died because of his virtue: He refused to allow the gunmen to take his father away and, as a result, he too became a victim. Sometimes when I remember him, I shed silent tears of sorrow, sometimes, my body is seized by racking loud sobs of frustration and anger. Nobody deserves to die this way. I can only imagine what was going through their minds from the time they were seized to the time of they were killed. I cannot imagine the horror they endured. Allah ya isa! In Islam, we are taught to accept whatever happens to us as destiny and Allah’s will. With this understanding comes contentment and peace. What God has willed will always come to pass. Now I can reconcile with what my nanny said. “Allah ba ya barin nagari”. Ibrahim, I will miss you forever. No amount of prose will explain my heart, no poem can render my sorrow. Only a prayer can suffice: May Allah grant you Paradise. Amin.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Abbas Will Appear in Court Tomorrow

Abbas Will Appear in Court Tomorrow Abbas Ahmed Faggo, the civil servant detained by Yuguda and his Commissioner of Justice last week for mere reposting of a facebook account of the corruption taking place in Bauchi State under the present administration will appear before the Chief Magistrate of Court III in Bauchi tomorrow Tuesday, a lawyer who is preparing for his defense has revealed. Court III is located at a close near Muda Lawal's House, New GRA, Bauchi. I urge all citizens of the state who are in support of justice and who abhor the ongoing state of affairs to please visit the court tomorrow and peacefully express their solidarity with Abbas. It is their constitutional right. The appeal also goes to all those who have been expressing solidarity with Abbas on the Internet as well as workers, students' unions, civil right groups, etc. The NBA Bauchi Chapter President has just told me that he will be in the court with a number of his members. Justice to Abbas is justice to all of us. We must say no to tyranny in the 21st Century. We will defend justice even where Yuguda himself is the victim. Our fight for the freedom of Abbas is an assistance to Yuguda: The Prophet (SAW) was urged his companions to assist their brother whether he is the victim or the aggressor. They replied, "Oh Messenger of Allah! We understand assiting him when he is the victim. But how can we assist him when he is the aggressor? The Prophet (SAW) replied: "By preventing him from committing the aggression." Yuguda, please fear God and listen to us. Listen to the voice of justice. If you cannot fear God, then fear tomorrow when you will not be on that seat, when people will desert you, when EFCC will confirm as true what you are today using force to deny, when you will say, "How I wish I had listened", when "How I wish" will not be of any help. You see that tomorrow as afar; other Nigerians see it near. Hayya ratata! Laamu? Laamu? Laamu hoolataake, Iguda am. Aliyu

Friday, October 26, 2012

Yuguda: Free Abbas Now

Yuguda: Free Abbas Now I have read on the Internet that you have ordered the incarceration of a citizen of the state, Abbas Ahmed, for expressing his dissatisfaction over the outrageous use of public resources in the wedding of your son. Though I do not have details of the case, the truth is that he has been arrested, arraigned before a magistrate court and now in the custody of the Police. From my previous encounters with your regime when I used to bother about happenings in the state, I have no doubt that you have the inclination to do so. Abbas is not the first. Za ka aikata, Allah rene. Shehu Barau Ningi and I were once personally questioned at the Zonal police Headquarters, Bauchi, in 2010 because a group solicited my advise on a publication they started. The chaps were arrested after publishing the third issue. I also remember that for the first and the last time I met you in your office in 2008, you mentioned that you can order the EFCC to arrest me after writing an article that highlighted the corruption taking place in your administration. Well, that did not scare me a bit. Your involvement in the arrest of Abbas is therefore, according to my judgement, very likely. I will advise that you view yourself as a servant of the people, and your subjects as the masters you are accountable to. If one of them complains that you did something wrong, explain; don't arrest. Arresting him shows that you are using force to cover your guilt. This is a bad strategy in the Information Age. You can see the sea of hate postings against you that has flooded the internet space since the arrest. I wonder how you, who has benefitted from such publications during the Muazu era (remember Bauchi Lokaci Ya Yi), would become so paranoid of public criticism. Wanzami ba ya son jarfa. You should tolerate people as Muazu tolerated you and your boys. Otherwise, in two and a half years time, he will find himself in a terribly pitiable position. As a public servant, you must develop a thick skin on such matters. That is my advise. Finally, the police and the magistrate ought to know that defamation is a civil, not criminal, matter. Any arrest on it is unconstitutional. Pleading for bail is misplaced in the first place. Abbas's lawyer should go to the High Court on Monday and enforce his fundamental human rights. If he doesn't have a lawyer, one of the lawyers among us should volunteer immediately. If there is no volunteer, let a lawyer contact me (08137661860). I will defray the cost. I don't know Abbas. I have never met him. But I am always ready to assist the cause of justice. Thank you. Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Short Essay 40: Deportation of Nigerian Pilgrims

Deportation of Nigerian Pilgrims: The World is Teaching Us a Lesson Other nations will continue to teach Nigeria basic lessons in civilization and governance so long as its leaders fail to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring that rule of law is entrenched in our society. Three things have happened of recent in this regard. After the corrupt Nigerian judicial system gave a clean bill of health to James Ibori, a former state governor, a powerful adviser to former President Yar’adua and the biggest financier of the ruling PDP in 2007, British courts found him guilty of the same corruption charges and sent him straight to jail. Our judges should burry their heads in shame. Some Niger Delta youths that were on his payroll even threatened to attack British oil interests in the Niger Delta, proving further that Nigeria is a jungle where thieves and cannibals go about free and celebrated as leaders. South Africa refused some Nigerian passengers entry when it discovered that their claim to vaccination was false. When a Nigerian presents a yellow card at any airport in the world, the general perception is that it is false. And, truly, it is, except in few cases. Nigerians, as usual, complained. The third case is the recent deportation of 1226 Nigerian Muslim female pilgrims from Jeddah for the failure of each to comply with the requirement of the company of a muharram – a person who is prohibited for life under shariah law to marry the woman. Space is made on the visa form and card for the name of the muharram but Nigerian pilgrim officials always play “419” by writing false names on the card and presenting them to the Saudi embassy for approval. The embassy has no option but to issue the visa. When the female pilgrim arrives Jeddah, there would be nobody answering the false name that accompanies her. During the lesser hajj, female pilgrims concoct what is called "mijin visa", or visa husband, to get around the rule. This is just any man the woman picks among pilgrims in the trip. Nigerians! The Saudis have been overlooking this perfidy for years. This year they decided to put an end to the nonsense. Nigerians, again, complained. The President sent a delegation to plead with the Saudi authorities. No one cared to listen. In spite of the appeals, the pilgrims who were detained in a cage like kangaroos under subhuman conditions were eventually deported back to the jungle. Officials of the National Hajj Commission and the state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, like our corrupt judges, should burry their heads in shame. They have brought unnecessary hardship on the female pilgrims and disgraced the nation in no small measure. But they are not alone. They are just like numerous other Nigerian officials at various levels of government: nobody feels that it is imperative to apply rules. Their perception of office is that it is a shop for making profit. Against these officials should our anger be directed, not against the Kingdom that is simply applying its laws. This, however, I understand, is not the popular reaction of Nigerians to the crisis. Now that we have been hurt by the deportation, our officials will finally start to pay attention to the provision. But only now, after the damage is done to the pilgrims and to our image. The world has realized that the only way to get us know that laws are important in the management of any nation is to strictly apply them on us. If we have destroyed our country by turning away from rule of law, they are telling us that other nations are not that primitive. They are ready to teach us a lesson. The question is: Are we ready to learn? No, unless it becomes necessary, like when we go on pilgrimage or visit other countries. But once in Nigeria, we are happy to lead a life of the jungle where the strong flouts every rule and go Scot-free. No wonder, our security problem continue to increase by the day. I am sorry to say that the end of our desire to live primitively is not in sight, yet. Thank God, we are not the only homo sapiens inhabiting the planet. Other nations are ready not to allow us destroy it as we destroyed our country. Bauchi 29 September 2012