Islamization of Nigeria: The example of the Mexican Border Wall
by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi
What the Mexican Wall does to a people on either side is what divisive words do. It is not more Mexican than it is of American since Mexicans did not initiate the idea for the wall and largely do not favour its construction. The newly inaugurated President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, did.
For convenience, let’s be content with the term flying in mainstream media, ‘Mexican Wall’ rather than the American Wall. It is a symbol that aims to herald the isolationist policies of the new government of USA. As if slamming the door in Mexico’s face was not enough, the latter has to pay for the construction of the wall, 100 percent. How, even though the Mexican government has said her sovereign self will pay for no such construction, while Trump insists they will? That question has been answered with the news of possible 20 percent taxation on imports from Mexico.
Somewhere else, specifically Nigeria, such a divisive wall is festering in terms of the action of marauding Fulani herdsmen and the reaction it has so far received. Many Fulani herdsmen have been savouring killing sprees, which had since seen many dead and more injured, almost in all corners of the country.
The fact that the killings have not abated, not even a mention by the government of a successful arrest in connection with the killings, when juxtaposed with the same government’s seasons of arrogant declarations of victory, however Pyrrhic, one is tempted to presume the government, state and federal, beyond insincerity are unwilling to combat the ongoing genocide with her might.
In an attempt to preempt government’s initiative at decisively nipping in the bud this monstrous massacre, leaders of the Christian sects have variously called on or instructed members of their congregations to kill “anyone who looks like a Fulani” found on their grounds (I suppose such premises are claimed to be houses of God that no evil can prevail against), or cut their “throats and spill their blood on the grounds” (Is this an opportunity to sacrifice to hungry ancestral gods; do they need blood?).
Claiming “it is a religious war”, branded and otherwise members of various congregations have picked up the fight, albeit with denouncing words. It is however to be taken for granted that these commentators have rightly and objectively considered that it is not a war essentially against Christianity but against all religions extant in the country. This is to eliminate the religious pride that has continued to bedevil the stratosphere occupied by the two religions that are at war with each other the world over playing the game of numbers.
Quite unexpectedly, the opposition wishing to use religion as a convenient ground to wage their political war has deployed religious sentiments “Buhari is driving an agenda to Islamize Nigeria”, “The muslim Fulani herdsmen are killing Christians as a means to make Islam outlive Christianity” and variations of such untruths or truths that are unverifiable. Do the educated trailblazers in the country really understand what is meant when referring to Islamization?
There are assumptions that excuse Christianity as the only targeted religion, making all members of all religions targets including those who profess no religion. This scenario has hitherto culminated into the Nigerian version of the Mexican wall, in which case the alienated or marginalized Nigerians are expected to continue to oil the wheel of progress of a government institutionalized to create division amongst the people.
How true is the foregoing, first that the current government aims to Islamize the country; secondly, that the only solution is to meet these particular marauding Fulani herdsmen with equal violence? True, in spite of one’s ignorance of what the scriptures, if any, of other religions say about situations like this, the Christian Holy Bible says, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” This particular verse has been erroneously quoted too often to incite the rather conservative Christians to violence when it is convenient for the mischievous leaders of such sects.
Without prejudice to another verse somewhere in the same scriptures of the Christians, which states that adherents of the faith should turn the other cheek when slapped on one, that verse on violence as quoted above does not refer to armed violence, as against what many church leaders want members of their congregations, their sheep, to believe. It actually refers to the passion with which adherents are expected to claim the glories of the kingdom and not that the “kingdom of heaven” is being besieged, helpless and needs the people to defend it. No!
Without being sanctimonious, let us quickly return to what seems a widely accepted perception of the mission of the current government of Nigeria. Amidst the government’s anticorruption crusade, attempts to bring the country out of recession and the establishment of sustainable systems in sections of our country, Islamization of the country also has its space on deck.
It does not require extra hard work to conceive the different ramifications of gullibility of those especially, who believe the current President of the country has come to Islamize the country, like the nation were one palace of the tyrant king who simply speaks rules into effect. This has been very well helped by leaders whose pulpits are decorated with prosperity and the factor of fear, twin elements that see members of such congregations submit their will and rational selves not necessarily to ‘God’ or the devil but to the men (or women) who have ingeniously crafted for themselves an imposing image of a superlative representative of the creator of the universe, to whom we all return when we die and from whom we either get rewarded with prosperity or doom, depending on whether or not we listen to and obey the words oozing out from the unknown interiors of these self-propped ministers of god(s).
Again, and against the daily bombardments of broadcast messages on social media, like the pert words of the village’s town crier, claiming that there is an Islamic agenda to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation, of course with no other subject of evidence than a claim to government opposition, blowing out of proportion the delay at conclusively ending the ongoing genocide, there is a need to rationalize (or readapt) and apply the principles of democratic governance in managing our affairs.
Islamization of any democratic nation is not a new term to be used selectively to describe whatever fancies the hate of groups of people. For instance, the campaign against ‘Islamization of Germany’, Europe and America has as excuse increasing migration of Muslims touting the normal practices of Muslims like the latter are not welcome anywhere in the world. This is not, in any way, to excuse the violent members of Islam. Violence in any form must always be condemned, irrespective of what religion the perpetrators profess. However, to equate Islam with violence is fundamentally flawed as much as it is when Christianity is equated with Corruption just because, for instance, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, with Christians occupying most of the significant posts in his cabinet, left a legacy of corruption with the ‘shining example’ of former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
As much as the Islamisation of Western countries as shown above may be plausible considering that ‘Islamisation’ as a term defined by Wikipedia “is the process of a society’s shift towards Islam, such as found in Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, or Algeria”, Michael Ley dichotmised the Islamic influence particularly in Europe, “While liberal and educated citizens consider the increasing influence of conservative and radical Islam with great concern and regard the future of the continent as rather bleak, their so-called progressive opponents interpret the ongoing Islamization as a cultural enrichment that contributes to the historical overcoming of the obsolete nation-state. Today the pioneers of radical post-national Europe would prefer to abolish all symbols of national identity: indigenous Europeans should waive all national, cultural, religious, and ultimately also traditional sexual identities” – Arno Tausch, in Michael Ley on the Suicide of the West: The Islamization of Europe.
While, on the other hand, all Nigerians should put into action “Unity in Diversity” by continually insisting that the Federal Government of Nigeria deals a decisive blow on the concerned Fulani Herdsmen’s continued impunity, there should be a conspiratorial abstinence, deliberately so, from erecting the Nigerian Mexican wall of divisiveness that religious leaders, especially the Christian ones are currently busy at while the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, a muslim, with some other patriotic Nigerians, has condemned the killings by the Fulani heardsmen and has been praised by John Kerry, former United States of America’s Secretary of State, for preaching religious tolerance.
We are not at a religious war. Nigeria is not, in contemporary terms, being Islamatized. Islam has been constituent of Nigeria for a very long time as Christianity is. By the way, there was a time in Nigeria when neither Islam nor Christianity existed as we know them to today. Hence, the country has both been Islamatized and Christianised a long time ago, stealing the real identity, whatever that is, and the previous religions of the people of the country. We therefore need to continually insist on the elements of our unity and forge past our division with the common mantra of humanity or otherwise, democratically call it a day as a country.