By Okanga Agila
The United Kingdom Parliament (UKP) has some difficult task on their hands in Nigeria, a formal colony. The initiative and wisdom of the “All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Beliefs, UK Parliament” (APPG-UKP) to request for written submissions on the recurrent crises in Nigeria, especially Boko Haram Terrorism (BHT) and herders/farmers crises is eloquent expression of the United Kingdom’s inclination to peaceful nations and peoples around the world.
I construe the motive of APPG-UKP as a genuine quest to impact on the global congregation of nations in finding solutions to the threatening and perennial human problems of violence, killings and destructions. But as now focused on Nigeria, there is every reason for me and other Nigerians to suspect it might be misled by several self-seeking groups led by inherently self-centered personalities.
And the Nigerian Christian Elders Forum, (NCEF), led by the trio of Nigeria’s former Defence Minister, Lt. Gen.Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, (rtd); former Military Governor of Rivers State, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, (rtd), and Chief Solomon Asemota, SAN, smacks like one of such groups intent on misleading the Honourable Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its latest outing drapes with undisguised attempts to blur or twist facts on the ceaseless BHT and herders/farmers crises in the country.
So,NCEF presented a paper to the APPG-UKP on the multidimensional crises in Nigeria titled, “Competing Ideologies of Democracy and Sharia in Nigeria; The Nuance Understating of the Drivers of the Conflict in Nigeria by Farmers and Herders,” in which they gleefully reeled out half-truths, blatant lies and hypocritic mouthing of accusations on President Muhammadu Buhari’s pursuit of a jihad or Islamisation agenda in the country.
And to display a disordered mindset, Gen. TY Danjuma who led the group claimed to my utmost amazement that President Buhari is unserious about tackling insecurity arising from Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen-farmers crises in Nigeria. NCEF has other members who are prominent Nigerians and former leaders of our country in different capacities. I conducted a profile check of the prominent members of NCEF and discovered they had rich credentials as former leaders in Nigeria.
It told me clearly that this assemblage comprise elders who have the history of every problem in Nigeria. Therefore, I least expected that they could forget yesterday’s history this easily and mingle today’s realities in a blemish manner, while consciously exonerating themselves of culpability simply because they angled to crucify and pin on President Buhari a non-existent Islamism and Sharia agenda in Nigeria.
Nevertheless, some of these NCEF elders were either part of the establishments which created these problems or ignored it to flower into its monstrous, nightmarish and tormenting levels to Nigeria now, to which President Buhari is having sleepless nights to re-fix. I feel among these misguided elders, Gen. Danjuma particularly is most guilt-ridden.
Let me pretend to overlook the pungently sustained indictment of Britain and Lord Lugard who was singled out for condemnation by the Gen. Danjuma-led NCEF’s paper to APPG-UKP by their repeated harping on Britain’s colonial favoritism to Muslims than Christians even before independence.
NCEF’s scathed Lugard thus; “He hated educated black people and the South had many of them by 1914 dispensed with during a period of racism. Lugard created Muslim Northern Nigeria and annexed (not amalgamated) Southern Nigeria to provide access to the sea and sustenance for Muslim North. He would rather have traditional leaders to rule, than educated Africans.