This piece became necessary to me today, because of the surprise elements that triggered my reaction as the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Chairman, Bauchi State. Let me start by confessing that before now, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara used to have a special place in my heart because, despite our common tendencies he has remained relevant and politically productive in Bauchi State politics since his emergence as the Representative of the Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro Federal Constituency in 2007 till date. But, in his recent presentation on 20/09/2022 before the Nigerian National Christians Coalition (NNCC), where right from the introductory part of his speech he went straight to the issue of concern, where he said:
“I need neither remind us that nation building is such a complex and complicated subject so much so that after 108 years of amalgamation and 62 years of independence, our attempt at nation building has been, to say the least, an unmitigated disaster. While this is a subject matter that should be on the lips of all Nigerians, embarrassingly we busy ourselves with winning elections at all costs after which the power elites deploy institutional prerogatives with reckless abandon as if leadership is a zero-sum game. This of course, without any reference let alone commitment to nation building.”
The game from the beginning seems very clear to people like Dogara, when they decided at the expense of religion to support the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu despite the presence of the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who is a fellow Christian from the same South West, because in his political mathematics as Chief Chuba Okadigbo will prefer to put it, at that time religion was secondary to their personal ambition because if you leave me, the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is more important to that of the Vice President in any country.
The question of the Muslim/Muslim Ticket is purely a child of necessity in today’s arrangement and nobody appears to have captured it without sentiment better than the former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, when he posits in essence that, the aim of any political party is to win an election and our reality in Nigeria is that no party can afford to put two (2) minorities on the same ticket, that Tinubu is a Muslim minority from the South and it will be political suicide for him to take a minority Christian from the North.
Although, I understand the need to hide under the guise of “Nation Building” by Rt. Hon. Dogara, in driving home the message of his disappointment and his snub by Bola Tinubu in the choice of his running mate. But what I cannot still comprehend was the choice of a religious platform to send such a political message. Oh! no wonder that’s why Karl Max refers to religion as the opium of the masses.
It’s obvious that by just removing our political class, the ordinary Nigerians will easily blend with one another irrespective of any existing dichotomy (Religion, Tribe, Region, State, Etc.), that divides them today. Our problem over the years has remained that of ‘divide and rule’ by our leaders at all levels; to them, we are just nothing but important tools for their political accomplishment, and whenever, they run out of other ideas on how to climb the political ladder, they simply turned to their most potent weapons, religion, tribe, etc but as soon as there comes any political opportunity, they threw it away and feast with their perceived enemies in the same pot (National Treasury).
They care less about the possibility of them overheating the polity for no reason once that served them right at the heart of their moments.
Although Mr. former Speaker, systematically removed himself from the position of authority by deploying the divisive technique in his Keynote Address to the Christian Group that invited him, I believe he has succeeded in setting a tune to the Summit that will in the end help his desire for nation building. And paint a very gloomy picture of the irredeemability of our great country, as if making him the Vice President is the only missing link needed in nation building and once that is put in place our Nigeria will begin to fly straight to the eluded Promised Land. This kind of thinking is, to say the least, very lazy!
For sure the 2023 General Election will come and go but the consequence of what our politicians are doing today will live with us for generations yet on born, as the wrong of yesterday is what we are reaping today, it will do us a greater good if we turn to an issue-based campaign.
In the end when one considers the call by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the former Speaker of House Representatives at the 8th Assembly on Christians not to waste their Votes in 2023. One will still be forced to ask: whether those Muslims in Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro Federal Constituency have been wasting their votes since 2007 to date by electing him or since 1999 by electing Christians to represent them in the National Assembly.
As it is on record that by 1999 when we returned to democracy, the first person to represent the Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro Federal Constituency in the National Assembly between 1999 – 2003 was Hon. Dauda Garba Bundot (Christian) from Dass Local Government Area, then between 2003 – 2007 was Hon. Seth Alhassan Karfe (Christian) from Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and between 2007 – 2023 all things being equal is our amiable Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Christian), who successfully destroyed the seeming zoning arrangement of the constituency if any. Even though the population of Muslims in the three (3) Local Government Areas of the Constituency is greater than that of their Christian counterpart, the reality is the opposite. How then can we expect Nigeria to be different from what obtains in our micro-communities?
Finally, I will like to call on Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to follow the spirit of his name and ‘Dogara ga Allah’ (leave everything to God), as it is clear that he is doing more harm than good to his hard-earned political image and reputation he cultivated in the last 16 years, especially, in Bauchi State where despite the religious differences, he is highly revered as one of the most respected leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC). To me, his political party is never an issue, but the future has a way of rewriting the result of the past. Nation Building did not begin with one person, Nigeria was there before all of us, it is here with us today and it will be there for our children tomorrow, it all depends on what we wish to bequeath to the next generation.
S. G. Idrees Esq. is MURIC Chairman Bauchi State