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Adamawa: Extremism And Cheery Picking


By Ahmad Sajoh

Since my write you on the broken moral compass went viral I have been inundated by calls and messages from sundry persons. Many have been very complimentary, but a few were adverse. Among those that opposed the content of the write up, the majority did so because they are opposed to the candidature of Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani as Governor of Adamawa state. To them what I am doing is just trying to curry favour from her hence I am supporting her no matter the arguments against her candidature. That is far from it. I am simply being rational. I am looking at the issues from a realistic point of view. I am concerned with the fact that what we operate in Nigeria is a constitutional democracy and not an Isamic Theocracy. I am concerned that the rules governing the two systems are different. And I am positing that you cannot cherry pick which of the rules of one system to operate on the other. Each system must be allowed to function according to it’s dictates. I hold this to be true. All my arguments on this matter are hinged on the position the rules governing the operations of an Islamic theocracy are totally different from those of a constitutional democracy.

First of all let me state unapologetically that I firmly support Senator Binani as the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Adamawa State. I am neither a coward nor a hypocrite that will hide under the toga of altruism to state a position I don’t believe in. No, never. I have the courage and conviction to make my position very clear on every issue. And let me also state categorically that I am a Muslim and I believe in all the tenets of my Deen of Islam. But I am rational enough to realize that we cannot practice Islamic theocratic rules in a secular state operating a constitutional democracy. From the very early days of Islam when Prophet Muhammad SAW sent some early converts to Christian territories for safety and protection, he enjoined them to respect the principles under which those territories were governed. We are Muslims under a constitutional democracy where rights and previledges are guaranteed by a written Constitution. We all agreed to operate that construction as our grand norm. It is therefore a misnomer to say we are opposed to any aspect of that grand norm including the rights to vote and be voted for which is available to every citizen regardless of belief, creed or gender.

We are not operating an islamic theocracy in Nigeria. So those who are saying Islam does not allow a woman to rule in a constitutional democracy are not being fair to the rest of us. If we go by that assertion then the views of the extremists who say we cannot be ruled by the constitution but by the Quran and Hadith should also be accepted. But we know that such views are incompatible with the realities of our existence as citizens of a secular country under a constitutional democracy. We are operating a constitution. We take our oath of office pledging to defend and protect that same constitution. I am aware of Islamic clerics who assume office and take their oath to defend this same constitution. And if we pledge to defend the constitution, does that not include defending all the guarantees enshrined in the constitution including the guarantee of equality between men and women? This matter is a straight forward one. Strip it of the politics of it and the possible inducements from politicians, there is nothing to discuss in a conference. It is just political hot air, no tangible substance at all.

There are other aspects of this constitutional democracy that the islamists should equally oppose if they are truly sincere in their opposition and they are doing it on the basis of Islamic teachings. For example, how come we accept to subject ourselves to a judicial system that is not based on shari’a? Are we not going to say it is forbidden for a Muslim to be judged by any system other than sharia? But we know that is impossible. The reason is very simple. We live in a secular state operating a constitutional democracy where the operating system is different from the tenets of an Islamic theocratic State. So if we can accept all other aspects of governance in a modern democratic state, why are we just cherry picking one aspect to sermonize on? Why are we questioning the rights of women under a constitution that guarantees equal rights to men and women? For me that is not a rational argument. If anyone opposes the right of women to rule us as Muslims, then such a person should equally oppose our existence under a governance system that guarantees then the rights to rule. We cannot oppose one and accept the other or vice versa.

Those talking about women not fit to rule should also know that Islam opposes women being Judges or combatants in war. I am waiting for a day when a case will take any of them to Court where a female Judge presides, let me see if they will abide by the conditions in the Court room or by the pronouncement of the learned Judge. Cherry picking which aspects of Islamic injunction to support and which one to oppose is simply self serving. Today in Nigeria women command troops as combatants. Some have participated in missions that protected many Muslims from the barbaric actions of terrorists and bandits. Do we then say because Islam insulates women from combat we will not accept the roles of these brave women. Perhaps it is our extremist views that made our brave sister who had distinguished herself in fighting Boko Haram to leave Gombi and Adamawa State and go and become an adviser to the Governor of Borno State. We should be more appreciative of the role of our women in nation building and the progress of our State. Just today Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani distributed palliatives to some people to cushion the effects of the currency shortage among the poor and the vulnerable. Where are the “men” who are fit to rule? Why did our preachers not say receiving support from a woman is not allowed? Like I said earlier, what we need are leaders who have a lot of milk of kindness to ameliorate the current sufferings experienced by our people. Leaders with humanity in their hearts, sympathy on their minds, empathy in their disposition and above all compassion as their creed. Give me someone with these attributes, man or woman, that is my choice for Governor.

In a country where cultists, sodomites, idol worshippers, Boka clients and sundry criminals are allowed to rule, is it only women that we should discriminate against? My take on this argument is that so long as we are operating under a constitutional democracy that guarantees equal rights to all citizens regardless of belief, creed or gender, we should respect those rights and allow the system to operate as it is. There is no need for double standards. The rules governing a constitutional democracy are totally different from the rules governing an Islamic theocracy. It amounts to calling apples mango to attempt to impose the rules of one on the other.

Again as always I come in peace.

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