Saturday, 3 August 2013

Yerima for President!

Yes, I said it and I have no intention to retract. After all, we are referring to a country called Nigeria.

So, now that you have succeeded in not choking on your breakfast, lunch or dinner, we can continue the necessary discourse on the plight of our dear giant of Africa. A country (or shall I say an enterprise) that has surely lost its way in a self-created maze of gluttony, lunacy and egocentricity.

To be frank, I have found the ensuing fallout of the Senate’s grisly decision to effectively legalise child marriage, very interesting. I have come to realise how little many of us know of our constitution. I have also come to acknowledge that many people do not even have a clear comprehension of Section 29. The reality is nothing has really changed. The Senate wanted to delete a subsection which has now been retained in the face of the Yerima-backed campaign. In other words, like always, Yerima fought his corner and won!

The offending subsection states:

‘…any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’

In any case, as per expectation, Nigerians from all corners of the world have blustered and ranted their protestations via various social media outlets. Seldom have we had a burning issue that has had the powers that be, shifting uneasily in a country where the elite’s disdain for the man on the street is palpable to say the least.

We have had David Mark, the Senate president, appealing to us and stating it was a case of political blackmail (???!)….we have had the odd senator crying out and telling us they more or less harangued into casting a blind-sided vote. The excuses, like those of an errant child have been rapid, but invariably impotent. The truth is these guys don’t know what they are doing and a forensic examination of their limp individual qualification for the seat they occupy, would ultimately tell you why this is not a surprise. We are in effect, a rudderless nation.

Of course, in these volatile type of situations, the political commentators from all manners of penmanship are always a source of common-sense and measure. In the midst of the loud silence from your Buharis, Ribadus, Obasanjos,  Rufais, Mr President and their other cohorts, it has fallen to a spattering of people to voice the indignation felt to the very core of our people’s psyche.

The brilliant Gimba Kakanda and the stoic Maryam Uwais have been the stand-out contributors in my humble opinion.

Gimba’s witty observations and vitriolic rejection of the indefensible has been incessant, honest and without prejudice.  In his withering piece ‘Rumble in the North,’ he delivered this gem:

“In our rash of debates, we failed to highlight that Yarima, who married an underage Egyptian, couldn’t do so in the bride’s country because the law there has outlawed child marriage. And Egypt is over 80 % Muslim!”

And therein lies the poison in this current discourse. Whilst the likes of Saudi Arabia are working frantically to increase the legal age of young brides, Yerima and his colleagues are attempting to introduce a new brand of Islam to us in total contravention of where every other nation with an Islamic slant are heading.

But then can you really blame him?

Here is man who successfully implemented Sharia Law in Zamfara State in 2000, even though we are telling the world we are a secular country! Here is a man who in 2003 married a thirteen-year old, without so much as a whimper from the observing masses. He successfully defended himself against a possible legal reprimand of marrying an underage girl, arguing that under Article 61 Second Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution, the Nigerian Government has no power to legislate on “marriages under Islamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto”, meaning that he had no legal case to answer. He insisted he had not dishonoured sharia:

"History tells us that Prophet Muhammad did marry a young girl as well. Therefore I have not contravened any law." 

Here is a man who subsequently (four years later) put his name forward to be the ANPP candidate for the 2007 presidential election and won backing from the Christian Alliance! In case you are missing my logical direction here, in brief, here is a man who doesn’t give two figs what any of you thinks.

But then why should he?

He has already explained his thinking to us in a rebuttal of all the flak he has been catching in the wake of the Senate vote.  In brief, he believes worse things are happening in the lives of underage girls on a daily basis in Nigeria.

In the cold light of day, you cannot really blame this type of individual. He, like his many colleagues who make up our elite, is well aware that Nigerians are a reactive people and as such always build their gates after the horse has bolted. The elite know we are not a strong people. The elite know our barks are far worse than our bites and as such will continue to visit all manner of crap on us, until we tell them ‘enough is enough’ and even when we do begin to say this, they will still defecate on us for good measure. It’s not called bad leadership for nothing.

To be frank, are we really surprised by the ‘crap in, crap out’ legislation that we have in Nigeria?

When our brightest and most distinguished have veered into the domestic private sector and the rest, deserted the country and cocooned themselves away in Western Suburbia, what is it we are expecting from this group of brigands and intellectually-bereft individuals? You cannot produce precious metals from spurious material and until we begin to realise any change in our laws affect affects us all, irrespective of foreign domiciles (now that immigration services in the West are doing spot checks!) or domestic sectors, we will not witness any significant fortunes in our poor state of affairs.

Say what you will about our founding fathers, do you see anyone in our current political class who can be described in the same vein as say; Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe or Obafemi Awolowo?

And for those who may feel my comparative analysis is flawed, shall I go down to the next level and ask if we can find anyone today who we can compare to the likes of Aminu Kano, Louis Mbanefo, Samuel Akintola and many more of that hue?

Nigerians keep forgetting that irrespective of whether the likes of Obama visit us or not, we are still the forerunners of the black race… is not a case of whether we want to embrace the leadership position, it is actually incumbent on us to do so. Those accustomed to my musings, can confirm my rantings on the fact that Nigerians represent 1 in every 5 black people on earth. That ratio could even increase if we began to check results of extensive global DNA tests, which have confirmed the likes of Oprah and Forrest Whitaker are of Nigerian extraction!

 We have the talent, the guile and the numbers. But crucially, we lack the most important ingredient of all…..courage.

We have become a shadow of ourselves and a foot-mat for anyone interested in trampling all over us. Our fight is gone and our collective pride ground into dust. We are like that failed patriarch, unaware of their pariah status, still rambling of our golden days whilst the reality of today’s emptiness evades our deluded mind. We love to sleepwalk our way into crisis, whilst we profess alertness. Boko Haram's stranglehold was a situation that many Nigerians told me would never happen.....sometimes, I still have the post-traumatic stress disorder of being derided publicly when I dared to inform some of my resident Naija friends of my fears. We seem to be completely comatose!

Why else would the likes of Rotimi Amaechi doubt our passion?

So yes, in line with the title of this piece, I believe very soon we will start to see Yerima’s posters accentuating his presidential ambitions. It shouldn’t really surprise you; we all know he has those ambitions anyway. In truth, if the likes of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha can have the chutzpah to distribute posters informing us of their senatorial ambitions, what can really stop Yerima? The 'good and great' will definitely pitch their tent with him and he could actually win. And pleaaasseeee don't do that Nigerian thing and tell me it can never happen!

Say what you will about the man, at least he has not been convicted of any form of corruption.

So yes, Long live Nigeria…..the valium-laden giant who welcomes all forms of deviants. Long live Nigeria….the country where talented youth is shunned in favour of the same old political class. Long live Nigeria….the paradise for those who refuse to learn from history.

Long live Nigeria……and long live President Yerima!

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