Posted by By Ahmed Kadir on
In their ferocious passion to promote disharmony among our political leaders, a witch-hunt appears well underway since it turned out that the indefatigable Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is not dead after all.
In their ferocious passion to promote disharmony among our political leaders, a witch-hunt appears well underway since it turned out that the indefatigable Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is not dead after all. The rumour had gripped Nigeria for about 48 hours last month, to the effect that he had died. Enemies of his regime in that uncertain period had, in a few instances, taken to the bottle to celebrate, while most Nigerians expressed anxiety over what could become of our young democracy.
This fear of the unknown was not totally unfounded, given that a similar rumour back in 1999 led to death and destruction, suffered mostly by northerners in Lagos who were suspected as having killed the President-elect. The President’s upbeat reaction to his rumoured death in local parlance, I dey kampe, not only calmed things down but has since become a needed addition to the lexicon of Nigerian politics. In a recent news story, some faceless forces working against a stable polity were pointing accusing fingers at Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State as the two men who nurse a death wish for Mr. President.
As they are desperate to gain material and political advantage, these enemies of harmony are turning to overnight psychologists who can penetrate and interpret the intentions of Nigerians towards the President; public figures they perceive as “enemies” of the President. But our President is so sagacious as to let himself fall prey to the pettiness of evil-minded “friends.” And what these fishers in troubled waters failed to recognize is that sometimes those perceived as “friends” can be more silently deadly than enemies. Anyone seeking to take advantage of the recent rumoured death of our President does not wish this country well and they belittle the office of the President by instigating him to punish imaginary enemies behind the death wish. Thank God the President isn’t dead but can we afford this?
In fact, since God gives life and takes it away at the hour and day of his own choosing, no President should waste his precious time paying attention to petty-minded individuals who seek to build themselves on the ruins of others. No matter how fast anyone seeks to bring your death forward, it may not happen when God does not determine so.
As a born-again Christian, the President is capable of rising above the puerile sentimentality (or even stupidity) of those hell- bent on making political capital out of the rumoured death of General Obasanjo. Because all is grist that come to their mills, these enemies of peace are always lurking in the corner, seeking private advantages from the misfortune of others. How can anyone in his right mind attempt to exploit a death rumour by seeking to unearth the “identity” of the alleged originators of the rumour?
For a President who has consistently stressed the need not to heat up the polity, the activities of certain forces to use the incident to victimize certain political figures are directly insulting the dignity of the President’s office. Since the President did not die as his enemies might have wished, the most sensible thing any genuine admirer of the President should do is to pray for the man for more divine protection rather than looking for whom to punish as the “originators” of the death wish.
The alleged “importation” of Islamic clerics from Sudan and Senegal by Dr. Usman Bugaje and Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is ridiculous! Any learned Muslim, such as Dr. Bugaje knows the implication of relying on the power of men to interpret the fate of others. If men, however learned, had the power to control their own destinies, many of us would not have been frightened by the mysterious nature of death.
If an Islamic cleric has no control over his own fate, it is highly unlikely he would have the power to help other men know how or when death would come. It is outside the teaching of Islam to assume that you have control over the fate of others, let alone yours.
When the so-called clerics told the late General Sani Abacha to rid himself of perceived enemies, including the retirement of disloyal military officers and potent civilian foes like the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, their assurances that he might outlive his so-called enemies turned out to be porous after all. When the grim reaper finally knocked at the door, General Abacha had to succumb. We don’t need enemy intervention to answer the call of nature when it comes.
It is therefore, preposterous to imagine that versed Muslims like Dr. Bugaje and Bola Tinubu would use the services of clerics to tell them what would become of their enemies, when they too cannot guarantee their own future. Such is the tragedy of anyone seeking to exploit the rumoured death of the President for private gain.
If our enemies pray ardently for our death a million times, that does not make it happen as long as our creator does not make it so. The worst enemies of our leaders are those who manipulate their minds, playing on their fears. Most people tend to ignore the heavy psychological toll of suspecting people as enemies. The stubborn passion of suspicion is a negative emotion that physically harms its victims.
Any leader that did not die as his opponent or enemies might have wished, should not unnecessarily lose focus, looking for the source(s) of his rumoured demise. When you have a task to execute, don’t look back, worrying unduly about who could have wished you dead. The existence of enemies is a reality we have to live with. Even the greatest men in history such as Mahatma Gandhi of India, John F. Kennedy, George Washington and others, all had enemies, despite the nobility of their missions. Above all, Jesus Christ himself had a tragic share of enemies in his lifetime. We have to live with the reality of enemies, because even those perceived as the most popular figures do have foes.
Therefore, our President should not reduce his office to the level of parochialism by allowing enemies of peace to desecrate the dignified status of his office by a needless pursuit of imaginary enemies. The God that delivered General Obasanjo from imminent death in the dark valley of brutal dictatorship is still in charge of his fate. And if he allows the fear of the enemy dominate his mind, then he will give his foes a cause for silent jubilation. As a born-again Christian, God should always remain his shield and not dubious characters who think they have access to the minds of those who love him or loathe him. His deliverance in June 1998 from the valley of death is an enduring lesson to reinforce our trust in God.
Mr. Kadir writes from Keffi, Nasarawa State.
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