Weapons Win Jihad But Ideas Win The Peace – An Executive Summary
The Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 meant different things to different people. In the official speech of Lord Lugard delivered on New Year’s Day in 1914, he concluded by saying “I trust that as one united country, Nigeria will increase in prosperity and wealth and its people in happiness.”
Ian Nicolson, a Lagos Colonial Civil Servant at the time and an anti-amalgamator, castigated Lugard’s administrative plan as “trampling on all the carefully nursed seedlings of civilized government, law and legislature, and substituting authoritarian adminstrocracy in which the whole emphasis was away from the coast, away from the law and education in its widest sense, and concludes that Lugard’s amalgamation places Nigeria in a state of arrested development …” 102 years after the Amalgamation, Nigerians are in the best position to assess the two opinions and determine which one was correct.
In retrospect, the unity of the two Protectorates was of no significant interest to the British. On the contrary, the Colonial powers intentionally created barriers that would keep Nigeria divided. By the middle of 1914, six months after Amalgamation, The Times of Nigeria in an Editorial wrote: “the amalgamation of 1914, is, broadly speaking the conquest and subjugation of Southern Nigeria by Northern Nigeria. Northern Nigerian system, Northern Nigerian laws, Northern Nigerian Land laws, Northern Nigerian Administration, must be made to supersede every system in Southern Nigeria.” Nigerians should understand that at the back of the Colonialists mind, “North” refers to Islam, while “South” refers to Christianity. “North” is a term adopted to indicate cultural, political, and religious domination in Nigeria. The mindset is still prevalent till today.
Since Amalgamation, the North was given advantage over the South. However, that advantage only benefitted the Muslim Oligarchy. The Middle Belt and Christians in the North did not partake in it.
As a biased and unfair umpire, the British divided the South in 1939 into Western and Eastern Regions but resisted every call to carve out the Middle Belt Region from the North. The northern led Government of Balewa further divided the Western Region into West and Mid-West in 1963, but left the North untouched. To strengthen its monolithic entity, Britain subjugated the Middle Belt and handed it over to the Oligarchy. Middle Belt was neither captured nor conquered, but the British unfairly used “indirect rule” to suppress the region. In 1967, the “North” ceased to exist when General Yakubu Gowon created the 12 states. While the “South” ceased to exist in 1939, the “North” ceased to exist in 1967.
However, parochial and manipulative interest groups still tenaciously hold to “North” as an entity. It should be understood that this is done for manipulative political, cultural, and religious domination. The “North” ceased to exist in 1967.
In 1958, the Willink’s Commission wrote:
“The whole structure of the proceedings leading to independence is based on the belief that Nigeria meant to follow the road of liberal democracy and parliamentary government and to base part of the structure on the opposite assumption is to invite government to do their worst. But if the road is followed (liberal democracy and parliamentary government), votes will count and in the last resort it is votes that will win fair treatment for minorities.”
This Commission was set up to enquire into the fears of minorities and the means of allaying them with four terms of reference only. Among the issues the Commission considered was:
- Fears of Christian minorities of the South and North
- Fear of political influence
- Fear of Foreign Policy
- Fear of religious intolerance
All the apprehension expressed at the Willink’s Commission has been proven true today.
BREAKING DOWN WALLS; BUILDING BRIDGES
The British commenced the inglorious acts of building walls of division and separation in Nigeria. The successive Military Governments headed by Muslims from the North, continued where the British stopped and reinforced the walls of division, using the intelligence agencies. Today, Nigeria is a country sharply divided along regional, tribal, ethnic, and religious lines. Unless there is a conscious attempt at “building bridges”, the entire structure is at the risk of a violent implosion.
After the British formally left Nigeria, Islamists, who appear to be the junior partner of the Colonialists, embarked on redefining Nigeria from a secular society into an Islamic Theocratic State. Working under the Islamic practice of “Taqiyya”, Islamists from the North smuggled Nigeria into OIC, enrolled the nation in the D8 Islamic Group of nations, created a dual ideology in the Constitution, embarked on purging the Civil Service of which over 90% of the “victims” of the exercise were Christians, established an invisible Government in the Presidency, amongst many others.
For years, the Islamists have been working in the background using proxies and surrogates. Today, the Islamists are in control of the Presidency, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. The singular objective of the Islamists is to replace the Constitution with Sharia as the source of legislation in Nigeria. If this nefarious objective should be achieved, the two immediate fatal casualties would be: Democracy and Christianity. Democracy is the only salvation of the South, the Middle Belt and non northern Muslims. It must be protected, nurtured, and preserved.
Today, violent Jihad has been launched in Nigeria to achieve the objectives of the Islamists through the combined forces of Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. Therefore, Christians have no choice but to transform CAN into a formidable institution for the promotion and protection of Christianity in Nigeria in the face of the threat of Islamism otherwise known as – Political Islam, which has no single creed or political manifesto but certain common beliefs such as that:
(1) Nigerian Society should be reconstructed in line with the Religious principles and ideals of Islam.
(2) The Islamists are demanding that Section 10 should be replaced by an Islamic State in which Religious principles and authority have primacy over the political principles and authority; and
(3) That the West and Western values which Christians over the years, have adopted in Nigeria are corrupt and, to an extent, justifies Jihad against the West and Nigeria and its values.
In the circumstance, Nigeria requires new ideas to win the peace and promote stability of the Nation.
While it is undeniable that radical and fundamental Islam is a threat to Christianity, in Nigeria, the real challenge that the Church has to surmount is the naivety, complacency, apathy and compromising attitude of large sections of the Church to the threat posed by radical Islam against democracy and Christianity. If the Church is unable to overcome the “enemy within”, it cannot resist Islamism.
- Financial independence should be guaranteed for CAN by Nigerian Christians. CAN has to be free from every form of Government influence, because “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”.
- There has to be a conscious and intentional agreement of all Christian Blocs to transform CAN into an institution.
- Nigeria should overhaul the Intelligence Service and make it a Nigerian not a “Northern” Institution in the promotion of Islamism.
- A Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish the platform for future relations of all Nigerians.
- Implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report.
National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), April, 2016
(Full Text published 27th April, 2016)