The precarious state of affairs in Nigeria has yielded an environment where lips easily come loose with words becoming cheaper and easier to bandy about with little or no consequences.
A lot has been said about Nigeria in recent times just as a lot has been written, all aimed at adding or taking away from the Nigerian narrative. From a place of differing opinions and motives, there have been desperate attempts to write Nigeria’s story.
Maybe, someday, everything rightly or wrongly said about Nigeria will be forgiven and rightly chalked down to sincere attempts to contribute to nation-building. But for now,the comments and opinions must continue to bear relentless scrutiny in the interest of the fragile unity of the country.
As insurgency has surged into Nigeria’s hinterlands, obliterating lives and livelihood and turning hitherto lively towns into ghost towns, Mr. Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic cleric, has emerged as a rather divisive figure.
With banditry convulsing large sections of Kaduna State and neighbouring Zamfara State, he has continued to hold out himself as a bridge between Nigerians and the terrorists who torment them.
As negotiations have raged between bandits and the families of their victims, Mr. Gumi has held out himself as a useful link.
Nigerians remember many of his contributions to a topic that proves a dagger to Nigerian hearts whenever it comes up. Nigerians remember how stoutly and loudly he stated his opposition when bandits were belatedly designated terrorists by law.
Among many Nigerians, Mr. Gumi has acquired notoriety as someone who blows hot and cold on bandits when and where it suits him.
However, because Nigeria is a country singularly torn apart by the activities of these bandits, many Nigerians can hardly afford the seeming levity with which Mr. Gumi treats the issue of bandits and banditry. This many Nigerians also find the kid gloves he wears on the issue of banditry extremely unsightly.
Very much like his spokesperson, Tukur Mamur, who recently tangled with the Department of State Services (DSS) over the negotiations involving bandits and the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna railway attack of March 28,2022,Mr. Gumi does not fear to fish in troubled waters. Recently, he was said to have in a sermon urged the Nigerian electorate to vote for those who would eviscerate bandits and terrorists.
Reportedly calling them brothers, Mr. Gumi was said to have described them as warriors who must be protected at all costs even if it means rejecting otherwise credible candidates.
With these incendiary statements joining a litany sung in seeming defence of bandits, one wonders why and how Mr. Gumi has not at least fetched himself an invitation from the relevant authorities.
One wonders what else he needs to do before he is deemed ripe for a probe on his curious position on one of Nigeria’s most difficult challenges.
It was to be expected. With crucial general elections firmly around the corner, laughable comments, sometimes disguised as sermons, were always expected.
Yet, the Nigerian electorate must stop it’s ears at what is clearly the voice of the enemy. This act of deliberate and even designed deafness would prove not only salutary, but life-saving as well.
Nigeria is currently drinking in the last chance saloon. A long line of failed and clueless leaders providing shockingly abysmal leadership has brought the country to a point where more mistakes will prove fatal.
Casting the vote at elections which are just around the corner is an exercise requiring high circumspection and reflection.
This being the case, Nigerians must recognize that such an exercise cannot be properly conducted with birds of deception like Mr. Gumi singing in their ears.
Together with all those who speak like him, he must be avoided like a leper and ignored like a pesky insect as Nigerians prepare for their moment of truth.