Logic. Emotion. The two mental impulses that trigger man’s reactions. They excite and incite. Sometimes, they excite good; sometimes, they incite ruins. While logic actuates reality, emotion instigates hypocrisy. Depending on the direction in which a man drives his “mental motor”.
Ace author, Mark Manson, in Chapter 2 of “Everything is F*cked”, gave a telling analysis of man’s thinking and feeling brain. Mark likened our thinking brain to the logical brain, and our feeling brain to the emotional brain. While the thinking brain tells a man what the reality is, the feeling brain only wants him to be emotional, and take decisions devoid of rationality. By contingence a man handles his mental steering to the thinking brain, he’ll have a safe drive; but in case he does to the feeling brain, he’ll likely have a mental accident – thus opting for sentiments instead of reality.
In the context of the Muslim/Muslim ticket, which has stirred opinions from all orifices of the country; rational Nigerians handled their mental steering to the thinking brain for logical analysis, while emotional ones took to their feeling brains to let out emotional outbursts at religious sentiments, while shutting doors against the truth.
Historian John Dalberg Acton might have seen beyond his era when he documented, “History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.” For the illumination of emotional souls about the Muslim/Muslim ticket via historical fiats and present facts, this piece was unearthed. I hope you have a productive read, dear reader.
You see, a resurrection of primordial military eras when commanders and their second-in-commands shared similar religions could be attacked with cutting tongues from rigid souls who would rather lick a spit than consider admittance to truth. “No, those were autocratic eras when actions were dictated via decree. We now run a democratic, and not a military era”, so they could say at the mention of Aguiyi Ironsi and Babademi Ogundipe, Yakubu Gowon and Admiral Wey, Muhammadu Buhari and IdiAgbon, whose regimes were those of Christian/Christian, Christian/Christian and Muslim/Muslim respectively. But like the biblical Elisha, who pretentiously listened to Gehazi’s lies before telling him the truth about the gift the latter had exploited from General Naaman, this writer, like many other Nigerians, had also listened to the lies and emotions of resentful Nigerians about the Muslim/Muslim ticket, and was prepared to pinch them with the truth.
Previous democratic eras that could have served as a shield for aggrieved Nigerians about the Muslim/Muslim ticket were even marked with records of same religion tickets; the good old days when religion did not dictate who rules and who obeys. Then, patriotic Nigerians gave credence to competence over tribal or religious sentiments.
Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, as the then Premier of the Western Region, was not blinded by religious sentiments when he appointed his fellow Christian, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, as deputy under the then Action Group. As if he would turn his decision into a lull, Awolowo’s administration was also one dominated by his fellow Christians. Yet, Muslims then did not protest in a dissenting voice. Unbothered, Chief Awolowo would later choose another fellow Christian, Philip Umeadi, as his running mate in the 1979 presidential election. And the reaction? Muslim took to silence, again.
The celebrated “Zik”, Nnamadi Azikwe, would have been considered “sick” by these aggrieved Nigerians, when he also chose his fellow Christian, Professor Ishaya Audu, as running mate in the same 1979 presidential election under the Nigerian People’s Party. Guess what the reaction of the Muslims was? Well, your guess is as good as mine; they kept mum and displayed their tolerance, yet again.
The June 12, 1993 election that gave victory to Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and Kingigbe Gana was widely accepted as the most free and fair election in the history of Nigeria. Logical Nigerians had defied spiritual sentiments to cast their votes for MKO and Kingigbe, who were both Muslim faithful. Were it not annuled by General Ibrahim Babangida, only God knows if their administration would have delivered Nigeria from these storms currently ripping her apart.
The then logical Christians were tolerant of MKO’s choice and voted for him, unlike some of the emotional ones of now, whose “negativity bias” had led to their “mental clutter”, that they’ve been “hardwired to view situations more negatively than they’re in reality”, as authors S.J Scott and Barrie Davenport would write in their text, “Declutter Your Mind”.
If at all, their emotions and religious sentiments would override logic, I guess it shouldn’t be against two tolerant souls who had come together to right the wrongs of Nigeria. The first, Bola Tinubu, despite being a Muslim, has been tolerant with his wife, a pentecostal pastor. His children choose and practise the religions of their choices without any hassles. As a Muslim governor in Lagos state, he commendably returned missionary schools to the Christians, an action that was applauded by all, including the sentimental Christians. The same Tinubu revived the spirit of the New Year and Christmas celebration in Lagos state. After concerns spearheaded by Pastor Sam Ayedogbon of Realm of Glory International Church, Tinubu wouldn’t later allow the destruction of a particular church that was marked for demolition. Laudably, countless men and women in his administration, including deputy, commissioners, permanent secretaries, and advisers, were Christians. Many of his political sons and scions are Christians, yet he has never denied them their political and human rights. He did not even look at religious differences when he paid for the exams of students in their thousands, or when he engages in his endless humanitarian services.
His deputy, Kashim Shettima, is “the best governor Borno has ever had in terms of relating with Christians” according to Reverend Jonah Hamidu Freeson, Borno state chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. Shettima did not only give christains easy access to him while he was Borno Governor, he rebuilt Christian schools and churches demolished by Boko Haram in Hawul, Askira-Uba and Chibok Local Government Areas, which are predominantly Christian communities – Borno Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Mohammed Naga, and other Borno Christians would not forget that in a jiffy. Shetimma would not only send Muslims to Hajj, but sent Christains to Jerusalem too. As if that was all, he sponsored an Igbo Christian, Paul Ojukwu’s education till the latter attained two masters’ degrees, with a PhD almost shuttering a shot. Despite Borno being a Muslim-dominated state, Shettima had many Christians in his administration too, as commissioners, special advisers, and permanent secretaries. He would also pay the Christians’ personal visits, while giving them special funds to ease their ordeals. A chef, Peter from Cross River, cooks his food and bakes his cakes. What more could have defined religious tolerance? How many Christian governors can strut their stuff and brag about doing the same towards their Muslim friends and followers?
Surprisingly, these excellent Tinubu and Shettima are the men on whom emotional Christians are venting their rage because they share the same faith. These are the two men resentful Nigerians are shooting lasers at because of their faith. These two definers of tolerance are the ones at the receiving end of sentimental spit and divisive display. I would rather lend the word of the lyrical maestro, Lil Grinch, to tell these biased minds that, “I guess we gotta fear God. Fear God. Fear God. Fear God. Fear God”
It behoves aggrieved Christians to know that no one, not even a president and his deputy, can “Islamize” a country without the amendment of Section 10 of the 1999 constitution, which can only be done with the approval of two-thirds of the National Assembly, which is currently even dominated by Christians. Or without the consent of the state governors, of which 19 are currently Christians and 17, Muslims. Does one even mention that the 21 deputies who are Christians—as opposed to the 15 Muslims—would not watch that happen?
Emotional Christians should also know, that what is sauce for the goose should equally be sauce for the gander. What is fair at the federal level should equally be fair at the state level, where there are many cases of Muslim/Muslim and Christian/Christian tickets. Today, the entire South East does not have a single Muslim as either a governor or deputy. In the South South, there are just two Muslim deputies and no single Muslim governor. I guess there are no Muslims at all in the two regions. If not, they’d have protested at marginalization. But their tolerant hands would refuse to beat the drum of hate.
Currently, the whole of the South West, despite having more Muslim habitants, is ruled by Christians, except Osun State, whose Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has even lost the last gubernatorial election to a Christian/Christian ticket. Even, the newly-sworn Ekiti Governor, Biodun Oyebanji is also a Christian, adding to the tally in favour of Yoruba Christian governors. But the tolerant Muslims won’t protest, thanks to the undying tolerance they currently uphold, and once upheld during the second republic (1979–1983) when the whole region in the South was also ruled by Christians, except Lagos state.
Today, the North, despite being a Muslim-dominated region, still has three Christian governors in Benue, Taraba, and Plateau—with Benue and Plateau both running on a Christian-Christian ticket, not to mention Christian deputies in states like Gombe, Kwara, Kogi, and Adamawa—a contrary of which can’t be found in the entire South East and South South.
Considering all these, Nigerian Christians who still protest against the Muslim/Muslim ticket would only be likened to the intolerant neighbours of Ezeulu in Chinua Achebe’s ‘Arrow of God’ which he and his people accomodated but “wanted to turn a leper, allow him a handshake and he wants to embrace”.
If the constitution is fine to have permitted the past and present Christian/Christian and Muslim/Muslim leaderships at both state and federal levels, it should equally be fine to permit both Tinubu and Shettima – two tolerant souls with a glimmer of hope. In the wiser part of this, the grievances of emotional Christians about Muslim/Muslim tickets should rather fuel their request for a Christian Chief Justice and Senate President, since the Nigerian government stands on a tripod.
Relatably, the Muslim/Muslim ticket could be a hard pill to swallow for the aggrieved Nigerian Christians, but its end result would be favourable like the Sukuk roads and Islamic banking projects which they once besmirched but now enjoy. Against tribal hate and religious sentiments, may Nigeria win.
Hashim Yussuf Amao tweets via @LegalBard