21st November 2002 : The Day
Kaduna Began To Boil
Samuel Peter Aruwan
State is indeed a melting pot of
Nigerian politics. It is also a mini
because people of different ethnic groups dwell here. There is even this
aphorism that "When Kaduna catches cold, the nation freezes".
Kaduna is a building ground to
success and fulfilling life desires and ambitions. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the
astute labour leader started his unionism here in
Kaduna , then rose to national and
international lime light.
Late Chief Bola Ige the late icon and sage, did
his early primary schools here in Kaduna
. The revered Catholic priest Matthew Kukah cut his priesthood teeth here in
Kaduna ; the rest is history of his
exploits in international discuss related to religion and politics. Don't also
forget that Kaduna is a home to many
prominent Nigerians and foreigners. However it has the renown
, Kaduna Polythechnic, Kaduna State Polythecnic,
on its soil.
recorded victory in the sport arena, there are always
Kaduna siblings. The first Nigerian
footballer to won the prestigious African footballer of the year and the first
Nigerian to score a goal in world cup, talking about Rashid Yekini was a product
of Kaduna soccer college. However of
18 Olympians that did win football gold medal at
Atlanta Olympic games, five of them
were Kaduna siblings.
I can go on and on. Kaduna
has a lot of things to look at and feel proud of being associated
with the fertile ground. Life used to be good and memorable one, why? Because
there were not sentiments and animosity. Any place that could have all that
Kaduna possessed would of course
rely on its possessions to harness good living and peaceful co-exsitence.
Having come this far, one wishes to digress .
Today I remembered with nostalgia on how we used to blend with our Muslim
friends. We were younger than now, and thought nothing about our differences. We
moved freely from Kabala West to Angwan Muazu, Rigasa and Tudun Wada without any
religious or ethnic animosity. But today life has changed for there are now
Christians and Muslim quarters, how and why?
Answers to these questions still hunt one. One was
only forced to write because things are getting worse by the day and right and
effective mechanisms are not being put in place to curb this cancer that has
gotten deep into our body of life, despite our religiosity. For everyday I am
watching with deep pain the way the so called conflict managers or experts are
making capital profits out of the situation. They claimed they know and have
answers to what does precipitate the fracas, but on the other way they
exacerbate the complex issue, amounting to further igniting chaos.
What carnage began on 21st November 2002 and continued for several days was
very emphatic and frustrating. The whole issues revolves around an allegation,
that one Isioma Daniel a journalist with ThisDay newspaper wrote a piece on
Saturday November 16 that blasphemed prophet Mohammed (SAW). The said unrest
started like a child's play but has left many tragedies to mourn for life.
Houses were burnt and looted, human beings butchered akin to animals in
abattoir. Why was the crisis coming after almost a week of the said blaspheme?
Is it that some people capitalize on the write up? How many of our people who
indulge in the crisis, can afford newspapers, digest their contents and come out
with a common resolution? Why would people who have lived together for time find
any "solace" in killing one another?
This brings to my memory a particular question, a
friend of mine asked me, in the heat of the said matter. He asked Sam "Is
religion a blessing or a curse?" I then answered saying, "religion is in the
life of every society, if it is being practiced with sincerity and honesty, it
will positively reflect in the society and then there would be peace,
development and of course good moral way of life. But once religion becomes just
a tool to achieve political interests or desire, far from its original form
then, it will detonate unrest, agony, poverty, instability and
mal-administration and bad governance."
is an example of this. When Nimeiry discovered his loosing
of legitimacy and acceptability, he quickly adopted religious law as a cover to
extend his political mileage. El-Mahadi, the former Sudanese prime minister
confirmed this during the Association of Muslims Intellectuals annual lecture
sometimes the rest are now history as we all know of the instability in
Sudan . The
same for Chiluba who sometimes as declared
Zambia as a
Christian state, all was to extend his political mileage. Today he has been
running from many troubles from divorce to allegation of corruption.
Those who orchestrated conflicts should think of
its consequences, children becoming orphans and destitute, women become widows
and men becoming widowers. This brings to my memory a neighbor whose wife was
killed barely days after giving birth. Of what gain would one benefit after
masterminding such evil acts? There are many things our diversity can positively
work than to brew sorrow and hatred. We should by now learn to live together
peacefully along with love and compassion for this are right before God. All
those who do cause havoc should know that it is not part of religious
obligations to do what they are doing, for they shall face God's judgment here
or hereafter. For God's case has no provision for appeal.
We should stop capitalizing on controversial
issues to disintegrate our society, because we don't know who will fall victim,
it could be the master minders or their siblings. Rather we should use complex
situations to harmonize true concept of pluralism. True religion is not all
about being too attached with religion, but strictly adhering to the laid down
rules and regulations governing different religion, which is basically being
kind, compassionate, showing love and kindness, giving to the needy, doing
justice to all, sincerity and honesty etc. However there is need for our
religious bodies to be monitoring the proliferation of these too many clerics
who go about inciting and deceiving adherents via their own fabricated theories
of religion. Furthermore they are always dishing out unguided and sporadic
sermons to the teeming populace, who has less understanding of events. Some of
these clerics usually pretend as godly people are known faces who have less
religious knowledge and moral balance, and are even allowed through the media
especially government owned media to exhibit their ignorance and violent
oriented messages that could trigger chaos sooner or later.
As it marks two years of this horrible experience
one is optimistic that someday our people would understand all this delicate
complex issues, so as to dwell again as it used to be, when I used to visit
Tudun-Wada to see Habibu and Shehu ditto them.
now has changed from all race quarters to Muslim and Christian quarters, people
residing on the basis of religion and ethnic lines. Who will close this gap and
reunite us? Is it the so called conflict resolution people who do make capital
profit out of our rancor and acrimony? Is it the constituted authority who are
only concerned with their political expediencies? Or is it the same people who
do engage one another in free for all fights? Is it the religious and
traditional leaders who also incite violence and instability? I don't have
answers to these questions, please help me. God forgive us for all that occurred
here in Kaduna where human life was reduced to nonentity, human beings were
murdered, burnt beyond recognition, children and women crying, watching
helplessly as life were being scoffed out of their bread winners before their
very eyes. Houses, Churches and Mosques being burnt and looted.
May God give us the mind of tolerating and
accommodating one another and the mind to do justice to all irrespective of
diversity. For peace can only be where there is justice and equity.
I am dedicating this piece to all who lost their
precious lives in the crisis and those who experienced one misery or the other.
Samuel Peter Aruwan