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Boko Haram: Against Western Education?

December 13, 2011

You would think that countries that sit upon active volcanoes have more eruptions, evacuations and disruptions; instead Nigeria has more of the characteristics of a country sitting on active volcanoes. 

You would think that countries that sit upon active volcanoes have more eruptions, evacuations and disruptions; instead Nigeria has more of the characteristics of a country sitting on active volcanoes. 

The country’s volcanic tremor amplitude remains mid high to extremely strong high.  These days, it’s common to see across the country massive volcanic eruptions from active vents spewing out fire-fountain-feeding pahoehoe like lava flows, with ejections of Stromboli spatter, volcanic bombs, and gas-and-ash plume enveloping much of the nation and causing many Nigerians to seek safer grounds.  The weak central government typically, has either inadequate or non-existent evacuation plans.
Honest law abiding citizens and visitors alike must keep an eye on these active volcanic vents: Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, kidnappers, armed robbers, Corruption, election riggers, to name just a few.  In the news lately is the radical Islamic sect, known as Boko Haram, responsible for exploding bombs at the United Nations’ building in Abuja, which killed or maimed scores of innocent individuals.  More people are dead from BH attacks in the northeast of Nigeria which also left Police headquarter in ruins and government offices burned.  They constantly unleash their mayhem in Borno and Yobe states, but with future intent of controlling the entire country.  Recently, two members of this dreaded sect on motor-bikes set off a bomb blast in Kaduna targeting and killing some vehicle spare parts traders, disrupting their livelihood and way of life; with Police claiming it to be a gas explosion in an area with no visible gas pipes or any kind of gas storage system.
They have three chief demands they claim must be met for peace to prevail in Nigeria.  They are: 1) Implementation of strict sharia law across Nigeria; 2) An end to the US-styled democracy, which they claim is the cause of corruption in Nigeria; and 3) According to them, Western education is sacrilege and must be abolished in Nigeria.
Folks, these demands are tall orders with two distinct probabilities, slim and none, of ever coming into fruition in what we all know as the present day Nigeria.  This unholy and illegitimate sect is responsible for more than 340 deaths in Nigeria this year alone.  Nigeria had the same level of, if not more, corruption during the parliamentary government; more corruption during the military regimes of Gowon, Buhari, IBB, and Abacha; US-styled democracy is not the cause of corruption in Nigeria—it’s always the practitioners of government, and not the system, that are corrupt.  Strict sharia law enforcement throughout the north will definitely isolate the north but will present the very core reason for the speedy disintegration of Nigeria into several pieces and hasten the collective resolve of Nigeria’s other major tribes to gain separatism from each other.
Everyone knows how absurd their causes are, but ignoring them is neither the smart way out nor is negotiating with them the permanent solution Nigerian government needs to eradicate their nuisance.  Negotiating with them grants them legitimacy and that’s a dangerous precedent since it will now encourage more disgruntled sects or other militant groups to spring up with more violent future.  Instead, Hausa elites should go to BH with an apology and a promise to start educating them and all northern wards immediately.  I have taken the liberty to suggest below a sample apology letter.
“I, we, the undersigned, northern elites, have governed Nigeria for more than thirty-four years of its history, more than any other major tribes in Nigeria since independence, and in those times and years we have governed, we have let you, our Hausa compatriots down.  Instead of doing those fundamental things that build stronger communities, we weakened our communities, we stole large sums of money and took them overseas to further develop the US, Britain, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, etc., where we purchased, among other stupid stuffs we did with Nigeria’s money, many houses that we never reside in; we banked most of the cash in Swiss bank accounts.  To be honest, some of those funds are lost forever and are not available for future development of Nigeria.  The other thing we have emphasized is having the Nigerian government subsidize and sponsor more pilgrimages to Mecca instead of also educating our people in western form of education.  Although our Islamic religion grants us permission to marry up to four wives, we have not always helped our folks to understand that with such privilege comes also the responsibility to educate all the offspring from all our marriages.  We have completely realized our folly and now are ready to make amend to our past, as we have decided to emphasize more on educating every young fellow in our midst - signed, Hausa elites.”
In the absence of Hausa elites solving the problem of BH or allowing it to be solved, anarchy will set in to eventually commit Nigeria into another civil war that it might never recover from as one country; not again, in the history of Nigeria must Hausa elite allow a minority and illiterate sect amongst them to take away the dreams of many Nigerians because of their inaction.  Hausa elites must step in and stop BH from displacing their anger on Christians and especially, on the Igbos residing in the north because there comes a time when the oppressed would have had enough and decide to fight back for self-preservation and survival.  Undoubtedly, BH is not endorsed by majority of devote Muslims in Nigeria; rather, it is an offshoot of a small minority cowards within northern elites who use them to force their narrow agenda for Nigeria.

Personally, I don’t buy these three demands as their real motive.  To impose strict sharia law across Nigeria, if forced unto the entire Northern Nigeria, let alone the entire country, Nigeria will spatter its volcanic ashes into the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.  Logic suggests that to aid the strict implementation of sharia, majority from non-Hausa-Fulani has to convert to Islam; that will not happen, especially since Hausa people tried so hard prior to independence to cajole the Igbos in the north to Islam but failed miserably.  Igbos, especially, will not all become Muslims.  Therefore, Hausa elites should do everyone a favor, rein in their overzealous indigenous neo-colonization and imperialist impunity, educate more of their youth and prepare them to better assume leadership mantle in the most populous African nation in the twenty-first century.  BH is fighting law enforcement because they stand in the way of their true motive.
If you are an individual from the southeast of Nigeria reading this and you still reside in the north, get your ass back to the southeast, stay alive, and thrive there.  I make this blunt call mindful that I am vehemently opposed to any senseless loss of a Nigerian life, irrespective of where the citizen hails from; but when the government stands watch while a section of its population are constantly slaughtered meaninglessly, intelligent minds might be infuriated on why no one is standing up for the voiceless amongst us.  Who could ever forget the loss of innocent Youth Corpers—Ikechukwu Ukeoma, Obinna Okpkiri, and others—during the last concluded Nigerian general election to senseless and meaningless, wanton violence in the faces of weak central government—inept law enforcement, and the inefficient election governing body?  Regrettably so, Nigeria is still a loose arrangement of diverse people blessed with abundant resources but cursed with very strong conflicting views on how to truly become one sovereign nation. 

One Nigeria concept is an illusion, was an illusion at the time of independence and since then; and more so today, it’s still an illusion and will remain so as long as the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy continues its covert attempt to Islamize the rest of the country, based in part on their sinister conclusion that Nigeria can easily be governed if all Nigerians become Muslims. What do we have now?  Now, we have their surrogate, BH attempting to—by hiding behind absurd causes—do what they failed to do prior to the civil war, impose strict sharia law unto Christians, particularly on law abiding fellow citizens whose only crimes are not being Muslims and being industrious within the northern territories of this illusive one Nigeria. This is at the core of my disgust with zoning as a Nigerian political principle; every capable Nigerian must be able to aspire to the highest office in the land, vote and be voted for, including in wherever they may reside within the country. 

Nigerians will begin to have better relationship with each other, regardless of which part of the country one hails from, as soon as each starts treating other citizens as equals with no more secret missions to change other citizens into what they are clearly not.  The country’s failure to celebrate its diversity is why the ship called Nigeria is still chaotic hell-hole-bound and its crew have no clue as to how to right-side it to its true destination.
Another thing which strikes me as odd is the ignorant irony of all these hate towards western education.  First of all, shouldn’t BH first offer Nigerians non-strict-sharia-law-enforcement alternatives to western education before attempting to abolish western form of education?  It’s pretty hard to get rid of what is time tested, proven to work, for what is untested and highly unlikely to work in a diverse country such as Nigeria.  By the way, western form of education has its roots from Africa, in ancient Egypt, thousands of years before the birth of Jesus, the Christ, before both the advents of Islam and most other religious faiths.  History relates that most ancient Greek philosophers responsible for the foundation of western education got their preliminary instructions from Egypt.  Another little known religious fact is that Pharaoh Akhnaton, during his reign around 1383 B.C. was the first individual in history to proclaim the existence of one God, Aton.  At the time, this was against the beliefs of the powerful priesthood in Thebes.
According to sharia law, one who steals four times will have his arms and limbs chopped off, one each time he steals; if one’s uncle is a drunk, he will be publicly flogged; and if one’s married niece is unable to keep her underwear on, and off only, for her spouse, she would have committed adultery and would be publicly stoned to death.  However, to be taken seriously, and as leading voices to the enforcement of such inhumane and uncivilized aspects of sharia, for starters, BH should cease using all western education inspired technologies, such as going to the modern day hospital when they become sick or stop using any prescription drugs.  The same is true for northern elites and all other Nigerian politicians who fly virtual empty aircrafts at tax payers’ expense to over sea health care facilities for treatment when they get sick while neglecting to prop up indigenous health care facilities to better save the lives of ordinary Nigerians.  A modern hospital is one of those western education inspired states; cell phones, automatic guns, modern sophisticated rocket propelled bombs, etc., are all western education inspired.
I do not pretend to know the inner workings of both the Islamic and Christian faiths.  This is why I’m always loss for words whenever I read about any religious conflicts involving Muslims and Christians in Nigeria.  However, I believe in Monotheism, the existence of one Supreme Deity called God, Allah, etc.  This Supreme Deity is not responsible for any religious conflicts.  Rather, it is humans that force their narrow viewpoints on each other to create conflicts.  For want of a better analogy, let us suppose this Supreme Deity is One Giant Flash Light with infinite number of light rays shinning forth in the universe and unto our earth.  Let’s equally assume that each ray from this flash light represents a soul personality here on earth.  At the source of this flash light, all the rays converges as one pure, powerful, brilliant, and unified intensity of light, dispelling all forms of darkness and ignorance.  As the rays of this powerful flash light emanates further downward, they weaken individually to cause divergence, reflecting diverse differences.  Their weakened state makes it much more difficult to individually dispel darkness and eradicate ignorance.
From the foregoing, one can conclude that since human beings are both literally and figuratively far away from their source of light, the Supreme Deity, and because of our relative distance from this supreme source, is perhaps a major reason why we all exhibit much difference in our thinking and understanding.  In a fierce world of cut throat competitiveness, cooperation and the celebration of diversity are the only sure ways to attain happiness and real lasting values.
To further illustrate this point, today’s religious state can be symbolized with the statistical bell curve, with majority religious devotees in the middle of the bell curve.  The religious mean is not typically where adverse problems manifest because there, the bulk of people of faith are busy searching for life’s meaning and how to gain eventual redemption of their souls.  Those in extreme right of the bell curve are highly devoted religious practitioners.  They often act as intermediaries to the people in the middle-mean.  The final portion is the extreme left of the bell curve, the fanatics, and the terrorists, those with no clue as to what their faith is, but will give hell to all suspected unbelievers.  They will use force each time with the conclusion that they are always doing the bidding of the Supreme Deity.
This last group within the bell curve is the most complex and difficult to understand because they are usually a varying force for evil; they are typically several degrees standard deviation below society’s norm, causing society to often shed more resources in order to contain their illegitimacy.  Their apparent weakness is what makes it possible for the other two groups to sometimes incite them to carry out nefarious activities which lead to conflicts.  Membership in each of this bell curve groups is dynamic, not easily predictable and often interchangeable, depending upon the degree of one’s goodwill.  Man is essentially a religious being.  He must carry out his faith through the intermediary of one religion or another; and by sheer size alone, the following are the world biggest religions, from the largest to the smallest: Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Christianity, etc.  Doesn’t it strike most as odd that out of the four major religions listed above only a minute fraction of Islamic followers continue to foment troubles and subvert the Islamic faith to serve their narrow world viewpoints?  All others are relatively less problematic as they continue to follow their faith devotedly.
We Nigerians have neither originated any single religion worthy of international following nor have we followed any religion the right way; and now, here we are awaiting the arrival of the Nigerian originated style of education that will compete with the western styled education of the twenty-first century and beyond. 

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Why start something which is not necessary?  We can certainly add to the western form of education by updating our school curriculums to include some aspects of our cultures, arts, music, inventions and our languages.
Boko Haram has no legitimate cause, instead I see them as disgruntled coward minority with misplaced anger towards innocent and law abiding Christians and law enforcement personnel doing their daily work, we cannot allow them to continue to erupt their hate riddled volcanic hot molten lava, spewing fire-fountains and ashes, all of which incinerate any one or thing they come in contact with their ungodly acts.

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