NASFAT Prayer, terrorism and the politics of deceit

By Dayo Sobowale
In Nigeria
Jun 7th, 2014
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I learnt of the death of the Emir of Kano this week just as I was reading a full page advertised prayer titled NASFAT PRAYS FOR NIGERIA with the sub title – Reinvigorating Godliness into Governance and Citizens Value System. This NASFAT Prayer is the underlying theme of all that I want to discuss today in the context of the above topic. I found the NASFAT prayer gripping and very brave and I think it is the first of such from a religious body in this nation that gives the vivid and clear impression that the Boko Haram menace transcends religion simply because that bloody sect does not recognise nor respect either God or humanity, in the inhuman fury with which it has waged a war of attrition and terror on Nigerians in the North East of the country, killing and maiming innocent Nigerians on a daily basis to date. Sadly the illustrious Emir of Kano was almost killed by Boko Haram for speaking up against the sect which recently killed the Emir of Gwoza. But the late Emir of Kano would smile in his grave any day if a copy of NASFAT prayer for Nigeria is shown him, as it was a pungent analysis of the problems of Nigeria and a no holds barred condemnation of Boko Haram and its claim of being a religious organisation, which was the reason the sect attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate the late Emir. Before dilating on some aspects of the NASFAT Prayer let me briefly comment on some issues on the global scene this week that lend themselves to interpretation and comments along the line of the topic of the day especially in terms of the politics and perhaps the diplomacy of deceit. The first was the news that the President and PM of Israel have sent a congratulatory messages to Egypt’s newly elected and anointed leader in the last presidential election in that nation, former army chief Abd Fattah al Sisi. Obviously the Israeli leaders are conversant with the diplomatic maxim that in diplomacy there are no permanent enemies or friends but permanent interests. Which showed clearly that Israel was perspiring nervously while the demonstrations in Egypt that overthrow former President Housni Mubarak were going on from 2011 and must have been really terrified when the Islamic Brotherhood which was an implacable of Israel won the elections after the demonstrations and President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood assumed powers as president before being upstaged on a military coup by the army, then led by the Field Marshal Israel was swiftly congratulating as winner in the last presidential elections in Egypt. Obviously the Israelis feel more secure and safe with a military politician in power in Cairo to maintain the status quo ante, which the election of Morsi rattled. Sisi’s election would therfore ensure that the peace deal with Egypt signed during the era of late President Anwar Sadat in Egypt and PM Menachem Begin in Israel, is in place and not in any danger of violation from Cairo, to ensure peace and stability between the two most powerful nations in the volatile Middle East, a region that is definitely the boiling pot of world politics today. Similarly in France where the victorious Allies that defeated Nazi Germany commemorated the landing of the Allies in 1944 in Normandy, France, the presidents of the US, Russia and Ukraine met at the ceremony and shook hands with each other which showed the niceties as well as the deceit inherent in global diplomacy. This is because the US president, Barak Obama had accused the Russian president of violating international law when he invaded and annexed Crimea in Western Ukraine. Normally they should not be on speaking terms because the US is leading EU nations in putting in place sanctions on Russia . But the morals amongst nations is different from the morals amongst individuals. So while Barak Obama may privately think that Vladmir Putin is a lawless individual he had to shelve that in France and speak to him as President of the US in the hope that diplomacy may still make him see the annexation of Crimea differently. Similarly the newly elected President of Ukraine met Russian President Putin and they did not come to blows as their two forces are doing killing each other in East Ukraine where Russian supported rebels are trying to secede and establish a pro Russian state on Ukraine’a territory. According to reports the two president met, shook hands and promised to resolve the issues amicably which I am sure must have sorely taxed the temper of the new Ukrainean president as the innocent looking and straight faced Putin is indeed the aggressor in the way his regime has been using force and terror to intervene and disrespect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. But again the issue of morals between states and individuals calls for restraint at such moments. It is therefore on the issue of morals that we return to NASFAT’s prayer for our nation Nigeria. The prayer admits that Nigerians are a very religious and prayerful lot with Mosques and Churches in virtually every street. What is lacking, the prayer noted is‘ sincerity of faith and devotion to the requisite moral codes of conduct enjoined on the faithful by God. Incidentally the prayer concluded ruefully‘ these two are the prerequisites for prayers to be answered, irrespective of the faith of the supplicants ‘. NASFAT then went on to identify acts of immorality amongst the rulers and the ruled in Nigeria. On acts of immorality in governance NASFAT identified eight points and I will dwell on two for reasons of space. On immorality on the part of citizens NASFAT identified four points and again I will discuss two of them for obvious reasons. Let me state that each and every one of these 12 acts should form compass for every Nigerian citizen interested in the salvation of our nation and in the pursuit of a goal of the realisation of a good and decent life for all Nigerians regardless of their creed or faith. On acts of immorality in governance I have chosen –Leaders living in mansions while the masses live in slums or are outrightly homeless and – Leaders having their children receiving education in the best private schools while large numbers of public schools are neglected, while a large population of school age children roam the streets uncared for. On the acts committed by the citizens I have picked that identified as – selling of votes and good conscience for monetary gains and – preference for apathy to partaking in tasking processes, works and organisations political and social structures through which state of affairs could be positively influenced. On the issue of mansions for leaders and homelessness for the masses nothing illustrates that more than the emergence of Boko Haram in the north where for decades school children have been attending Islamic schools while ignoring formal education. As far back as 1974 I could recollect a GOC, then General Abisoye reporting a military governor of the then North East where I did my national service to then head of state General Yakubu Gowon that the North East was not participating in the Universal Primary Education scheme of the Federal government because primary school students were not going to primary schools but were in Koranic schools under dogo yaro trees in Maiduguri, the capital of the NE state then. If schools had been established then and not mounds of blocks put on ground in far places for which bureaucrats in the capital paid ghost teachers in non existent schools, there would not have been easy converts for Boko Haram and its meaning would have no attraction, as it would never have been attractive to well educated young people it found in the gaping vacuum of poverty and ignorance it has exploited so massively and so callously in the vast arid sahel of the six NE states carved out of the former NE state. On the acts of immorality committed by the citizens the issue of the immorality of vote selling speaks for itself in terms of its rapaciousness and villainy. On the issue of neglect of education in public schools and the ascendancy of private schools and universities, nothing illustrates this more than the picture of a recent award of honorary degree by a private university to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, grinning from ear to ear as she received her award, while the news in the same medium was replete with that of several institutions of higher learning on strike for high tuition fees. Definitely NASFAT has played a role after my heart with these prayers and I doff my hat to its leaders for giving Nigerians hope that if we retrace our steps and pray to God we still have hope like Jesse Jackson said when he lost the presidential candidacy of his party in the US that God is not finished with us yet. Many thanks to NASFAT for such hope which I had thought was forlorn for Nigeria, till now.

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