Faith

Nightfall in today’s north, like facing execution –Rev Gado

Former ECWA President and All Blending Party (ABP) governorship aspirant in Plateau State in the 2019 election, Rev Dr. Jeremiah Gado, takes a look at the state of the North under President Muhammadu Buhari, says Christians go to bed prepared to wake up in heaven. he spoke with TAI ANYANWU

 

How do you feel about the state of the nation today?

 

Feelings can be deceptive. But the reality of what is staring us in the face is very scary. We are sick of being attacked and nothing or very little is being done by authorities charged with the responsibility of keep people safe. When communities are asked to defend themselves (without the means) against people who are well armed and funded, how they feel is better imagined than described. It is a helpless and hopeless feeling.

 

What is it like when darkness descends each day, in the north?

 

It is like one facing execution. When darkness falls, we say our last prayers hoping to wake on this side of eternity. For those who are Christians, we are also prepared to wake up in heaven for example on Tuesday night we were having our evening devotion, I received a call alerting us of an impending attack on schools around us. You can imagine the restlessness parents, teachers and community leaders have. It is dreadful; so we say our last prayers.

 

How has insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other manners of violence which is prevalent today in the North, effected education in that part of the country?

 

Violence in all its forms present the greatest threat to positive educational outcomes. It causes uncertainty, depression and anxiety. A conducive environment enhances performance of students.

 

But when the environment is characterised by violence and uncertainty, progress in education is retarded. Since independence, it has been a commonly held view that the north is backward educationally even in times of peace.

 

This is largely due to the perceived idea that western education is “haram” or forbidden. The insurgency, banditry, kidnapping has made the bad situation worse. It has weakened the system to a comatose or writing its obituary.

 

Looking at family and social dislocations entailed, would you say that insecurity has left the North in tatters?

 

To say insecurity had left the North in tatters is an under statement. The epicenter of the insecurity is in the north but the ripple effect is being felt in the whole of Nigeria and beyond. It is threatening the geographical and Islamic North and Nigeria at large. The unity and existence of Nigeria is no doubt in question. What used to be our strength, that is our diversity, is now our greatest weakness. Instead of accommodation, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and violence is calling for outright imposition, a recipe for disintegration.

 

How has all of these affected the commercial and economic lives of the people?

 

In the hierarchy of needs, security is first, without it no meaningful economic and social development will take place. Farmers have abandon their farms for safety. They have been forced to chose between two evils -death by hunger or by bullets and machetes. Traders have been forced to relocate and their areas of travel limited. With less and less economic activities, poverty has become more pronounced. I will not be too far from being right if I say the far north is the poverty capital of Nigeria, of Africa and of even the world.

 

Some people believe that the government of the day is suspect because of perceived discordant tones on issues of insurgency, herdsmen violence and banditry especially  when Fulani Muslim fanatics are concerned. What is your take on that?

 

I really do not have any take on this because any impartial observer will reach the same conclusion. If it walks like a duck is probably a duck. Jesus Christ said by their fruit you shall know. One of former military leaders was quoted as saying that if insurgency lasts more than 24 hours, the government has a hand in it. These are not my words, I just quoted it.

 

How do you see Governor Yahaya’s abuse of the culture and traditional institutions of the Tangale ethnic group in Gombe State, where he appears hail bent on imposing a Fulani Muslim as the Mai Tangale against the wishes and popular votes of the Tangales?

 

The world of reason was aghast at the actions and pronouncements of Governor of Gombe. As governor he is a father of all therefore must live up to the oath of his office. He must not be seen to provoke Christians to anger or incite his supporters to violence against this He is the Governor of Christians and Muslims.

 

But since he came to office he has openly declared Jihad on Christians in the state and has clearly taken sides contrary to the oath of his office. I am confident the court no matter how long it takes will rule in favor of the traditions and customs of the Tangale Nation.

 

As it has been said elsewhere Gombe State did not create Tangale but Tangale created Gombe State.

 

Is it not enough that the creators of Gombe State have allowed him to reap where he did not sow. Must he now bite the fingers that fed him? Can what was created define, defile demean and rewrite history? The case is before the court of law and above all before the God of all the earth. He will judge justly.

 

How can religion and quest for ethnic supremacy be eliminated from our polity

 

? I do not think religion and the quest for ethnic supremacy can be eliminated but it can be limited by putting guard rails, which is the rule of law. This rule of law begins and ends with the constitution written by the people or representatives of all the people (601 tribes and languages).

 

Every ethic group must be given some level of autonomy in their local affairs. Only the military, customs Central bank and foreign affairs should b differed to the Federal Government.

 

How can religion and quest for ethnic supremacy be eliminated from our polity

? Insecurity and violence has left the north under Buhari more divided, more poverty more corruption more disappointment and frustration. Buhari, God bless his heart has been woefully defeated by the North and by Nigeria. You know I am glad we elected Buhari. If we had not we would have been saying oh if we had only elected Buhari these problems would have been solved. Now that we elected him we are better of in saying if we knew we would not have elected him rather than the other way round, that is we wished we elected him. We are better of now that we are not living in a dream world but world of reality. Buhari’s mystique is gone.

 

Less than two years before the next general elections, political aspirants to the presidential seat are still not bold enough to declare interest. What is happening in this country?

 

Nobody is sure there will be Nigeria and if there is, (I pray there is), it will be difficult to govern. There was a statement attributed to Buhari whether it was true or not. That he was alleged to have said that if he didn’t win the election he will make Nigeria ungovernable.

 

Well he won why is Nigeria in chaos? Could it be the chaotic situation that is scarring candidates away?

May be may be not. If a Christian takes over after Buhari and tries to balance the imbalance by Buhari the far north will cry wolf just like they did barely three months after OBJ took over. But if a Muslim takes over from Buhari, there may be no Nigeria. May God have mercy and spare Nigeria.

 

 

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