Paul Scott photo
“Our wife, our wife”: come midnight and we will know whose wife she really is.
Jawaharlal Nehru said, “I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses scarified to live in hunger, filth and arrogance. I want nothing to do with any order, religion or otherwise, which does not teach people that they are capable of becoming happier and more civilized, on this earth…”
So do kindly indulge me, I promise it may be lengthy but this story is worth your time.
And did I add, it’s a true story. Last Sallah celebration my sons spent it at Mallam Muntasir’s home.
Muntasir is equally my son, though in Nigerian parlance I did quickly add not my biological son. He’s all the same my son. However Muntasir just qualified to practice law just weeks back having excelled at his Law School exams is one of the many sons of Grand Khadi, Plateau State Shariah Court of Appeal Hon. Justice Adamu S. M. Kanam.
Muntasir is a Muslim; he is from a Minority ethnic group in Plateau known as the Bogghoms. He is likely never to be a governor of the State by popular vote on the premise of being; Muslim and Minority.
He’s a wonderful young lad whom I have mentored for the past 7 years thereabout. While in undergrad school at the university of Jos his heartthrob carefully led him on. In our ever fantastically corrupt English she ‘used’ him. Assignments, TDB readings, etc, only to tell him late in the evening “I can’t marry cause you are from the North and you see my parents will bla bla bla.”
This young girl would rather marry an unloving and uncaring man from her side of the hood and interestingly same girl was just as Muslim as Muntasir but she was from Ilorin Kwara state and hence different.
Muntasir found love again and this time, from Osun and yet this cupid is proving hard because my son Muntasir, by Southwest standard is a Sule, a Gambari…But sadly is Muntasir a Northerner, is he from the Middle Belt, does he possess any belt at all.
Muntasir lost school council elections because he was from the wrong side, and it smacked of all the reasons why we are the way we are. He was generally believed, agreed to be the best but common, the best don’t always, in fact never wins in our clime.
He is simply from Plateau state, a state with everything diverse it simply mirrors the larger Nigerian society. He’s from this local government we call Kanam, where poverty walks the streets, where representation means little in terms of benefits. Where good roads, quality healthcare and accessible education are alien.
And here are my two other sons, the ones I sired, Christian kids, through and through, they aren’t afraid of Islamization, with strong Baptist traditions they are celebrating with their big brother Muntasir.
Did I tell you that Muntasir’s late mom was Christian and equally Berom, another major ethnic group that in a larger scale could equally be a minority depending on the political math. Same way Tobi my first son is Al-Amin because of his own mom’s strong Islamic roots and his younger brother Dubem is Ibo by virtue of his father’s mixed heritage.
Dubem asked why the Grand Khadi father of Muntasir had plenty wives and kids, in fact 3 wives and 9 kids, he found it quite a learning process.
Muntasir loves these lads who are by roots a tripod of Ibo (Abia) Yoruba (Lagos and Ogun) and Tarokh (Plateau). And in turn they love their big brother. However they are forced to traverse a society that preaches so much hate.
These kids are products of a malignant tumor-ed society.
So, I watch all the current hate, we blame touts, jobless young men and painfully so-called ‘read and learned’ persons for the hate, but what has this society done in encrypting the virtues of the practice of religion into them, be it Christian virtues, Islamic beliefs or traditional and moral teachings…Rather because we have permissibly agreed to be tools in the hands of political manipulators who leave us impoverished, uneducated and diseased in mind, spirit, soul and body.
Whether we like it or not, it seems that our diversity in ethnicity and religion is posing the largest threat to our mutual existence apart from our political confusion as one other BIG factor.
This nation is one of deep-seated grievance, when the chips are down; perceived cultural, political, economic oppression and marginalization are blamed. No one of us took the decision to be Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba; we are Nigerians who happen to be Christians or Muslims and pagans.
I never forget this analogy, now whether it was a paper presentation or essay I cannot remember but I am sure it was on religion by either Matthew Hassan Kukah or Lateef Adegbite. There is this book called disappearance it was divided into two parts. Part one was an imaginary account of a world in which men wake up one day and discovered that all women had vanished. All the women! The rest of that first part talks about how men tried to survive on their own. The second part was a vice versa, our women woke up and discovered that the men had disappeared from the face of earth. The speaker asked us to imagine both scenarios.
Would life be easier for Christians if we woke up and found that all Muslims have vanished? Would life be easier for us Muslims if we woke up and found all Christians gone? Like waking up to find the PDP is no more, all the crooks have vanished. These questions sound a bit silly, but they are the true test of our appreciation of our slaughter house mentality especially in the North, the Niger Delta and the nation as a whole. Does the killing of one another bring back the already dead? No, it only berths a circle of revenge, vengeance, retaliation, retribution and the madness continues.
Let me end in this manner; a stray rabid dog bit my neighbor. I went to see how he was and found him writing frantically on a piece of paper. I told him rabies could be cured and he didn’t have to worry about a Will. He said, “Will? What Will? I’m making a list of the people I want to bite!”
Anyway a chameleon does not leave a tree until he is sure of another. Before we kill ourselves over our differences, have we found another Nigeria, maybe we have, maybe not, the Almighty Allah created us the way we are, color, creed, race, tribe, and religion, but we are one in this sight, do we know that, or we still think some are more equal than the others—Only time will tell!
Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University
Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.