By Bala Ibrahim
Above is the famous quote of my late hero, Chief, Dr. Gani Fawehenmi, SAM, SAN. May the best part of the heavens be his abode, ameen. The phrase is correct, but only where the circumstances are correct. In Kano today, some people are planning to set the scenario, that would permit the play of such a phrase.
Few hours after the commencement of the lockdown in the state, pictures began going around on the social media, showing a clinically clean Kano city, with everywhere empty, including scenes from the ever-busy and bubbling Sabon Gari market. All were hailing the compliance of the Kano people.
I didn’t make any comment, because I was intuitively informed, the whole thing may be short-lived. Some people would hide under the cover of religion, particularly the pretext of going out for the Friday prayers, to violate the lockdown. The disobedient would try testing the waters.
Lo and behold, video images of Juma’at congregational prayers somewhere on the periphery of the city, began to appear on social media. From the voices of the intransigent persons therein, they were jubilating and celebrating the courage of their defiance. They have tested the waters.
As far as they are concerned, the Government has no legitimacy on matters that have to do with their religion. A classical case of Islamic misunderstanding, and a way of testing the wits of the Government. They are laying the bricks, for brewing the recipe of chaos, anarchy or lawlessness in the land.
To them, Kano is an Islamic state, as such no one can regulate the mode of worship, especially in times of pandemic like now. By their own understanding and believe, it is absolutely appropriate, or Islamically valorous, to challenge, or even physically confront anyone with a contrary view. It is a test of wits, through trial and error.
They would conveniently interpret the government as unlicensed by God, as such, good or deserving public subversion. They would set out their own rebellious rules, with which they would want to operate, and any other law can be given an unislamic rendition. Cleverly testing the waters, through silent and subtle subversion.
Capitalizing on religious sentiments, and the vulnerability of the gullible to be misled into taking faith to the extreme, those in this recalcitrant class, would easily mobilize the unguided public to be belligerent.
They would convince them that, by the action of the governor and the government, the state is in a state of lawlessness, and therefore, disrespecting it or disobeying the command of such leaders, is Islamically legal.
Its nothing but a test of wits, which is not new to Kano, particularly where political opponents abound. The target is not just Kano state Government, but the challenge is also on the mightiness and supremacy of the Nigerian law.
Kano had played the laboratory for such confrontational religious experiments before, dating back to the days of the Maitatsine.
Only a dogged, decisive and determined leadership can deal with the situation, and the Governor must clump, or tramp his foot firmly on ground here.
I learnt the imam that led the prayers has been arrested. The Government must be quick to prosecute him, in order to deter others from following suit.
Failure to act appropriately and accordingly, would not only make the Governor a laughing stock, but earn him curses, and subject him to additional mockery, or political ridicule.
And they say curses are like chickens, they always come home to roost.
Bala Ibrahim, a Media Advisor writes from Kano.