The recent visit of Chief Femi Fani Kayode to Zamfara State has generated a lot of interest, concern and, at some quarters, outright condemnation. Many concerned observers raised issues bordering on religion, tribe and section of the country we belong to. They cited seemigly consistent attacks, denigration and open abhorrence to what we are by the visiting Minister over time which he normally expresses overtly in the media.
To cap the exasperation of these observers, the revered Shinkafi Emirate in the state decided to honour Chief FFK with the traditional title of Sadaukin Shinkafi. A notable traditional title holder in the Emirate who alleged that the Emir bent backwards to do the bidding of Governor Matawalle, decided to “resign” his appointment as a member of the exalted class of traditional title holders in the Emirate, all in protest to the honour done to the man in question. What a total disrespect to our fathers indeed!
However, what I noticed in most of the open resistance to this visit and the honour done to the man is that religion is used as the major basis of attack over this development. Lead actors in this crusade said the state Governor, Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun) showed his lack of sensitivity to the values of Islam by hosting a man who attacks Muslims and their religion. They said he belongs to the same class as his tomentor. What they obviously want (and going by sentiments, majority of them want) is for him to abhor the man and also support attacks against him in his own coin. They believe that is the way to go.
Indeed, the Zamfara State Government under Governor Bello Mohammed welcomed the voluntary visit by the former Aviation Minister. Governor Bello Mohammed took this decision propelled by the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). During his own time, the Prophet was earlier hated by Meccans and was not only abused and denigrated, but also molested and humiliated. He was once made to be stoned by some children at Ta’if by the leaders of the village; he once had the placenta of an animal emptied on his body as he prayed!
History is no respecter of hypocrites and the ignoramus in the society. History had it that our dear Prophet did not join the supposedly cursed persons who abused, denigrate and humiliate him. He, instead, prayed for them. And he called them to the right path. His passionate and transparent attitude cajoled most of them to his side over time. And even when he finally triumphed over them as he ontered the city of Makka with dignity, he pardoned all of them. In Madina, he will host visiting Christians who came to “disgrace” amongst his people. He will invite Jews to his anode and host them to excellent reception even as they plotted to kill him.
Hence, the virtue of our Prophet is to preach and express good deeds to those who are vehemently against him and what he stood for. It is only when they are totally irredeemable, he then fights them, mostly from instructions by the Almighty Allah.
In the same vein, when the then Daily Times, Nigeria’s premier newspaper, was vehemently portraying the North in Bad light, that time in the 1960’s when it used to say all those unprintable things about the North and its peoples, Sir Ahmadu Bello (of blessed memory), did not join them by ordering the Nigerian Citizen Newspaper to attack back. Instead, he invited the Editor of the Daily Times, Peter Enahoro, to visit the North. After he answered the call and was taken round the zone, the paper’s narrative completely changed because he saw a people different from the stereotyped tribes he has been abusing on daily basis.This is quite true to what Governor Bello Mohammed has done in this regard.
Chief Femi Fani Kayode has been known to be a critic of many things known to be North especially in the political sense. He has consistently aired his views on the North and indeed, how it is governed and in relation to other parts of the country. It is foolhardy and pedestrian to assume Governor Matawalle will be so crude and unrefined as to join in any discourse that will express him as a bigot. Those who assume he is as low as that are the ones disappointed today.
Since the visit of FFK to Zamfara State, we have seen how he has spoken positively of a people who are much determined to rid their state of bad rulership. He has recalled how the late Marafan Sokoto, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, brought him into politics. He has also spoken of how Matawalle is serving as a bridge-builder, a feat many of his own kind have failed or lacked the courage to do. He has also spoken of how he intends to contribute his quota in the promotion of education in Zamfara state by allocating 50% of the 600 slots he has provided for students to study abroad.
Now, that is how you win your “enemy” as taught to us by our exalted Prophet. Rejecting the man, resisting the honour bestowed on him or protesting the action by dropping one’s title or organising demonstrations on the streets is not the solution to hate against your people or religion. You can only win that “enemy” by bringing to the table an opposite attitude to what you consider abhoring.
Those who believe they are clean, and those who believe they love us as a people and our religion must be diplomatic like our Prophet so that we do not get lost in the abyss of hate, revenge and petty attitude against those who have negative views about us, our society and our religion. An FFK against the North and Muslims yesterday and today might be an FFK for the North Muslims tomorrow. That can only be possible when he gets different treatment rather than confirming to him what he actilyally says about you.
Zailani Bappa writes from Gusau, Zamfara State.