‘Jonathan may be Nigeria’s last president’ - Reverend Oladimeji Thompson - Founder and Senior Pastor of Lagos-based Living Waters Unlimited Church
First of all, my warning was to the church leadership . I moved on to the secular world and I found out that it’s going to be difficult, so I did not go there any more. But the truth is that Goodluck Jonathan may be the last president of Nigeria. When I was saying this, they sounded very far fetched to believe. What is helping Nigeria right now is that the people who sponsor what is supposed to happen in Nigeria have been kept busy themselves for now. People like Muammar Gaddafi who used to come to Kano unannounced and unofficially regularly; there are different axis all over the world who are involved in what is happening in Nigeria. For example, the UN House in Abuja was not the handiwork of Boko Haram. You may say what do I mean? One, there is nothing like Boko Haram. The word Boko Haram is a word created by the Western Media to explain Yusufua Maiduguri. Yusufua is just one out of 26 radical groups that are operating within Nigeria. The western press, to make it readable to the western world, created the word, Boko Haram. Haram means forbidden and Boko is corruption of book. They have not burnt any university. They have not killed any professor, nor harassed any institution of higher learning. What they are out for is very simple. Number one, not to Islamise but an Islamic Nigeria, a Nigeria where there is no plurality of religions, but one religion; a Nigeria in which women will be oppressed always, a Nigeria in which they will eradicate democracy. They have scored success in many nations of the world before our own. You only need to go and do research and you will find out.
Uthman dan Fodio and Shehu of Borno
Nigeria’s problem started since 1955 or 1956. It is an ancient problem. The problem with Nigeria’s own is that before the global resurgence of terror, Nigeria had an ancient streak that started in 1774 when Uthman dan Fodio entered Maiduguri. He was lecturing in Islam doing very nice and quiet and the Hausa people embraced him and were happy with him because he was teaching their children. They didn’t know that he was radicalising their children at the same time. While he was radicalising the people at that time, nobody knew. He even instructed one guy called Yoeofa, the son of the king in Islamic way. When Yoeofa was being taught by Uthman dan Fodio, he said dan Fodio was a good and nice teacher, but dan Fodio noticed that the taxes were high; that they were not purists. The predominant Islamic force in Nigeria then was the remnant of Kanem Borno Empire. You will find out that the Shehu of Borno, who was actually supposed to be the spiritual leader of Islam in Nigeria, was displaced by dan Fodio because dan Fodio in 1804 declared a Jihad.
It was tough then and they were coming towards South. There were three things that stopped dan Fodio. Number one, El Kanemi, a Borno man who said, ‘I am a Muslim but I don’t understand this religion that involves killing of Muslims as well.’ And have you noticed that they have also started throwing bombs in mosques in Nigeria? El Kanemi rose and he was able to put a stop to the advance of Uthman dan Fodio. Secondly, the arrival of the British and they had what they called Maxim gun, and in 1903 or 1904 Sokoto and Kano fell. There was armed resistance and in 1906 there was an uprising in Mali which arose just like bin Ladin’s but it didn’t last long. The British decimated it. They were able to kill a few British nationals. All the emirs had waited then, saying if he (the Malian) succeeds we will join him, but when they saw the British crushing him, they went underground. Thirdly, Ilorin was taken but the Jihadists couldn’t advance further because of the forest belt. They have an advantage of cavalry; when they were coming to South, they had an advantage of horses but when they hit the forest belt, their horses couldn’t proceed. That is why you find that Ogbomoso, Osogbo, that buffer zone is where the rivers spread and the violence was not heavy.
Jihad under colonial rule
The truth is that during the colonial years, the British made one mistake in which they used indirect rule. Lugard personally promised them that he would not allow the Mauguzawas to be introduced to Christianity. Majority of people in northern Nigeria, when the British came, were not Muslims. They were animists and the Mauguzawas, who automatically, because of indirect rule were recognised as Muslims. It is an ancient creed, a very smart creed—very difficult to detect. War can go on even in peace time. They shifted to consolidate under the British rule; smiling at the British while consolidating their code for the whole of Northern Nigeria. The moment the British wanted to leave, because they appeared nice to , the British made a miscalculation which is what is destroying them till today. What the British did was to devise a formula and hand over power to Northern Nigeria and create a political formula by which Northern Nigeria ordinarily should forget about one Nigeria.
Jonathan, Yar’Adua and Northern power blocs
This last time, whether by the name of Goodluck and by the pattern of his life that was disrupted, for the first time in Nigeria, we had about four or five presidential candidates from the northern part of Nigeria and they couldn’t agree on one. Had they agreed on one, all these things would not have happened. Olusegun Obasanjo came because of the pacification of the South West and after him, the North could have held on to power for ever, but immediately, it shifted back to the North. You know what happened to Yar’Adua. The late Yar’Adua was the Mutewani Katsina (holder of the Emirate’s treasury).
The Emirate and an Ancient Dream
What Nigerians don’t know is that there is an existence underneath the Federal Government structure in which an ancient dream is kept alive by a core of radicals who teach their children why they should not see Nigeria as one. And because it is not a formalized education, it’s not written down anywhere. It’s difficult to detect but they tell their children that southerners should always come to pay obeisance. ‘We are their rulers and there is only one religion’. You find that when Yar’Adua was in Katsina state, he was a devout Muslim to the core. There is a radical call from Katsina because it is the centre of learning; they’re purists. When he was to become president, I was alarmed because I knew what his sentiments were, but somehow he did not last long and Goodluck stepped in. Goodluck should not have become president this time around but for the fact that northerners could not agree on a consensus candidate. If they had agreed on the formula left for them by the British colonial heritage, there would have been no argument.
Sheik Gumi, Islamic Banking and Jonathan
In 1955 ‘or 1956, in the Hajj Camp in Saudi Arabia, the Nigerian flag was burnt because the flag had a Star of David on it. One of the contributors of what you are seeing today was late Sheik Gumi, a clever man who never denied where he was going. If you remember, he was the one who declared that over his dead body would there be a Christian ruler in Nigeria. That was just a tip of the iceberg. One of his boys who converted from Islam in those days, they put fatwa on him. He had to escape to Kano and the Federal Government used all state apparatuses to hunt for him. They beat him till they felt he was dead, but the Christians later found out that he still had life and he later escaped to Ghana. All these sentiments have been there but we are the ones who close our eyes and pretend as if they were not there. There is a radical cult at the centre.
Islamic banking we are talking about today, Gumi was part of it. So, all the noise that people are making at the last moment is pattern of what they have been doing because there is a pattern in which it will work.
Christians in Northern Nigeria
Ask people like Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, His Eminence Sunday Mbang and those who had headed CAN, they will tell you how many young girls were kidnapped annually in the North. Your children can’t go to schools; it is either you fake their names to a Muslim name or there is no promotion.
Progression of the Ancient Dream
All these things have been there and we pretend as if we don’t see them. But they are there, well established in all those states. The movement behind it is a very intelligent; they are slow in their tactics and facts. The progression in Nigeria was that by the time they have swept through the Northern states and consolidated the North…the normal thing is that you push non-Muslims away from the city centres. So most northern cities today that have any sizeable Christian number are divided into two. Why? Because there is a time to come when they will launch an attack unless the Christians agree to live under a status where they become a third class citizen. This issue is not only in Nigeria; it is a global thing.
Islamisation of Nigeria
Nigeria has done about 65 per cent, it only has about 35 per cent to go. People are only shouting Plateau State but I pity Plateau State young men because they are falling into a trap till now.
Foreigners on Plateau
Plateau State people think they are doing something but they are wasting their energy by responding with vigilante groups. I have seen a lot of foreigners who are coming into Nigeria with their own silly theory when they don’t understand what is going on here. Last week, I was in a place where one of these British consultants was talking on how Plateau indigenes were just killing Muslims. They are only managing information in which the international press is looking at Plateau as blood-thirsty people. And Nigerians know that they are the most peaceful people in Nigeria, ordinarily.
Camps in South South, South East
This same thing has entered Makurdi in Benue State and it is coming down South. Whether you like it or not, there are camps and places where people are being trained in the South South and we now have more Igbo Muslims in Nigeria than we have ever had in this country. Why? They have quietly entered through sponsorships, spending money. There is one school in Afikpo where people are offered scholarships and given free food. As soon as you adopt the Islamic religion, you will be sent out of the country to radicalise you more. In the South South, there are militants milling around in the name of petty traders. The truth is that they have taken advantage of everything and that is a weakness for us. While we were sleeping, when we didn’t know a lot about these people …
Islam in Bauchi
Look at the Bauchi nurses in 2001 who were sacked because they refused to wear hijab. What I am saying is that a medical doctor, S.Y Sabo, who was in charge of Federal Medical Centre, Azare, knew that he was not just a medical doctor but also there to establish something. You can duplicate this in all the places. Do you remember what happened to Gideon Akaluka on the streets of Kano? Is it normal to parade the head of a fellow human being on the stick and dance round town jubilating? And since all these things happened, has anybody been convicted in Nigeria? You want to know why? It is because Nigerian institutions are riddled with spies and wolves who believe in that future; and the truth is that Nigerian leadership doesn’t have the moral courage to face up to the fact that from the police force to intelligence services, to education, to sports, the institutions are filled with people who are fighting the war quietly.
Including the Judiciary?
If you are talking about the judiciary, let me ask? Which rule of law is the uppermost in Nigeria? Nigeria has the British law that we inherited. Then we have the Common Law, the Customary Law and the Sharia Law. Which one is uppermost in Nigeria? If the Nigeria Constitution is uppermost, a former governor in Nigeria married a 13-year- old girl. He paid $100,000 for her, smuggled her into Nigeria from Egypt. According to the laws of Nigeria, is that a crime or not? Will you agree to live in a country where a full grown serving senator can marry a 13-year old girl? We all sat down to watch what would happen when some people came up to say that it was an Islamic affair, a religious affair and not a democratic issue. What happened to the case eventually? So what has been proven now?
Now, what are the mistakes we are making? This thing is creeping in and because of the ancient one that started earlier and the emergence of the international one ,they are now woven together. About six or seven years ago, in 2001, a bomb exploded in a church in Lalanto in Jos. Bomb making literature had been coming to Nigeria for more than 10 years. It’s just that initially ,it was blowing off their own hands and legs and it was being explained away. But gradually, they have mastered it now. Before, the problem was how they would co-ordinate the activities of 26 Islamic sects with each one having its own leader and different ideas but western countries have solved the problem for them, by creating the name Boko Haram. Unlike before when an individual sect had its own ideology, now Boko Haram has created an umbrella through which they all work. By being stupid and playing into the hands of the western media, they made our case worse. So they are now making more progress and even bolder than they could get before. The reason why Uthman dan Fodio was able to overthrow Hausa kings was because there was a lot of corruption in the Hausa Kingdoms. There was a lot of oppression and poverty. There was no home for majority of them. There was no hope for the future then. There is little hope for the future now. A house full of intellectuals, deceive themselves that there is a future. And that is why the average intellectual does not have the reality on what Nigerian life really is. Many Nigerians youths are crossing deserts on foot to escape Nigerian life. That is a pointer for you on what life looks like in the country.
Is the invitation to foreigners to assist us a true way out of the problem?
We have to be very careful. Immediately the UN House was bombed, Nigeria ceded its authority and it was not right for Nigeria to cede its authority. A lot of countries have similar problems and many of them are looking up to Nigeria to see how she would solve the problem to help their own countries. Now, in Nigeria a lot of intelligent strategies have just been just bull****, they are unwise. At every step, we bring in our soldiers to level (destroy) towns. Ordinary Boko Haram with 1.6 million members held Nigeria Army and Police Force for almost three weeks. Nigerian youths are impoverished, education is gone, and we are the second highest in the world’s infant mortality, maternal maternity, second highest in the world. It is a curse for you to be pregnant in Nigeria, that is what it means. It is better for you to go to Ghana or Cotonou, next door and have your children than to have them in Nigeria.
In all indices by which you measure a state, Nigeria cannot score pass mark in any area. Human life value is very low. A woman was butchered by soldiers in Gombe, till today no compensation. The governor, Danjuma Goje made it impossible for the case to be tried in the state. It was all by collusion. If you like, let’s keep deceiving ourselves here that things are well. The infiltration is already noticeable in Calabar, in South East and in these areas we have the problem of tribal divide. No consensus. The youths, almost 75 or 80 per cent of the country, are impoverished, they are disenfranchised, and they have no inheritance. The people who stole their inheritance, their great grand fathers are still alive—all the generals who are arguing against each other. The monies their grandchildren should spend they stole.
Outside Assistance, CAN Chairman
This one has an agenda and a motive. They are schooled somewhere, well funded locally and internationally. Unfortunately for us, the international funders right now are busy but once things are settled in the Middle East, more funding will come back to Nigeria. When the president of CAN called for the arrest of that general, uninformed ignorant people whose children may be slaughtered in future decried the position of the CAN president. As a special adviser to the CAN president, I can tell you that he has more information in his hands than he is allowed to speak to the public. But whether you like it or not across all the northern states, the number of people killed in order to bring Jonathan Goodluck to power is maximum casualty figure we have never seen in Nigeria before. He rode him on a lot of bloodshed. The pattern of the killing even before the result was announced, the killing had started in the genera’s name. When the CAN president called for his arrest, he was not joking. It is just that the government lacked the moral courage to do what is right. They incited people. It was pre-planned, pre-medicated obviously and if you look at the target of the killing, as usual, you cannot say it was political. Even if you bring them out for political reason they will still do what they want to do. Isioma Daniel (who was your colleague) when she made a comment on Miss World, which buildings were burnt? Most of them were churches. What has a journalist’s comment on Miss World to do with maiming and killing of people. We are pretending as if this thing is not there but it is mopping up.
UN building bombing and Boko Haram
It was assumed that it is al Qaeda that bombed the UN building. It is more in consonance with al Qaeda. What Nigeria should have done is to first of all examine the explosives used and the methodology of the explosion—because every device has its own signature—and check it maybe it is in consonance with the more primitive ones that they mixed with internet instructions. The truth is that it is not the handiwork of Boko Haram. If we continue to call them Boko Haram, we are uniting 25 to 26 Islamic sects. We are encouraging their unity and helping the foreigners who are funding them to make their work fast. We should break away from calling them Boko Haram and the Nigerian Press must stand up to wage a war against their western counterparts, accusing them of neo-colonialism. If they can create an Islamic battlefront in Nigeria, they will come in from all around the world and Nigeria will fracture and the world will go on, just like Sudan for many years. Their vision is global. There are lots of radical preachers all over the county, they will teach freely for years and nobody ever disturbs them. They are protected by their governors and commissioners of police.
Do you think that it is in the interest of the west to create chaos in Nigeria?
If you are having problem in your country and the people causing problem in your country can move away from your country to another side, would it be in the interest of your own county to encourage the people of that country to learn their mistakes and turn their own land to a fertile ground. They will sell ammunition to both sides. Look at Libya, what is happening is a very interesting scenario. But my fear is the compromise of Nigerian interest. My own insistence is that whatever is going to happen to us, whatever co-operation we are going to have international with anybody; we don’t want Nigeria to be represented by bananas who will just throw away the national interest without even knowing what they are doing.
What do you mean?
Look at the UN Building bombing. The place has now been sequestered. Our inadequate facilities, our security systems, obviously, are highly unprepared for this kind of thing and they have yielded it to foreign government. Before you call in foreign assistance, you must think properly and think well. Because of the absence of enough intelligence to handle the problem we are now surrendering, but we should surrender with caution, because one or two moves like this, Nigeria will become the worst of. What makes you think that the nation’s security apparatus is not infiltrated? I will like you to go and supply me the list of Nigerian national security advisers from independence. If you can give me that list, let us sit down and scrutinise the lives of every one of them, their utterances in private, not in public; their business interests, their links all over the world. Someone put Nigeria in OIC single handedly. Are there not radicals in Nigeria who have been walking free simply because the orders come from above that nobody should arrest them? Who are the people supporting this no-arrest order? You better let people know what we are up against.
You think President Jonathan is incapable of handling this?
A farmer does not depend on good clock to bring about good harvest and food for us to eat. If a tailor depends on good luck to sew your cloth, when you are looking for a shirt you will end up with a dress. If a farmer does not look for good luck to give us to feed the nation, and a tailor does not depend on good luck to sew cloth, when it comes to certain matters good luck has its limitation. Instead, wise planning and intelligent thinking is what is needed. It’s not true that IGP is incompetent as people have been saying. We have a situation where the IG himself is more or less a junior to some of the commissioners of Police serving under him. Remember that some people stayed behind with the intent of helping him, are all of them loyal to him? Do we know where the loyalty of some of them lies? Is it possible for him to have as free hand with the kind of command he’s asked to handle? Is he given a free hand? The moment you politicize anything that had to do with security, you have fractured the chain of command. So, whereas, he may be a very competent officer but the structure he was asked to perform with may not help him.
Is that not enough reason to resign as people are calling on him to do? You will have to interview him on that. Is it easy to resign? If he is your uncle will you ask him to resign? What is the way forward out of the current logjam?
The leadership must first of all find the moral courage to understand the reason why we are prone to these things more other countries; to face the problem, diagnose it and call it by its real name so it can treat it. If leadership does not do that we are going to slide to the morass faster. That is one. Number two; this new problem, in other countries nobody is relying on old methodologies. In some countries, they call a new kind of war, because there is no text book answer. As I speak right now, all over the world, intelligence experts are just writing the text books to match this menace of terrorism, because it is a resurgence that has not be seen in many centuries. So, coming up with military intelligence to come and answer this problem is a waste of everybody’s time; coming up with DIGs to come and answer this, is a waste of everybody’s time. What we need is leadership with innovative thinking; people who can think out of the box; who understand the cultural, religious, political and the radical aspects of what we are talking about here; people who know how to recognize the different phases and to handle all the phases with equanimity. I give you an example; one of the things that making this thing spread faster is the lack of a consensus in Nigeria. The Chinese Constitution is about 2,000 words; the American is about 4,400 words but the Nigeria Constitution is in excesses of 74,000 words. Nigeria has never had a real constitution. What we call a constitution is not representative of the Nigerian people. There is no common agreement. The best country that Nigeria to align with right and it is going to be done with utmost wisdom, is USA—the only country that has had the same kind of history and experience and was successful to a point. They were also colonized by the British. Every offer that was given to Nigeria as we transited to independence was also offered the Americans but they rejected all. All the problems in the Nigerian foundation can find solution in the American history. There is something called the American declaration of independence, Nigeria does not have the equivalent of it. What is written there is very simple but very powerful, and you can build the country on it: “…All men are created equal before God and everybody is entitled to the pursuit of happiness….”
That is why you see that nobody jokes with liberty in the US. If you have 10 heads, everybody is equal. Three revolutions were fought by the Americans, all based on the original agreement. In Nigeria, is there any such document that says we are all equal