Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Maitama Sule on Religion and Ethnic Politics

Today I yield this place to Nigeria's former Ambassador to the United Nations, Yusuf Maitama Sule, in an interview with The Nation Newspapers he said
 “the problems in Nigeria and indeed in the North are two: tribalism and religious bigotry. I see no reason why religion should be a barrier to our unity, not only in the North but also in the entire country. Nigeria is a very religious country. The Christians in Nigeria are more than any Christendom. The Muslims are more religious than any Muslim in any part of the world. “If there is justice, the people in power will be concerned and create jobs, look after the people. It is not force that will make the people obey. The world can never be governed by force, never by fear, even never by power. In the end what governs is the mind. What conquers is the spirit. Today, what we need in the North in order to arrest the situation is unity. And we should learn from the lessons of our elders. But I beg you: let us try to revive the glory of the past. We are all brothers, if there is any trouble it will affect every one of us. Let no one think that he would escape. The problems facing us today are much greater than any problems that faced us before. And these problems are more pronounced here in this part of the country in the North. It is true that there is poverty all over the country but there is much more poverty in the North than anywhere else. Insecurity is all over the country, but there is much more insecurity in the North than anywhere else. Disunity is very pronounced here. We have to do something about this. In order to understand or appreciate the position in which we found ourselves let us revisit the past and see how we started in the North and the East.

He said further:
“I remember way back in 1949 when we started the very first organization in Northern Nigeria the NPC. What informed our decision to organise that was the political development taking place in the South. We felt that we in the North needed to be organised so that we in the North might be in the main stream; so that we might contribute our own quote; so that we might bring together our brothers in the South. “What has gone wrong? The moral teachings of all the religion are the same. If we are to follow the moral teachings of the religions there will be no fighting. There is no religion that says you should go and pressurise someone to embrace it. The essence of every religion is love. Love is what is lacking in Nigeria. Let us teach love. Today there is poverty in the country. There is injustice in the country, if there is justice there will be peace. If there is development there will be work for everybody. We must create jobs to get people employed so that they may not be ideal. I think that is the source of insecurity.”