...Redifining Journalism for Development

The Sweep With Hassan Alhaji Hassan:   Open Letter to the Compatriot Christian


Dear brothers and sisters,
I write you with a pleased but a heavy heart. It is good to write an open letter in a season of open letter writing. And even though the goals of the others before this were not scored, maybe, this one, with a different purpose, may have a goal scored at the least. Thank you for accepting to read.
A letter like this is unusual, sensitive and is subject to any definition or perception. But I am pleased to write you since my purpose and the message is popular, obvious and rational. I hope you receive it with open mind and heart and see it the way it is. It is a sincere message from a clean heart just like yours.
First, I am a Muslim, a devout one, who tries to go by the tenets of the religion, as much as it is within my sphere of influence. I am a Sufi Muslim – the type easily classified as the traditional, old-school Muslim. I know the Qur’an. I understand it on the first account. I enjoy it on personal reading. That helped me live it. It defines my life and I try as much as I humanly can to abide by its message.
That helped me to be an open-minded Muslim who thinks that on earth, everyone is entitled to their different religions. And the Qur’an says that there is no compulsion in religion. I have learnt from it that all humans are entitled to all things equally.
And that the love of nation is the first part of faith. And it is in the spirit of the nation that I share with you the humanity I use as a qualification to write you. Otherwise, I have no reason and no power or gut to write you anything.
And it is good that I share with you the spirit of the nation. It was in 2000 when former US President Bill Clinton that told us at the joint session of the NASS that our diversity as reflected in the terrain and geographical layout of the geo entity, is our strength, not a curse.
I do not know if we actually heard and or if we really learnt from him. But I believed him. What he said is in the Qur’an, in the bible. So it is true. He only reminded us. And I never forget those words, and I can still imagine how he got a rousing applause from the Chamber then.
I believe in diversity and in the use of national recourses to serve that diversity, all equally. We are all humans, with same needs, wants, and aspirations. Faith, race, colour or place is no reasons for any sort of superiority, more entitlement or affluence/wealth. The only defining factor for the definition of who a man is is the humanity we all share. It defines everything about us, everything we do.
Prophet Abraham once had a guest – an old, haggard man who came in to ask to stay for few days before he proceeded.  Abraham said, “No. I do not host unbelievers. Please go.” The man went on. A few moments, God sent Archangel Gabriel with a message: “why did you send the poor man away? Don’t you know that Dunya (the world and its benefits) to life are for everyone and only Deen (faith/belief) is for those God has chosen?
Prophet Abraham set running after the man, looking for him, for three days. Finally, he met him and said, “Please come with me. My God was angry with me that I sent you away.” The man said, “Your God that I disobeyed and ignored for seventy years? Asked you to go after me to please me? The man believed and followed Abraham in submission and obedience to God.
Part of the strength of my faith and practicing it is informed by that strong anecdote. I lived it. I live it. I will live it. That is the key that we lost to unlocking the Nigerian padlock of national custody. I have been brought up to respect everyone, to see everyone as human like me, with needs and wants like me. They feel hunger, pain and gain in life like me. They have the same heart with equal expectations.
Thank God I am born black. I have no reason to be racist. Perhaps Allah did not want me to be even close to the idea. He made all persons in my life black. My family. All my teachers are blacks. All friends black. All persons that touched my heart over the decades of my life are blacks. I nearly died to marry a fair woman but to no avail. It didn’t work out. Allah aborted it. I thank Him. I have an appointment to be black.
The sound of black is not a flare for racism. No. It is rather an act of humility and a national lesson for all of us that we should be grateful for the way we are; for where we find ourselves in life, for what we have achieved over the years, and for the path we are trailing at the moment. It is all a blessing. Anyhow, however, whatever, we are healthy and alive. We thank God.
Nothing can make me a racist. Talking about my blackness is an African discipline, a value we need to live an open, fair, just life. Our differences are our strengths and we should stress them as exemplified by the notable, almost a cliché anecdote of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Ahmadu Bell about identity and its reflection of its features in our way of living and working, self-recognition and cultural ethics from our different backgrounds.
The picture of the three, four nationalists standing next to each other, in different traditional attires, with different textures of fabrics, with different lengths and sizes, sticks. It is the reflections of their cultures from the different geo-regions at that time.
Some of us say they these nationalists sowed the seeds of discord and disunity. They the same few persons who destroyed what the nationalist did and are envious now because they are still in the command of the peoples’ respect and kind mentions.

HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

They did not sow discord and disunity. Lies have their limits now. They instead did the opposite. They taught us to know, remember and use what we have and what is about us. It is a discipline that we lost. It is one beauty about our past.
It is a reason for the little respect left for us and among us. Our differences should strengthen us, build us up for each other, reach out to others to see, understand, appreciate, respect and honour them for the much they are different from us.
We have suffered much as a people. Theory that they say religion and ethnicity were used to create hatred among us and divide is true. And it is made too true by some of us, over the years. We have strengthened our common enemies and stabbed ourselves. They hate us. They detest us. They abhor us, just like any other thing they hate.
They see us as different human species but because we are poor, helpless and hungry. They created our condition to tie us down to this. It was done gradually and systematically, in ways you would think they love us. But they hated us softly. They maimed and killed us. They drank our blood for long.
During the last campaign, I was strengthened by the old man, Christian in a dominant Christian community, who opted to the APC queue to vote PMB, when all his people were voting the PDP. This old man taught me spirit that went along my thinking. He voted based on his knowledge of a man he knew over the years.
He is a retired soldier. During his service, he guarded one officers’ house which was occupied by most of them. Before GMB came to stay in the house, the man testified, “They gave us bear and bear only, in cartons. We will drink and sleep off duty. It was an encouragement of wickedness. They killed us with too much drinking.
But when GMB came into the house, “they gave us food across the three square meals. And food that we ate to full capacity of our belly. There was no bear again, ever since, in that house. I am not saying this because of my religious views about bear, even though, I know, Christianity also frowns at drinking. I am saying this because a man that gives you bear without food is actually cruel enough to kill you.
At least if that bear went after good food, it may be something else. Thank God that such man is still around to teach us, to remind us, to warn us. Even though he did not influence others to vote PMB, he taught them a lesson, a big lesson about our life as Nigerians.
The truth is a scarce commodity today. It is another hated business of the upper class and the super elite. They hate to know, they hate to remember it. They hate to be told and can kill the one who dares to tell them. That is why our clerics cannot preach the gospels to them.
They hate to be told about God and godliness because they are evil and they have germane evil in our hearts and minds, except for those of us that were lucky to be educated and educated properly and have kept our hearts and minds away from their poison.
These few persons have succeeded in holding us all to ransom. They have corrupted the land and corrupted us. They corrupted the churches, the mosques, and the synagogues. They have spilled and drank our blood, used our newborns for anything evil.
They taught us juju life while showing us the picture of God. They abused our senses, our lives and bastardised our past and presence. And they are hellbent on arresting that future from us, so we, our kids and grandkids will die in poverty, needs, and desperation.
I am writing you because I know, you know, we have the future left. I am concerned just like you. I want to share your concern too, so together, we can think alike and forge a common front.
This presence we share and which I use to write you is the hope I use to tell you this. In the spirit of the diversity of our society, let me say clearly that I am a minority even in my own State. I come from a small tribe that cuts across the northeast and neighbouring countries and is all over the states in the federation.
I am not a Hausa Fulani. I am not one. I only happen to be a northerner and I share with them this nothernity and Islam. But I disagree and dislike much of what they do as individuals and groups. They belabour our capacity in the reorientation of our people. But then every individual and group has inadequacies. No one is perfect.
And we have good and bad persons all over. It is the capacity to recognise the good and acknowledge them that we pray for. And when one is good, it does not matter who they are; where they come from or how they look. What matters is what they can do for all of us.
I am not a politician. I never thought about it because it is a no-go area for my type of person and with my rate of values. But I just realised the past few years that actually, democracy was a bastard value they sold us in order to recycle nonsense in our life. It is supposed to be a means to an end. But it proves to us, at least in the workings we experience here that it is actually an end to a means.
And when I started to make my observations, I became soaked into unavoidable political colouration. And I settled for it. I will never run for office but if talking the truth in politics is political, then I am one. And a big one. Please enroll me. I am in it and all out for it.
I do not know PMB. I never met him. But I grew with him in my mind of the national limelight. I read about him. I read about others. I compared and contrasted. During the last campaign, I voted him not on any consideration but on the fact that our lack of democratic discipline had put us on the edge – to the point of killing. Killing in the name of politics and democracy is inexplicable before God and no human mind can accommodate that except the evil.
Image result for oritsejafor
Former CAN leader, Ayo Oritsejafor

It was my knowledge of a disciplined man that made me choose him. After the election and with his settlement into governance, I learnt many things in relation to the challenges facing anything government wanted to do on a serious note. And the stoppage of corruption and the war fighting it maddened the custodians of evil.
Series of cries for restructuring, secession, threats, kidnappings, killing, oil spillage, ethnic and religious campaigns of hatred and divisive elements in different forms are still characterising out media and platforms. They have been all out to get it away: to stop the government, topple, frustrate the man and set us all back to the last time we began. But is it about one man or about us, the man or our kids, born and yet unborn?
Everyone speaks against corruption as evil and we need to fight it. But are those saying it sincere. I hear many talk about restructuring. I hear the narration of a good, decent, working society. Are we ready to get there? Those making the noise are agents of the evil persons holding us to ransom.
They know they have arrested our lives but they will sing a nice song about a future they know we can’t have until the song comes to a dead end. It is their style. They do it a million ways a million times. They do not relent.
And even though the level of political exposure has risen for us in Nigerian and even the north, it is sad that these persons still have some ears left. A section is still listening to them. I feel bad. They need to be blocked out, disgraced to the ghettos, to the shit.
When will we travel on the straight path of nation-building without stoppages and with no delays? This is the only time since Joseph Tarka and the Sardauna’s joint discipline of leadership that is politically willed and sincere. I want us to forget appointments, sectional defects, and some other shortcomings. These are minors in the drama of our bastardisation by the enemies foreign and within.
We need to look at the investments in the stoppage of looting; the construction of roads and rails; the discipline in governance; the gradual frustration of the defying institutions, groups and stubborn individuals; the guarantee of the foreign reserve; the respect we now found in the comity of nations; respect to the law and due process, evidences of which are making many angry to write open letters. Just to raise the dust for this serious government they could not put in place when they were there.
This is not about one man. It is about all of us in the custody. We need to look beyond an individual. Our collective life and interests cannot be subsumed in the greed of one man. Everything happening around is individualism is rising above the State, above public interest and we must not allow it.
I am not writing you because you are mostly opponents of PMB. NO. That in itself is part of their evil campaign. This government and PMB has goodwill, love and respect and support among you, north and down south, – west, east and south. Just as there are many enemies of PMB and the government in every nook of the north. In fact, you will gape if you find out the number.

It is not about a region, religion or anything. It is about the nation. And there are many nationals in you, me and many across the divides. Please let us make our voice heard. Let us take off the ropes of slavery off our necks. Let us save ourselves from the slavery of a lifetime. Let us make continuity possible for ourselves, for our kids and for our grandkids.
I am not paid to tell you this. No. No one can pay for my pen. My words are invaluable. No one can pay for them. I do not need it. I do it as part of my social responsibility and due to the fact that I chose a profession of writing and informing. And it is a huge responsibility to dispense. Too difficult to practice. Those do not feel the weights are those who do not know its implications. Pity them.
I am running away from the Day God will ask me what I have done with my knowledge of a profession for humanity. Just that. Nothing else. And I want to join you to do more for all of us. I need you to be part of the new guards of society we need to breed to teach and nurture the truth for our people.
I am in no capacity to talk to you about decency and godliness. No. I am not fit. I am talking to you about the translation of our lives as Nigerians that you all know. I am just reminding us because in reminders, the faithful can retrace, retract and amend. Thank you for the privilege.
I am banking on the spirit of your brilliant brotherhood that I enjoyed all my life with my diverse students and friends, spanning 30 years. They have blessed my life, opened my eyes, and I am a better person because of them. I am so grateful.
All my life, I have opened my arms to everyone I meet. It is what I learnt to do. I open my arms to you as brothers and sisters: Come. Let us fight together. For our own lives and for those behind. Not for one man or few persons, but for the majority.
I wish you the best you ever dream of in life today and ever. May the good Lord keep you long in peace and prosperity and to the point after your kids are men and women and live in a better society than this, today.
08032829772/08050551220 (text only with full names and address) abuna2406@gmail.com

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