RE-ADAMU ADAMU: FAILURE DESERVING OF HONOUR
In his article with the above title published by Daily Trust, Dr. Eugene Enahoro singled out the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu as the only minister deserving honour because he owned up to his shortcomings amidst the colossal failure for which this administration is generally adjudged. It is adjudged by majority of Nigerians and the outside world as a failed regime. However, Dr. Enahoro, like any sane Nigerian, could not make sense of national award of service given to an individual who ‘self-confesses failure.’ He concludes: “He should instead perhaps be given a national award for honesty!”
Award for honesty!? This, apparently for owning up to his failure. I agree with the author on virtually everything in his article but his conclusion. Yet, because his recommended award for Adamu is given in a probabilistic sense (PERHAPS), that waters down my disagreement. I will rather say; the minister should have been given a national award for failure! He should not be the only one, many political appointees in this regime deserve such award.
Though there isn’t a dull paragraph in Dr. Enahoro’s article; one of the paragraphs captures my attention more than any. Without regurgitating the whole paragraph, some parts of it is worth quoting. He writes, “As far as the increasing number of northern children out of school is concerned, President Goodluck Jonathan established Almajiri schools to stop their stigma and prevent them from idly roaming the streets while their age mates are learning. The Buhari/Adamu administration quite inexplicably closed down the schools claiming they were not “properly structured.” Instead of restructuring and improving the syllabus, they unleashed the illiterate children back on to the streets to learn nothing other than how to beg as a “career” for life.”
The hatred of the present Buhari/Adamu administration for education is both pathological and hypocritical. Indeed, their abhorrence for education, disdain for intellectuals, and ruthlessness towards the plight of the poor Nigerian students is mysterious. I personally cannot explain. I do not understand and, probably, cannot understand. Some say the administration is jinxed not to ever get it right. But capitulating to this spiritual explanation is dangerous than the present ugly situation itself. We must reject such explanation for it potentially makes us submissive—slavishly—to fate. To be honest, this administration is not jinxed; it is rather wicked and uncouth—it seems not to it that its citizens deserve some human dignity.
If any other Muslim is not pained, I am pained to the marrow. How can President Jonathan (a Christian) come up with a beautiful idea such that might put an end to the menace of Almajirinci but only to be destroyed by those who should passionately continue the legacy? The horrible sight of these Almajirai keeps ringing a question in my head; “How must one look demonic and so dirty to learn about a religion that leads to Paradise when Paradise is not meant for demons but for the righteous?” Though any Muslim can feel offended, this is how I feel. And taking offence in my characterization of the Almajirai in a demonic outlook does not change the reality, it can only provoke a debate which is not new anyway.
For anyone who wishes to know, in Islam, cleanliness is part of righteousness.
If there are limitations to what Dr. Enahoro can say (being a Christian) in this ugly affairs of the northern Muslims vis-a-vis Almajirai and Almajirinci, I should be free to discuss it and say it as it is (being a Muslim). I understand that religion is a major flash point in Nigeria. How can a Christian venture to solve the Muslims’ problem? If this is the reason why President Jonathan’s Government’s Almajiri schools were closed down (with no replacement), it means we are very unfortunate people. President Jonathan was adjudged to be a clueless president (no doubt), yet one of his achievements was, or would have been, the establishment of these Almajiri schools. How do we describe the present administration which President and Minister of Education are both Muslims and both from the north but closed down these schools so that their ‘religious brethren’ and ‘children in Islam’ can continue roaming the streets aimlessly?
Being the longest Minister of Education and also from the north, what has the north benefitted from Adamu’s tenure? Aside the Almajirai, out-of-school children geometrically increased under his watch.
This is mostly in the north. The protracted ASUU strike has done a great harm to education in Nigeria and even a greater harm to the north. Under his watch, public education is about to be killed completely. Spending on public education benefits the masses, but because anything that benefits the masses discomforts this regime, it is hell-bent on crushing and burying public schools and, if possible, erase any traces of their graves after burial.
Education bridges the gap between the sons and the daughters of the poor and those of our rulers. Thus, it gladdens them to widen that gap so that the former do not have anything in common with the latter. Their monopoly of state apparatus and the economy is not enough, they also want to monopolize access to knowledge, to education, to schools, so that they will continue to lord it over the unwantedly unfortunate masses. The masses are only wanted in a master-slave relation in which they will be treated like slaves to boost our rulers’ and owners’ incurable egos.
Dr. Enahoro continues: “Mecca where Moslems undertake Holy Pilgrimage is in Saudi Arabia. According to UNICEF, the number of out-of-school children in either Bauchi State or Katsina State is more than the number in the whole of Saudi Arabia!” His allusion to Makkah in Saudi Arabia is remarkably important. That is to say, Islam is a religion that promotes knowledge and Saudi Arabia is where Muslims make pilgrimage to. As at the time of this writing, a Nigerian Muslim pilgrim individually spends millions of naira to perform pilgrimage. Yet, we (Nigerian Muslims) have neither enthusiastically promoted knowledge which Islam promotes nor imbibed Saudi Arabia in that aspect.
Buhari/Adamu regime will be remembered for closing down the Almajiri schools which would have, perhaps, taken away these children off streets completely. If our political, religious and traditional leaders in the north insist that these Almajirai must continue to make begging as a career for life, who am I to stop it. All I can do, like others, is to set the record straight: Almajirinci, as we know it today in northern Nigeria, is not Islamic and not part of Islam.
NB: ‘Mecca’ and ‘Moslems’ are Arabic words correctly transliterated as ‘Makkah’ and ‘Muslims’ respectively. Though some dictionaries have them in their entries as written by Dr. Enahoro, we can learn how to write and pronounce them appropriately.