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OPINION: Deborah and Political Cowardice

By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

I am not comfortable that our presidential aspirants have said nothing for or against either of the parties on the trending matter. An undeniable blasphemy took place and someone was killed by a provoked crowd. It has become a national issue. Riots took place yesterday. Two people were shot in the legs and property looted and burnt. The Sultan’s palace was stoned.

Yet, all we can hear from the group of our presidential hopefuls is silence. None has the stomach to speak his mind. Not even the RCCG pastor. And we know their minds. It is s our mind too. That the two sides were wrong. That Deborah’s foul mouth was insensitive to danger and the beliefs of Muslims especially in a Muslim majority State like Sokoto, against the advice of her roommates, the law and the scriptures, including the Bible. It is also not her first time. She could repeat it because the law failed to be applied in the first instance. This is the first side.

The second is that under exptreme provocation, some Muslims took the law into their own hands and gruesomely killed Deborah, which many Muslim clerics have been preaching against over the years. Many Muslims have fallen victims of the extrajudicial killing in blasphemy, including too many Muslims to mention and at least the case of one other Christians that I know over 30 years ago. More Muslims have been killed on blasphemy than Christians.

So the the line that the politicians would walk is a simple one, to me, a consensus on what is morally, legally and politically correct to say, a balanced opinion about the issue. So why the graveyard silence from people that will lead this complex country by May 29 next year? Why?

The guys are so cautious because they have taken votes as more sacrosanct than lives. True. None of them seems to have the courage that is desired to lead Nigeria. They are so petrified of the masses and opinions on either side of the divide when they are supposed to be the leaders that will pull the divide together, stitch it neatly and nurse it until it heals perfectly. How can a surgeon tremble at the sight of a drop of blood? Haba.

The tweet of Atiku’s aid suffered a social media intifada was because it was not balanced. The stupidity that the girl showed is so horrific that no Muslim would take it mildly. So to condemn the murder in the strongest terms and keeping mute about the heinous degree of blasphemy was easily interpreted as insensitivity to the feelings of Muslims. A strong condemnation of the blasphemy would have balanced the political equation that every presidential candidate is afraid of touching. If I were the media assistant of my respected elder brother Atiku, that is the treat I would give the matter on his behalf.

While my post yesterday advised parents to please home-train their children on the need to respect other Nigerians and their beliefs, this one is calling on the leaders to always adopt a balanced approach to everything especially in reacting to sensitive issues of this magnitude. Secondly, they must know that they need tonnes of courage to lead Nigeria. They better get prepared for situation me worse than this. Right now, all they portray is cowardice through a silence that is not golden. Their speech should guide our opinions, not the other way round.

This is not the first time though. Killings of innocent people have been going on in the Southeast by IPOB. Has any of them condemned the gruesome murders of the victims? Has anyone called for the full wrath of the law to descend on Kanu? No. When there is a choice between protecting lives on the one hand and votes on the other, their preference for the latter is legendary.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
15 May 2022



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