Leah Sharibu, one of the students kidnapped by Boko Haram, refused to denounce her Christian faith and was the only person left in captivity when the Nigerian Government negotiated the release of other Muslim captives. It must be noted that Boko Haram’s war against Nigeria is not being waged with assumed conventions typical of such wars in other climes. It is certain, given Boko Haram’s antecedents, that Leah Sharibu would have suffered rape and torture, all in the attempt to break her will and succumb to Boko Haram’s terror, more-so when she is all alone. Yet, the central government ensured her retention in captivity by playing the ostrich on the question of faith and the re-definition of Nigeria’s architecture of State, usually referred to as “restructuring”.
Christians for Yoruba Nation (CYN) is a platform for concerned Christians in general and Yoruba Christians in particular, to re-establish the God-given Yoruba Nation and her Diaspora within the context of the on-going attempts at Redefining the Nigerian Nation-State. It recognizes the Yoruba Nation as a multi-religious society with all her citizens and residents having the freedom of worship, more-so when the Yoruba Society has a tradition and Global reputation of religious tolerance within itself.
Despite this context, CYN posits that the Nigerian Government is complicit in Leah Sharibu’s travails, having negotiated the release of other captives, mainly Muslims. There is no way such negotiations would be conducted and concluded without Leah Sharibu’s question coming up. That the Nigerian Government would concede retaining Leah Sharibu in captivity reflects the intersection of Faith and the National Question.
Boko Haram is a terrorist organization whose political strategy is aimed at intimidating the State or a People into submission; this having been demonstrated by Fulani herdsmen terrorism in various parts of Nigeria. Furthermore, while Boko Haram translates into anti-Western education, the same group is all at ease utilizing military weapons developed through the same western educational institutions. What these means is that Boko Haram is fighting a political battle for the control of the North, as part of the internal conflicts within northern political establishment as to which faction of the establishment will be able to impose its dominance on the rest and by so doing, dominate Nigeria.
A former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi confidently claimed that Boko Haram was being sponsored by those in the PDP government; shortly thereafter, he died in a mysterious helicopter crash. Recently, a former Defense Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma also confidently claimed that the Nigerian army is complicit in terrorist activities in the north.
These two gentlemen know what they were talking about, considering their pedigree in Nigeria’s different governments and their roles within the Nigerian military; a military established for the maintenance of Hausa-Fulani or “Northern” dominance of Nigeria. This military had carried out this responsibility with the active connivance of these two generals at various times in Nigeria’s history and were therefore in a good position to know the extent of the military’s involvement in this political quest.
This involvement had manifested in the various military interventions in Nigeria’s political direction, up till the present dispensation, where Boko Haram became a force to reckon with after it became obvious that the PDP as a military concoction cannot sustain northern hegemony for a considerable amount of time, hence the strengthening of Boko Haram as a “non-state actor” with the ability to intimidate the State while the government disarmed civilian fighters who had shown enough capability to destroy the Boko Haram menace.
Christians in Northern Nigeria exist under the double tyranny of the political and religious establishment, now aided by a militarism under the cover of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorism, which had seen Christians being characterized as minorities and therefore susceptible to all sorts of atrocities at the hands of these terrorists with the Central Government keeping a safe distance thereby denying them justice.
Leah Sharibu was completely unprepared for her abduction and was caught unawares; yet she refused to renounce her faith, to such an extent that she would also declare, as Queen Esther did, “If I perish, I perish”, and this, despite living within a territory that had and continue to undergo terrorist activity either from Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen. While it may be tempting to compare Leah Sharibu with Queen Esther, we must be aware of the circumstances that gave rise to the Queen, especially having been “made” to see her role as crucial in the emancipation of her people; she went into the battle with her eyes wide open and was therefore ready for any consequences hence her famous declaration, to wit, “if I perish, I perish”.
What makes Leah Sharibu’s resistance unique is the courage she brought into the picture; which meant that she knew her God, buoyed by her parents’ faithfulness in bringing her up in the faith. Yet, the success of her resistance would lie in the practical demonstration of resistance by Christians in the north acting in concert with others in their Nationality and which must necessarily take on the form of a political action which is the only way to combat the tyranny.
Which brings up the question as to what those of us Christians on the “outside” can do to ensure that her ordeal is not only not in vain but translated into emancipation of her own people from the clutches of tyranny ravaging the north. It can be said that it is Leah today, who will it be tomorrow? Besides, several instances abound where Christians were summarily executed either by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen terrorists or Islamic fundamentalists. These had become common happenstance in the north.
Christians for Yoruba Nation therefore calls on Christians in the North to begin to act on behalf of their Nationalities, not just as Christians fighting for the faith amid political terrorism but as purveyors of the Light that will necessarily free their various Peoples from the clutches of darkness enveloping the region.
The question may be asked as to how this is to be done? The short answer is for Christians in Nigeria and especially in the north, to be in the vanguard of the Re-Defining process that will see to the return of the Nations and Nationalities to their God-given environment and not be circumscribed by any notion of Nigeria being a creation of God, because Nigeria was and is NOT a creation of God.
By this we know, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood (as Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen and central government’s lackadaisical approach), the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him”
In this instance, the northern Christian is the standard. It is therefore not enough for Christians to simply advocate possession of a permanent voter’s card; for there must be a reason for such possession. That reason, based on extant circumstances, cannot be simply voting for any candidate with any promises, but anchored on God’s intended purpose for the Nations. This is the only way to prevent terrorism from being used to sustain an architecture of State that has no justice to dispense to her citizens.
Pastor Goke Afolayan
Convener, Christians for Yoruba Nation