Once a governor uses religion to give himself immunity against criticism, the people are lulled into submission. They may devote their energies defending him. In Northern Nigeria, a Governor spends millions to build Mosques while the healthcare system, education and water supply are in shambles. They build Mosques even where poverty is accelerating at the speed of the hurricane. Of course, Muslims need places of worship, but should that be a reason why leaders should use religion to cover up their failures in critical areas of people’s welfare? In 2012, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State collected N1.7 billion bank loan and distributed the money as sallah and Ramadan largesse. Former Governor Yarima Sani of Zamfara State was also using public funds to take care of Islamic clerics that sang his praises and damned critics of his incompetence as “makiyan Allah”(enemies of God)!
I don’t know if it is right to use public funds for political advantage, especially the idea of building Mosques to look good in the eyes of gullible Muslims, even though they are being buffeted by hunger, poverty and disease. Northern Nigeria has the dubious distinction of taking the lead in the development index of Nigeria, but once you build Mosques for them, you silence them. Manipulation of the religion is the easiest tool for seeking political advantage and fooling the people. And the people are ever ready to be fooled!
Buba Jangebe became the first Muslim human guinea pig of former Governor Yarima’s political Sharia. An ordinary Muslim was amputated for stealing a cow because it exceeded his “basic needs.” What about the politicians and civil servants who have been stealing millions daily? Are those millions they have been stealing within the boundary of their “basic needs”? Corruption by civil servants and politicians is not punished by amputation. Their crime is called breach of trust. The poor are disproportionately punished for stealing. If the majority is subjugated through ignorance, it is easier to manipulate them by religious manipulation.
Let our Governors be reminded that good governance doesn’t begin and end with building Mosques alone. They should not use religion to avoid accountability for their failures to pay attention to other areas of people’s basic needs. By ear marking one hundred and thirty six million naira to build 90 Mosques across Jigawa State, Governor Badaru is sending a wrong message to his critics. I don’t think building Mosques is enough to silence your critics because there are other areas of urgent need or attention. The idea that health comes from God doesn’t mean that good health care and access to potable water is not a priority for a struggling State like Jigawa.