By Sam Kputu, Lagos.
When it comes to elections in this country, don’t bank on authenticity’s of votes, not in Kano, Kafanchan, Yola, Jos, Port Harcourt, Buguma, Gboko, Lagos, Abuja or Uyo. There are hardly genuine votes.
It will also shock you how even “big churches” number visitors as members just to keep the tag of “mega churches”. Case in point, in 2003, I was at a leadership retreat of a major church in this country. And I asked them their estimated total membership in the country, they put the figure at 10-12million. I asked how they arrived at the figure, *”estimates”* was their answer. I then challenged their head of Missions Research to go find out the actual figures, they were embarrassed to discover only 1.63 million *registered* members! So you see, even churches “estimate” membership. Does that make it right? NO!!!
My take on all these is, our *GOD IS SOVEREIGN!* – We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall” – *Proverbs 16:33* NLT –
*Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God – *ROMANS 13:1* AMP
Our country is facing enormous challenges, especially since the advent of this present government; it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the cause. The waves that hit the shore are not the ones that initiated the tide.
What do we do as a Church? We can keep complaining and blaming “Muslims” and “Islamic agenda” or marauding and expansionists Fulani herdsmen till Jesus comes and only become or raise more public complaints commissioners! That changes nothing.
2019 is here with us, what are we doing in Kaduna, Nassarawa or Kogi, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, FCT or even nationally to ensure that we break the cycle of “rigged votes” and influence who emerges as leaders? That is the real question, that is the real concern.
Finally for now, the Bible says, – -Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] – *not “Christians”* – exalts a nation, But sin – *not “Islam”* – is a disgrace to any people” – *PROVERBS 14:34* AMP.
Sam Kputu, an international Christian worker, based in Nigeria wrote this reaction to an article written by Reno Omokri, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the Vanguard, titled, “How two Kano Governors exposed electoral fraud of 2015.
The Omokri article:
Two Governors of Kano state have inadvertently exposed the smoking gun proving that contrary to the Electoral Act, No.6 of 2010 (as amended), foreigners were illegally used to win elections in Kano and other states.
On April 13 2015, then Kano Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (now the APC Senator representing Kano Central), speaking live to Channels TV (he cannot claim to have been misquoted in a live video) said, ‘Almajiri votes were used to kick Jonathan out of the villa.’
Fast forward to April 7 2017 and the current Governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, while speaking at the Kaduna Investment Summit said “In Kano, we undertook a survey and we found out that we have more than three million ‘almajiris’ and ‘almajiri’ syndrome is one of the serious problems that we have in the North West geopolitical zone. What we discovered from our survey is that many of these ‘almajiris’ come from Niger Republic, some from Chad, northern Cameroon “.
If according to Kwankwaso, Almajiris were used to win the 2015 elections and if according to Ganduje, most of them are foreigners, it means non Nigerians decided the 2015 elections. This is particularly crucial considering that President Muhammadu Buhari got his highest votes from Kano, Kaduna and Katsina in that order and these are the three states also in that order with the highest number of almajiri!
This is not sour grapes. I am satisfied that the Jonathan era came to an end on May 29, 2015. I have moved on. I run my own business that provides me more income than the salaries of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides. I cannot be more Catholic than a pope who admitted his defeat. This is not about the past, but about the future.
In a post mortem of the 2015 elections it was established that the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, won the presidency on the strength of votes from Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna which gave him the edge over the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
At the end of the day Buhari polled 15,424,921 to Dr. Jonathan’s 12,853,162 votes, defeating the incumbent by about 2,571,759 votes.
In Kano state, the APC candidate polled a total of 1,903,999 votes to the PDP candidates 215,779, a difference of 1,688,220.
In Katsina state, the APC candidate polled a total of 1,345,441 votes to the PDP candidates 98,937, a difference of 1,246,504.
In Kaduna state, the APC candidate polled a total of 1,127,760 votes to the PDP candidates 484,085, a difference of 643,675.
In Jigawa state, the APC candidate polled a total of 885,988 votes to the PDP candidates 142,904, a difference of 743,084.
These four states gave the candidate of the APC a total advantage of 4,321,483 votes over the candidate of the PDP.
Now ask yourself how many of those votes belonged to the foreign almajiri the Governor of Kano confessed to?
Imagine the portends for Nigeria’s national security if foreign nationals determine our elections. What about our census figures? What about our National Identity Card Scheme? What about social security?
To put things in perspective, the biggest political issue in the United States today is Russia’s alleged influence in the 2016 US Presidential elections in favour of President Donald Trump. Though I do not believe the allegations, the mere suspicion that a foreign and hostile nation may have played a role in swaying the minds of the electorate has given rise to a congressional investigation and dominated the mainstream media.
No nation can claim to be independent if foreigners can influence her choice of leaders which also influences her destiny.
By most reasonable estimates, including figures from the Federal Government itself, there are anywhere from 10 to 12 million almajiri in Northern Nigeria.
For those who do not know what an almajiri is, they are itinerant Islamic scholars under the care of a Malam who teaches them Islamic studies and in return they support the Malam by begging, foraging or by doing odd jobs. In essence, they are the Northern equivalent of the apprenticeship system widely practiced in Southern Nigeria with the one exception that upon finishing their servitude, the Malam does not set them up in business like the apprentice’s master is expected to do.
Almajiri are scattered all over Northern Nigeria and if you have not seen them, you need to take a trip up North. There are literally hordes of them in most major Northern cities. Children, youths and adolescents left to their own devices when they are not with their teacher/Malam.
They are vulnerable to the weather and to unscrupulous adults who have often times used them for their own devices. They are often hungry and of course that means that they are often angry. It is very hard to trace their origins because many a times they have lost contact with their parents and extended family.
Indeed, it is easy to agree with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje that many of them are foreigners because our borders are porous, the language spoken around the regions of Niger, Chad and Northern Cameroon is Hausa and the economy of Kano and other major Northern cities attracts immigrants from the poorer areas of those countries.
This is one of the reasons why Northern Nigeria is far more volatile than Southern Nigeria. Because as these almajiri grow up and are unable or unwilling to go back home and are unable or unwilling to find work to support themselves in Northern Nigeria they will become idle and hungry, which is a perfect condition to ignite ethnic, religious and sectarian strife.
Before I go further, I urge my readers to take in the words of no less a person than the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, coincidentally made a week after the comment by the Governor of Kano.
Emir Sanusi said:
“The majority of technicians in Kano are from the South while untrained indigenes beg. How does that make sense?”
So now, we have foreigners, according to the statements made by the two Kano governors, living as almajiri in Nigeria, voting in Nigeria and quite possibly partaking in the many ethnic, religious and sectarian strife that have engulfed Northern Nigeria at various times.
That is the problem. The question is this: What is the Federal Government doing about this? From my investigation, nothing.
The last time the Federal Government of Nigeria intervened in the life of these almajiri was between 2010 to 2015 when the Jonathan administration set out to build 400 almajiri schools complete with Malam’s quarters, laboratories and classrooms to enable Northern Nigeria’s almajiris get not just Islamic education, but also Western education and do so under conducive conditions. Eventually, that government succeeded in finishing 165 of such schools.
Ironically, it was the same administration that was trying to help them that they were used to vote out, according to the testimony of Kwankwaso.
What efforts are being made to secure our borders? What efforts are being made to discourage trafficking of children without their parents by persons who want to profit from them through begging or other means? That is not even the worst case scenario.
Imagine that some of these foreign almajiri join our military, police and paramilitary institutions. Who is to stop them? Nigeria does not rely on or have a reliable citizenship database. Anybody who can speak perfect Hausa can claim to be from most states in Northern Nigeria.
What is to prevent foreign born almajiri of non Nigerian parentage from running for office from the local government level to the highest levels in Nigeria?
In the light of this, it is not impossible and it is even likely that a foreigner could conceivably become President of Nigeria. If a foreigner becomes President of Nigeria, he is not likely to govern with love for Nigerians and may even govern in the lines of a conqueror.
In fact, looking back to some of our most brutal military dictators and their physical features and the strong similarities of their names with names from Niger Republic especially and also Chad and to a lesser extent Northern Cameroon, you and I cannot really swear that a foreigner has not ruled Nigeria in the past!
I will give you an example. Between 1996 and 1999, the President of Niger Republic was a man called Ibrahim Mainassara. That name is almost indistinguishable from a name many Nigerians bare. I have a friend from my youth named Mainassara.
Now it does not stop there. Ibrahim Mainasara, the late President of Niger, was from Dogondoutchi. That word Dogondoutchi is the francophone version of the Hausa word Dogon dutse, meaning high hill (dogon means tall, big, long, or high) (dutse means rock, stone, hill).
You can imagine how easy it is for a Nigerien to pass for a Nigerian and vice verse. In fact, there was a very strong belief in Niger Republic during Mainasara’s regime that he was a Nigerian from Argungu in Kebbi state.
Some of us may remember the Maitatsine disturbances that led to tens of thousands of deaths in Northern Nigeria from the late seventies to the mid eighties. These disturbances also led to the destruction of much of ancient city of Yola in present day Adamawa state.
It may surprise many Nigerians that Mohammed Marwa, the founder of that sect which wreaked untold hardship and brought cataclysmic killings and destruction to Nigeria was not even from Nigeria. He was from Marwa, a town in Northern Cameroon.
He came to Nigeria as an itinerant Islamic scholar and gathered a very large following which he turned against the Nigerian state and almost succeeded in destabilizing the Shehu Shagari and the first Muhammadu Buhari regimes.
So entrenched was Mohammad Marwa’s maitatsine movement that even after he was killed in 1980, his movement refused to die and his disciple, Musa Makaniki, continued to instigate trouble for Nigeria and when his movement was smashed, he ran for cover in Cameroon until 2004 when he returned to Nigeria and was arrested and tried.
From the above incidences, it is clear that if we do not police our borders and we allow millions of almajiri into our country so they can help us win elections or perform other nefarious roles for us, what happens to national security when they turn on us just like Mohammed Marwa did?
That is a question I leave for the Federal Government that, according to Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, owes its ascendancy to almajiris, to answer.
Authentic votes in Nigeria and the finger of God
By Sam Kputu, Lagos.