Opinion: Izala Guest House Controversy and Our Sectarian Territorialism By Ibraheem A. Waziri

Social popular discourse in Northern Nigeria seems to be at its lowest ebb again. Thanks to the emergence of social media, with its ease and lack of means of enforcing decorum and refinements.

I entered into the arena of public discourse some 16 years ago on the back of Northern traditional paradigmatic construct. It is the reality of this cultural paradigm that progressive ideas must carry the religion along.

From the highly meaningful interventions of late Sheik Abubakar Gumi with his timely and reformative Fatwas, on slavery, banking and politics, to mention but a few, which make it possible for us to give much consideration and justification to live and survive in Nigeria. Down to the philosophical interventions of then, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, which gave Nigeria the needed intellectual legimacy. All in consistence with Nothern Nigerian paradigm.

Yet instead of this era to consolidate on their achievement, morally check our own Faith Based Organisations (FBO) in public and private, redirect their conscience and energy toward priorities of world class communities of the 21st century, the nature of social media is forcing us to sectarian territorialism.

On almost every social issue which invariably involve sects, it is we versus them ( our sect versus their sect) not what is right versus what is wrong or what should be prioritise versus what should not.

The issue of Izala guest house is yet another example of this. Members have refused to openly criticised it. We the friends of Izala who do that are being accused of being flip flops or unstable in keeping loyal to sectarian friendship.

Perhaps it is high time we reminded all that our loyalty is to the paradigmatic construct that gave meaning to life in Northern Nigeria. And it is with it we engage Nigeria and all other issues bordering on social discourse. We are not loyal to a sect or group exclusively.

First there is God and there is country that all most appear loyal to. Then there is continuous synthesis between the values that established the country and that of the paradigm to create new set of principles of dealing with the challenges that daily living presents.

This is the path we have consciously choosen for ourselves. From late Gumi to Sanusi Lamido till present. That is why we make bold to tell Izala it is wrong to have prioritised that guest house now.

As an offshoot of the debate we are asking the Nigerian government as to why it should allow FBOs to boldly stamp their ownership and identity on schools, business out fits or hospitals. We will ask for the review and eventual obliteration of this colonial legacy which is serving as a catalyst for enforcing and sutaining social divides.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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