Sometimes when you sit in a spot, you’d never know what is happening in other places no matter how much news you watch or books you read. One of the shocking revelations that confronted me when I got posted to Zamfara for my National Youth Service year in 2016 was the realization that alcoholic drinks were not sold in Zamfara. I wasn’t much of a drinker but nevertheless it was unimaginable to suppose I’d spend a year far from everything I was familiar with without the occasional comfort of my beloved Guinness stout. I didn’t know Sharia was more than an Islamic word. It had been effected in some northern states as far back as 2003!


Let me take a you a little down memory lane.


Sometimes in 2009, the unimaginable happened in Kano, the most populous state in Nigeria. A truck carrying drinks worth millions of naira to Maiduguri was intercepted by a structure erected by the state government. After thorough investigation by the Nigerian Police the truck was charged to court. However the magistrate court freed the truck as there was no basis for convicting a driver in transit plying a federal road without contraband. But this eager to impress structure erected by the state government was dissatisfied with the judgement and went ahead to rearrest the truck, confiscate and destroy the drinks it was transporting. It was a brazen case of the law can go fuck itself.


The structure known as Hisbah was a fulfillment of the campaign promise of effecting Sharia law by the then Governor of Kano state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. The recklessness with which Hisbah enforced Sharia law on Kano residents that are not even Muslims gave rise to many petitions during this period. But Shekarau was unapologetic. Kano is a Muslim state and shall be governed by Sharia laws. A dangerous antecedent had been set.


Exactly ten years later, a Southern governor probably high on anointing oil also declared his state a Christian state. Mr Nyesom Wike earlier in June this year called Rivers a Christian state. According to some newspaper sources, it was the second time the governor would make the declaration without a care in the world for its consequence. Two months after, his government was alleged to have demolished a mosque. Although it was later found out that what was demolished was a fence and foundation of an incomplete building suspected to be a potential mosque.


The irony of all these is that Nigeria in which both states mentioned above are within its bother is a self acclaimed secular country. Wike’s blabbering and his government action to be insensitive to a particular religion in the state he governs could have been another day in the life of an average Nigerian but guess who is making the loudest noise about the development? Our Sharia former governor, Shekarau himself! How this man who is coincidentally now a senator of the federal Republic of Nigeria can not see the hypocrisy in his strongly worded statement condemning Wike’s action is beyond laughable. It smacks of amnesia.


This article is no justification for whatever Wike thinks he’s doing in Rivers right now. It is not. But when Shekarau a former teacher who introduced sharia law in a state under a secular country comes back ten years later to castigate a Wike who could pass for his protégé as far as religious nonsense in the administration of a state is concerned, some of us need to tell him to keep shut and take several seats in the chamber he doesn’t deserve to occupy. We are reaping the foolish antecedent he was so drunk on religious patronage to set.


Meanwhile how religion continues to be the primary concern of a nation existing far below its potentials still baffles me.