Blasphemy: Look in the mirror, Kano

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By Ibraheem Abdullateef

There is no wrong society, there is only a wrong people.

The Upper Shari’a Court in Kano on August 10 sentenced Yahaya Sharif, a musician, to death for “blasphemy”.

Mr Sharif, a resident of Sharifai in Kano metropolis, was accused of committing the offence in a song circulated via WhatsApp in March 2020.

Upon his arraignment in court, the judge, Aliyu Kani, said the 22-year-old should die by hanging.

To salvage his life, he has just two options. He must appeal the judgement in court and win. Or hope that the state governor withholds his assent on the judgement.

As it stands, he has lost one of his options. Governor Abdullah Ganduje said during the week in a meeting with clerics at the Kano government house, he will spare no thought in signing the execution order and send the man to another world.

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje

“What happened is so important to the state and to the security of the state and the nation in general. What the court did is absolutely right. And we support it completely. That kind of irresponsible act, if not because of the state power, nobody could know what would happen in the future,” he submitted.

That almost sounds like a law-abiding and patriotic governor. He will follow the order to strengthen the Sharia law. That is right, so nice. Only that some words do not sit with my conscience there. Ganduje said Shariff’s act is “irresponsible.” He was right, too. Irresponsible. But Allah never said we should kill the irresponsible. Islam preaches peace and diplomacy. And also the rule of law and justice with no exception.

If the state were to worth its salt with its Shariah thing, perhaps he would have no hands by now. In 2018, Governor Abdullah Ganduje was caught on camera taking a bribe from a contractor in his office. As he was stuffing the crisp dollar notes in his Babanriga, he was laughing impunity away. The nation convulsed in shock at his irresponsibility. But that was all they could do. A suspected criminal evaded justice but he will now hang another supposed offender.

Look in the mirror, Kano.

When soap stays for long on a leaf, it takes the form of the soap. That was what played out a forthnight ago when Ganduje was even sermonising the nation on corruption. Ganduje? Corruption? Yes, he couldn’t have been more right. The Yoruba adage will say when you leave the thief unchained in time, he accuses the owner of thievery. Thank you, Ganduje. It is God that blesses you with Nigeria. Where else does that hold? Anyway, Shariah doesn’t preach impartiality. If it were in a proper Shariah place, he can no longer define responsibility and those who hold a candle to it.

That is more why Kano needs to check themselves. This whole thing about religious and sectional supremacy should be done with. Not when it is archaic and selective more than ever. It is not solely about leadership. There is a feeler that the protesting residents who had earlier attacked and razed down the home of the controversial singer did so out of disparity in sects. And they claim to fight for God. Well, Prophet Muhammed preached against sects. So, it is a fax paus speaking to decency.

The singer was irresponsible in his song. I see him mirroring a dearth of exposure in the majority of Kano youths. But he shouldn’t be marked by death. We should let this madness go. Well-heeled Nigerians should come to his rescue. This is not such a story to tell a child about this century. If the Governor is intent on killing, I hope Nigerian courts do a miracle. Not much record of niceties. They are either delaying justice or killing it outrightly. Northern elites can, honestly, do more than talking. Maybe we can review this Shariah Law. Maybe we should revisit it now now.

If Sharif dies, he’d be another person to die by a similar offence. He will be making the numbers. And we are not talking and rejecting this ‘fate.’ The world is flying and you are not running. And there may be grave repercussions. Soon. Not every time, we will be having a Ganduje in power. But we will always have this wrong society if we remain the wrong people.

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