Sheikh Kabiru Gombe and Engr. Muaz Magaji

By Mohammed Zayyad

Recently, an event happened that will serve as a vital lesson to the people of northern Nigeria and the old generation of the region’s leaders in particular.

On September 10, 2021, a former Commissioner of Works in the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje administration, Engr. Muaz Magaji posted on his verified Facebook account that a renowned Islamic cleric and the National Secretary-General of the Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah wa Iqamatus Sunnah, Sheikh Muhammad Kabiru Haruna had in a phone call conversation told Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State that he would decamp from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) if the former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is allowed to join the ruling party.

Some hours later, Sheik Gombe also posted on his verified Facebook account a 12-hour ultimatum to Engr. Muaz to withdraw the statement, or the Sheik will file a legal suit against the former Commissioner of Works over alleged defamation of character. Sheik Gombe said he had never meet Gov. Buni. And, he is neither a politician nor partisan. His only job is preaching.

On Saturday, September 13, 2021, a truce was reached. After that, Muaz visited Sheik Gombe at his residence in Abuja. In attendance were the National Chairman of Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah wa Iqamatus Sunnah, Sheik Abdullahi Bala Lau, National Leader of The Tijjaniya Youth Africa, Ahmadu Tijjani Umar Maigeru. The outcome of the meeting: Muaz had withdrawn his statement, apologised, and a friendship was born at that moment.

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A deep look at this event and the people involved will serve as a big lesson to northern Nigeria, which faces social disorder and insecurity due to the eroded beautiful culture and norms.

First, the whole idea of the meeting between Sheik Kabiru Gombe and Engr. Muaz Magaji was initiated and implemented by the National Leader of the Tijjaniya Youth Africa, Ahmadu Tijjani Umar Maigeru, a frontline gubernatorial candidate in Kaduna State. Ahmadu Tijjani is of the Tijjaniya sect while Kabiru Gombe is of the Izala. This has shown the rekindling of the old habit in the north – humanity first – where sect, race, tribe, and geography don’t matter. Ahmadu Tijjani must be commended for such foresight in initiating the meeting to reach a truce, Sheik Gombe for being magnanimous while Muaz for being levelheaded.

Second, for accepting to withdraw his statement, apologising, and making friends, Muaz has helped society in some ways. Fake news can quickly be decimated if a high profile person that shared it will come out to denounce it and apologise as well. And, differences between individuals or groups can be resolved with dialogues and understanding.

The coming together of these men to resolve a matter that was supposed to be settled in a Court of Law is a clear case of the need to rekindle the old north where every issue is resolved within the community, people were their brothers’ keepers, who, every day bring out from their homes their breakfast, lunch and dinner for neighbours, including even strangers to eat.

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In the old north, your father’s friend is automatically your father and can decide on you without first consulting your parent. In the old north, people allocate some portion of their houses to strangers to settle. In the old north, no child will be seen wandering around without the community showing any concern. That’s was the monolithic North! It has to be rekindled as a one-step in solving some of the region’s current social problems, especially insecurity. 

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja,

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