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Jonathan and the power of prayer over Boko Haram

Published by Tribune on Fri, 06 Jun 2014

THE efficacy of prayers in resolving seemingly hopeless situations has been proved over and over again not just in people's lives but in the lives of nations as well. The holy books are replete with situations of God's interventions in difficult circumstances in miraculous ways after men and women have had spiritual communion with Him in supplication. Nations have indeed been saved following humble entreaties to the Almighty. Nigeria, in need of redemption, can do with a lot of prayers.President Goodluck Jonathan is apparently very religious and believes that there is no condition that cannot be resolved by God, if only the people are willing to call upon Him. He has become even more scrupulously faithful since Boko Haram insurgents viciously raised their game, killing, maiming and leaving communities devastated in the wake of their unrestrained terrorist activities mainly on the poor and the innocent. The president has a church in his residence at the Presidential Villa Abuja. But not content with that, he moves from church to church trying to rally the faithful for intercession on behalf of the nation. Last week, he took his knack for orison further, conscripting Senegalese Muslim clerics into the movement to stimulate assistance from the Almighty. The mallams, led by Grand KhalifahTijjaniand Ahmed Ibrahim Inyass, were in the country and Gombe in particular to attend the annual birthday celebration of Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass. But when Jonathan learnt of their presence, he reasoned that their prayers could be useful in the desperate search for peace in the North-Eastern part of the country and just like in the holy book, he would not let them go unless they blessed the country. Grand KhalifahTijjani is the son of Shaikh Ibrahim Nyass of Kaolack, Senegal, the founder of the Tijjanayas Islamic movement, who himself had had some significant roles to play in the turbulent past of Nigeria, the first being in 1963 when the Emir of Kano, MuhammedSanusi, was dethroned by the Northern Nigeria government. Shortly before the dethronement, the Sheikh had prophesied to the Emir about the injustice that was about to befall him but warned him to accept it in good faith in submission to the will of God and not act in any other manner. Therefore, when the Emir was dethroned for political reasons and citizens of Kano rose against the government in protest, the ousted Emir quickly intervened to stop the emirate from any action in obedience to the Sheikh.The second significant event, according to an account, happened during the Nigerian Civil War when there appeared to be no solution in sight to the raging pogrom.It was said that the Sheikh's closest disciple and in-law, Alhaji Abdulmalik Ibrahim Atta, a prince of Okene who was then the High Commissioner of Nigeria in the United Kingdom, requested the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, to solicit a special prayer from the Sheikh for the restoration of peace in Nigeria. After the prayers, the Sheikh correctly predicted the end of hostilities in Nigeria and Gowon not only visited him in Kaolack to express his gratitude but later conferred on him a national honour. During all this time, his son, KhalifahTijjani, who was at the head of the latest delegation to the Villa, was the go-between.With Khalifah Sheikh Ahmed TijjaniInyass in the Villa mission were TijjaniAwwalu; MuhammadauMakkyInyass; Mansur Inyass; Ahmed TijjaniInyass; Bashir Inyass;Inyass Mustapha Inyass; Abdulahi Muhammad Maigemu; Ibrahim DahiruBauchi; and Aliyu Ibrahim. Jonathan certainly trusted the efficacy of their prayers and, like Gowon before him, could not resist the urge to recruit them to bring divine intervention to bear on the unrelenting terror campaign of the insurgents. Amnesty: To be or not to be'I am still trying to come to terms with the divergent statements from the Federal Government on the possible declaration of amnesty for repentant members of the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist sect. The embarrassment of last week could have been avoided if only government officials are willing to coordinate their pronouncements. From Jonathan's remarks in his Democracy Day nationwide broadcast, you would think that his carrot and stick approach is preparing ground for the declaration of amnesty to the terrorists. 'For our citizens who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems, our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.'The Minister of Youth Development, MrBoniHaruna, thought he was clarifying this when he announced pointedly that Jonathan has already declared amnesty and government has already lined several programmes to give vent to the gesture only for DrReuben Abati, the presidential spokesman, to say that the president has not used the word 'amnesty.' Jonathan may not have used the word but there is no disguise of his intention to reintegrate the terrorists into society should they heed his call to renounce violence. If that is not amnesty declaration, then what is it
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