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Opinion

[Friday Sermon] The Importance Of Helping And Supporting The Truthful Ones In The Time Of Persecution, Trials, Crisis And Difficultly

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Bashir Tofa's mosque

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day – then to proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! Whilst Allah has narrated many incidents in the lives of the Prophets, He has also given subtle but significant tributes to some other people, who came to their timely aid in times of persecution, crisis, and difficulty.

The Qur’an is the most truthful, beneficial, authentic and genuine source of guidance for mankind, which surpasses in credibility and efficacy any other work of literature that exists on earth.

This is a Book for one and all. In the Qur’an, the reflective believer will come across numerous analogies, parables, facts, exhortations, and other narratives that will serve as relevant food for thought for them, pertaining to any situation or event that they might be going through in their lives.

This is just one of the amazing miracles of the Qur’an: it will directly or indirectly provide guidance and subtle references to people and situations, which a reflective believer will be able to relate to immediately. Almost uncannily, like a momentous epiphany, they will suddenly become enlightened about what to do in order to proceed with wisdom and discretion to resolve their dilemma or predicament.

• Tough Times Come with Silver Linings

As many gurus, intellectuals, scholars, experts and wise people have timelessly exhorted that, bad things happen in life for a reason, and almost always bring about some good. So many people who are hailed as historical heroes today, whose names have become famous and recognisable, were severely tried, tested and suffered when they were alive.

Many got killed whilst taking a stand for the cause that they believed in, which they fought for, and for which they were mercilessly persecuted by the people of their time.

The Prophets of Allah are no exception. Each one of the Prophets endured difficult and trying times during their lives, which made them and their causes for propagating the guidance of Allah to mankind, stronger and more firm in effect and benefit.

In the noble Qur’an, whilst Allah has narrated many incidents in the lives of the Prophets, He has also given subtle but significant tributes to some other people, who came to their timely aid in times of persecution, crisis, and difficulty.

• The Informer of Prophet Musa

In Surah Al-Qasas, Allah narrates how Prophet Musa (AS) accidentally killed a Copt when coming to the aid of one of the oppressed Israelites. It was an accidental death that resulted in him being persecuted by the rulers.

In this situation, an unnamed man came running from a farther corner of the city, to inform Prophet Musa that he was about to be arrested and killed in return for the accidental death of the Copt. Allah Almighty says:

“And [then and there] a man came running from the farthermost end of the city, and said: “O Musa! Behold, the great ones [of the kingdom] are deliberating upon your case with a view to killing you! Be gone, then. Verily, I am of those who wish you well!” [Qur’an, 28:20]

It was the help of this hero, which allowed Prophet Musa (AS) to escape and run away from the city in time, and save himself from being killed.

• The Helper of Antioch

A similar helper of Prophets, and his honourable actions, are given a raving tribute by Allah in verse 36:20.

This sincere and eloquent helper came to the aid of two Prophets of Allah in the city of Antioch. He publicly urged the people around him to follow them both, and to support their cause. He did this when the people had rejected the Prophet’s message, and were threatening to kill them both.

His name is reported to have been Habib, and he was a poor but charitable man suffering from leprosy, who had believed in the two Prophet’s message of monotheism. He bravely came to their aid when the people were trying to kill them. As a result of his bravery and sacrifice in supporting the two messengers of Allah, he was also killed by his people. He died a very violent death by being stoned and stomped upon. [Tafsir Kathir]

Allah gives this helper a glorious tribute in the Qur’an, by mentioning the words he said when he was admitted into Paradise. He said:

“Would that my people knew that my Lord has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!” [Qur’an, 36:26-27]

Even after dying, he was sincere to his people.

• The Witness for Prophet Yusuf (AS)

When Prophet Yusuf (AS) was thrown into a well by his brothers, because they wanted him out of their lives, he ended up being sold as a slave in Egypt. Allah granted him help in the form of the rich man who bought him, named Aziz. This man, his owner, was very kind to him and gave him a good dwelling in his own home. For some time, Prophet Yusuf lived a comfortable, safe life, before he was tested again.

Prophet Yusuf grew up to become a very handsome young man. One day, he was seduced by Aziz’s wife. As he turned to run away from her, she grabbed at his shirt, tearing it from the back. As they both reached the door leading outside, they found Aziz. A hue and cry ensued.

His wife promptly slandered Prophet Yusuf (AS) with attempted rape. At this point, a helper eloquently came forward, and put forth a fool-proof test of determining Yusuf’s innocence. He urged Aziz to look at from which angle Yusuf’s shirt was torn: if it was torn from behind, it meant that she was guilty, and he was the innocent victim. [Qur’an, 12:26-27]

This clear evidential proof helped establish Prophet Yusuf’s innocence and absolved him of the crime that his mistress was accusing him of.

Once again, the Prophet’s sincere helper is not named in the Qur’an, but Allah refers to him as “Shahid” (a witness), and has recorded his valuable words in His Divine writ, for all time to come.

• Appreciate the Modern Helpers

Like I said, the Qur’an provides timeless guidance for every situation that sincere believers can find themselves in. In the contemporary world, any Muslim who treads the path of the Prophets of Allah, by telling the truth and inviting others to the way of monotheism, is at risk of persecution, slander, hate and even death by murder.

Such Muslims should always remember that, no matter how bleak and dire the situation, Allah will send them His help in the form of anonymous and unknown helpers, who will try to rescue them, support them, acquit them, or facilitate their escape from harm.

We should always remember to appreciate them, just the way Allah appreciated the helpers who supported His Prophets in the past.

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadah Al-Thani 4th, 1443 A.H. (January 07, 2022).

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Opinion

Hajiya Rakiya: The Predicament of ICT Guru at CBN

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By Yushau A. Shuaib

Upon completing the routine security check, we ascended to the impressive Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) complex in Abuja. Led to a spacious yet modest hall where an event was unfolding, we found seats beside a woman modestly dressed in a Muslim Hijab. She greeted us warmly and invited us to sit beside her. Her humility and warmth immediately put us at ease.

We initially assumed she was a guest or another participant at the briefing. However, as we discussed the media industry, she listened intently, nodding in agreement. When she finally spoke, her insightful comments on disruptive technologies and their impact on the communication industry left us in awe. Her deep knowledge spanned online streaming services, virtual events, and redefining audience engagement through innovation, leaving us with a profound respect for her expertise.

She elaborated on how blockchain, 5G networks, and artificial intelligence facilitate secure, faster connectivity and interactive experiences with enhanced royalty management. Beyond aiding in content generation and personalisation, she noted media production is becoming increasingly democratised. Moreover, she ‘schooled’ us on the latest technological tools for fact-checking, cybersecurity, and digital journalism—all without a trace of arrogance or pomposity.

As the event concluded, we offered our printed business cards. In response, she shared her digital business card. Scanning the QR code revealed her identity: Hajia Rakiya Shuaibu Mohammed, the Director of Information Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria. This position speaks volumes about her expertise and influence in the field.

Curiosity drove me to search for her profile upon leaving. What I uncovered was astounding. Despite not being a celebrity tech expert paraded on social media or television, she is an extraordinary IT specialist. Former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele described her as such, having promoted her from Head of Information Security Management after a rigorous selection process.

In his remarks at the eNaira Hackathon Grand Finale in Abuja in 2022, Emefiele, the then CBN Governor, credited the success of Africa’s first central bank digital currency partly to Hajiya Rakiya. He admitted to underestimating her suitability for the Director of Information Technology position, initially preferring a male candidate. He said, “I must single her out. When she was considered for the director role, I initially doubted. I was thinking.. I’m Sorry, ladies, please forgive me. I said a lady IT Director. I went back and began to read her CV. She is a First-Class computer science graduate, a brilliant erudite lady from Northern Nigeria, and a chartered accountant. I said you could not have a better person as head of IT for Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Her academic and professional accolades are extensive. Rakiya was the Head Girl of the Federal Government Girl College, Bakori, and the Best Graduating Student in 1982. She obtained a First-Class degree in Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in 1987, followed by a Master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 1994. She has also attended executive education programs at Harvard University and Oxford University.

Rakiya’s professional journey spans over 25 years across the financial, telecommunications, and technology sectors. Before her promotion to IT Director at the CBN, where she spearheaded and implemented the Industry Security Operation Centre (NFICERT) and Africa’s first Digital Currency, Rakiya had headed the System Services and Information Security Management (CISO) Division of the bank, where she modernised the IT infrastructure and introduced innovative solutions like video conferencing. She had developed and implemented robust information security strategies, maintaining ISO 27001 certification and ensuring zero major security incidents.
Previously, she was Head of Strategy and IT at Galaxy Backbone Plc (2009-2011), CIO at Premium Pension Limited (2005-2008), Deputy General Manager (IT) and CIO of NITEL (2003-2005), and Head of Branch Banking Systems in the Northern Region of Continental Merchant Bank (1988-1995).

She holds numerous certifications, including Lean Process Practitioner, Certified IT Business Manager, Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO), Certified Enterprise and Solution Architect, Certified IT Governance Professional (COBIT, CGEIT), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Chartered Accountant (ICAN) and Honorary member of the Certified Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

On May 16, 2024, she made an outstanding presentation to the CBN board on maximising the utility of current IT facilities. However, a week later, despite her impressive background, certifications, and contributions to the bank, Rakiya has become one of the victims of an inexplicable spate of officers retrenched by the current CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso.

Here is a woman who has contributed immensely by ensuring increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved security in various organisations she had worked for and could just be retired due to political exigency.

It is perplexing to understand the rationale behind retrenching such highly qualified and integral personnel among several others in that bank, especially considering the ongoing appointments of external consultants. If retaining and promoting the best within the service is not prioritised, what justifies these replacements with outsiders?

Yushau A. Shuaib is the author of “Award Winning Crisis Communication Strategies.” yashuaib@yashuaib.com

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Opinion

Prioritizing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship: Why Nigerians must shift from white collar jobs

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Yusha’u Hamza Kafinchiri

 

As Nigeria continues to grapple with the challenges of unemployment, poverty and economic stagnation, it is imperative that citizens shift their focus towards a proven model of success – skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
China’s remarkable economic transformation serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through a concerted effort to develop vocational skills and encourage entrepreneurial spirit. With a population of over 200 million Nigeria is a thriving market to accommodate it’s talent’s productivity.

For too long, Nigeria has been plagued by a culture of white-collar job seekers, relying on government employment and certificates rather than skills and innovation. This mindset has perpetuated laziness, mediocrity and a lack of innovation. It is time for an active paradigm shift. Governments at all levels must work truthfully on this model leveraging on the power of education and training in producing producers of good and services.

By prioritizing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, Nigerians can:

-Develop practical skills in various trades, such as technology, manufacturing, and services to remain independent
-Create jobs and stimulate economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship
-Reduce reliance on government employment and break free from the shackles of white-collar mentality currently wrecking havoc on government efforts to hold to it’s services.
-Increase productivity and competitiveness, driving economic progress at all levels of learning.

Let Nigerians learn from China’s example and strive to build on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, as the drivers of their own destiny and the architects of a prosperous Nigeria.
Let the mindset of Nigerians change for good.

 

Kafinchiri,  is a Director monitoring and evaluation, Ministry of Education, Kano State. 

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Opinion

Emirs are not Kings!

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Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

Sunusi Umar Sadiq

 

The drama surrounding the restoration of a single Kano Emirate, which has hitherto been balkanised, and the reinstatement of Muhammadu Sanusi II as its emir is still unfolding. Yet, as always, there are many issues of interest that may need to be discussed even before the events fold up completely. One such issue is the question of chronology, that is whether the reinstated emir will now be referred to as the 14th, 16th or even 59th emir of Kano, the last mentioned counting from Bagauda, the first of the kings of the Kano Kingdom.

I have little or no problem with MSII being referred to as the 14th or even the 16th emir. It will just be an additional confusion upon the existing one. It is, nonetheless, a matter for historians to decide though the semantics is clear that reinstatement is a carry-over from the past, not a fresh beginning. In other words, when a person is reinstated to the position he once occupied but for whatever reason got removed therefrom, the interregnum is considered as an aberration. Moreover, it is the individual ruler that counted, not the period he occupied as it is the ruler that defines the era not vice-versa. This is perhaps encapsulated in the well-known Hausa saying of Sarki goma, zamani goma. And the extant sources we have, as far as I know, never assign a new chronology to a reinstated ruler obviously due to the contradiction that will cause when a headcount is taken.

There is a problem, however, to reckon the reinstated emir as the 59th King of Kano for the simple reason that the Kano Kingdom ceased to exist in 1807 when the last King of Kano, Muhammadu Alwali, was overthrown by the Fulani. A kingdom is independent and the king is sovereign. An emir, however, is subordinate to a higher authority to which he owes allegiance and must remain loyal for him to retain his post. He is no more than a Military Administrator under a military junta.

The Fulani turned Kano into an emirate, as they did to other Hausa States, thereby making it an appendage of Sokoto with the emir being in his post at the pleasure of the Supreme Ruler in Sokoto. Late Dr. Yusufu Bala Usman did well in bringing out these distinctions between emirates and kingdoms in his seminal doctoral research published as The Transformation of Katsina (1400 – 1883): The Emergence and Overthrow of the Sarauta System and the Establishment of Emirate.

Late Bala identified at least five distinct epochs in the case of Katsina, which is very much the same as the rest of the Hausa States. The epochs as identified are the period of the autonomous garuruwa and birane, with no overall head, only the occupational heads or guild chiefs with the Sarkin Noma as the primus inter pares. The second period saw the emergence of the Sarauta System. Then the third period, which he called the Jama’a Period, by which he meant the period immediately after the Fulani Uprising. The fourth period is the emirate period in which the authority is centred around the emir as a lieutenant of the Caliph in Sokoto. The fifth is the Native Authority System ushered in by the British Colonialists.

The impropriety of adding a Fulani emir to the list of the Hausa Kings becomes more manifest when we call to mind that the successor Hausa States of Gobir in Tsibiri, of Katsina in Maradi and of Zazzau in Zuba/Abuja (now Suleja) continue with their king-lists as it is not seat of a kingdom that defines that kingdom but the historicity and historical consciousness of the people involved. Duk inda Shehu ya ke nan ne Borno.

If we take Zazzau Suleja as an example, the current king is the 68th on the list, a list in which all the Fulani Emirs of Zazzau from Mallam Musa to Amb. Ahmad Bamalli cannot justifiably be placed. The Fulani are therefore free to make up their own “emirlist” so as to ensure historical coherence.

The problem with Kano is that unlike its sister states or kingdoms, the overthrown Hausa ma su sarauta did not establish a successor state anywhere. Why that happened is borne out by a number of factors which will be a topic for another day. Nonetheless, the sanctity of history has to safeguarded and respected. The Sarakunan Hausa were absolute monarchs. They did not have to curry the favour of some other ruler for them to remain on the throne or to secure the position for their offspring in the event of their passing. Moreover, the Hausa Kings were the fountain of the law and justice. They did not need a court order to maintain them on the throne or ward off their contenders.

Sadiq writes from Kano. He is the President of the Hausa Historical Society. He can be reached via hausahistoricalsociety@gmail.com

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