Making Buhari a saint for wearing hat to church

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

I’ve read a lot of denigrating words from people I do not know concerning the fact that General Muhammadu Buhari has made appearances in churches these days in pursuit of his presidential ambition wearing his hat. These persons were not just speaking, owing to the undertone in their sentences that Buhari wore his hat to church, but because he is a Muslim fanatic, who would frown if non-Islamic faithful wear sandals or shoes inside the Mosque. These persons actually are entitled to their opinions and views.

 buhari and cap

But it behoves us to understand that some opinions and views are not acceptable no matter from who such were coming from. My argument is that if 1 Corinthians 11:4 warns that every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, why do Bishops of some Christian churches wear tall hat otherwise called “miter” in the church? Miter or mitre is a Greek or Latin, which means crown.

 

It was obvious that in the ancient Jewish traditions, the Jewish leaders – the high priests – (not Christians, because Christianity started with the biblical Jesus) were obligated to be set apart by what they wore, and predominantly by wearing miters. See Exodus 29:6, Leviticus 8:9, Exodus 28:3-4, Ex. 39:28).

 

But does this practice correspond with what 1 Corinthians 11:4 recommends above in the New Testament? The apostles themselves wore hats, which we could see that they did in correlation with the Jewish tradition of the time, which suggested that noble people have different types of hat they wear to distinguish themselves from the people. Early Christian writers like Tertullian, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Hegesippus noted this: that the apostles themselves wore miters.

 

In our present days, many churchgoers still do not understand that many practices in the church were those of the ancient times inculcated into the church by the gullible Western emperors, just as the meaning of Christ, Jesus and Yeshua or Jehoshua are not known to many people till date, because they do not see beyond what their ‘doctored’ bible teaches them. I have posited in the cause of investigation before that true, the central celebrity of Christianity is called Jesus Christ today. But the early Christians were followers of the Aramaic (ancient Hebrew) word, Yeshua or Jehoshua. Deep down history, they were two personalities.

 

The former was coined to take the position of the latter. I’m not sure how many people know that the word “Christ” is not a personal name, it was gotten from Greek word which means Christos – a title.

 

Check the two names: 1. Jesus is today believed to be the Yeshua or Jehoshua of the Aramaic and at the same time, 2. Christ from Greek. Can’t we pause over the connotation in the two names? Some will not believe that the story of the “myth Jesus” was distorted and was hyped by Paul, who was originally a believer of Mithraism, his native spirituality, before his purportedly conversion.

 

Even when the apparent conversion of Saul took place, he laced his new “political belief-system” with the indoctrinations of his Mithras myths and superstitions and today we have the Paulian Christianity, outside the foundational Christianity of the followers of Yeshua or Jehoshua. Christ being a title and not a name, during the reign of Yeshua or Jehoshua, Thomas was the chief apostle of a long-forgotten form of Christianity. Hence, when the Rome/ West hijacked and stereotyped Christianity, they labeled Thomas, who was the chief apostle, a Doubter. Let me make my point clear.

 

Today, a government and its agents had labelled me ex-convict, rapist, kidnapper and all that nonsense they know how to write better because of my critiques of the government. In the future, say 500yrs time, if not that I’ve been able to re-write their malicious stories, many who might be making research on me would believe that all that was written against me were true and, history will absorb them. This is the same case with the “myth Jesus” and Paul. When we read that the “myth Jesus” would be conceived by a “virgin”, I think it behoves us to really understand what “virgin” means in the Aramaic Language, and not from the periscope of the English Language. An example is that in the part of Igbo where I come from, “leledule” literarily means “come I want to discuss with you.”

 

But somebody who does not understand it in the Language of my people would mistake it for “Look.” And if well hyped, history would absorb it as “Look”, depriving it of its original meaning. How many people know today that among some of the earliest followers of Yeshua or Jehoshua in the Fertile Crescent, from northern Syria to Egypt, Thomas emerged much more prominently? “He was seen as the special confidant of the Aramaic Yeshua or Jehoshua, today the “myth Jesus”, recorder of his master’s sayings.” In some sense Thomas was regarded as his twin.

 

According to findings, “In the Syriacspeaking culture of upper Mesopotamia and Syria the apostle was called Judas Thomas. Thomas (Tau’ma) means twin in Syriac, a form of the Aramaic which was the language of “myth Jesus” and his followers. And Didymus, a name by which the apostle is also called in the gospel of John, means twin in Greek. “Perhaps some regarded the two as blood brothers. Perhaps the twinship was regarded as spiritual or symbolic. Sometimes, as in early Christian systems, Thomas seems to be the, this worldly reflection or image of a divine saviour-figure, an earthly body inhabited by a spirit like the saviour’s.

 

In any event Thomas became a focus of special reverence.” However, Buhuri could be a priest, according to the culture of his tribe, who should go to anywhere with his hat on his head, just as the Bishops wear their beanies in the church. If Bishops could wear their hats in the church while in some bible portions it was stated clear that any man who does that disrespects his head, why not Buhari? Hats are in designs and are put on for different purposes. They have different designs and should not set anybody aside as important as not the other person in the recent times even though that we have to accord respect to whom respect is due to. One observer said online: The Catholic Church is a visible Church led by visible people.

The bishop’s miter is one of the ways that we can identify and recognize our visible leaders, the bishops. Why exempt Buhari or myself in this ‘recognition’? See the catholic cardinals assemble; they are with their ‘skull caps’. I want to tell those who are making Buhari a ghost because he has appeared in the church with his hat that the ‘beanie’ or whatever you may call it has a practical, not a religious origin.

 

Who knows that it’s officially called a ‘zucchetto,’ Italian Language, translating to ‘skull cap’? Initially the church elders were cutting their hairs in the form called ‘Tonsure’, just as we can see the monks of Hare Krishina Consciousness cut, before the Bishops changed to the ‘skull cap’. Investigations have revealed that such haircut is one aspect of spiritual rituals before any man enters the monastery. In the clerical level it was part of the ceremony before a cleric can enter the monastery. So how relevant is wearing such a haircut or skull cap in our churches today?

 

It was as a result of this type of haircut that Paul wrote: Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him…—1 Corinthians 11:14. But the modern church theologians ascribe ‘long hair’ to mean afro hair cut or its like. No. It clearly meant “zucchetto” which has transformed to represent the skull caps which Bishops wear today. I’m not writing all this to win a case here, but for us to research beyond what we have been fed with.

 buhari in church

Initially as a kid, I had the belief that the planet was seven (or is it nine?) because that was what I was taught from infancy, but new discoveries have shown that we have 750 planets and many would be discovered with time. It is imperative that we see the world beyond our spoon-fed religious dogmas and the stories we have been told surrounding the alien religions of Christianity and Islam. We have to think about and, examine the world esoterically, exoterically and allegorically to really come up with the desired result, instead of the one directional perception people have held for centuries.

 

• Onwumere (apoet_25@yahoo.com), poet and writer, sent this peace from Port Harcourt

 

 

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Why are Delta people in love with Okowa?

By Odimegwu Onwumere

When a man or woman is loved by his or her people the accolade they accord the person does not settle down, at least, quickly. The prolonged-applause they rent in the air covers every nook and cranny like a dusty road that is graced by a passing car during dry season. This is the expression that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is getting from the people of Delta State since his victory in the December 2014 Peoples Democratic (PDP) governorship primaries in the state and, it is appealing to the heart.

Many residents of Delta State that I spoke to, political-wise, during a visit to the state recently expressed satisfaction in the party’s choice for Okowa, whom they regarded as an orator, a man of integrity, humble. They said that as a Senator and Chairman Committee on Health and a tested and trusted man who have held sensitive positions in the government of the state, he is the right person for the job.

The clamour everywhere (except the minute ethnic bigots) is that all the residents of Delta State and the citizens in Diaspora should join hands in making sure that Okowa wins in the February 28 2015 governorship election expected would take place across the 36 states of the federation. The residents believed that every right thinking person will cast his or her vote for this man whom they also described as a gentleman and a good leader by example.

From virtually every angle, it was observed that Okowa stands tallest politically among the tall people contending to become governor of the state in the 2015 elections. He is presently enjoying the support of teachers, students, workers and others. He is being appreciated for what they said were his numerous empowerment endeavours when he was a commissioner and Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

His assistance to all facets of human endeavours in the state is said to be immeasurable, with much belief in making sure that the less-privileged in and out of Delta State have songs of joy in their mouth. Today, students in Delta State are singing hosanna for Okowa, traders are doing the same, lawyers too… He is described as the hope of Delta people.

One scintillating aspect found in the unalloyed support from Delta people to Okowa was that no syringe is attached to their support. They love the man for the confidence they repose on him that he will deliver without qualms, owing to the fact that he has exhibited traits of good dossier of performance.

In all the praises to Okowa, one area that may have some hitches will be from the Urhobo area. Since Okowa emerged the PDP governorship candidate, some of the Urhobo people who have a mindset that Delta State solely belongs to them are clamouring that their people should move to the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Labour Party (LP) in order to achieve their rather bias political ambition. Those in this line of thought are of the view that as soon as this is done, then the PDP will be enjoying only the support of Delta North and South. It was observed that the Urhobo people did this in 2007 and 2011.

While they may be in this disgust analysis, many Urhobo people have however said that when they knew that Okowa would emerge the PDP flagbearer was when they saw some of their notable sons and daughters in the academia and journalism and co stand behind Okowa. The supposed problem with Urhobo people against Okowa is that they believe that they have the voting power and can change the game as at when due.

Some are saying that with the emergence of Okowa, the state would be governed by the opposition, a statement that has been debunked by the numerous people who are standing behind Okowa. To this people, they believe that Delta remains a PDP state with Okowa in the ring. Some of the embittered Urhobo people are saying that a lesson should be learnt from Edo State on how Governor Adams Oshiomhole emerged governor after a president wanted his own candidate who was in the ruling PDP then.

But the truth I observed is that Delta people are in their high voice saying that Okowa was not imposed on them, so such evaluation with what happened in Edo State is baseless. What will be working for Okowa is that the votes of the Urhobo people will be divided because two of their sons in the persons of Emerhor and Ogboru respectively are in the APC and LP.

Even though that the entire people from Delta Central endorse just one candidate, which has always been their trademark, Okowa is believed to be standing highest. The reason being that Delta South is not bringing out any candidate because it is in total support of Delta North; the former wants power shift. It is believed that the umbrella body of the Urhobo people known as UPU should wait for its people’s turn till 2023, but use the opportunity now and support power to budge to Delta North.

It’s experiential that the Anioma people are the people holding the political peace that exists between them and the Urhobo people who have always felt that the state exclusively belongs to them (Urhobo). There is no gainsaying the fact that the Urboho people lost the sense that they have been with the Anioma people from the Western region to the Bendel State. I do not want to write that Urhobo purportedly drifted from the bond they have been sharing with the Anioma people when Delta State was created and the capital was situated at Asaba.

However, to balance the political equation in Delta State, it behoves on the Itsekiris and especially all Urhobos, Ijaw, Isoko and others to give their support for Okowa. Greed should not be inculcated in fighting Okowa whom the majority are strongly behind. Any plot against Okowa is a plot against Anioma people; it is a plot against the entire Igbo nation not to govern Delta State as other ethnic groupings in the state have done. And if the Urhobo people are taking the Anioma people as inferior to them, they should vouch for the creation of Anioma State, which has been the quest of Ndigbo in Delta State. Notwithstanding, the three senatorial zones in Delta voted for Okowa in the primaries, and it is expected that they do same in the same spirit during the general elections.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. (apoet_25@yahoo.com). Tel: +2348032552855.

 

Aunty Grace flogged me for eating on the road

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Aunty Grace flogged me that day. I’ve ever lived to remember that. It’s the day grandmother sent me to the market. She said that I should use the Kobo and buy moi-moi and eat. It’s when moi-moi was foiled in plantain leaf. Milk cup wasn’t then used to make moi-moi.

When Aunty Grace caught me on the bush path eating the moi-moi while going home, she leveled the entire cassava stem in the nearby farm on me. She said that I was a disgrace to her brother, who’s my father. She said that her brother was a disciplined and a middle class man.

When passersby came to my rescue, she said I should promise her that I would never eat again on the road all my life. That caution over 30yrs stuck to date. But to my chagrin, I see well-dressed persons eat, trekking on the road, either masticating corn, plantain chips or licking orange or something. I’d thought that Aunty Grace was wicked, but she saved me from this nuisance.

When I brought this experience before friends on Facebook recently, a lady who resides in Canada opined that she did not see anything wrong in eating in the streets, but it all depends. “I don’t see anything wrong in eating on the road. So long as you are doing it responsibly. For instance on Thursdays, I’m so busy that the only break I have is just 10 mins.

“And that break is walking from class to work which is approximately 10 mins. Shuffling food down my throats as I rush to work is the only solution, if not, I will have to wait till I get Home. There are so many people their lives are like that, especially in the developed worlds…

“You get so busy that sitting down to eat during the day is a lot of wasted time…. Here, we eat in classes. But how dare you eat in the class in Nigeria, especially when the lecturer is teaching!” she said.

A diplomat with notable organisations around the globe said that we Nigerians were raised up with the view that it does not add up to eat in the streets, but reiterated that eating food deserves some dignity too.

“Well I was shocked arriving in New York for an international assignment and seeing all my colleagues drinking their oatmeal along the street and heading off to work! I couldn’t adjust as I had to learn how to not take breakfast at home but either at work or buy a carry-food box for my breakfast. To see a papa bom-boy drinking oatmeal or tea and biscuits along the road took a lot of adjustment for me,” the diplomat expressed.

The diplomat continued, saying, “Well I returned back to Nigeria for short-term assignment with the UN in Abuja. Since I formed the habit of being at office at 7am I continued that way showing up at work by 7am with my oatmeal cup and biscuits which I will be eating heading up the stairs or the lift. This was before the BH bombed the place!

“So one day one hard-nosed and no-nonsense Secretary asked me this question; “Dr. make you no vex. I wan ask you question”. And I said, “Yes”. Then she goes on this way; “Oga wetin dey drive you away from the house that you show up here every 7am drinking oatmeal, abi you no get wife for house? If you no get, please let us. This is embarrassing for a big oga like you”.”

The man said that he just laughed but she went on saying it is serious. So this madam secretary has already judged him and his status and placed him in the category of big man who shouldn’t be found racing to office too early and on top of that taking oatmeal breakfast to office.

“Big Oga takes time to eat at home the breakfast prepared by the wife. In fact every big oga must be married! Culture is variegated and shaded so much – diversity doesn’t capture it,” he enthused.

However, if you ask me to mention a people who have manners and attitudes to lose, I would mention the West. Laws and laws in that place have caged the people to be respecters of laws but abandon the moral and morale etiquettes.

Of what glamour does it add to a man to wear his clothes in the street because he wants to be quick to office? My people, amorality has no maternal home. Diplomacy has to go in line with decency. Decorum should not be subjected to repression and we call the later civilisation or lifestyle.

I was taught to always uphold decorum and will never distance myself from morality. It is important that the dignity of human being is upheld all the time. Countries should teach their people how to live a life of constructive and co-operative.

Eating in the streets is madness sound, just as we have wave sound. If films have decorum in order to reach to a wider audience, why can’t human being be respected and given orders that should elevate their status instead of denigrate them.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Writer, Rivers State. (apoet_25@yahoo.com). Tel: +2348057778358.

 

Before Buhari’s age becomes a curse

Senior citizens should be treated with respect. It is in our values to revere and respect old people and not to make jokes of them no matter the situation. We are not operating a culture where old age is seen as a crime and the old ones confined in homes where others care for them; it is in our culture that we care for our old people at home, when they could no longer be actively operational.

In that line, the United Nations recognized the importance of old age and formulated ideas to develop policy that would adhere to the aging populations across the globe with a margin that old age begins at 60. This body has even started celebrating the International Day of Older Persons in October. The international body set this aside to acknowledge the contributions that over the 60-line has made to the society.

In 1998 World Day of Older Persons, Kofi Annan as UN Secretary General, declared in his message for, “a society for all ages is a society which, far from caricaturing older people as retired and infirm, considers them on the contrary as agents and beneficiaries of development”. This disclosure was made after an “International Plan of Action on Ageing” was created at the World Assembly on Ageing held by the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, from 26 July to 6 August 1982, and lingers to this day as international tip of suggestion.

However, in the Nigerian politics, as we can observe that General Muhammadu Buhari joined the ring to contest the presidential race, many are wont to saying that he is a man of above 70 and has nothing to contribute in the politics of 21st Century. The way and manner that those in this line of thought are handling Buhari’s age, makes old age to sound like a curse and not actually a blessing.

Even some persons who are above the UN’s 60-line join the bandwagon to castigate Buhari for his age. These people forget the known, tested and proven fact that everything old tests fine: Old wine tests fine, old wood burns well, old friends can be trusted. And Buhari may not be exempted!

In a pontifical council for the laity document, titled, “The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in the Church and in the World”, sees the likes of Buhari as those in the “third age”. And they are a large slice of the world’s population. Such people are still important to the everyday activities of their societies even though that they may have retired from active employment, but they have tremendous inner resources that the society will benefit from. This is why they are not a curse but referred to as “young old”.

Much as we know, old people are always helpful in a given society to stop selfish, combatant, complex, arrogance, self-centered, envious, competitive… traits that are associated with youths. In Igbo, it is proverbial that why every compound must have an old person is to avert children from catching vulture and mistake it for kite. Old people are good at experience, advising the society around them on financial matters and other traditional rituals among their peoples.

It is incongruous to castigate Buhari because of his age in politics; he should be appraised for taking such a line when many of his ilks are whiling away their time in gossip. In a comment on Yahoo about four years ago, one Barbara Gettinger Stewart, said that it has always seemed to her that foolish young people become foolish old people. However, just by virtue of living a long time, even old foolish people pick up a bit of experience that the younger generation can use.

She continued, saying that people who have lived a long time can remember things that no longer exist; such as typing papers using carbon paper and white out. Adults were feared to an extent, even beloved ones.  She said that as she approaches 70, she found herself understanding more and more about those who came before, even some who were quite foolish during their lives.  She concludes: All humans have intrinsic worth and the scale goes on from there.

Another commentator said that wherever the Old people are there they take care of the kids, provide them with the inputs of their experience, knowledge and emotional value of family and groom the children as a good, obedient and bright children and Law abiding future citizen. There is an intangible string of emotional attachment among them. When they are happy in the family, they are happy outside and spread happiness to others as well.

This treatise is to support Buhari’s age and not actually his person or political ambition. What this means is that we have to understand aging from the biological point of view as well as from the cultural point of view. In our clime, we celebrate the aging process and respect our elders. We should stop making disgusting comments about our aging people, otherwise we are sloping into Western cultures.

According to “7 Cultures That Celebrate Aging And Respect Their Elders”, youth in the West is fetishized and the elderly are commonly removed from the community and relegated to hospitals and nursing homes; aging can become a shameful experience. Physical signs of human aging tend to be regarded with distaste, and aging is often depicted in a negative light in popular culture, if it is even depicted at all.

From the Christian perspective, a Billy Graham said that the Scripture is filled with examples of men and women whom God used late in life, often with great impact – men and women who refused to use old age as an excuse to ignore what God wanted them to do. Buhari maintains the maxim by one Aldous Huxley, which suggests that the secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.

 

It was obvious that Buhari lived a cautious youthful age, because according to Maurice Chevalier: A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of it bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.

 

In summary, according to WikiHow, elderly people are now who you will one day become. Respecting their wisdom, knowledge, grace and fortitude should come second nature to younger generations but it isn’t always the case. Sometimes we need reminding of why it is so important to respect our elders for what they have to impart to us that will help ease our journey through life. They should always be respected like you want them to respect you.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Writer, Rivers State. (apoet_25@yahoo.com). Tel: +2348057778358.

Burden of the National Almajiri Education initiative

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The social significance of the almajiri schools has been a subject that analysts are yet to reach to any definite characterization. In the northern part of the country, this school system is Utopia regardless the neo-definition of education by the Boko Haram sect in the north as a sin. Against this backdrop, those who are not from the north have been worried that while the almajiris wander the streets in search for support from people, they pose a threat to national security as they could be feasible to the indoctrinations of the Boko Haram terrorists group.

It was perceptible that 30 per cent of Northern youths were almajiris, even though that Katsina State was among the first place in the regions that made up Nigeria where the first college in the northern Nigeria was built. President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed this when he visited Katsina State for his 2015 electioneering campaign on Tuesday, January 20 2015. The president said that the Federal Government established 38 Almajiri Quranic schools in Katsina State with 19,000 pupils’ enrolment.

This is apart from accounts that Borno State is reverenced as a centre of Islamic learning, with 389,048 almajiri pupils. From records, Kaduna State has 824,233 almajiris. By October 2012, the Federal Government had said that it had completed 64 out of the 89 Almajiri schools in the northern part of the country, yet the number of almajiris in the north was not reducing. In making sure that there is an incorporated education that would encompass basic Western education alongside Islamic education as a means of plummeting the level of illiteracy in the northern region, which was seen as the causative factor of the incessant uproar in the north at any slight provocation, the Federal Government built seven Almajiri/Tsangaya schools in Niger State alone and handed them over to the state government, even though that observers later found out that the number of almajiri schools built in the state were far lower than the population of almajiris in the state.

almajiri schools

(Picture from Internet)

By February 9 2014, it was revealed from a survey conducted by the Niger State government, in which it was found out that there were no smaller amount than 57, 281 almajiris in the state. Two almajiri schools that were built in Birnin Kebbi and Argungu as at the year in quote were reportedly left closed since finishing point two years ago. It was not certain why the relapse in the programme whether as it was the agreement between the FG and the states government that the former would take care for about 70%, while the state takes care of the rest 40%. What has delayed completion of the schools in some states was, according to explorations, the states concerned were not playing along with the federal government in making sure that the project was achievable. By April 2012, the Federal Government had spent N5 billion on 35 model almajiri primary schools being built across the nation, said Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETF, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, in Sokoto.

As at May 13 2014, a statement by Mr. David Apeh, Public Relations Officer of UBEC, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that 103 of these schools have been completed and handed over to the SUBEBs, while 22 were at various stages of completion. It was believed that the Federal Government came up with the idea of the modernised almajiri schools when it was being recurrently criticized for the insecurity in the north, with Nigerians on this criticism job also not restraining an accusing finger that the Boko Haram threat in the North was for the lack of qualitative education in the area.

With the entire attendant racket by the government, a group known as the Grassroots Development Network on January 7 2015 said that the Almajiri schools cannot provide qualitative teaching because they are underfunded. This disclosure was made by the National Coordinator of the group, Yusuf Garba in Kaduna. According to Garba, about 127 almajiri schools across the northern states lacked essential teaching and learning facilities and the nomadic basis which is the core lifestyle of the almajiris. The group was invariably talking about statistics presented by Arewa Youth Mobilisation, AYM, as at April 26 2012 that there were 1.6 million almajiris in 26,000 tsangaya schools across the 44 local government areas of Kano State.

Yet, President Jonathan had assured Nigerians at the inauguration that his administration believed that the time has come for the country to build on the moral foundations of the traditional school system by providing the almajiri with conventional knowledge and skills that would enable them to fully realise their creative and productive potential. However, some opinion leaders had divergent views, describing the almajiri practice as ancient practice in the north where indigent children were colonised by Mallams to be begging for arms in the streets for them.

Nonetheless, some schools of thought believed that such school had worked in the past, but now, “an avenue for the mass production of miscreants, thugs and vagabonds.” El-Amin Zubairu, Coordinator, Peoples Advocacy for Human Rights, PAFHR, a Northern-based group had told newsmen: “As far as I am concerned, the Almajiri system should give way, we no longer need it in the north. I am a good Muslim and I know how my religion admonishes us to treat the poor. A lot of indices point to the fact that almajiris are now tools in the hands of those who use them to perpetuate evil. So, whether it is Almajiri education or not, the system should be confined to history.”

Some public affairs analysts had characterized the project as a waste of Nigeria’s scarce resources. They believed that the money should’ve been expended on the fight against some diseases ravaging the northern part of the country such as cholera and blindness. These Nigerians added that they knew that even if the country preferred to invest its money in the almajiri school project, the almajiris and their sponsors would rather prefer rankadede (which translates to begging). Other Nigerians had slammed President Jonathan that he was indirectly not regarding the north as part of Nigeria by his administration’s encouragement of almajiri schools in the north. To this set of people, they frowned that promoting almajiri schools was invariably promoting Islam over other religions in the country

It is on record that the Senate had in 2008, made an attempt to end the almajiri debacle by proposing a bill for the acting-out of the National Commission for the Eradication of Child Destitution in Nigeria. Known as Almajiri Bill, it was sponsored by Umaru Argungu and 31 others. In their mindset, they required that any proprietor of an unregistered tsangaya school should be punished with two years jail term. It is perceivable that the efforts of the Federal Government in spending billions of naira to build almajiri schools across the 19 Northern states failed, as Boko Haram terrorists that have been ravaging the northern part of the country, are recruiting young suicide bombers in their fold; mostly children who are picked from the streets in the north begging for arms, suspected to be the almajiris.

Although, the children in the almajiri schools were so glad when in May 2014, the Federal Government, in association with the Universal Basic Education Commission, distributed 50 per cent of the cost essential for the acquiring of school uniforms to them. President Goodluck Jonathan under whose leadership the project was being executed had said in Sokoto city, the Seat of the legendary Sokoto Caliphate that he would have been an almajiri if he was from the north, because he owned no shoe as a kid living with his poor parents in the hinter region of Ijaw.

The aim of the National Almajiri Education initiative was to re-dress the out-of-school children syndrome at the grassroots. It was believed that the programme was to guarantee that children at the early childhood stage had access to education, which was one of the statutory functions of the commission, hence 125 almajiri model schools were being constructed by the Federal Government under the National Almajiri Education Programme.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State. (apoet_25@yahoo.com). Tel: +2348032552855.