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Published June 6th, 2014

It will be most unfair to allege that the problem of the Bokoharam insurgency started with Obasanjos administrations concession to allow the introduction of the Sharia law in a number of northern states. It should be noted that Nigeria has been repeatedly said by constitutional law experts to be a multi-religious state and not a secular state so the declaration of Sharia law in some of its federating units might not be unconstitutional in as much as it falls within the ambient of its encompassing laws in fact this concession was what minimized the insurgency during Obasanjos administration To solve this Bokoharam problem however we need to go in to our historical past as a nation and dig out the genesis of the problem .

The problem is a fall out of our colonization, amalgamation of the northern and southern regions and eventual independence leading to the formation of Nigeria as a sovereign state. Some facts need to be established to corroborate this assertion.

The first is that during the pre-colonial days the method of administration used by our colonial masters was different in the north from what subsisted in the south.



In the south the British governed directly while in the north they ruled indirectly through an already well established Islamic political system that emanated from the Islamic revolution that swept across the north in the nineteenth century, the British governed through the emirs and their advisers who were educated Islamic clerics (their education it should be very strongly noted was Islamic) this Islamic clerics formed the elitist group who influenced the lives of the ordinary man

Some sort of educational system was already in place in the north which was interwoven with their religious lives, the British saw this and thought it expedient to leave it un-tampered with

The situation was quite different in the south the south was largely divided in to smaller independent states each state with its own indigenous religious believe or mode of worship and with no formal educational system, in fact the south east was said to be stateless that is in addition to the aforesaid they did not have any clear -cut political system. These factors necessitated the British to establish their own system as a direct means of governance and as a medium of selling the Christian religion (through the Christian missionaries) as a standard mode of worship and as a means of promoting fraternity amongst splinter groups who were forced to come together to form a nation state

The advantage this factor brought to the south was that it enabled them to see the need to get themselves educated the British way if they were to asquint themselves with the new political structure and take advantage of the new opportunities created by the establishment of the colonial rule

Foresight also enabled them to see that upon the withdrawal of the British rule it will be the elites with the western mode of education that will step in to their shoes and this indeed manifested after independence

Upon independence, though a few northern educated elites were handed over the mantle of leadership, the southerners dominated the political and bureaucratic system left behind by the British because of their higher level of western education and because the political structure and constitution was western oriented. It was at this point that the Islamic elites in the north started to see that they were at a disadvantage. They however still remained local champions who had direct influence on the commoners and to maintain their relevance in the new order there was the need to discourage or poison the people’s mind against not only western education but also all western social and religious ideologies. those that were able to grapple with the realities of the new order went to school, but only after obtaining some Islamic education, if only to maintain their status in the local dispensation .Their was thus the need for an average young northerner to either go to a conventional school or obtain Islamic education from the mosques (this usually ended at the elementary stage) or to obtain both. Those that could obtain both had a relative advantage but were few, those that could not, thus added to the growing propergander that western education is evil. Of course the economic and political problems which developed and emboldened over the years strengthened further the misconceived perception of the people of the ominous tendencies in western education  more so as the  Mallams and Ulamas boko alternatives (boko means western education) turned out to be very corrupt and indifferent to the plights of the people . a widening gap continued to develop between the rich and the poor and a just and egalitarian society built on the foundation of equity and justice as preached by the religious leaders continued to elude the ordinary man

From this historical perspective one of the most exigent requirements to bring an end to this horrendous and explosive national crisis  besieging the country is for the government  to bring education closer to the average northerner at a minimal cost because Islamic education is being dispensed at close to zero cost, the government should also encourage and assist the development of Islamic education to its advanced stage to provide the people with access to true Islamic knowledge ,not elementary Qurantic tutelage which the current dispensation  permits . If a child prefers the Islamic type of education the system should provide him with the enablement to do it to an advanced stage it is disheartening that Nigeria despite having over 50% of its population as Muslims does not have at least one true Islamic university

It is also pertinent to note that modern educational systems, being a means of imparting  knowledge  converge  at their higher stages irrespective of their  foundation, or cultural background   this is why a medical doctor can be trained equally as well in an Islamic university like Al-Azhar University Cairo as in any other university any where in the world the only challenge in Nigeria might be the need to adopt  Arabic as a means of writing and communication but what stops us from adopting Arabic as our second national language at least non of the two languages (English or Arabic) is indigenous to us .If a northerner is well educated, western or Arabic, current indoctrination of their youths with myopic and dogmatic ideas like is being done by  the Boko haram sect will be minimized. And of course the government should let the people see the advantages of being educated, jobs should be created and there should be good governance at all levels lastly justice and equity should form the bed rock of all public and societal endeavors, why tell a poor illiterate to go to school after seeing those that have gone before him ending up in joblessness and poverty, that is having nothing to show for it after many wasted years


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