Dear Sultan of Sokoto:
I was watching a documentary about how the Arabs successfully established Islam in the Middle East and spread it to Asia, Europe, and Africa. In fact, the Arabs and the spread of Islam were credited as the phenomenon that opened the largest trading land route that spanned from the East of Russia all the way to Morocco in Africa. This was the first time in the world that goods and services were shared by all the continents mentioned above.
This means that aside from the worship of God, Islam did promote good trade, education, language, mathematics, architecture, roads, and above all, truth and honesty. This must have been the secret foundation for the success of the spread of Islam aside from the sword. It brought development of the community and human spirit. There is nothing wrong with this at all, especially if it can bring peace, happiness, and peace of mind to a nation. Any ideals, theories, or ways of life that brings such blessings must be allowed to stay and be replicated, but what is going on in Nigeria where the Muslims claim that it is their birthright to rule and that they also make up the majority in the country?
Since a people are only as progressive as their leader, I would like to discuss with the Sultan of Sokoto because his Muslim subjects have ruled Nigeria for about 34 years out of about 49 years of independence (70% of the time). Since Islam has done so much for Arabs and Arab land as a way of prosperity, I would like the Sultan of Sokoto (as the Caliphate of Nigeria that actually ruled from Cameroon to Burkina Faso in the north to the Yoruba lands and Benue in the south at its prime in the mid 1800s) to come along with me and see how we can best strategize his call for all Nigerians to fully embrace Islam. These are some of the things Islam has done for Arab land:
Trade across Continents: Nigeria is one of the largest consuming countries in the world with its huge population. Unlike the Arabs that produce all kinds of things to sell through their massive trade routes till this day, Nigeria is not know to produce anything of significance under Islamic presidents. Islamic Arab sold across 3 to 4 continents, but Islamic Nigeria cannot produces their own oil products, tissue paper, diapers, tires, body lotion, body wash, cement, toothpaste, peanut butter (Kano), or electricity for just Nigerian consumption. We import everything. Is this how to spread Islam under Muslim leadership by using hunger and inflation from imports as a weapon? I also heard that when Nigerians ship things to Nigeria it take almost 2 months because the Chinese ships must come in first in Muslim Nigeria. Will the Arabs allow this in Dubai and Mecca and put foreigners before their citizens?
Valuable Education: All over the internet and books on civilization, you read about Arabs and Islam everywhere. How come in Nigeria, the northern Muslims are the epitome of illiteracy and almost never advance to higher education? How many universities in Nigeria can compare to the best universities in Europe, America, or the Middle East? In fact, in many countries, it seems that our college degree is even less than their secondary school diploma under Islamic presidents in Nigeria. Islam enhanced a lot in medicine, science, research, reading, and writing. What has your subjects done for Nigeria as presidents in enhancing our traditional medicine, our ideology, and increasing the funds for our academicians to do and publish research on behalf of the nation to the outside world?
Conservation of Languages: Arab’s Arabic is considered a world language for trade, commerce, and communication. Almost all civilized universities of the world have Arabic as a foreign language. In fact, you might even loss some creditability as an institution without it. All races and non-Muslim students even take a course or two of Arabic before they graduate from college. This is the influences of Arabic Islam. What about Nigerian and African Islam? Sultan of Sokoto and your Muslim presidential subjects, how many universities in just West Africa gladly teach Edo, Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, and Tiv? Do our children even in secondary school in Nigeria even want to speak their native language at home? Arabs no longer need you to promote their cause; they are totally and fully established on the world scene. As the Caliphate of Nigeria, what have you done to make sure that Nigerians are enjoying what the Arabs are enjoying based on Islamic influence for Nigerian Benefit?
Admirable Roads and Architecture: Everywhere the Arabs went in the name of their God, they left great road network to enhance trade, mobility for their quest, and elegant architecture to show that they were now in charge of the location. There is nothing wrong with this at all, as long as it benefits everyone around. The issue is what has Islamic Nigerian leadership, who are your devoted subjects, done with our roads and architecture on Nigerian soil itself? I have heard and seen that in a nation ruled by Muslims with a Caliphate that Nigerians prefer to walk and use motorbikes than cars because of fear of stomach trouble at the end of the journey. I hear that the houses of the supposed Nigerian middle class are now shacks growing with ferns, bacteria, fungi, and mosses that where supposed to be studied only in the Biology lab. Why will the world study and respect Nigerian architecture like they do for the Islamic Arabs or are Nigerian Muslims supposed to be inferior in their pride and productivity?
Truth and Honesty: The Arab Prophet taught his followers truth and honesty to the extent that they still maintained it as soon as he departed. I can remember a time when the Queen of England challenged the former Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher, to a public debate on TV for the world to see. She did not like how the Prime Minister was representing England and the English people despite the fact that the Queen does not have political power. I will also like to bring Nigerians home to the continuous battles between the Oba of Benin and his Governors (military or civilian) about the affairs of Bendel or Edo State. These rulers speak up because at the end of the day, no matter what the constitution says, they are supposed to be the moral and progressive conscience of their people. When last did the Sultan of Sokoto challenge his Islamic subjects who are the presidents of Nigeria publicly about their economic and political policies that will not enhance Nigeria as a whole? Where was the Nigerian Caliphate when Muslim presidents were depreciating the Naira and taking loans that where not invested in Nigerian infrastructure, or disrupting our educational system in the late 1980s just to favor Northern students, or the killing of the Niger-Delta for their oil, or when Kano was losing its groundnut pyramids, or choosing majority of ministers from the illiterate north to run the affairs of Nigeria?
There is wisdom in the Koran, Bible, Yoruba culture, Edo Culture, Igbo culture, and all of Nigeria. People will go anywhere to acquire knowledge that brings success, health, peace of mind, and happiness. Despite the fact that I am a Christian, I do not mind reading the Koran, going to the mosque sometimes, or Muslims coming to church or leaning African traditional medicine. Success is the best recruiter of followers, and the House of God is a House of God. Islam was successful for the Arabs to this day, but has being a curse to the Africans. If you really want to spread the values of Islam in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto must stand up and act like the Caliphate that he is supposed to be and demand the successes of Islam from his subjects for all Nigerians to benefit from in fairness, honesty, and in God’s truth as they are listed above.
Sokoto Caliphate: http://countrystudies.us/nigeria/9.htm
Contribution of Islam to Civilization: http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Uk/uk.religion.islam/2008-09/msg00111.html