by Babatope Falade
The nation was held in an exasperative mood when Senator Yerima voiced his opposition to a section of the constitution which addressed citizenship, grounds upon which citizens may qualify for renunciation of their Nigerian citizenship. That was section 29.4(b) of the constitution. Senator Yerima seemed to be a paedophile; himself and other northern senators who voted against the removal of the clause, but in truth, these men were speaking for the common man in the north. It is the common man in the north that we should address, not only Yerima.
The nays had this one and child marriage would continue in the north basically. Though some say the clause has no bearing on marriage, and that the Marriage Act caters for marriage issues in Nigeria. My view on it is this, the law is an ass, and any law that is inconsistent with the constitution would be null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.
Yerima rode on the horse of the Islamic religion to advance his arguments about the discriminatory consequence of the removal of such clause which is instrumental to achieving a tenet of Islam which encourages child marriage. Yerima himself has been involved in national scandals of child marriage but this time around Nigerians took him and the entire senate to the cleaners.
Yerima was called all sort of names, with many avatars taking up the entire online space. The names of the senators were published and circulated on social media platforms for people to appreciate the official paedophiles of the Nigeria state. These men in my opinion supported something that is inhuman to the extent on the health and sociology of the child/children that get married as such, but am also sure that they represented the wishes and aspirations of the families and households in the north.
Yerima interprets Islam on marriage not just based on Islam itself, but based on the fact that in the north, Islam is not just a religion, it’s been substituted with local culture to the extent that there is no clear cut dichotomy between the culture and religion. Yerima spoke for the people and other senators supported. You can bet, that what they have done would increase their clout among the mass and political hordes of the north. What they did is heroic to the common man as they guaranteed their perpetual sexuality and utmost human desire for sex.
Have we stopped to ask why Yerima is so popular in the north and why he is such a strong player in her politics considering the fact that he still holds sway with ANPP despite the onslaught of CPC and PDP in the north. Yerima is appreciated for preserving the religious cum cultural sentiments of the people in the north and recently he guaranteed their sexual culture and ensured that their process of sexual satisfaction is not truncated.
If you ask me, Yerima is the man of the northern people and enemy of the nation, because we as a nation need the young people in our country to go to school to compete favourably in this knowledge economy. We need a crop of citizens that can protect our sovereignty and unfortunately lots of them are in the north either as almajiris or married at a tender age. Because of the level of ignorance in the north, polio and many 18th century diseases persist in northern Nigeria. The world won’t say northern Nigeria, they would say Nigeria. Yerima in this regard can be accorded an official award of enemy of state progress, but he is a man of the people. The people don’t mind their ignorance, because they don’ even know in the first place, Ignorance is bliss afterall.
We can sign many petitions, go to the streets, construct the most beautiful hashtags, but if we don’t talk to the common man in the north to bend their orientations, if we don’t find ways of educating them on the cost benefit of educating their children, we may be wasting our time. Northern leaders use these things to get the support of the people, because the people don’t want to break with the trends, their leaders need to get them to break with such.
The youths from the north need to find ways of reaching out to the people of the north to accept modern medicine, to embrace the good parts of western education. The leaders of the north need to educate the people and not reinforce their 15th century desires. This can be the way out. Yerima only spoke for the northern people at the detriment of the country. Yerima can be Nigeria’s enemy, but he is a voice for the northern people.