After Hijab, What Next … It is not yet Uhuru

Any man who in this ‘rocket age’ remains unaware of the judgment of the Appeal Court in Lagos at about 13:40 GMT on Thursday, 21st July, 2016, surely needs a combination of deliverance services from any available, but potent spiritual healing centers in the land.

It will definitely not be an over-the-top statement that such person should be suggested for a referral at all of the three major religions in Nigeria; Christianity, Islam and traditional religions administer deliverances respectively.

Even a man that travelled back in time to the dark ages through the dreamland would have been restored to life by the dust that was raised from the feet of the visibly joy-filled youths, with their sonorous but ubiquitous voices, chanting the praises of the Supreme Being and exchanging pleasantries like it was yet another festive mood.

But I am still lost in the mood even as I bask in the euphoria of the injunction that liberates a Muslim girl and allows the use of ‘the hijab in Lagos schools. The reason is not farfetched. At least, the religious bigots and Islamophobic elements would have no loopholes to exploit. Such alibi as: “it’s because the Governor is a Muslim” will find no place in whatever opposition they may want to put up. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is a Muslim remember? Yet, he used his office to frustrate the system and scuttle victory.

Without taking away any credit from the dedication of the Ambode-led administration to astutely allow justice and peace to prevail in the state, I still believe the presumed victory is over flogged. To me, it’s not a ‘victory’ per se; it’s just upholding the Rule of Law, already embedded in the Nigerian constitution. Hence, Muslims are only being allowed to take their constitutional rights without being molested.

Doesn’t it sound absurd to a sane mind for a hungry man to seek permission to quench his hunger? Imagine your older sibling who decides to forcefully take your feeding allowance and then asks you to lick his sore before he allows you have your rightfully earned allowance, simply because he is stronger than you; how would you feel? Won’t you fight tooth and nail?

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In this situation, the deprived would then be left with no other choice than to sing the praises of his oppressor, for ‘releasing his feeding allowance’ – feeling relieved. That’s exactly the situation on ground.

Yes! We have every reason to be grateful and our hearts are joyous because it is a victory of some sort. More so, since in a developing country like ours, simple inalienable rights and ‘prevalence of justice’ are seen as a ‘luxury’. In our own clime, ‘freedom to exercise one’s right’ is seen as a ‘special favour!”

I therefore appeal to those wailers about the judicial pronouncements in Lagos and Osun states not to bring upon themselves unwarranted cardiac arrest.

They must be aware that no special favour or privilege was conferred on the Muslims; they only got what rightfully belongs to them as enshrined by the constitution.

Every religious adherent is free to express themselves. Just as Muslims sought legal redress on hijab, whoever desires a special regalia could also embark on a similar legal sojourn. After all, we live in a free world.

After victory, what next?

In a country like Nigeria, Muslims must realise that this is not a time to fall into any deep slumber. They must not sit back and assume, “oh thank God! The judgment has been pronounced. It will be duly obeyed by all the stakeholders after all”.

Suffice it to say therefore at this juncture, that, it will only be a case of leaving your yam unprotected because, you innocently think the goat has been tied; whereas, the stubbornness of some goats can be likened to the ferocity of a mad dog that takes delight in seeing things disrupted.

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This is Nigeria and it goes without saying that, Muslims have to be their own watchdog since the government doesn’t exercise an eagle eye function where they oversee everything with calculated precision. The need to ensure every school in Lagos State complies with the verdict and ensure that the victimisation of the pupils and students alike is put to an end are quite a more daunting task than the tortuous legal battle.

It is therefore very important for Islamic organisations to educate the Muslim youths about the proper use of the hijab. It could be counter productive to see young girls adorning the hijab on the streets, yet engage in frivolous activities. Hijab adorning ladies must see themselves as ambassadors of Islam whose primary role is to ensure its integrity is protected.

Muslims must therefore take their destiny in their hands. An African maxim says: “you don’t send a child to answer the call of nature on your behalf”.

If Muslims refuse to safeguard this “egg” being held in their hands, detractors are everywhere, looking for the slightest opportunity to smash it mercilessly. It is up to them to show they are deserving of this ‘favoured right’. No doubt, this victory requires an enormous level of caution, to say nothing of the time that it would subsequently require to successfully unrestricted compliance from the various authorities in charge of the implementation of this judgement,

Therefore, It is not yet uhuru. Victory songs must be sung with caution. The end of a war often opens the door to another.

If a child accords no respect to his mother in public, he has no right to hit his neighbours for being unruly to her.

Lateef Sanni A. (@reserved_single) is a Graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos, a writer, a social media activist and commentator.



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