Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Taking Ajami off of the Naira, excerpted from Muhammad Al-Ghazali's article "Nigeria: Third Term and the Kalo-Kalo Republic"

Exerpt from: Muhammad Al-Ghazali. "Nigeria: Third Term and the Kalo-Kalo Republic" (Daily Trust, Abuja), May 9, 2006.

CBN and Islam phobiaĆ¢-oe
If all goes according to the script, the Central Bank of Nigeria will in the next few weeks or months effect some changes to the good old naira. Part of the anticipated changes would see to the disappearance of the 'Ajimi' (Arabic alphabets) in Hausa from the face of the currency, and that in my opinion would be a most ridiculous thing to do. Both Arabic and English are imported languages and may it go on record that the fact that the Muslim population have accepted without a whimper the Gregorian calendar, as well as the official English Language does not make them foreigners in their own country. The move clearly shows the ridiculous level to which the art of governance has been reduced under the Obasanjo presidency all in the name of reforms. Never in our history has the polity become so hopelessly polarised or fragmented. Old wounds are not only being deepened, healed ones are being reopened as well.
I would not know the genesis behind the attempt to discard the 'Ajimi' from the face of the naira, but everything suggests it could be the brainwork of religious chauvinists, ignorant fools or even CIA agents intent on plunging the nation into sectarian violence. Whatever, such people need to be educated that Arabic, just like English, is merely a language of communication as there are indeed many Arab Christians, the more famous of which were the former Egyptian UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Iraqi Foreign Minister under Saddam Hussein - Tarik Aziz. The fact that they were Christians in pre-dominantly Muslim countries did not disenfranchise them or make them lesser human beings. The 'Ajimi,' I must not fail to add, has been a medium of communication in Northern Nigeria and most of the Sahel since the beginning of the 14th century. It remains the effective mode of writing for most, and doing away with it would not only alienate such people, it would b e tantamount to their excision from the country, at least economically!
Over the past few months, I had cause to write in defence of the revered Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah on some criticisms he attracted for his involvement and comments on some national issues. My interventions were purely based on my innate convictions and desire for justice and fair play. This is the time for people like him to step up and be counted on the side of truth and equity. As a respected clergyman from the North, the significance and relevance of the Ijimi alphabets cannot be lost on him. People like him need to talk to Obasanjo before he plunges the nation into anarchy. Have the eggheads in the Soludo-led CBN even paused to ponder the likely effects of a boycott of the new currency by people likely to be affected by ill-conceived changes?
Copyright © 2006 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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For the beginning of the article see http://allafrica.com/stories/200605090739.html

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