Sheikh Ahmed Gumi: The Making Of Nigerian Ayatollah By Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi

1979 was one inauspicious year for Africa. It was the year Matthew Okikiola Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo vacated the seat of Government as a military head of State and handed over to a civilian government. Also, earlier that year, a series of events that began in 1977 culminated in the Islamic revolution in Iran.  Though this event occurred in January of that year, it almost took the shine off the evolution of democracy on the African soil.

The world was watching the reformation of global terrorism without much concern until the deed was done. A global spread of Islamic fundamentalism had begun and the world has never known peace since then.

A similar situation that led to the Islamic revolution in Iran is occurring in Nigeria. Can the world afford a population of over 200 million fall into the hands and control of fundamental Islam? Are the Sunnis prepared for what will follow? The Iran-Iraq war, was not between one nation and another. For me, it was a war between two Islamic ideologies, (a war between the Shia and the Sunnis). The war seem to be over but the smoke from its ripples is still reverberating throughout the world. Even as we speak. This is why the global community must not ignore the danger that Gumi is becoming not just to Nigeria but to regional peace. Shia and Sunnis fight for supremacy more than anything is Gumi’s motivation. Let not the Sunnis feign peace while trouble is brewing. The time to stop this evil is now!

What were the causes of Iranian cum Islamic revolution? Like every revolution, social injustice and inequality top the public push leading to discontent with Shah’s rule. But beneath this was a strong religious motivation by the Shia’s movement to have control of Iran. The method were “democratic” for global sympathy and much of that they enjoyed. The demonstrations were fierce reminiscent of our own Elzakzaky shia organised demonstrations here in Nigeria. There were many organised strikes and civil unrest till the country became ungovernable, so much so that Khomeini went on exile. The revolution eventually edged out the monarchy. The rest, as they say, is now history. 

Ayatollah Khomeini became the Supreme leader of Islamic Republic of Iran, and the fate of Sunni Muslims in that nation was sealed. Contrary to the widespread belief that Ayatollah is a name, it is actually a title, an honorific title for a high ranking Twelver Shia clergy in Iran which became popular with Khomeini revolution in the late 70’s of the 20th century. 

The title is originally from the Arabic word àyah, pre modified with the definite article “Al” and post modified with the word Allah, making it Ayatollah. The combination has been translated to mean “Sign of God”!

That Gumi’s adventure is reminiscent of Khomeini’s moves, hidden under social injustice and inequality is a pregnant with very grave fundamentalist agenda that can only deliver trouble not just for Nigeria, but for Africa and the rest of the world. The appearances of Gumi at different enclaves controlled by bandits and criminals show nothing less than a man viewed as the “Sign of God”. Ayatollah! The obiesence made to him is only due to one who is perceived as the reflection of the Almighty. If the audacity of Sunday Igboho is a threat to our peaceful coexistence, that of Gumi is a threat to our President as the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces and of course the sovereignty of the Nigeria State. While the government may treat Sunday like an outlaw without a battalion, a Gumi, who before a camera assured us of control over the battalion of bandits in Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger States and Kaduna with the submission of Governors of those states to Gumi and the buy in of Government into his mission, then Gumi is far from a man to be toyed with. The show of strength of his boys, the audacity they exhibit and of the calibre of weapon in their armoury should scare anyone to death and must therfore not be treated with kid gloves. 

Nigerians elected General Muhammadu Buhari and not Gumi. The mandate of the people is the authority of the office of the President. That mandate is with the President to protect this country and her citizens. He alone should use it, and if it has been delegated to Gumi, Nigerians deserves the right to know. Or better still inform us in Gumi’s missions. 

The rising status of Gumi is a threat to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he once trampled upon when he first arrived Nigeria from his induction training in Saudi and settled in Kaduna according to Pastor Ladi Thompson.

On the set of Channels Television, Pastor Thompson was labouring to remind a forgetful nation the true nature of Gumi who many are fronting as our today’s hero. But we must be reminded that the man whose words are laws to the bandits, kidnappers and terrorists was yesterday their instructor. Thompson reminded us that we are dealing with someone very clever. A young fiery Islamic preacher whose first dawal (Islamic preaching) at s tasir (gathering) threw the nation into confusion in 2004, taking only the saving grace of God to deliver the Nation.

Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini had built his profile as a politician, revolutionary and cleric, before he was exiled. These are very necessary to be able to play along with all the allies of the revolutionary movement, which were not limited to Nation Party, Combatant, Clergy Association, Confederation of Iranian Students, Islamic Association of Students, Movement of Militant Muslims, Union of Communist Militants, and People’s Fedai Guerrillas to mention just but a few. He came back to become the face and beneficiary of the revolution.

The build up to 2019 election introduced Gumi to Nigerians in the most strategic way possible for what we are witnessing today. The situation threw at us a “Statesman” and a “liberal”, which is far from who he really is. His appearance with Bishop David Oyedepo, Father Matthew Hassan Kukah at the reconciliation meeting between Obasanjo and Atiku is the reason Christians are lost as to how to relate with this “wolf in sheep clothing”. It had become an emergency for PDP, Atiku, Bishop Kukah, Bishop Oyedepo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Christian Association of Nigeria to publicly distance themselves from Gumi’s adventures to clear the public confusion over his present fraternity with criminals in the name of peace. PDP may become like the Nation Party that served and supported Khomeini’s unknown agenda by presenting him to Nigerians as a politician having the interest of their party in 2019.

Like Khomeini, Gumi once ran out of the country on exile and equally returned to put finishing touches to his mission. In 2012 and 2014 he claimed brotherhood with Boko Haram, requesting the then government of the day to stop killing his people. 

Nigeria and her Government are ignoring a man challenging the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by his narratives. Saying criminals are not criminals is tantamount to declaring them as Jihadists. The man who once incited Boko Haram to Kill the President and the Chief of Army Staff according to Ladi Thompson is today being looked upon as a man of peace at whose feet we all must come to broker one. 

The question his incitement to kill the Chief of Staff then should raise now is: what is the link between it and the death of General Badeh? Badeh was said to have been shot by robbers on his way to his farm few years after he left the service. Till today, his killer(s) remain unknown. Could the need to protect our immediate service chiefs from such treatment as Badeh be the reason to appoint all the four as non career Ambassadors?

Only time will tell what we will make out of Ayatollah Ahmed Gumi. But let us all remember that those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable. Those who have championed violence shouldn’t turn around to call for peace. We should by now know who the elements of peace across our diverse backgrounds are.

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