Wednesday 4 September 2013

Opinion: How we are losing the #ChildNotBride debate to Senator Yerima

Game, Set and Match to Yerima
We are swiftly losing the plot and the battle in the debate with regards to putting up our girls for marriage as espoused and promoted by Senator Sani Yerima.
In all the media appearances that the veritable ex-governor and Sharia law advocate has attended, he has literally wiped the floor clean with all his inquisitors demonstrating a thorough grasp of the constitutional issues that allow him the pleasures he enjoys without moral reflection because he believes he is in the right.
Meanwhile with our moral indignation, passion and disdain of the man and his views, we have deployed emotion, celebrity and ignorance against a well-prepared, media-savvy, knowledgeable and formidable force of personality who once again has successfully run rings round us.
Building an unassailable profile
Sani Yerima is a problem, a developing problem with a growing followership, media profile and international recognition; the little leaven of yeast he was years ago has slowly but surely leavened the whole dough, like the little venom of a poisonous snake has fully paralysed us in debate with neurotoxins presenting death.
We are never going to win this debate if we continue to entertain Senator Sani Yerima as the clown, more so, where we must tackle him requires proper intellectual engagement of people who have studied and understood the core legal, religious and socio-economic matters that underpin what makes these practices thrive without sanction.
Atrocious figureheads ruining the plot
This is no time to roll out figurehead celebrities oblivious of data and facts debating and contributing like airheads, adding fuel to the odious glare that is giving Senator Yerima the courage to state his case on the international media without apology.
Without doubt, the man is smart, he also has amazing political nous because what he has successfully done is make his own personal interpretation of issues the core and contention of the debate; once we have absented ourselves from the core objectives to toe this line, well walked by him and less known by us, we have basically lost before the first word is spoken.
The pimping media
The media also have to excoriated about how this debate has been derailed from giving more prominence to the protection of the rights of the child from entering adulthood long before they are due just because some men have found a propensity to satisfy their evil lusts with the innocence of kids.
Yes, the media, the houses and the personalities, for ratings and involvement latching onto the notoriety of the reprehensible have not furthered the debate for the cause of humanity and what is right, but have become voyeurs of comment and counter-comment, happily thinking they are providing a platform for debate when they are no better than pimps providing board for prostitute and punter to meet.
Respect the man
We will only begin to tackle Senator Yerima properly, when we humbly respect that he is knowledgeable, informed, equipped, savvy, smart and intelligent, it means we also have polish up our act by ensuring we match each of these qualities with people who have superior intellect on all the matters constitutional, religious and otherwise – we have many, prominent of whom is Maryam Uwais who gave a well-written submission on this matter here.
We will never be equipped for the heavy lifting of radical change in national consciousness which some people term the reorientation of the citizenry, and in my view that will take generations of re-schooling, if we have not been exercised in lesser issues like Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Maternal Mortality, Rights of the Woman and the Child, Education, Health to greater social and infrastructure issues as Power, Resource Management, Corruption or even Homosexuality - We have to work with the discreet, and individual parts of the sum to make the whole product, the whole is too unwieldy to tackle, it is a leviathan of a problem.
This David is beating us fair and square
There is much to do, but we have to start with the basic sketches, pencil marks, brush strokes and composition before we get the big picture of where we want Nigeria to be.
The Big Picture is not a screenprint, it will be slow and painstaking, one generation working with the next and preparing the one after to take over reinforcing and building on the foundations laid down now; it is not a chicken or egg matter, but a chicken and egg coexistence because the future we so desire might not come to light until the lifetime time of the grand-chick, just as dreams of our fathers before might only be realised in the lifetimes of our grandchildren, we have to build continuity into the struggle and survival of humanity for the good, the better and the best.
One final note of warning, “Those who treat their adversaries with derision are soon humiliated in the theatre of battle. Think Goliath and David.” It goes without saying that Senator Yerima is playing the part of David too well for the Goliath of our disdain to realise that the stone of Islam in the sling of the Senator’s good aim is the death of Goliath and the end of our side of the story or the protection of girls who should not be brides.
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