As usual, let me begin this epistle with the Islamic salutation of As-salamu Alaikum. This is my second open letter to your Excellency since your swearing-in as the Executive Governorship of Bauchi state on May 29th, 2019.
I wish to express my gratitude to Almighty Allah, the supreme lord of the worlds and bestower of all bounties for rescuing you from the clutches of death. To the admiration of people of Bauchi state, Your Excellency has just come out from isolation after having been tested negative of covid-19. Equally heartwarming is the release from captivity of Wakilin Bauchi, Alhaji Adamu Muhammed Duguri, your elder brother and my brother by extension.
We all stood by your Excellency during those trying days of your perturbation. Throughout that period, people shunned political, sectional and personal interests, did great deal of sober reflection, soul searching and prayed to Allah to heal you. Now that you are out of that trepidation and back to the serious business of governance, there are weighty allegations against the poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic by your government.
I read a post about the carefree attitude of the Bauchi state government on lockdown order by one Muhammad Saif Abdullahi.
The author of the piece questions why we ‘blame ordinary citizens for not observing social distancing and other precautionary measures against covid-19 when the leaders are not leading by example? According to him, Bauchi state recorded the first covid-19 case in the entire northern part of the country apart from Abuja." For this reason, Mr. Abdullahi feels that Bauchi state should be among the "most prepared in terms of stemming the tide of the virus, but that is not the case," he concluded.
In the same vein, the Cable, reported in its edition of April 10, a story and photos of the governor in a Friday congregational prayer in a mosque filled to capacity, blaming your Excellency of ignoring physical distancing barely 24 hours after your recovery from covid-19. There are discussions trending on the various social media platforms that detest the governor’s abuse of his new status.
If the government of Bauchi state is sleeping (which I believe it is not), it is our collective responsibility, as indigenes of the state, to wake it up from this deadly slumber. There is no dispute about covid-19. Nobody should tell your Excellency about the eminent danger of the coronavirus. You have seen it all sir. This is why it baffles one to see people in Bauchi state under your watch behaving as if the dangers of coronavirus to the people is a hogwash and a mere hoax. Your Excellency, nobody will fathom the irrationality of this crass behavior and the numbness of the authority in the state to allow people do as they wish, in this period of covid-19 national emergency.
Islam fights anything causing harm. Protecting the physical well-being and health of people is one of the objectives of the Sharia. It also enjoins those who are affected with a disease that has a likelihood of harming another person or people to isolate. Sir, you may agree with me that the command of the sharia that says, “do not get harm, and don’t cause harm,” can insulate our people against the pandemic if we can abide by it.
Your Excellency, it is in conformity with the tenets of the sharia that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia closed the two most revered mosques in Islam to five congregational daily prayers, Juma’at and circumambulating of the Ka’aba. In Nigeria and in almost all the Muslim countries of the world, mosques have been shut down as one of the measures to stop the spread of coronavirus among the congregation. It is safe to toe the line of Fatwa of Ulamas of the world than to give in to a minority opinion of few selfish clerics at home and to political expediency and appeal to populism.
Allah has burdened your Excellency with the responsibility of protecting the physical well-being and health of the people of Bauchi state. At this point in time, this is the most pressing task that needs the attention of the governor. Thus, I beseech your Excellency to use all the resources at your disposal as the executive governor to cushion the suffering which covid-19 will inflict on the poor and the underprivileged in the state. 2023 is three years from now. Some of us may not live long to witness the next election. You should therefore do the things that when you stand before Allah on the Day of Judgment, you can defend yourself. This is a very difficult and dangerous trial for leaders like you. May Allah help you to discharge this responsibility.
Nothing is more deserving of your attention now more than curbing the spread of the virus to community transmission. The federal government warns that the virus is menacingly rising to community transmission. This is where the problem lies and why I feel you should worry sir.
Finally, I would advise the governor to manage and pay salary of workers, and suspend all projects for a period of two to three months for now. Your government can use the federal allocation, which for obvious reasons is going to dwindle, to curtail community spread of the virus.
Your Excellency, it is better you make good use of the little allocation from the federation account to save lives rather than to use it to bury the dead bodies of victims of the killer disease. “ A stitch in time saves nine.”
May Allah ease your affairs and guide you in the best interest of all citizens of Bauchi state.