By Gabriel Omonhinmin
Interviewing the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Highbread Momoh, is like taking a full tutorial course in Islamic studies and spiritualism. The Otaru of Auchi is quick to tell whosoever cares to listen, that his father, Momoh Idaoh Otaru, the first, singlehandedly helped to spread Islam in the old Kukuruku Division, thus saying that, it is incumbent on him as the present Otaru of Auchi to continue from where his father stopped.
Hence, the zeal with which he preached the Qu’ran at any given opportunity.
In this particular interview, however, religion was not the subject matter. Nigeria’s economy, which is currently biting hard was the issue.
There are so many issues that could be linked to the country’s poor economic performance, chief among these reasons is the Coronavirus pandemic, which has adversely affected almost all aspects of the nation’s economy. The resultant effect is the excruciating pains, hardship and suffering most Nigerians are presently experiencing.
These harsh economic realities most people in Nigeria attribute to the poor management of the country’s economy since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as Nigeria’s President.
The Otaru of Auchi although not a member of President Buhari’s administration, yet, he is regarded as a friend and one of the close confidants of Mr. President.
Whether this claim is true or false, the Otaru will not answer, as he says “I honestly do not want to be dragged into matters like this, as I reserved the right to associate and be friend and not to befriend to anybody.
But based on the Otaru of Auchi perceived closeness to Mr. President, Palace Watch asked him, whether as friends to Mr. President, do they find the time to advise him on the various issues happening in the country, especially on the present reality of the harsh economic situation, which most Nigerians are facing daily, that is making life unbearable.
And what does he know as a close associate of the President or think the President is currently doing to ameliorate the suffering and remedy the ugly economic situation in the country?
The Otaru of Auchi in his characteristic nature, smiled and said, “Nobody, including the President and his immediate family members are excluded from the harsh economic reality of today. As we are all facing the ugly situation as Nigerians together.
He added, “As you can see my immediate family members and I, including the larger majority of the Auchi people are all suffering, there is no exclusion. I must confess, nobody is excluded from the harsh economic reality of today, we are all going through hard times.
But as good Muslims and non-Muslims alike, we must all learn to persevere, as times like this, don’t last forever. It will pass away, and we will all be happy again as a nation.
Palace Watch asked the Otaru of Auchi, Your Highness, is it right for you to assume or you know for a fact, that the President and his immediate family members are also suffering from the suffocating economic reality which is presently killing most Nigerians.
His Royal Highness, Aliru H. Momoh smiled, and said “my friend, what most people don’t realize, just because they are not deep spiritually or Islamically, is that, it is not all pains that inflict injuries on people. Some pains if you must know are blessings in disguise.
If you permit me and if I will not be misunderstood by some of your readers or offend their sensibility with my position on this matter, pain is not always a negative force and it is not something that we should always hate. At times, a person or a nation benefits immensely when he feels some pains.
If you must know it, when a person or a nation is going through the pangs of heavy burden, if you like call it negative experiences like the one we are presently facing as nation, that is when the people sincerely supplicate and remember their maker, Allah.
At a time like this, most people go into deep reflections and come out with wonderful and rewarding innovations. Difficult times propelled by aches and pangs of passion gets people to think outside the box and do wonderful things in the process.
The pains, poverty and the scorn from others nations of the world, may act as motivation and push some exceptionally gifted Nigerians across board, who are frustrated and angered by what they are facing, to take extra-ordinary steps to correct whatever injustice they might passive in the land.
At times like this, people look inward on how to find a lasting solutions to the crisis the country is facing. In the final analysis, who benefits? The generality of the Nigerian people.
Please do not misquote me, by saying that President Muhammadu Buhari is deliberately inflicting pains on Nigeria just to get the best out of the Nigerian people. No! This is not the point I am making here. You must also note that I am a traditional ruler of my people, not the spokesman for the President.
In all this, I am just expressing my personal opinion as a Nigerian and this must be respected. One thing you must not forget too, is that the President of Nigeria is a human being, who feels the pains all Nigerians are passing through in his heart.
He feels these pains in his nerves, and in his blood. He is a very sincere person, who is passionate about the general well-being and good of the country. He might not be the talkative type of a President.
“A nation is like a student. And if a student chooses to live the life of comfort and repose and he is not stung by hardship, or has never witnessed any form of calamity while still in school, in most cases such a student will end up being an unproductive, lazy, and lethargic person in life.
In the past decades, Nigeria had a lot of money to throw around, and what happened? We ended up producing political leaders, who squandered and miss managed our commonwealth, they never planned for the future or the raining day. That is why, we are where we are today.
“If you must know, the President knows pains and appreciates what Nigerians are presently going through, because as a person, longer before he became Nigeria’s civilian President, he tested the bitter pills of disappointment so many times.
“Before now, especially in the first Republic, Nigeria had to a certain extent what we would call decent political leaders, who had great faith in the country. They were of nobler hearts. They had more truthful tongues than the present crops of Nigerian politicians. And they were also deeper in knowledge.
They had the zeal and were ready to serve their people to the best of their ability, and worked to improve the lots of the common man then. These first generation politicians had all of these qualities because they lived through the pain and suffering that are necessarily concomitant to great revolutions.
These politicians also felt the pains of hunger, of poverty, of rejection, of abuse, of banishment from home and abroad, in the process they abandoned all forms of pleasures to become human being in life.
Some of them even suffered pains, wounds, torture and death. They were in truth the chosen ones of Nigeria politics, the elite of mankind. They were models of purity nobleness, and sacrifice.
Sadly, when the military invaded the country’s political space, the unexpected happened, all the good the country has worked for and achieved in the past were all destroyed in the alter of ego and greed. The modern day politicians inherited this bad habit, and ran with it. And they have never looked back.
Allah in his wisdom brought a President Muhammadu Buhari and some few state governors, who meant well across political spectrum, to correct the evils of the past. In trying to reverse the ugly past, there must be pains and hardship, this is exactly what the President is trying to do.
The Otaru of Auchi continued with his lecture, “In the history of the world, some nations and people have produced their greatest works because of the pains or the suffering they experienced, China and Israel are good examples of countries and people in this class.
Al-Mutarabi, when afflicted with a severe fever, wrote the opening couplet: “Verily, you are the sun, while other kings are the stars: when the sun rises, no star in the sky is visible.”
There are many such examples of a people and a nation who prospered and became legends because of the sufferings they experienced.
Therefore, let Nigerians not become excessively anxious when they think of pains, they should not fear suffering too.
As it might well be that through these present pains and suffering, we will become stronger and greater as a country.
The Otaru continued, whether some people like it or not, the Buhari’s administration within the resources available to it, has been able to provide Nigeria, some solid infrastructural base in the area of road, transport, especially improved railway infrastructures across the country.
While this administration was doing all within it powers to boost the economy hit by plunging oil prices, the Coronavirus pandemic, came and slowed down everything. As we speak, the country is now gradually being connected through rail transportation.
Before the expiration of President Buhari’s second tenure in office, he will surely put some things in place that will make the majority of the people smile. This is why I am of the strong belief that Nigerians will later come to appreciate President Buhari as their President after he would have left office.