I was only motivated to write again not only because of the overwhelming and anticipated interest and responses my article on Izala and its leadership, particularly under the factional leadership of Mallam Abdullahi Bala Lau generated, but due to the concerns and disappointments largely expressed by Sunni followers after reading my piece about the conduct of our Ulama, their ability to use their position and the religion to enrich themselves, their selfish and deliberate failure to unite even though it was commanded by Allah, the continued rivalry and animosity between themselves, their unbridled class struggle and embarrassing show of flamboyance at every given opportunity etc which was sufficiently enumerated in that piece. Going by majority responses that welcome and appreciated the contents, timely nature of that article and going by even the offensive, abusive rejoinders to my piece which I believe considering the contents were sponsored by the Bala Lau faction, my article has no doubt provided a platform and triggered a debate about the future of JIBWIS, how its leadership structure should be, the need for transparency and accountability in their conduct, the crucial aspect of demonstrating leadership by example and strict adherence to Islamic principles in that regard and its (JIBWIS) expected role in the society and to the Muslim Umma as a whole. In the past, and despite the seeming lack of unity, the Izala as a body has done so much to rid the society of shirk and ignorance. The leaders then were not distracted and despite the division between them they are determined to work together for a common purpose which is da’awa targeting the most vulnerable people among us.
While we must admit that the two Izala factions under Sheikh Sani Yahaya Gingir and Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau must share the responsibility for the deterioration of unity, divisions and the virtual disintegration of the Izala largely due to the leaders’ selfish reasoning and ambition to always be on top, the Izala under Bala Lau and considering what has sadly manifested of their conduct during their recent jamboree foreign trips supposedly for da’awa has not only derailed and misplaced its priority for whatever reason but has demonstrated a dangerous precedence of class struggle, impunity, insensitivity, recklessness etc that if left unchecked and unchallenged is capable of destroying whatever legacy its founders, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi and Sheikh Ismaila Idris, worked so hard to achieve. Under the two distinguished deceased personalities even though there were reported leadership clashes, JIBWIS has not been turned to a money making venture that will only benefit its top ranking leaders as we are seeing today. JIBWIS then was not an organisation for class struggle and exploitation of the weak by its leaders. If the current two leaderships under Gingir and Bala Lau have continued in the same manner JIBWIS started even though there is still the need to unite and come together as one which I believe will favour Islam and Muslims particularly in view of the challenges we are facing as an Umma in Nigeria and the situation of our highly ignorant brothers in remote villages and bushes, we would have managed them like that. But today’s JIBWIS or its top leaderships are so capitalist oriented, so deep in politics that is beneficial only to them. Their romance with those in government and the rich is visible to those that can see and sadly such relationships are not beneficial to Islam and Muslims in any way.
Even the Hajj and Umrah seats that are being lobbied for and being allocated in the name of JIBWIS by governments at state and federal levels are mostly being shared to family and relatives of those at the helm of its affairs instead of distributing such seats to the poor that sacrificed their lives for Islam and JIBWIS over the years. Even the poor Alaranmas that usually assist the so called Sheikhs are usually left out in the distribution of such largesse. The management and administration of today’s JIBWIS has become the exclusive monopoly of few cabal. Such practice as par as the evidence I have is worse under the Bala Lau and Kabir Gombe leadership.
I was contacted by some leaders of the state chapters of JIBWIS after my first article on Izala on why I decided to make my views public about their failure to unite under one leadership, the embarrassing conduct of the leader(s) of Izala at the United Kingdom, Germany etc, my stand on Wa’azin Kasa and how it was politicised, the need to use JIBWIS resources to concentrate on da’awa in remote villages, about the corruption in Izala, the poor condition of Yan Agaji, Alaranmas and how they are being exploited, the politicization and exploitation of Manara TV and how it is being used as a conduit pipe, without seeking to have audience with the leaders to see if those issues can be addressed. But my response was simple. Late Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi had tried in vain and with lots of frustration to bring Allah into the hearts of those that are struggling for leadership of the Izala but he could not unite them even though they all claimed to believe in the Quranic verse where Allah commands us to unite and remain as one. Several efforts were thereafter made including the one initiated by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi but the gladiators during every effort have all failed to see reason and consider the fear of Allah as paramount and above their desires to be leaders. It is only when leaders are benefiting from such disputes and divisions financially and perhaps manipulating their positions to acquire influence and power that one will see such unending and disgraceful disagreement and fanctionalization. Nothing short of that. And on the other issues above as raised in my article and considering the abusive rejoinders sponsored by the leadership of Bala Lau to me and for failing to address the real issues I raised in their several rejoinders clearly show that such issues of public interest are better discussed in public more so as Bala Lau and Kabir Gombe as leaders have chose to make their misplaced foreign trip, manner of dress code and conducts abroad an issue of deliberate publicity and proudly bombarding the social media with pictures that can best be described as indecent even though not haram thereby triggering such avoidable debate by themselves. But the ‘shrewd’ Kabir Gombe in a sponsored damage control programme at Freedom Radio immediately after their arrival said it was their own ijtihad to appear in such manner of dressing and that it was done in consideration of the culture of the people they are visiting as if they have travelled on da’awa more than the likes of late Sheikh Ahmed Deedat who were always appearing decent and in their traditional dresses.
So in my opinion and in my own ijtihad too, part of the reasons I also decided to make it a public issue is that if the likes of late Sheikh Gumi, many other respected scholars and some of our concerned Muslim elites have failed to put reasons into the minds and conscience of such ulama in private and during public gatherings including the one that was held at Arewa House in Kaduna, if such ulama despite their knowledge of Islam have for selfish reasons disregarded the direct instructions of Allah to unite and not to divide, how can I as their student with very little knowledge and considering their well documented antecedents succeed in compelling them or to put reasons in them through such private audience and discussions? Certainly it is not possible. After all wasun su don girman kai basu iya daga fuska su kalli mutum sau biyu. So the issue is henceforth a public issue not because we want to ridicule anybody but for the good of our religion. And I pray that the measures I want personally take will lead to the rebirth of the real JIBWIS the likes of Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, Sheikh Ismaila Idris, Sheikh Rabiu Daura etc laboured for.
The failure of JIBWIS to unite together under one leadership is the result of virtually all the problems we are lamenting about today. JIBWIS must be restructured to make it more responsive, transparent, accountable, more democratic, all inclusive and above all effective in discharging the tasks ahead of all of us. The period of using JIBWIS as a conduit pipe or a means of acquiring influence for selfish and personal aggrandizement must be over. We must collectively fear our creator and fear the day we will account for our deeds before Him. And even if we eventually succeed in uniting JIBWIS leadership under one umbrella, the leadership should emerge from Shura and in consultation with all stakeholders. Such sensitive or ‘lucrative’ positions of the National Chairman, Secretary General etc that are being abused and manipulated today and being used as a tool for corrupt enrichment and considering our current challenges where all the factional leaders want to die on the positions must have term limits of four to five years before new sets of leaders will emerge through same Shura. It is also important that any future Shura that will determine one single leadership for JIBWIS must exclude all current national leaders of the two factions from contesting as their involvement in contest in view of their desperation and ambition will certainly jeopardise peace efforts. If they are doing it for Allah they will continue to contribute for da’awa and to danJIBWIS even without holding any position. Any scholar(s) that doesn’t accept such conditions is a shaidan and we must challenge him.
In the course of in-depth investigation before coming out with this piece, I made some painful discoveries about the conduct, authoritarian nature of some of our leaders in JIBWIS and instances of corruption. I will only give reference or such instances for the purpose of advancing reasons why as a stakeholder in Izala I want to take certain actions but ordinarily I wouldn’t want to share my findings in public. For instance, there is no reason whatsoever for Bala Lau as a leader to become so weak and allow his personal driver, one Musa H. Isa who has no Islamic knowledge to become so powerful and overbearing to the extent that even other respected Islamic scholars had to follow and lobby through him before either having access, audience or getting any form of favour from Lau. Musa’s power over almost everything involving Lau or the Izala under Lau is an open secret to all those that interacted with Lau including scholars. The moribund Manara TV which is supposed to be a precious asset and a critical platform for Izala and the umma as a whole was so badly and corruptly mismanaged that it has within the short period of its existence lost relevance despite the millions supposedly injected into it. The contract agreement for instance between Bala Lau and Kabir Gombe representing JIBWIS and a certain company called Almasdar under their protege one Mu’azzam Ibrahim has done more harm to Manara than good. It is fraudulent as well. Millions of naira voluntarily contributed by the umma through the annual sales of hides and skins and other individual contributions were wasted in Manara and other less important priorities and questionable ventures using conduit pipes like Mu’azzam without commensurate result. Other national leaders of JIBWIS including senior officials like late Sheikh Alhassan Sa’id Jos, Sheikh Yakubu Musa etc were only invited and informed as a formality after the Manara deal with Mu’azzam was finalised. They have no input whatsoever in it. While the highest paid staff of Manara, who happens to be the medium’s Director General and a former North East Regional Manager of the NTA, Alhaji Bashir Sule, is receiving only N150,000.00 per month, while the powerful Mu’azzam Ibrahim who has strong connection with both Lau and Gombe as a supposed consultant to Manara is receiving a whooping N1.8 million every month and providing virtually nothing in return for the now rested station. Other staff are receiving between N60,000.00 and below. Such poor categories of staff despite their sacrifices and commitments are not being paid their stipends regularly as they have not been paid for almost three months now. While the likes of Mu’azzam were decently accommodated despite their huge pay, the rest of the staff are using their offices in Manara as their accommodation. And sadly during the same period they couldn’t pay staff of Manara for months on the excuse of lack of money, Bala Lau’s JIBWIS for public show donated N1 million during the graduation ceremony of Raudhatul Qur’an Islamiya School in Zaria recently. While they have terminated the appointments of most of Manara staff due to poor management and misapplication of the resources they have, the Lau leadership is yet to pay salary arrears of the affected staff despite consistent pleas several months after their disengagement. One of such affected staff whom I don’t want to mention had to sue Lau’s JIBWIS to court demanding his pay and claiming damages. From the records I have they have since settled with him out of court after paying him N1.9 million including his damages to avoid embarrassment.
I also saw a letter written in Arabic by Lau to the same Mu’azzam which I have a copy pleading with him to be patient with them and making commitment to settle him on or before December 2017 the sum of $135,000.00 which is equivalent to almost N50 million for the services of ruining down the station belonging to all of us. This large sum is supposed to be the final pay to Mu’azzam after helping in no small measure in destroying the station. Certainly, Mu’azzam is not benefiting from such reckless and questionable approval alone as it is long been suspected that the leaders are using him as a conduit. That is why even then Alhassan Sa’id and Yakubu Musa have tried severally to ensure that he was sacked but Mu’azzam always finds protection in Lau and Gombe. Even the Abuja JIBWIS hotel was completed in sections by individuals which is contrary to the purported huge spending from the proceeds of hides and skins etc. The same Manara that cannot perform due to dirty politics of exclusion, nepotism, corruption and mismanagement is being supported before now with a donation of N100 million every year by the likes of Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, A.A Rano, Alhaji Abdulmutallab and Tahir Hugo. Dantata who was reportedly the sole financier became suspicious and discouraged during a meeting with the Lau leadership in his house. While Alhassan Sa’ed and Yakubu Musa raised serious objections and concerns about the growing influence, fraudulent nature, inept and poor handling of Manara by Mu’azzam and his corrupt tendencies and who usually gets the largest approval for monies belonging to Manara and insisted that he be sacked, Lau and Gombe attempted severally during the said meeting to downplay the concerns and insisted that they are simple issues that can be resolved at the office level.
The embarrassing cases that urgently require total overhaul of JIBWIS are many. Another of such cases was during the so called Wa’azin Kasa in Kano when Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje gave N6 million to the Lau leadership through the National P.R.O, Ali Dan Abba to buy refreshments and water to the poor yan’agajis and alaranmas was reportedly diverted in full by Dan Abba with the Lau leadership morally handicapped to take necessary action to retrieve the money or to prosecute him. The only action they took leaving Dan Abba with the money because he too knows what the top leadership are doing was to suspend him indefinitely. I have a copy of the said suspension letter which was signed by Lau. This is happening when other preachers, alaranmas and yan’agajis because they are so poor always had to borrow money for transport, feeding and accommodation to be able to attend such money making ventures by their leaders called Wa’azin Kasa. Even slots for employment that are being provided to assist members like alaranmas and yan’agajis are being diverted. I have evidences for example to prove that employment slots for the Nigeria Immigration Service provided for JIBWIS through Lau were severally distributed to their family members, people in their community and cronies. Even Hajj and Umrah seats that are being allocated to JIBWIS by some states primarily for distribution to the ulama and other stakeholders have become the exclusive preserve of the top JIBWIS leaders and their families. One of such examples due to space is the recent Hajj seats about 20 given to the Lau leadership by Governor Aminu Bello Masari through Sheikh Yakubu Musa. Virtually all the seats were said to have been distributed to his immediate family members. Also, Alhaji Tahir Hugu during the wedding fatiha of his children has gave N5 million and directed that Manara cards be purchased and be distributed to the umma but till today there is no evidence that his instructions were executed while the said money did not reflect in the account of Manara. There is also the issue of the arms money which JIBWIS is also a beneficiary. For me, it doesn’t matter if Dasuki had considered JIBWIS for such an election largesse as long as such money will directly benefit Muslims and the da’awa but the money didn’t. I can also confirm that Governor Darius Ishaku recently gave the Lau leadership N32 million but the money as usual and I can say with certainty did not reflect in either the account of JIBWIS or Manara. Many will wonder why a Christian governor will give to Muslim organisation like JIBWIS such large sum. The governor being a Christian and as a gubernatorial candidate had in 2015 suffered serious opposition from the state JIBWIS and precisely from Sheikh Jalo Jalingo. Sheikh Jalingo had vehemently opposed Darius and supported Aisha Jummai Alhassan a.k.a Maman Taraba. So when Darious was contacted and considering the governor’s experiences in 2015 he warmly welcomed Lau and Kabir Gombe. With his new romance with Lau and Gombe, Governor Darius is now assured that he can contain any opposition to him by the Izala in Taraba under Sheikh Jalingo come 2019. There was also another letter recently written to Mallam Adamu Ciroma requesting for financial assistance as usual. Such type of letters presented under JIBWIS which has been honoured and the actual monies given not accounted for are many. The implication is that we are already losing the trust and confidence of such donors because they are now becoming aware that their contributions are virtually being exploited.
All these and many other embarrassing instances that I cannot even write have compelled me to do my part with the hope that sanity and unity will be restored in JIBWIS because I strongly believe that had it been JIBWIS is managed by one single leadership and with selected incorruptible and highly principled scholars as advisers and decision makers all these impunity, corruption, class struggle, mismanagement and fraudulent monopoly over its affairs wouldn’t have been happening. From my findings, JIBWIS which now has two factional leaderships of Kaduna and Jos has only one registration with one name. It was incorporated on 11th December, 1985 with Sheikhs Hudu Zaria, Bala Japan, Isa Waziri, Alhassan Sa’ed Jos and Yakubu Musa Kafanchan as Trustees. I think virtually all the Trustees with the exception of one are all deceased today. I have extensively discussed with concerned legal luminaries on this embarrassing and avoidable imbroglio and the fight over leadership. Luckily, we found sufficient grounds for legal issues to be explored since all previous efforts to make the feuding ulama to fear Allah and reconcile has failed. Since JIBWIS has only one registration it is illegal and against the laws to have two factional leaderships bearing and claiming the same name, using same official letter heads that carry JIBWIS for correspondence or soliciting for assistance, creating medium’s like Manara which is being funded by resources generated on behalf of JIBWIS, holding separate Wa’azin Kasa under two different leaderships but with one name as JIBWIS etc. I will challenge that and other issues that will insha Allah ensure single leadership for JIBWIS in court and to stop any of the leaders from parading themselves as leaders of JIBWIS or from doing anything on behalf of JIBWIS. We will also request the court to compel all individual donors including governors, contributors of hides and skins etc to any of the two factions to stop forthwith since there is no accountability and unity pending the determination of the suit. But before taking these measures I will give two weeks to the factional leaders effective from 26th December, 2017 to show cause or evidence of making moves to unite under one name and one leadership as contained in the JIBWIS certificate of incorporation and it’s constitution. I believe initiating lasting reconciliation and uniting under one umbrella if we are not shaidans will be better for all of us and it will not be a victory for me but a victory for Islam. But if that is not done or pleas in Allah’s name did not work certainly (insha Allah) the law will do it for us.
Mamu holds Masters Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from ABU, Zaria, a newspaper publisher and a traditional title holder of the Dan-Iyan Fika