Tag Archives: politics

#Politicalironies : Campaigning in a time of Boko Haram

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 10.16.32 PMI’m not sure this photo needs any captioning. A screenshot I took featuring an article and a sidebar ad on 16 January 2015. A lot of  juxtapositions these days.

Here is a link to my blogpost with similar ironic political juxtapositions during the 2011 Nigerian elections.

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Political ironies…

I am still trying to process all that has been happening in Jos… Arizona… and elsewhere, and I will do a Jos-related post soon, but in the meantime….

I’m sure that when the “One Nigeria Coalition” paid God knows how much for a nearly one page ad on the front page of Leadership yesterday they did not realize the deep painful irony that would result…..

It does not seem to have hurt him tonight….

And for a little political hyperbole. Here are some more posters for Jonathan as I saw them sometime last year in Abuja.  I suppose the Messaih is a good stand in for the Messiah….

And in other well-thought political placement….

The Quranic verse translated into Hausa in front of this political poster says, “He who does not pity others, will not receive pity.”

Mobile Court bans listening to 11 Hausa songs

A notice about the 11 banned songs in a shop . Photo courtesy of documentary filmmaker Alex Johnson.

Last week Mukhtar Ahmed, the magistrate of the mobile court attached to the censorship board, banned 11 Hausa songs. According the the article by Abdulaziz Ahmad Abdulaziz (originally published in Leadership newspaper, but also published on his blog, here,) the justice has “banned listening, sale and circulation of 11 Hausa songs, describing the songs as obscene, confrontational and amoral.” Included in the ban, apparently is

“selling the songs, playing them, and downloading them by any means. He said the order was issued by the court in accordance with section 97 of the state Censorship Board Law 2001 Cinematography and Licensing Regulation of the same year. Ahmed explained that by the provision of the said sections of the law, any person who for the purpose of or by way of trade, makes produces or has in his possession blasphemous, pornographic or obscene writing or object that will corrupt public morale can be charged under the law, among others.

I was also just forwarded an email from a listserve, that apparently re-posted from a Daily Triumph article (which I have not been able to find via google yet–my internet is very slow), from 4 June 2009, the following:

kano State Film censorship mobile court has banned the sales of some 11
hausa songs it describe as obscene in the state.

Announcing the ban order, the presiding judge at the court, chief magistrate
mukhtar ahmad, said the songs include:

1 Walle-Walle
2 Martani(bilio)
3Auta
4 Sauka a babur(ibro)
5Girgiza kai master9ibro)
6Oyoyo
7Ibro Sankarau
8kowa yaci Ubansa/uwarsa
9gari yayi zafi
10 Wayyo
11Hasbunallahu

According to him, the court is going to prosecute anyone found selling the
songs, playing it, downloading it by anymeans in accordance with section 97
of the state censorship board law 2001 cinematography and licensing
regulation of the same year.

he added that the law in the section states that any person who for the
purpose of or by way of trade, make products or has in his possession
blasphemous,pornographic,or obscene writing, or object that will corrupt
public morale, can be charged under the law,among others.

the triumph
jumadal thani 9/1430AH
thursday,june4, 2009

It is interesting to me that most of these songs (most of which I have heard) are subtly or directly critiquing the censorship board and/or Kano State government, many of them based on the experiences of the musicians. For example Adam Zango’s “Oyoyo” critiques the government of Kano State for imprisoning him.  See, for example, Abdulaziz A. Abdulaziz’s analysis (published several months before this ban) of said “confrontational” song here.  d’an Ibro’s “Sankarau” similarly uses metaphoric language to skewer the Kano State government for imprisoning him. In a conversation I had with Nazir Hausawa about his song “Girgiza Kai” back in February, he explained to me that his purpose in the song was to point out the hypocrisy of critics by juxtaposing the “work” musicians are doing with “real social ills.” Particularly interesting is his use of the proverb at the very beginning of his song: Mai dokar bacci, ya bige da gyangyed’i. The one who says sleep is against the law is the one nodding off…….

I might add to this that it is fascinating that Justice Mukhtar Ahmed is responsible for proclaiming bans on these political songs in Kano State, when he was only a few months ago found by Kano State Attorney General Barrister Aliyu Umar to have not followed “due process” in the trial of filmmaker and former gubernatorial candidate Hamisu Lamido Iyan Tama. I quote again from Adbulaziz A. Abdulaziz’s 12 March 2009 article in Leadership:

The Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Aliyu Umar, has cast aspersions on a Senior Magistrate, Muhtari Ahmad, for convicting a renowned filmmaker, Alhaji Hamisu Lamido Iyan-Tama, saying due process was not followed in the trial that led to the sentence of the movie practitioner.

The AG told a Kano State high court presided over by Justice Tani Umar and Justice Soron Dinki yesterday that the magistrate rushed to deliver the judgement before completing hearing on the case brought before him in which Iyan-Tama was accused of violating Kano State censorship laws.

The senior state counsel, who led a delegation consisting of the Director of Public Prosecution, Barrister Shu’aibu Sule, and the Assistant Director, Binta Ahmed, literally stripped the judge naked in the marketplace. He said the trial was “improper”, “incomplete”, a “mistake” and requires retrial before a more “competent magistrate”.

“I am not in support of the conviction in this trial”, said the attorney-general, “It is obvious that the trial was not completed before judgement was delivered but there and then the presiding magistrate went ahead and delivered a judgement”, he added.

The fact that musicians see their music as a form of “self-defence” is also interesting to me because I also just read in an article “Islamization of the Mass Media” published by Dr. Bala Abdullahi Muhammad, the Director General of A Daidaita Sahu (The Societal Reorientation Board) in the Bayero Beacon (May 2009, p. 28), that the Quran says “God does not like any evil to be mentioned openly, unless it be by him who has been wronged thereby” (S4:158).  Another article in this issue of the Bayero Beacon ,”Journalism in Islam” by Idris Zakariya (p. 19), quotes another verse: “God does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech, unless one has been wronged and God is hearing, knowing… (S 44:148-149).” Now I am certainly no Islamic scholar and I would welcome readers who are to enlighten me on the contextual meaning of these short verses, but it would seem to me that these songs (and indeed others by musicians talking about censorship laws which directly affect them) are speaking publically about events which they have been “wronged by.” [If I am taking these verses out of context, please correct me.] In this way, the statement by the mobile court judge is right on at least one thing. The songs are “confrontational.” But is confrontation wrong in every situation? And if the problem is obscenity, why is not the “Zagin A. Zango” by K-Boys included (perhaps it is and the name is different?)? In this song, the K-boys attack Adam Zango (whose song “Oyoyo” was on the list), calling him a bastard, d’an daudu, and other names. It is certainly one of the most “obscene” and slanderous Hausa songs I’ve heard. And it is not as if it has not recieved publicity either, as it was featured in Fim Magazine in November or December of last year.

Also, I’m certainly no legal scholar, but could anyone who knows the answer to this question let me know in the “comments section”: Is it actually legal to ban listening to something in the privacy of one’s own home, as long as one does not distribute or sell it? Constitutionally or under shari’a law?

The question arises, because I was just this weekend reading an article on the developments of the hisba in Kano state “The Search for Security in Muslim Northern Nigeria” by Murray Last and published in Africa 78 (1) 2008 (p.41-62). A few paragraphs from the article [all bold emphasis is mine]:

Only three  domains are seriously affected [by hisba sharia enforcers]: women in public (their dress, their proximity to unrelated men–in conversation, for example, or in public transport); alcohol and non-military music and singing. This last affects praise singing at weddings for example (where dancing may also occur), or at sports  such as boxing or wrestling, as well as songs used for spirit possession whether done in ‘play’ or in divination and diagnosis.  Technically no shari’a enforcer can enter a private house, nor can he act upon suspicion or rumour. (p. 51)

[…]

The Hausa text which is widely distributed in the shari’a states to explain the rules governing hisba goes back to 1788 AD, well before there was public transport to worry about. The text is a short book written originally in Arabic by ‘Abdullahi dan Fodio, the younger brother of Shaikh ‘Uthman dan Fodio, before their great jihad was successful. He wrote it, it seems, in Zamfara where the Shaikh was successfully preaching and teaching; as a result, new Muslim communities were setting up properly Islamic administrations there. Once the Caliphate was established, some twenty years later, so too was the institution of hisba: we know the name of the first muhtasib, the judge responsible for enforcing proper observance of shari’a in public spaces, but nothing of his actual work is recorded. It was clearly different from the ‘police’ (shurta) and from the role of gaoler (yari). But eyewitness accounts from visitors to Kano and Sokoto in the 1820s suggest that the muhtasib overlooked much improper behaviour taking place in areas of town where transport workers and off-duty servants or slaves found their relaxation. There is no suggestion there was a public hisba force out on the streets day or night looking for miscreants. Instead it was, I suspect, retainers from the major political houses who acted as peacekeepers in town as, when and where required.

I am posing these observations as questions because I actually would like feedback from Islamic and legal scholars who are better versed in the interpretation of Islam and of Nigerian constitutional law than I am. I think a conversation in the comments section of this post could prove quite fruitful.

The mysterious Asabe Murtala/Muktar Writes again

[UPDATE 17 April 2011, revisiting this piece over two years later, I see that the links to the Triumph and the Trust piece have both been taken down. However, you can still find the ‘Asabe Murtala’ piece on Gamji.]

“Asabe Murtala” writes on the Iyan Tama case again apparently in reply to a rejoinder by an Aminu Sa’ad Beli from Lawyers Without Borders. However, I have not been able to find the rejoinder using google. (If anyone has seen it, please send me the link or the letter) Ms. Asabe’s initial mode of attack seems to question the credentials and moral authority of Aminu Sa’ad Beli, several choice quotes being:

Beli should understand that, it is the kind of their write-ups that makes he public unruly. Not a decent government agency like the Kano State Censorship Board. Absolutely not them!”

….

Paragraph number 7 of Beli’s piece is one of the areas that shocked me to my knees. Let me quote the part precisely. He says “But then whatever is the undercurrent, my candid opinion is that, the attitude of the Rabo managed censorship board is not only contradictory but unnecessary.” For God sake how can a sane person come out and boldly say a board that looks after people’s moral practice is not necessary in the society? So do you want us to always be wallowing in moral bankruptcy?

There is much much more, but I will leave that to the delectation of the reader who is tempted to click on the link.

“Asabe Murtala’s” piece to which Aminu Sa’ad Beli was apparently responding was initially published as “An Open Letter to the US Embassy in Nigeria,” in the Daily Triumph on 23 December 2008. It was published 8 January 2009 in the Daily Trust as “Iyan Tama, U.S., and the Kano Censorship Board” under the name “Asabe Muktar.” In this first piece Asabe Murtala/Muktar claims to be a “stakeholder in the film industry in Kano State;” however, in a discussion about the piece on the finafinan Hausa listserve, no one had seemed to have heard of her in the industry or in related publications. In this piece “she” uses the evidence that “she” had applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for the company name “Iyan Tama Multi Media Limited,” and correspondence came back saying that the name was avilable, to make the claim that “the above informaation is a clear testimony to the fact that Hamisu Tama did not register with the Corporate Commission.” Iyan-Tama later mentioned to several of us who visited him in prison that his company name has a hyphen “Iyan-Tama”–and, of course, as Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu pointed out in an email to the Finafinan Hausa listserve, there are any number of combinations of the name that would not come up in a search for the name she entered:

“Shin YAYA ake rubuta sunan kamfanin Hamisu —
Iyan Tama Multimedia, ko kuma Iyan-Tama Multimedia, ko kuma Iyan-Tama Multi-media, ko kuma Iyan Tama Multi-media?”

And in other news Ibrahim Sheme updates his blog with a Hausa version of the open letter to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau

(For background on the censorship crisis in Kano, see this post)

Director of Photography Workshop Begins at the Alliance Francaise, Kano, Ali Jita marries, and news about clash of ‘yan acaba with governor’s entourage

Abbas Sadiq and Sanin Maikatanga at bikin Ali Jita da Nafisa Laila

Hausa director and actor Abbas Sadiq and editor of Fim Magazine Sani Maikatanga examine a poster of the bride and groom at the wedding party of Ali Jita and Nafisa Laila (c) CM

Today I attended the opening ceremony of the MOPPAN Director of Photography 5-day workshop that is being held at the Alliance Francaise in conjunction with the French embassy. I came in late because I didn’t know where the Alliance Francaise was and “na yawo gari” on the back of an acaba. I walked in (having to walk in front of the high table in front of everyone… ai) for the end of a speech by the Director General of the Kano State Censorship Board, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim, followed by a speech by VP of MOPPAN, Dr. Ahmad Sarari, in which he requested the permission of the Censorship Board for the workshop participants to shoot in Kano for the duration of the workshop. The DG agreed. Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, a professor of education and a cultural anthropologist in the Department of Mass Communication, also gave a speech.  After all the speech making, refreshments were served, most of the academics and journalists left, and the directors of photography got down to the business of workshopping.

In other news, Hausa musician Ali Jita and his bride Nafisa Laila were married this weekend and hosted a party, a dinner, and an “Indian night,” attended by a gaggle of Kannywood stars and Hausa musicians.

And on the youth/politics front, here is an article on the front page of today’s Leadership by my friend Abdulaziz A. Abdulaziz that is worth a read:

20 Injured as Youth Clash with Shekarau’s Entourage