Ismaila A sabo Hadejia

Ismaila A sabo Hadejia
(1)Wannan dai shine Hotona, wadda Idonku yake kallona. (2) Bayan na tafi gun Sarkina, zaku tuna ni watan wata rana. (3) In wani yayi kiran sunana, sai ku cane Allah yaji kaina. (4) Koda zakuyi jimamina, sai ku yimin addu'ah bayana. Marigayi Aliyu Akilu.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Discourse 344. Buhari vs.
PDP: The Dog and the
Baboon Parable
Discourse 344
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Buhari vs. PDP: The Dog and Baboon
2015 Parable
A fight between the dog and the baboon
must be one of those very rare
encounters in the Animal Kingdom.
Animals fight over territory, food, mates,
and in defence of their lives, or of the
young. It is very hard to foresee the two
animals fighting over any of the above
because on most of items, the paths of
the two animals hardly cross.
In Africa and particularly in Hausaland
where this near impossible idea was
contrived as a proverb, such a fight can
only happen under the influence of man
when in hunting he sets the dog to
catch the baboon or its baby. In that
case, that fight would surely be one to
The dog uses its power of speed and
strong canine teeth, the baboon his
powerful shoulders, limbs, claws, hands,
and under extreme conditions, his teeth.
And this condition is extreme – a fight
for his life or that of his baby. So we
better assume that the baboon will
deploy his entire arsenal.
The camera of kare jini biri jini Hausa
proverb often pictures a very fierce and
inconclusive fight between two
contenders. We can picture the dog first
barking incessantly, with its jaws wide
open hoping to scare the baboon into
submission. The well-built baboon, on
the other hand, is not a coward. He
would not jump up the trees to escape
the attacking dog; he would not fly. He
turns wild too, flexing his muscles,
beating his wide chest and destroying
the surrounding shrubs to intimidate the
dog. He jumps at a branch, breaks it and
hurls it at the dog, but the carnivore
remains recalcitrantunder the command
of his master, barking, barking … and
now ready to charge.
And the fight ensues and continues for
several minutes and, perhaps, hours…
As the proverb depicts, the fierce fight
ends inconclusively with both parties
sustaining deeps cuts and innumerable
browses. Each contender was lucky to
survive it and returns to its shelter
licking its wounds. The dog gives up
hunting for that day, returns home and
is granted a sick leave by its master. The
baboon keeps his life and his baby and
remains in his territory or migrates to a
safer one. The only conclusion reached
was that the dog learned to avoid the
baboon henceforth, while the baboon
learned to include the dog among its
dangerous enemies in the Kingdom.
In the above, I have tried to capture the
proper context and scenario of the
proverb. It simply connotes a situation
where the fight for something is fierce,
where you give your challenger a good
run for his money, but where despite the
ferocity of the contest, its outcome was
not conclusive. In short, when you tell
your contender that za a yi kare jini biri
jinni, it simply means the battle will be
fierce. In the case of Buhari, he was
promising his supporters from Niger
State that 2015 elections will be fierce;
or put in another way, the PDP wIll not
have it easy. Simple.
How this simple statement translated
into a political missile that says Buhari is
promising a bloodbath come 2015
remains one of those sad stories in our
practice of journalism.
Let us have a re-read of the
"If what happened in 2011 (alleged
rigging) should again happen in 2015,
by the grace of God, the dog and the
baboon would all be soaked in blood.”
Does this reflect the proper context and
meaning of the Hausa proverb kare jini
biri jinni that we explained above? No.
That is because, among other things, if
by the time both the dog and the
baboon are soaked in blood, both would
have been dead, a picture which the
proverb never envisaged. It would have
been better for the reporter to say,
“Come 2015, I promise you, the fight will
be fierce.”
Here, I must say that the words of Buhari
were misinterpreted, perhaps
deliberately, to entertain the Nigerian
public with a sensational story that will
keep the presently near-static mill of
public opinion running once more, or to
invent a weapon to knock him down
again in the ring of 2015 presidential
But, to be fair to the reporter also, it was
a mistranslation that I think was
informed by the history of the General’s
consistent call for mass action since
2003, of CPC’s unguarded campaign
utterances in 2011 and how they were
widely believed to have inspired the post
election violence that year, and of the
strategy of the General’s supporters of
the ANPP especially in Bauchi state in
2007, a la his doctrine of protect your
votes, a kasa, a tsare, a raka.
These were the elements in the
background that also informed the
supporting and opposing comments
which trailed the publication of that
mistranslated proverb. Nigerians became
divided overnight into three camps.
The first group – Buhari’s opponents –
jumped at it saying, “Aha. There we go
again. This notorious and bloodthirsty
coup plotter is still dreaming of a
bloodbath.” If Buhari, by his statement,
was serving such opponents with a
notice of an impending doom, they did
not heed to it. They did not show any
sign of repentance from the sin he is
accusing them of. Instead, they continue
to direct their accusing fingers at him.
On the other hand, his supporters, the
second group, to me, showed the most
disheartening response. They did not
take the pain to verify and analyse his
statement. Not a single one of them
came over to say that he was
misrepresented. Have they done so, it
would have cooled the atmosphere and
reassured us. They adopted the
mistranslation, in situ, as if it were right,
and presented an alibi, saying, “Only
election riggers are be afraid of Buhari’s
statement. Would there be a bloodbath
in 2015 as a result of rigging, it is the
PDP that should be held responsible.”
The third group, we the onlookers, are
terrified that we will be disastrously
caught in the crossfire, once more, as it
happened to hundreds of Nigerians
during the 2011 elections, when,
especially in Southern Kaduna and
Bauchi state, the lives of the innocent
were lost and thousands of people
displaced to date across Northern
Here was a corper medic, for example,
riding an ambulance in Toro, stopped
and hacked to death by the very people
he came all the way from the East to
serve after his long and tedious training
as a doctor, at a place where he had
nobody to protect him except the mores
of civilization. His sin was simply that he
did not belong to the ethnic group or
religion of Buhari, the opposition
presidential candidate. The mob on that
fateful day was found wanting in those
mores, defective in conscience. That is
how many like him paid the ultimate
price across the state.
And there was a primary school girl in
southern Kaduna, witnessing her
primary school teacher hacking her
father to death in Zonkwa, Southern
Kaduna, for no crime but that the father
belonged to the religion other than that
of the incumbent President, Goodluck
Jonathan. She never thought that the
savage gene of the teacher would
overcome the etiquette of civility that her
familiarity with him would engender. On
that fateful day, humanity was lost, the
feeling of civilization was gone, and no
guarantees were kept. Months after that
massacre, the girl would tell her story to
the ears of a deaf and dumb nation that
allows the assassin teacher to walk the
streets freely, earning his salary. That is
how hundreds of the like of her father
died and thousands of her type continue
to suffer as the politicians behind the
crimes remain unscathed.
To date, nobody is man enough to
directly or remotely claim even a
vicarious responsibility for those
atrocities. The PDP that is accused of
rigging the election refused to admit
that it rigged it in the first place. Instead,
it shifted the blame to Buhari, citing
what it called his “inciting statements” at
his campaign rallies. Buhari and his
supporters, on the other hand, returned
the blame to PDP, with three reasons: he
was a victim not a partaker in the
violence; the dastardly acts were carried
out not by his supporters but by
hoodlums who did not spare him either;
and that it was in fact the ruling party
that instigated the violence in the first
place by rigging the elections. So did the
trading in blame continued until our
father, Justice Ahmed Lemu,
inconclusively closed the chapter.
His panel came up with an ingeniously
ambivalent verdict, saying both Buhari
and the PDP are right. It said it is true
that Buhari inspired the violence but it is
also true that PDP's rigging machine
provoked it. In effect, the report claimed,
there is an egalitarian share of the
blame. Case closed. Court!!!
With that we return to our churches and
mosques to pray that may God have
mercy on those departed souls! And may
he protect us, the living, the onlookers,
the ordinary citizens, from the evils of
power – of its keepers and seekers alike.
I was caught by the same fever when I
read the mistranslation in English. I
wondered how Buhari could make such
a statement after his widely condemned
“lynch them” directive of 2011. But
when I heard his actual words in Hausa
two days ago, I quickly understood that
he said nothing unusual, for it is proper
for politicians to inject hope in their
supporters. Telling a delegation of such
supporters that his party will put up a
fierce fight next time is just one of those
confidence preserving measures.
With this, I hope our journalists will in
future show a better sense of
responsibility in their reportage. They
should use their brains not their minds.
We are tired of hearing Buhari
mistranslated by a section of the media.
More importantly, however, our
politicians on both sides of the divide,
should refrain from any contemplation
of violence or cheating, or asking their
followers to take the law into their own
hands, whatever the situation would be.
If they think that winning an election is a
religious duty, then they must not forget
that none of our two dominant religions
call to violence as a means of winning
power or as a reaction to defeat. In
Islamic tradition, the injustice of forty
years is preferred to the fitna (unrest) of
a day.
The government and INEC must do their
best to ensure free and fair elections in
2015. The electoral body has two years
ahead to fully prepare for it and get rid
of imperfections. Let there be a clean
fight that ends in a clean winner and a
clean loser. If the government is not
ready for this, my dear friend, Professor
Attahiru Jega, should throw in the towel.
The defeated in this case - whether
baboon or dog - must accept defeat and
allow us live in peace.
If our advice is not accepted, we shall
then pray that may our compassionate
God deliver us from the evil of that day,
when the dog and the baboon fiercely
slug it out in the court of Nigerian
election. We pray that He restricts their
evil to them. And on that day, neither the
dog nor the baboon should not return
home clean. We are tired.
Oh Lord, answer our prayer.
Let all peace-loving Nigerians say Amen.
20 May, 2011
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Comment as:
Barr. Mannir Dahiru May 20,
2012 3:32 PM
Amen Dr.
suleiman musa May 20, 2012
4:09 PM
A teacher is always a teacher(a
good one)i wish you long live and
good health and may Allah
increase your wisdom and
knowledg.Ameen.Ameen again
for your prayers.
Dr Murtala. May 20, 2012 4:22
A very loud Ameen to that
sir.Violence, has never and, can
never be a solution.Both the
"Dog" and the "Baboon" will be
better up without the fight!
Yusuf Musa Chindo May 20, 2012
4:53 PM
Amien Dr. Zakin Sardauna
Ahmadu Ballo na yau.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 4:53
Ameeen thumma ameen.
Inuwa kontagora May 20, 2012
4:55 PM
Such eloquent & precise write ups
is/are required in our dailies, in
order 2 clense the inciting public
perception as well as the wrong
doings of the media houses.
Ameen, Dr.
Babagana May 20, 2012 5:08 PM
Nura M. Daura May 20, 2012
5:14 PM
Ameen Dr. Tilde.
I was listening to "political
flatform" a Ray Power FM, Abuja,
program on the same issue, one
of presenters 'Mustapha
Muhammad' tried to explain the
exact meaning of Buhari's
proverb. Unfortunately, the other
presenters told him that why was
he defending Buhari. And that
was the end of his true
interpretation of the meaning.
For me, Dr. Tilde, Nigeria is already
divided along ethnic/religious line
as you can see in the case of
these journalists who are
suppose to be objective in their
analysis of issues. I see
Mustapha's effort to explain the
issue as trying to do journalism
objectively but UNFORTUNATLY his
colleagues, ofcourse of southern
origin & different religion denied
the audience the chance to see
the true picture of it.
Having said all these, i think
people like Mr. President, Edwin
Clark, Reuben Abati to mention a
few have all at one time or the
other made some inflammatory
comments that are worse than
what we're discussing now, yet
they all went without such
attacks. For example: Imagine our
President, after MEND had taken
responsibilty for 1st Oct. 2010
bombing, telling us that it was
NOT MEND & that he knows who's
responsible. What is happening
now in South Africa with the
mastermind "Orkar" is enough to
be national issue and more
important than Buhari's
Finally, Dr. Tilde, actually I lost
confidence in this administration
as well as most of our Media
Houses. I called them: "Agents of
bashirunnazirun May 20, 2012
5:20 PM
I say, Amen. Better still, is to pray
that neither the dog nor the
baboon will be a feature on that
election day!
Dauda Lawan May 20, 2012 5:36
may Allah reward u,,,,,n protect us
from evil doers
DANAMADU May 20, 2012 5:44
My dear doctor,i think reporters
who do not speak a particular
language very well should get a
translator totranslate what
anybody says properly before
taking it to the public via their
medium.That will save us this
embarassment of who has said
what and stop putting words into
peoples mouth.
Thank you
Ahmad M Ibrahim
MS Abubakar May 20, 2012 5:55
Ameen, more strength to your
fingers as your hit the
keyboard!!! Well done very
balanced narration
Saadatu Hamma May 20, 2012
6:38 PM
Aamin Dr.Nigerias situation is
really sad.
Abubakar Sadiiq May 20, 2012
7:19 PM
Thank you Dr. Tilde. It is
unfortunate that many people
either due to political bias or total
ignorance, went on giving wrong
interpretion to Buhari's
proverbial expression as to the
context he used it. He made the
statement in hausa native
language. It is an abuse of
journalism the way some
journalists went to give wrong
meaning of that hausa proverb, '
kare jini biri jini '. They should
have contacted those who are
sound in hausa language to give
them the right interpretation. The
thing is that nowadays many
claiming to understand hausa are
just mere hausa speakers.
To a typical hausa man 'kare jini
biri jini', means nothing but un-
easy encounter or challenge. For
example even in a football match
when both teams played a hard
game that ended in draw, a
hausa fan or player of either of
the teams could say, 'mun yi kare
jini biri jini da su'. Simply, that it
Anonymous May 20, 2012 7:36
Ameen summa ameen
musa yola May 20, 2012 7:38 PM
Ameen Dr.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 7:55
Anonymous May 20, 2012 7:56
Aptly written!
Anonymous May 20, 2012 7:58
a beautiful writeup that ended
just like the Lemu report; blamin
both Buhari and d pdp.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:00
A well written and insightful
post.I completely agree with its
contents. Keep up the good
works our amiable Doctor.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:03
Mischief makers should read this
traanslation to catch the proverb -
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:04
Uhmn thatz Dr. For u! U always
mae the equation balanced.
Finally I say Ameen
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:05
"Kare jini Biri jini parable" - a
must read. Nigerian journalists
should learn to be fair in their
reporting. They should stop
reporting out of context. They
often misconstrue by contriving
mischievious statements.
Remember the falsehood
reported that Buhari called
muslims vote muslims. Can you
imagine how someone could
report about an issue said in
Hausa and in Sokoto, when the
reporter does not understand
Hausa, and was in Lagos instead
of Sokoto where the event took
What about the misinformed
translation of "Kare jini Biri jini",
probably by those who do not
understand Hausa as "Bloody
2015". Both moves against Buhari
were out of context. Journalists
be objective enough to verify fact,
meaning and be deep in context
before going to the press.
Ashiru Tanko Makarfi May 20,
2012 8:06 PM
Ameen, Magajin Ahmadu, without
people like you Doctor, Nigeria
could have been a FAILED STATE.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:07
Thank you sir.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:08
Ameen Dr.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:09
A well written and blanced piece.
No one has explained this drama
better. Ameen to all the prayers.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:10
Absolutely spot on. I've said it
several times that by translating
the individual words that
constituted the proverb, Buhari's
statement was unnecessarily
blown out of proportion.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:12
There is no thing wrong with
Buhari's statement let them
conduct free and fair election i
beleive nothing will happen, if u
are not a theif why should u be
afraid if they say who ever steal
should be kill? And if pdp are
ready 4 justice why did'nt
impliment and brings out white
paper on eldr Lemu's report on
isue of past election and it
consiquenceis 4 me d baboon
should not steal again from d dog
and peace shall reign 4 ever 4
unity stability and peace of dis
country let avoid riging if not the
dog and d baboon will really soak
in blood the peaceful sleeping
dog is awake
Yakubu Abdullahi Riyo May 20,
2012 8:13 PM
Dr. Ameen.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:42
Thats great
Anonymous May 20, 2012 8:46
I must say that this is the best of
your articles that i ve read to date
from when we first crossed each
other's path at APC. I consider it
an award winning type. A
harmless statement was made
and the pen hackers transformed
it into something else. Not one of
them tried to justify his or her
invented meaning in the context
of a better understanding of the
usage of the verbs and nouns
that were key to General Buhari's
literary construction from an
intelligible methodology based on
or tied to philological research,
comparative method,
dialectological application and
semantic change. But it would
appear to me that even before
GMB's phrase was distorted by
reporters, those who heard him
verbatim and not reported,
surprisingly gave it the same
meaning. The nation less PDP
was simply waiting for the its war
against FGN and INEC to be
escalated to a higher level. So the
refusal by listeners or readers to
come to terms with the ordinary
meanings of words harmlessly
deployed to advance an ongoing
or predict a future political
warfare was deliberate. Yet, if the
escalation goes beyond a level
that democracy itself would
permit or understand, it would be
because governance has
undermined itself through
indifference, arrogance and
nonperformance. At this point
governance is actually much more
I always like to listen to Buhari's
statements in Hausa. No
politician after the demise of
Aminu Kano and Sabo Bakin Zuwa
has found a more effective
political use for hausa language
than GMB.


HADEJIA A YAU! Hamza Abdullahi, retired Air vice-marshal,
64, March 2. Born in Hadejia, Kano State, he
was educated at the Nigeria Air Force
Tactical Training Wing, Kaduna...
Hamza Abdullahi, retired Air vice-marshal,
64, March 2. Born in Hadejia, Kano State, he
was educated at the Nigeria Air Force
Tactical Training Wing, Kaduna, 1964;
attended Aircraft Technical Officer’s Course,
West Germany, 1964-1966, and Royal
Military Training Centre, Chichester, Sussex,
UK, 1974. He was appointed military
governor of Kano State, 1984-1985; minister
of Works and Housing, 1985-1986 and
minister of the Federal Capital Territory,
1989. Abdullahi was promoted air vice-
marshal, October 1988 and retired from the
Nigerian Air Force in December, 1988.