“Daddy there is something else which bothers me. I’m in love with one charming young lady from this place (Southern Nigeria).”- YAShuaib December, 1992

 Ese

The above quote were the exact words in my harmless and innocent “Open Letter to My Parentsin the North” during my youth service. The letter which was published in some national dailies was one of my articles published during the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) between 1992-1993 in Asaba Delta State.

Surprisingly, some contents of the Open Letter, generated controversies which prompted a rejoinder from the management of NYSCand a summon from Communication Adviser to Governor Felix Ibru, Chief Paulinus Akpeki for clarifications.

Meanwhile, the intervention of Asagba of Asaba, the traditional ruler of my host community, Professor Chike Edozie was the soothing balm that boosted my confidence to serve in Igboland in the Niger Delta. While the government officials and the traditional institutions ensured the safety of youth corps members, especially those from other parts of the country, I nevertheless sustained constructive engagements with the host community through my writings.

Faiths, tribe and culture were never barriers in the relationship between non-indigenes and members of the communities as inter-tribal marriages were prominent features of Delta people. During Islamic festivities, the traditional ruler organised special feasts for Muslims in his palace. On such occasions, Muslim youth corpers, mostly from Northern Nigeria were treated to bumptious meals and non-alcoholic exotic wine.

The generous hospitality of the people, encouraged some corpers to stay behind after the service year. I accepted an offered of automatic employment in the Government House, Asaba as Public Relations Officer after the service. The government of this predominant Christian state in its magnanimity also sponsored my Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca for Islamic obligations.

I was sincere with my reference to ‘young charming ladies’ in the Open Letter because of what I witnessed with my naked eyes. I must confess that before the end of the youth service, some of my colleagues, especially from the North had picked some of those damsels legally or otherwise as their partners which in some cases resulted to marriages.

While I could not confirm if all the female partners were over-age or under-age, since only parents can determine that, most of the ladies looked very mature, intelligent and responsible in every sense. At that period Non-indigenes and corps members were not treated with suspicions but dignified and respected by parents of those ladies who welcomed them to their abodes with open heart.

It is therefore, unfortunate the current unnecessary bickering over the allegations of abduction or elopement, as the case may be involving a young lady, Ese Oruru and a young man, Yunusa Dahiru who left Bayelsa State in the Creek of Niger Delta to Kano a core-Northern state in the Savannah.

After media reports on the alleged abduction, the police have taken over the case by flying the two young Nigerians from Kano to Abuja and later to Bayelsa State. Meanwhile the police have arraigned Yunusa in handcuffs for criminal charges of abduction of the teenager.

In between these periods, the family of the two young Nigerians were being quoted in the media exonerating their wards of any offence. Rather than douse the tension through fair and objective editorials and news contents, some media were busy aggravating the tense situation by provocative coverages of the event that tend to create divisions in the polity.

Some ridiculous reports claim that a popular traditional ruler encourages abductions of young girls from other parts of the country for monetary compensation including limousines and mansions for abductors. Another news item claims the abduction saga is to depopulate a particular region and increase the population of another region.

On the social media, the debate has shifted to abusive rancour with most disparaging derogatory remarks between Muslims and Christians as ethnic jingoists are fanning ember of hatred between Southerners and Northerners.

Meanwhile it has been discovered that Yunusa who had been in love with Esese took her to Kano and claimed that he had converted the young lady to Islam. The conversion seems to be a ploy by the young man to hoodwink his parents and members of his community to accept his proposal to marry the teenager whose age is right for marriage in some cultures.

The fact that cannot be denied is that Esese was neither a victim of ritualists who could have harvested her body parts for diabolic spirituality nor a victim of kidnapers who could have demanded for ransom payments. She was neither a victim of a slave master who exploits the vulnerable into child-labour nor a victim of wicked merchants of infancy who proliferate baby factories for money-making. Ese, and to some extent Yunusa are merely victims of infatuation, foolish love that went awry.

The infatuation exposes the hypocrisy of the selfish political elites and some misguided public commentators jointly playing to the gallery for the purpose of “notice me” with their unwholesome campaigns of ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry. Rather than managing the saga towards national unity and cohesion, they escalate it with primitive preachment towards self-destruction.

The dirty politics of ‘hailers and wailers’ social media antagonism also came to play where every issue is argued around ‘Goodluck Jonathan’ as an embodiment of Southern Christians and ‘Muhammadu Buhari’ as a representation of Northern Muslims.

The sad reality drama should have encouraged patriotic Nigerians to sponsor a Nollywood movie with central theme of “Love from the Creek to the Savannah” towards promoting love, peaceful coexistence, mutual tolerance for a united country.

While we must condemn the abduction saga, we should not lose our sense of reasoning and decency. We should eschew sectional sentiments and encourage our youths to establish relationship based on trust, love and respect.

Yushau A. Shuaib

www.yashuaib.com

yashuaib@yahoo.com

Abuja

PRNigeria encourages institutions to be transparent in their information management as it provides news items from authoritative sources for free use by the media

7 COMMENTS

  1. “The fact that cannot be denied is that Esese was neither a victim of ritualists who could have harvested her body parts for diabolic spirituality nor a victim of kidnapers who could have demanded for ransom payments. She was neither a victim of a slave master who exploits the vulnerable into child-labour nor a victim of wicked merchants of infancy who proliferate baby factories for money-making. Ese, and to some extent Yunusa are merely victims of infatuation, foolish love that went awry”.

    These words from you leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. It is unfortunate that you have tried to reduce the issue to a simple love affair gone wrong. It is either you have missed the deeper issues involved or you have conveniently glossed them over. This quote below by you underscores this fact:

    “Meanwhile it has been discovered that Yunusa who had been in love with Esese took her to Kano and claimed that he had converted the young lady to Islam. The conversion seems to be a ploy by the young man to hoodwink his parents and members of his community to accept his proposal to marry the teenager whose age is right for marriage in some cultures”.

    The question you need to answer is, if it is permissible for girls to marry in certain cultures, is it permissible for them to be married without their parents’ consent? How responsible is it for instance for Yunusa’s father to allow his son marry a girl whose parents were neither in the know nor gave their approval? If it kosher in the north, is it also the case in the south?

    The Yunusa/Ese saga should outrage any decent human being and it is quite plainly unfortunate that you are making light of it. Cross cultural marriages are healthy for any nation but they must be done following the rules. You cannot have a child kidnapped by an adult and dismiss it as a love story gone bad. It is as insensitive as it is derogatory. In sane climes, Yunusa’s parents should be in court for aiding and abetting kidnapping as should the men in the Emirate Council who condoned the nonsense.

    Let’s try to always put our cards face up and not try to jusify what is patently unjustifiable. Nigeria is a nation under God and law. We should fear God and respect the law!

  2. @ Nnamdi, am getting a clearer picture of the story from your comment. This case seems to have been divided on tribal and cultural line. Neither did religion come last. It seems all you have to do is check out the name and you can tell what side of the argument the person will be.
    However there is two underlying facts. The child involved is a minor, whatever story yinusa tell his parent, responsible adult must insist we must see or at lease, In this age of penny mobile, speak to her parent. Even if she is an adult responsible family will ask , who and where is your background . Now we are talking about a child. If yinusa is not a full grown adult as in a very young man. His parents and elders around should know better. On that ground I say there is a great flaw.
    Secondly if the age is ripe enough in yinusa culture, am sure the parent are aware that it’s not the same in other culture and yinusa that have spent some years in the south knows better. On this ground it is essential for the parent to seek consent. If we are talking religion and culture to whom is bride price to be paid, When attempt was not made to contact the girl s family. Once again I will say there is a great flaw.

  3. Tinsa should answer for himself if he is of age and if not he is also on his own. Nobody should bring in the parents into it. For sure a lot transpired in Yinusa’s home when he “suddenly” emerged from the blues with a “sacrilege.” Then he muffled it with the excuse of Islamisation of the the “sacrilege.”
    Another one is that the adults and well read plus well travelled Emirate members in Kano must have been a good tool to the “discovery” of the ill omen but for their great and timely intervention we now know where the teenager is.
    Emotions have been frayed so much in this country that we do not trust one another.
    What our leaders and in extension The ruling house at the centre should do is to now use this case to TALK Nigerians into cohabiting again.
    I don’t mind marrying a core Hausa or Fulani Muslim from anywhere but it behoves me to DO IT APPROPRIATELY and where it is not possible, I should look elsewhere in another Nothern family and I must win it I have shown enough decency IN my approach. Our leaders need to inductrinate this andore to us all rather than sublime, marginalise and kill people from a certain desent for any grudging reasons.
    The Yinusas of this day MAY have good intentions but may have acted CHILDISHLY. I am conscious that the courts are looking into this development and should mind my comments hence I advice that we keep our fingers crossed and be calm so we get to understand what is up in this matter and an explanations from the courts which I know will not lie to us.
    We must work to create a new Nigeria were all of us will live in with no suspicion. It is in our hands. If our leaders have failed we MUST not fail.

    • How in this world can Yunusa’s parents not have a case to answer particularly as it is a case of criminality? They knew their son abduct a minor and acquiesced in the abduction, It doesn’t matter if Yunusa acted like an adult. They knew he kidnapped the child and allowed her to stay in their home. Besides, they made no attempt to contact their girl’s parents when he told them he wanted to marry her. Were she an adult it wouldn’t have mattered but as it is, she isn’t.

  4. It is hard not to bring the parents in. Technically yinusa is of legal age hence he will face the consequences of his action. Traditionally and morally speaking the parent have the obligation to enquire about the origin and root of a teenager that just spring up from no where with there son. If they care about the well being of their son. Because yinusa claimed to have Islamised her is no excuse not to know her folks. Remember the case of Mutalib that try to bomb USA bound plane. His father came out publicly and clean his name that he has reported his activities to the authority before the incident. To say parent should be left out of situation like this in African setting is un-Africa .

  5. What is the solution to the problem that has been created now? What can we do to help Ese and Yunusa ? Instead of fighting and bickering. Ese should be encouraged to go back to school and finish her studies. Yunusa should be encouraged to start a proper business, to support his wife and baby. The two young people are in love. Please let’s not destroy that.

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