The rate at which religion distorts historical narratives in the core North is alarming. Yesterday evening, I paged through a post shared in Hausa by Ibrahim Sheme, Gimba Kakanda and Malam Ibrahim Bature, on brief historical account of Ambassador John Mamman Garba.
The post acknowledged John Mamman Garba as the first person of Northern extraction to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics; a feet he achieved in 1950 from the prestigious London School of Economics.
John Mamman Garba was equally the first Nigerian to hold the position of Executive Director of the World Bank in Washington DC. John Mamman was also among the first batch of Nigerians to have represented Nigeria in various international diplomatic affairs.
John Mammam was again the first to open Nigerian Embassy in United States, given that he was in America when Nigeria gained independence in 1960.
John Mamman Garba served as Ambassador of Nigeria to Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and the USA.
Despite making huge contributions in Nigeria and beyond, John Mamman’s name is not given the worthy recognition it deserves in Nigeria’s history books. Not even a street, road, school, hospital, or any public place was named in his memory.
What is even more calamitous is the commentaries that followed the Hausa version of his brief historical narrations which I read on this platform.
I am amaze by the manner in which majority of core Northerers questioned the worthiness of sharing John Mamman’s history on the ground of his Christian affiliation. Some even went to the extent of rubbishing the account simply because John Mamman not a Muslim.
In 1911, two American electronic engineers, Edwin Jensen and Peter Pridham collaborated to invent the Public Address System (Lound Speaker), which is today globally used in every mosque to call Muslim Ummah to prayers, or even better used by most Islamic Clerics to preach gospel to the Muslim Umamah. Are Edwin Jensen and Peter Pridham, who invented the system Muslims? I am pretty sure they are not. But we are today beneficiaries of their invention.
Even the Arab world where Islam originated from is not as extreme in victimizing its history as the core North is gradually becoming today. It is becoming an aberration to laud or document attainments and lifetime of a Hausa Christian like John Mamman Garba simply because of his faith.
This victimization and verbal attacks explain why some Hausa Christians in areas like Katsina and Kano are hardly acknowledged in history despite making huge contributions in the development of these areas from time immemorial.
Written by Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu