The recent crisis over the call made by Isa Ali Pantami on Solomon Dalung to embrace Islam is a symptom of a wider problem in Northern Nigeria.
For too long, we have been divided along religious lines due to the incessant desire by religious clerics to classify other religions as “untrue”. A muslim who thinks all christians are bound for hell is unlikely to embrace a close relationship with an infidel, similarly a christian who thinks a muslim os bound for hell because he’d rejected christ is unlikely to do so. This has been a major reason why the number of interfaith marriages amongst northern couples is very low. Our parents will go to the ends of the earth to avoid having condemned grand children.
This lack of social integration within the Northern community has for long been breeding decrepit and stupid ideas like that of a non existant middlebelt. It has divided and weakened us politically and is no doubt being exploited by our adversaries.
Clerics like Pantami must inform their followers in clear terms that its OK for you love a christian amd BE a christian. Christian pastors must also do the same for Islam. People with Chislamic friends and family are far less likely to fall victims to skewed ideologies like extremism. We must honour and cherish each others beliefs.