n Journal for Islamic Studies - The Radio Kaduna (1978-1992) and the construction of public images of Muslim scholars in the Nigerian media

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7062



This paper looks at a public contest over Qur'anic interpretation that accompanied the emergence of Nigerian reformist activism in the late 1970s. This contest was staged on national radio at regular intervals during the months of Ramadan over several years. The events allowed a public negotiation of the issues involved by the then polarizing fracture between 'Sufi' and 'anti-Sufi' Nigerian Muslims. In addition to the demands of the familiar doctrinal polemic register, the religious scholars who participated in these programs were thrown into a new, challenging arena. The paper focuses separately on the three major protagonists involved at different stages as 'Radio Kaduna exegetes' (Shaykh Abu Bakr Gumi, Shaykh 'Umar Sanda, Shaykh Tahir Bauchi), outlines their scholarly careers, their doctrinal inclination and their favored themes. It concludes by highlighting how the success of the Radio Kaduna contest rested on the degree to which it staged critical cultural negotiations that engaged the society in a variety of ways.

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