Plot to di­vide the North and dis­mem­ber Nigeria

Daily Trust - - VIEWS - Con­tin­ued from back page

the rest of Nigeria. Con­se­quently, the Tiv farm­ers and the Fu­lani herds­men have ex­pe­ri­enced dev­as­tat­ing losses in both life and property. The cam­paign of calumny has con­tin­ued un­abated, with pun­dits claim­ing that the Fu­lani are on a mis­sion to “cleanse” the Tiv of their an­ces­tral home. We beg to dif­fer from these opin­ions. In ad­di­tion, sev­eral war fronts have been cre­ated be­tween Fu­lani and other North­ern mi­nori­ties (in South­ern Kaduna, Taraba, Nasarawa) and even be­tween the Hausa Mus­lims and the Fu­lani, as in the case of Zam­fara and Katsina, where all are re­al­is­ti­cally Mus­lim! Or are Katsina and Zam­fara states not well Is­lamized al­ready?

Sec­ondly, if the essence of the Fu­lani ‘in­va­sion’ is to Is­lamize Tiv land, Berom land, and “mi­nor­ity” lands in South­ern Zaria, and else­where in Nigeria, as we are made to be­lieve, is there any Tiv set­tle­ment cap­tured by the Fu­lani where Sharia Is­lamic law is ad­min­is­tered, as it is done by the Tal­iban in Pak­istan, Afghanistan, and Syria? It must be re-stressed that the Tiv and Fu­lani, for ex­am­ple, have co-ex­isted for over 200 years with­out any skir­mishes of the type we are now forced by our rulers to wit­ness.

The Fu­lani herds­men have had un­fet­tered ac­cess to Tiv­land, and in­deed Benue State, with­out the dev­as­tat­ing in­ci­dents we are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in the state. The herds­men have lost hun­dreds of cows and lives, while the Tiv have been dis­pos­sessed of their farm­lands, their vil­lages razed, and hun­dreds killed. An added di­men­sion to the wan­ton de­struc­tion of property in Tiv­land has been the pres­ence of mili­tias that in­ter­min­gle with the herds­men to sack Tiv com­mu­ni­ties, and help plun­der Fu­lani herds. Guns are be­ing freely dis­trib­uted to fuel this mayhem by people who pose as agents of govern­ment, a govern­ment which swore to pro­tect the lives and prop­er­ties of all Nige­rian cit­i­zens!

We know that these ac­tiv­i­ties are de­signed to paint Prof. Nwabueze’s “true North” as the ag­gres­sors against the Tiv who are “re­sist­ing” the so-called Is­lamiza­tion agenda of the “true North.” Noth­ing could be far­ther from the truth! Yet churches are urged to spread this mon­stros­ity and the sit­u­a­tion is reach­ing pro­por­tions where Nige­ri­ans are pulled out of trav­el­ling ve­hi­cles and mur­dered on the ba­sis of tribe and/or re­li­gion! THIS MUST STOP!

It is vi­o­lence-prone, and there­fore, no elec­tion should be con­ducted through­out the ter­ri­tory of North­ern Nigeria in 2015! This is com­plete false­hood. The lead­er­ship of the North must rise to its obli­ga­tions and re­ject this. We, with one mind and voice, MUST re­sist and re­ject these as­ser­tions be­cause ev­i­dence on the ground does not sup­port this mon­strous touted lie. A uni­fied, rec­on­ciled, pro­gres­sive, trans­par­ent, and pros­per­ous North can­not hap­pen by chance.

The North must work hard and pro­duce within the dic­tates of democ­racy and the law, a gen­uinely na­tional lead­er­ship, come the elec­tions of 2015.

•The North must put in place mech­a­nisms/lo­gis­tics to ex­tol the virtues of a united North­ern Nigeria of equal broth­ers and sis­ters, as a so­lu­tion to our en­demic crises in the re­gion – stran­gu­lat­ing poverty, un­em­ploy­ment, un­der­de­vel­op­ment in all as­pects of our in­fra­struc­ture, lack of ac­cess to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties, lack of mean­ing­ful ac­cess to eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, etc.

•The North must work as­sid­u­ously to cor­rect the cur­rent im­bal­ance in our federal civil ser­vice sec­tor.

•The North must plan de­lib­er­ately to cre­ate more high value en­trepreneurs of in­ter­na­tional re­pute, across the whole spec­trum of North­ern di­ver­sity and re­li­gious plu­ral­ity.

•The North must work to en­sure that ev­ery part of North­ern Nigeria is rep­re­sented eq­ui­tably in all of our de­vel­op­ment ef­forts—plan­ning, im­ple­men­ta­tion, mon­i­tor­ing, and eval­u­a­tion. The “core North” is of­ten ac­cused of us­ing and dump­ing the Mid­dle belt ar­eas, an ac­cu­sa­tion used by our de­trac­tors to di­vide the North. Let us em­brace the Sar­dauna Model, where all North­ern­ers are at the bak­ing of the cake, at the shar­ing, and at the ac­tual eat­ing ir­re­spec­tive of tribe, tongue, and re­li­gion. The Sar­dauna did it and it worked and pro­duced tremen­dous re­sults which some of us re­main till to­day, grate­ful ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Wantaregh Unongo, OFR, a for­mer Min­is­ter of Steel, is Deputy Leader of North­ern Elders’ Fo­rum

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