Plot to divide the North and dismember Nigeria
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