[ ] Guest Colum­nist Plot to di­vide the North and dis­mem­ber Nigeria

Kwiatkowski wins Tour de Ro­mandie pro­logue

Daily Trust - - SPORT - Con­tin­ued on page 57

North­ern Nigeria has never had it so bad. The se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion has de­te­ri­o­rated, es­pe­cially in the last three years. On a daily ba­sis, the blood of in­no­cent cit­i­zens is shed in the name of Boko Haram in­sur­gency. Prop­er­ties worth bil­lions of naira are de­stroyed while young school­girls are ab­ducted with lit­tle or no re­sis­tance from Nige­rian troops who op­er­ate in the re­gion. We should also not for­get that those states in the North-East are ef­fec­tively un­der emer­gency rule!

This is the ter­ri­tory that Pro­fes­sor Ab­dul­lahi Ashafa has ar­gued was cre­ated by “mere ar­bi­trary line of par­al­lels of lat­i­tude, not a true di­vi­sion be­tween the North and the South.” This re­gion, the North, had a land­mass of 255,700 square miles. The Western Re­gion called the West, and the East­ern Re­gion called the East, col­lec­tively, were called the South which had a land mass of 76,700 square miles. This is the great­est thorn in the flesh of the po­lit­i­cal gla­di­a­tors, who work tire­lessly to change the per­ceived un­fair “ad­van­tage” of the “un­e­d­u­cated” North, since the amal­ga­ma­tion of 1914. The cen­tral as­sign­ment is how to di­vide and de­stroy the ad­van­tage of the North.

It can be re­al­is­ti­cally in­ferred that one of the re­mote (and di­rect) causes of the mil­i­tary coup of Jan­uary 15th, 1966 and the sub­se­quent very de­struc­tive 3-year Nige­rian Civil War is trace­able to pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with at­tempts to al­ter this per­ceived “un­fair ad­van­tage” con­ferred on the North by the 1914 amal­ga­ma­tion.

Con­stant out­bursts of de­nials of the ex­is­tence of the “so-called North” as epit­o­mized by Prof. Ben Nwabueze’s treaties, the sud­den con­vo­ca­tion of the “Na­tional Con­fer­ence/ Di­a­logue” – burn­ing bil­lions of naira in a space of just 3 months – and talk of re­struc­tur­ing, re­source con­trol, and fis­cal fed­er­al­ism are all as­pects of the sus­tained pro­gramme and ef­forts to ef­fect a change in this “his­tor­i­cal mis­take”—the “ger­ry­man­der­ing of Lu­gard”, to use Nwabueze’s lex­i­con! Con­sis­tent with this con­tention, some­body must have know­ingly made sure that the Na­tional Con­fer­ence mem­bers from the en­tire North are far less than those from the South.

The per­sis­tent at­tempts by “renowned” aca­demics such as Nwabueze to ques­tion the ex­is­tence of a North­ern Nigeria, and con­clude that the “di­vide” has con­sti­tuted “an ob­sta­cle to the cre­ation of a na­tion and a na­tional front” and, there­fore, any ref­er­ences to a “North­ern Nigeria” must be dis­carded, for new, smaller ar­range­ments, con­firm the se­ri­ous­ness of this is­sue, which the North, mean­ing the lead­er­ship of the North, must treat as se­ri­ous and at­tend to proac­tively and cre­atively, as the late Sar­dauna of Sokoto did! The North, in­deed, ex­isted har­mo­niously as a Re­gional Govern­ment, with the Sar­dauna as the Pre­mier, de­spite our nu­mer­ous tribes and the dif­fer­ent re­li­gious per­sua­sions, in­clu­sive of class strug­gles by the North­ern El­e­ments Pro­gres­sive Union (NEPU) in tan­dem with state-cre­ation ag­i­ta­tions by the United Mid­dle Belt Congress (UMBC) and the Bornu Youth Move­ment (BYM)!

Re­turn­ing to Nwabueze’s lead paper pre­sented to the pres­i­dent, and which has in­flu­enced sig­nif­i­cantly the pres­i­dent’s trans­for­ma­tion to sup­port­ing a Na­tional Con­fer­ence, you will see that the ker­nel of his ar­gu­ments rests on the de­no­ta­tive mean­ing of the term “di­vide”, which he said is used as mean­ing not just a twofold di­vi­sion, a bi­fur­ca­tion or du­al­ism; it con­notes more than that, viz, a sep­a­ra­tion, by di­vi­sion, into two or more or less exclusive seg­ments, that is to say, a di­chotomy. In other words, the ef­fect of the 1914 Amal­ga­ma­tion, in­deed its pur­pose, is to di­chotomize the coun­try from its in­cep­tion; to keep its north­ern and south­ern seg­ments apart by an imag­i­nary, ar­ti­fi­cially cre­ated boundary line, and con­se­quently to dis­unite them in in­ter­est, at­ti­tude, out­look and vi­sion. That de­fines the mag­ni­tude, the enor­mity, of the prob­lem be­queathed to us by Lu­gard and his 1914 Amal­ga­ma­tion.

Prof. Nwabueze and oth­ers like him claim that ar­eas such as the “Mid­dle Belt Re­gion” can­not claim to be part of the “true” North. There­fore, the so-called North­ern Nigeria is com­prised of het­ero­ge­neous en­ti­ties and can­not be sub­sumed un­der the rubric of “North­ern Nigeria.”

Can he ap­ply this cri­te­rion to the East­ern Re­gion or East­ern Nigeria, with the Ibo, the Bek­warra, the Ishi­bori of Ogoja, the An­nang, the Kal­abari, the Ekoi, the Bugu­mas, the Ijaw, the Ibibio, etc., which he is com­fort­able with as people of the East­ern Re­gion or East­ern Nigeria? What about the fed­er­at­ing re­gion of Western Nigeria or Western Re­gion domi­ciled by the Yoruba, the Bini, the Ijaw, the It­shekiri, the Urhobo, etc.? Are these ho­moge­nous in tribal or eth­nic coloura­tion? Do they pro­fess one com­mon re­li­gion?

De­spite these glar­ing con­tra­dic­tions and the stand­ing of logic on its head, Nwabueze pro­ceeds to of­fer six rea­sons for not rec­og­niz­ing the ex­is­tence of a “North­ern Nigeria”:

“(1) the North con­sists, not of one tribe, but of var­i­ous tribes marked apart from each other by fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences in cul­ture, cus­toms and tra­di­tions, way of life, tra­di­tional oc­cu­pa­tion, etc, just like the tribes in the South;(2) the Hausa lan­guage, though widely used, is not indige­nous to many of the tribes; (3) each of the tribes in­hab­its and lives in its own tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory un­der its own tra­di­tional sys­tem of rule, sep­a­rate from the oth­ers;

(4) though the tribes in the “True North” (what­ever that means), are ad­her­ents of the Moslem re­li­gion, with a small ad­mix­ture of Chris­tians, the Moslem re­li­gion is not the com­mon tra­di­tional re­li­gion of the en­tire North, since many of the tribes in the North Cen­tral Re­gion ad­here to an­imism as their tra­di­tional re­li­gion, with some now con­vert­ing to the Chris­tian faith; (5) there is no com­mon tra­di­tional her­itage, cul­tural or other­wise, bind­ing to­gether the var­i­ous eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties in­hab­it­ing the dif­fer­ent ter­ri­to­rial ar­eas com­prised in the North, such as to set them apart from those in the South; and(6) North­ern Nigeria is not one solid, un­bro­ken land­mass shar­ing phys­i­cal or ge­o­graph­i­cal fea­tures.”

It is ar­gu­ments such as Nwabueze’s, couched in deca­dent pseudo-in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism that seem to rep­re­sent the think­ing of “en­light­ened” Nige­ri­ans out­side North­ern Nigeria, and even those pseudo-in­tel­lec­tu­als liv­ing within the same geopo­lit­i­cal area called North­ern Nigeria.

These ar­gu­ments are patently hol­low, in­con­ti­nent, in­ap­pro­pri­ate, de­ceit­ful, and with­out merit, be­cause the same con­di­tions pre­scribed by Nwabueze do not hold in the other two re­gions—East­ern Nigeria and Western Nigeria—and yet, he, af­ter ad­vo­cat­ing for the dis­man­tling of North­ern Nige­rian unity, ag­gres­sively turns around to call for South­ern Nige­rian unity!

This has ex­posed the true in­ten­tions of the tremen­dous ef­forts be­ing made to dis­unite the peo­ples of the North. Can a dis­cern­ing true lead­er­ship from the North arise and see the true rea­sons why the cur­rent dis­pen­sa­tion is en­cour­ag­ing all forces work­ing tire­lessly to weaken the con­cept of a uni­fied North­ern Nigeria? Is it not the fear of the tremen­dous clout a united North­ern Nigeria will wield in the life of this ter­ri­bly mis­man­aged Nigeria that is mo­ti­vat­ing in­ter­ested par­ties to fan the em­bers of dis­unity and spon­sor­ing vi­o­lence across the whole ter­ri­tory of North­ern Nigeria?

The Tiv and Fu­lani of North­ern Nigeria, hav­ing lived to­gether for over 200 years as broth­ers, friends, and play­mates, are now sold a dummy, that they are “en­e­mies” and must slaugh­ter each other to de­fend against force­ful con­ver­sion to the re­li­gion of the for­eign en­emy, the Fu­lani, we have ex­isted un­der one ad­min­is­tra­tion for over 100 years! Do we have a lead­er­ship that can rise to this ex­is­ten­tial threat to us North­ern Nige­ri­ans, as the late Sar­dauna would have arisen as he did in 1953, 1954, 1956, and 1957/1958?

So, should we stray from Sir Ah­madu Bello’s guid­ing vi­sion of a united North­ern Nigeria as suc­cinctly put by my friend Prof. Nwabueze, quot­ing Sheikh Gumi “. . . the Sar­dauna had “pledged and ded­i­cated him­self to work un­tir­ingly for the progress and hap­pi­ness of the North”, thereby cre­at­ing in the dif­fer­ent peo­ples of the North and in­cul­cat­ing in them the bind­ing sense of sol­i­dar­ity and unity of the North as one en­tity with one des­tiny”? The an­swer ought to be AB­SO­LUTELY NOT! We must con­tin­u­ously work to ful­fil this vi­sion of bal­anced de­vel­op­ment of our people, which has been com­pletely ne­glected for over 15 years!

With the de­ba­cle of Boko Haram now comes the “trumped-up” con­flict be­tween Tiv farm­ers and Fu­lani herds­men. As if to lend cre­dence to Nwabueze’s the­ory of a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the en­ti­ties that com­prise North­ern Nigeria, the Fu­lani are said to be in­vad­ing and oc­cu­py­ing Tiv ter­ri­tory in a quest to Is­lamize

Michal Kwiatkowski beat world cham­pion and team­mate Tony Martin as he se­cured vic­tory in the pro­logue of the Tour de Ro­mandie in Switzer­land.

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider con­tin­ued in his fine form by oust­ing Martin, who fin­ished in a dis­ap­point­ing fifth.

The Ger­man world cham­pion fin­ished five sec­onds adrift of Pol­ish star Kwiatkowski, com­ing in GarminSharp’s Ro­han Den­nis, Gi­ant-Shi­mano’s Mar­cel Kit­tel and Trek Fac­tory Rac­ing’s Gi­a­como Niz­zolo.

MICHAL Kwiatkowski

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