“Our history is replete with numerous and uncontrollable instances of callous and insensitive dominatory repressive intrigues by those who think it is their birthright to dominate till eternity the political and economic privileges of this great country to the exclusion of the people of the Middle Belt and the south. They have almost succeeded in subjugating the Middle Belt and making them voiceless and now extending same to the south.”
-Major Gideon Orkar
In the wake of the riots that are greeting the declaration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the elected President of the geographical expression called Nigeria, it has become necessary for us to once again reassess our “nationhood” and the illusion it represents as we all continue to make fruitless efforts to patch things up, act like ostrich and pretend that we are making what Kennedy Emetulu called “Mirage of Progress” in his article of April 17, 2011.
It is very easy to come out here and begin to condemn the acts of our Hausa/Fulani brothers for protesting what they deem as “unfairness,” “cheating,” “rigging,” “electoral fraud” and what have you. It is also very easy to begin to condemn them for the way and manner that they have protested as they have been burning down houses of their perceived “internal enemies” among them which did not leave out some of their traditional rulers. It is also easy for many of us, with our prejudices and biases, to begin to judge and condemn them for wearing their emotions on their hands.
The unacceptability of what is happening in the enclave of our Hausa/Fulani brothers is not in doubt. But one recognizes their rights to complain and protest despite the fact that their leaders are, in many ways than one, and with the help of their installed satellites in every ethnic Nation that comprises Nigerian tragedy, the creators of the present perilous condition for the Nigerian State. We can condemn their mode of reaction, but we can not be upset about them expressing their rights to complain about their situation, no matter what that situation is and or how it came about.
This writer would not gloat that our Hausa/Fulani brothers are now at the receiving end of what they have done to the rest of the country since 1960 when they have rigged everything in their own favor to the disadvantage of the Southerners and the Minorities in the Middlebelt of Nigeria. It would not serve any purpose to gloat, deride and blindly condemn their actions, no matter how unacceptable such actions are.
To adopt the modality of condemnation without the concomitant understanding of their right to be what they seek to be would be an unfair approach in assessing the present conflagration. It would equal intellectual dishonesty. This is because it is like complaining about the unsavory taste of the fruits of a despicable tree rather than seek ways to uproot the tree that has continued to produce these unwanted fruits. It is important that we all tell ourselves some home truth about ourselves and stop, at least for once, to think about our situation.
On April 22, 1990, when Major Gideon Orkar (may God bless his perfect soul) attempted to cleanse Nigeria and put it on the right path, it was the agents of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy through its Caliphate section of the “Nigerian Army” that aborted that effort. Several events before this coup, dating back to 1960 and events since then have shown that Nigeria has never been one, it could never be one and it would never be one. That our Hausa/Fulani brothers are fighting these days in reaction to the election of GEJ, engaging in acts of arson, killing and maiming is evidence that Nigerians do not see things the same way. No matter how this dice is rolled, it boils to the same conclusion.
An examination of the chants by our Hausa/Fulani brothers would attest to the fact that some of the undercurrent reasons for their anger could be traced to religio-cultural differences, among many others. This issue of culture is very pertinent because as argued severally before, it is the basis for the formation of philosophical understanding of the world around us. This is what determines our understanding of politics, economy, religion and social context. The fact that the ethnic Nations in Nigeria are very different in this way(s) is the first fundamental impediment, among many others, to building a nation out of the geographical expression called Nigeria.
The culture of our Hausa/Fulani brothers is an example of what domination is all about. Dominating their environment by all means is part of their characteristics. This is why they do not question their own rulers and do not hold them accountable. This is why poverty has been the lot of the masses of the north and they do not seem to be bothered by it. They think that the ruler could not be questioned and that whatever he does is all well and good. It is this characteristic that they have brought to bear on their relationship with the rest of us in Nigeria. Listen to Major Orkar:
“Our history is replete with numerous and uncontrollable instances of callous and insensitive dominatory repressive intrigues by those who think it is their birthright to dominate till eternity the political and economic privileges of this great country to the exclusion of the people of the Middle Belt and the south.
They have almost succeeded in subjugating the Middle Belt and making them voiceless and now extending same to the south.”
Major Orkar then added the following:
“Another major reason for the change is the need to stop intrigues, domination and internal colonisation of the Nigerian state by the so-called chosen few. This, in our view, has been and is still responsible for 90 percent of the problems of Nigerians. This indeed has been the major clog in our wheel of progress.
This clique has an unabated penchant for domination and unrivalled fostering of mediocrity and outright detest for accountability, all put together have been our undoing as a nation.”
In as much as many of us in other parts of Nigeria understandably detest this our Hausa/Fulani brothers’ perspective to life, it is this writers view that we have no right to determine for our Hausa/Fulani brothers the way and manner to organize and manage their lives. While the rest of us have inalienable rights to resist them and not allow them to impose their own world view or culture on the rest of us, we have no right to deny them what they want, regardless of how despicable it sounds or looks to the rest of us. I believe this is the reason that Major Orkar made the following pronouncements in his broadcast:
“In the light of all the above and in recognition of the negativeness of the aforementioned aristocratic factor, the overall progress of the Nigerian state a temporary decision to excise the following states namely, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi states from the Federal Republic of
Nigeria comes into effect immediately ……………...”
It was my brilliant younger brother, Barrister Ayo Turton, who called the attention of this writer to the fact that these states that were excised from Nigeria by Major Orkar and those that were created out of them subsequently, are actually where General Mohamadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) had his victories in the election. These areas are also where acts of arson, maiming and killing are now going on. These are also the Sharia States of Nigeria.
To rectify identified problems, Major Gideon Orkar suggested the following:
“In the light of all the above and in recognition of the negativeness of the aforementioned aristocratic factor, the overall progress of the Nigerian state a temporary decision to excise the following states namely, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi states from the Federal Republic of Nigeria comes into effect immediately until the following conditions are met.
The conditions to be met to necessitate the re-absorption of the aforementioned states are as following:
(i) To install the rightful heir to the Sultanate, Alhaji Maccido, who is the people’s choice.
(ii) To send a delegation led by the real and recognised Sultan Alhaji Maccido to the federal government to vouch that the feudalistic and aristocratic quest for domination and operation will be a thing of the past and will never be practised in any part of the Nigeria state.
By the same token, all citizens of the five states already mentioned are temporarily suspended from all public and private offices in Middle Belt and southern parts of this country until the mentioned conditions above are met.
They are also required to move back to their various states within one week from today. They will, however, be allowed to return and joint the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the stipulated conditions are met.
In the same vein, all citizens of the Middle Belt and the south are required to come back to their various states pending when the so-called all-in-all Nigerians meet the conditions that will ensure a united Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise.”
The Gideon Orkar wisdom eloquently expressed in the above quotes is very pertinent and very instructive. The message in the above quote is very clear - that we all need to start afresh, at least with every man being in charge of his territory and his destiny.
Evidently, we all do not agree on what kind of country we want Nigeria to be. Nigeria means a lot of different things to different Nigerians and their ethnic nationalities. All of the ethnic nationalities seem to want different things out of Nigeria. They all have different understanding of the world and are all entitled to it. For this and other reasons that have been discussed elsewhere, a viable country would not emerge from Nigeria despite the fact that some of us delusively hunger for this illusion.
This is why one is calling on all and sundry to listen to our hearts and use our heads. We should accept the incontrovertible, unassailable inalienable right of all to SELF DETERMINATION. As Bob Marley sang while quoting Marcus Garvey:
“Everyman’s got the right to decide his own destiny. And in this judgment there is no partiality.”
In essence, there should not be any need for continued bloodletting. There is no need to continue to incubate incessant social atrophy, political anarchy, religious mayhem and economic chaos. There is no need to continue to waste, by our acts of inaction, cowardice and selfishness, innocent lives of our young men, women and children. There is no need to allow ourselves to be pushed to the point where we begin to shoot at ourselves just to liberate our respective nationalities from the Nigerian quagmire.
There is no doubt that there are some who believe in the entity called NIGERIA. This group of latter day nationalists see themselves as “patriotic” and is always quick to call those who call for the BREAK UP of Nigeria as “ethnic bigots” or “tribalists.” It is one’s belief that the calling of names is functionally related to weak and untenable arguments in making the case for the desirability of Nigeria. Given the abundance of evidence of the last fifty years, given the realities of today in our lives and given the hopelessness of Nigeria’s future, insisting on ONE NIGERIA at all costs is an act of wickedness, enslavement and unadulterated sadism.
It is time the latter day nationalists and the protagonists of NIGERIAN UNITY at all costs cease acting as slave drivers. It is time they cease constituting themselves as stumbling blocks to the self determination of the peoples of Nigeria. It is time they cease being anti-democratic and allow the peoples of Nigeria to have a say in determining their destinies.
We can not continue to be afraid of the people. We can not continue to shove down their throats a country which it seems, they do not really want.
But to be clear about this, let us organize internally conducted plebiscite (by which it is meant within the confines of each ethnic nationality) on the Nigerian question. It has to be whether we all want Nigeria or not. If yes, how? If not, thou shall let my people go. And who knows, Nigerians may as well opt to have Nigeria. But at this point it would be the decision of the people whom I guess would also address the recurrent issue of its structural problem that is considered as enslaving by some ethnic nationalities.
We should all see beyond the riots going on in the enclave of our Hausa/Fulani brothers. They have the right to want to leave Nigeria and form a SHARIA country, if the greed about OIL MONEY would not make them vacillate. Those of us from other ethnic nationalities who desire different futures are also entitled to our rights to be in charge of our destinies. It is time to address all this because we can only suffocate the desire of the peoples for so long. If we, the various peoples of the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria do not want it, Nigeria will not survive regardless of how much we want it or patch it up. It is better that we do the right thing on time and endeavor to have it done peacefully – RESTRUCTURE or BREAK UP NIGERIA.