Jos On My Mind

I wrote this piece originally on Friday March 2, 2010 as a note on my Facebook page after the Jos mayhem. We have had a relatively minor but still disturbing eruption in Jos since those days of rage and tragedy.  
10 years ago, I wrote views about Nigeria which were subsequently published in the now defunct The Comet, a national daily set up to compete with the venerable The Guardian. This was during the germination era of Nigeria's current democracy, when hope filled the air after 16 unbroken years of military dictatorship. I concluded at the time that Nigeria lacked a civil society properly so-called. My meaning of "civil society" drew from the classical definition of Socratic times where civil society was synonymous with the good society wherein the citizens dedicated themselves to the collective good and civic virtues of moderation, wisdom, justice and equity held sway.

If you buy into the Ashanti saying "the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of her people", then it logically follows that whatever flows into or out of a nation-space begins in the homes of that nation's people. And this includes the much-reviled politicians of whatever political grouping, coloration, ideology, half-baked ideology or absolute lack thereof whose primitive rapacity and myopia has denuded the polity of the hope brought forth by the appearance of electoral self-determination just 11 short years ago.

Samuel Johnson coined the phrase "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Although it is not definitively known in respect of whom that statement was directed, evidence suggests that Johnson had Edmund Burke very much in mind.

On Burke, Johnson is known to have said: "Sir, I do not say that he is not honest; but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest." And on another occasion, Johnson said of him, "In private life he is a very honest gentleman; but I will not allow him to be so in public life. People may be honest, though they are doing wrong; that is between their Maker and them. But we, who are suffering by their pernicious conduct, are to destroy them. We are sure that Burke acts from interest. We know what his genuine principles were. They who allow their passions to confound the distinctions between right and wrong, are criminal. They may be convinced; but they have not come honestly by their conviction."

Sound like some living politicians you know, right?

Jos burns. Innocent lives lost. Nigeria's tragedy: the blooming promise of youth truncated by fire and by iron under cover of darkness. The flowering promise of youth, deformed emotionally by primordial hatred, murders. The promise of youth, convicted and sentenced on genuine confessions or confessions procured on the point of death, will rot in prison. Or be snuffed out at the gallows. The hate festers. The cycle continues. And in the capitals, in their gilded suites, in the softly-carpeted comforts of their corridors, the air-conditioned confines of their sanctums, far removed from the alien, back-breaking labor of the hoi-polloi inured to the African sun, the politicians of the ruling party and the politicians of the opposition parties issue sterile pleas, directives and declarations.

IT IS BETTER TO MAKE THE WRONG DECISION THAN NOT TO MAKE ANY DECISION AT ALL -- Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former military dictator, 1985-1993; circa 1990.

At the height of Babangida's popularity in 1985, Naiwu Osahon warned the polity "IBB is a crook". He was shouted down by a fawning populace. Babangida himself opened a slight window into his personality during that time when, speaking about his war college sojourn in India, he said the Indians explained that his middle name "Badamasi" meant "crook" in Hindu. The rest, we know! So you ask me, where does Babandiga fit in the Jos scenario?

I quote you this:
http://www.againstbabangida.com/home/459-commission-blames-the-jos-crisi...

START QUOTE:
The Commission that probed the riots that has turned the Jos area to one of the most volatile spots in Nigeria has identified former dictator, Ibrahm Babangida, as the reason why peace relocated from Plateau State. It says Babangida's creation of municipalities was not done with the people in mind.

The Justice Bola Ajibola Commission of Enquiry on sectarian strife in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State faulted the creation of the local government area by Babangida, observing that the local government election of November 27, 2008 in Plateau State was not the cause of the crisis, but only gave impetus to the Hausa/Fulani community to perpetrate mayhem since they felt that they were about to lose their primary source of economic and political dominance.

In an Executive Summary obtained by The Punch in Jos, the panel said that the local council, which was created through the States (Creation and Transition Provision Decree No 2 of 1991), was not done in consultation with the people.

The panel recommended the splitting of the area into three sustainable local government administrative areas.

The commission observed that when the indigenous people rejected the creation of the local government, the then Gen Ibrahim Babangida administration did not do anything about it until the regime left office.

The commission said that the 2008 election was just an excuse by the Hausa/Fulani population to cause trouble.
END QUOTE

The conditions which enabled and precipitated bouts of rioting in Jos over the past decade of civilian rule were the conditions created by Babangida's "better the wrong decision than none at all" in 1991, because of which thousands of innocent lives have been destroyed with the real possibility of more in the future. Amid these facts, the task which confronts these politicians is as simple to define as the mug of rooibos tea before me is pleasing to drink: undo Babangida's damage. Without this, more will die after an uneasy peace.

But do these politicians have the clarity of vision and genuine patriotism to do what is right by their people? Time will tell.

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It is Religious, Ethnic and Constitutional

I really think the writer has pointed out a strong and vital point on elements of the crisis and the unfortunate events in Jos. But to say he is sentimental or far from the truth is being unequivocally mischievous. The creation of Jos North local government was a sure strategy to politically empower the so called Hausa/Fulani settlers in Jos ( If ever there is such a word), you are either Fulani or Hausa.I mean where else if not on the Plateau you will have such arrogance of a people that are evidently from other parts of the country. Ethnic: Land is a primary resource in today's living, and the Beroms, Anaguta and Afizare people who are owners of the areas and what people described today as Jos, did settle in long before and have never imbibed the cultural practices of these settlers, but allowed them to "SETTLE" non the less.NOTE: They are different in many ways. Religious: There is an extremist tendency of some mischief makers in Jos and around the middle belt, who use religion to seek closer ties to the far North, need I remind you of religious carpet crossing two decades ago, in the military for juicy posting, it was all Islamic. And as long as these misfits continue on these agenda, they shall forever be met with resistance. NOTE: Why are the indigenous Muslim of the Plateau (Wase, Kanam,etc) live peaceful with their brothers in the hinterland of Plateau State? Constitutional: The constitution of our dear nation is silent of Who is an Indigen and Who is a Citizen, and until this unwritten part of our living code, is adequately addressed,from Modakeke/Ife, Urobo/Iteskiri to Jos. We will have some level of conflict.

Jim Joe for your information

Jim Joe for your information there was never a time when any person discover bomb in the area you mentioned, but recently a bomb was placed by the so call Berom in the house of innocent person one Alhaji Shubu who is trying to renovate his house. All the evils that are taking place were plan by Berom. As a christian I don't believed that the jos crisis has anything to do with religiou but a plan to destroy the economic activities of jos. Morjority of the people that loss their properties and Life were Ibo, yoruba, Afizare, Hausa/Fulani and so no. What God plan 4 you nobody can denie it for you.We should get away with the agender of Berom and look for a way to reconcile ourselves.

The writer is quoting the Ajibola Commission's report which is a one-sided job since the Hausa-Fulani did not participate in the Commissions hearings. Its conclusions cannot be credible. The intolerance of the "natives" of Plateau is the cause of the crisis. The entire state government is (rightly) controlled by the natives as well as the leadership of all local governments. The Hausa-Fulani only wanted to head ONE local government (Jos North, where they have a sizeable population for 100 years) but the "natives" are calling it Hausa-Fulani domination! @Merry Chukwu: if the GOC of JOS is an extremist Muslim, how come he crushed the Boko Haram people in Maiduguri(much to your delight)?

Gov Jang should be commended. The GOC has compromised security in that State that is why the state has not witnessed any peace. The Bomb that cut the person hand that was found in the victm's room at Aguarogo(back of UNIJOS). How did it come there.

What I will surggest to Gov Jang and his people is that they should prepare to attack and defend themselves and not to rely on the Army Task force there. Becos in as much as Danbazau (Boko/Matasine) remains the Army Chief there will be no peace in Jos becos the GOC is also matasine. Danbazau said he will not see the soldiers leave fine hence he refused paying thier annual funiture and transport allwances since two years. The new salary wage approved by the FG, he even reduce private to army warrant officer. How can a cleaner and police receive more than a private soldier, shame on danbaza.

Mr Merry Chukwu
Apapa Lagos
Nigeria

Mai Suya, For your information Generals Bali, Useni and Shagaya are not indigenes of Jos North LGA and they never consulted the Anagutas, Afizeres and Beroms before their AFRC went ahead to create the LGA along the present boundaries. Their Chairman, IBB, along with these gentlemen and others, all did us a great disservice which is now boiling and will never end until corrected.

LET'S ASSUME THE CREATION OF THE LOCAL GOVT WAS THE PROBLEM, COULD SUPPORT OF VIOLENCE BY THE GOVERNOR AND TRADITIONAL LEADERS BE THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM? WHAT I MEAN HERE IS THAT WHEN THE FIRST VIOLENCE ERRUPTED , MOST OF THE VICTIMS WERE HAUSA/FULANIS, BUT WHEN THE GOVERNOR/TRADITIONAL LEADERS WERE VISITING VICTIMS ONLY VISITED THEIR PRESUME PEOPLE. I THINK THEY SHOULD BEEN SEEN TO BE NEUTRAL AS LEADERS. THE SOLUTION COULD BE THROUGH INSTITUTING LEGAL PROCEEDING AGAINST THE CREATION OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OR TAKING THE MATTER TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. NOW THAT VIOLENCE HAS BECOME THE ORDER OF THE DAY IT IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFICULT TO SOUGHT OUT THE ISSUE, HOPING THAT ALL PARTIES WOULD SEE REASONS THAT CONTINOUS VIOLENCE WOULD NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEB, BUT HONEST DIALOGUE WITHOUT TAKEN SIDE BY LEADERS CAN EVEN LEAD THE DSSOLUTION OF THE LOCAL GOVT

Imagine a Local Govt. with more than two million people that surppose 2 be two senotorial district or a state but just a Local Govt.God knew the reason of your write up and he will prove you wrong. Stop accusing the innocent person for doing the right thing.

Inasmuch as I agree with the writer on certain issues, the creation of a local govt was not the catalyst that ignited these pogrom. Babangida created the Jos north local govt, with the active consultation of his cabinet, including Gen. Domkat Bali, Husseini (jerry boy), Dogon yaro, Shagaya and even the present governor, an administrator though in the former Gongola state. So, it is hogwash and twisting of histry for the writer to put all the problem at Babangida's doorsteps.

Whether he (IBB), is evil time shall tell. So, stop quoting a www. againstbabangida.com, to cushion your lies!

THIS WRITE UP IS FULL OF SENTIMENT AND MYOPIC IDEOLOGY. GEOGRAPHY IS ENOUGH INDICATOR TO THE FACT THAT THE HAUSA/FULANIS OF JOS ARE BONA FIDE INDIGENTS OF THE STATE AND THEREFORE ENTITLE TO ALL PRIVILEGES ACCORDING TO OUR NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONS. I HAVE A STRONG BELIEVE THAT THE WRITER'S LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF ORIGIN IS NOT UP HALF OF THE POPULATION OF JOS HAUSA/FULANIS ALONE. SENTIMENT ALWAYS EXTINGUISHES THE BRIGHTNESS OF INTELLECT. JOS IS NOT THE ONLY HETEROGENEOUS LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA. LET THE WRITER PREACH THE GOSPEL OF PEACEFUL AND COEXISTENCE RATHER THAN FUELING THE ENMITY BECAUSE NO ANY TRIBE WILL CLEANSE ANOTHER OUT OF EXISTENCE IN ITS DESTINED ENVIRONMENT.