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Jos crisis a conflict of ideologies

March 22, 2010

Introduction: Brief background: I was in Jos from 7th to 9th March 2010 to attend the Peace-Building Conference on “Peace in Jos: Arresting the cycle of violence” on March 8th, 2010, I asked a number of some highly placed persons while there, what those who promote the recurring violence in Jos (indeed in the North) hope to achieve and their answer was that it is the same question they themselves have been asking. 

Introduction: Brief background: I was in Jos from 7th to 9th March 2010 to attend the Peace-Building Conference on “Peace in Jos: Arresting the cycle of violence” on March 8th, 2010, I asked a number of some highly placed persons while there, what those who promote the recurring violence in Jos (indeed in the North) hope to achieve and their answer was that it is the same question they themselves have been asking. 
In other words they have no answer to the question.  Before suggesting the reasons why violence and general insecurity in the country are promoted, I need to state briefly, my background and connection with Jos that I regard as my second home.  I was taken to Jos in 1941 as a 4 year old child. I lived there till 1953 and had to return to my region of origin then the Western Region in 1953 to begin my secondary education.  I later joined the Nigeria Police Force as cadet sub-inspector in 1959 and had the privilege of being trained in Nigeria, England and Scotland after which I became a Superior Police Officer in 1962. I resigned in 1970 to practise law. I became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1986 – 24 years ago.  My police career and legal practice took me round Nigeria, and I see myself as a true Nigerian because I am fluent in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Urhobo and Benin - my mother and father tongues.  I visit Jos regularly as my family home is at Vanderpuye Road.  My practice also enabled me to appear before various commissions of inquiry on religion, student disturbances in the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to election tribunals.  It is with the above back ground that I will proceed to answer the question “what do those who promote violence and insecurity in the country want?”
Conference Peace in Jos: Arresting the cycle of violence
At the conference proper, we had General Gowon as the Chairman who in his speech was at his best on the topic of peace.  He said that because all efforts for peace failed in 1967, he had to use force to bring back Ndigbo.  A minute silence was also observed for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the mayhem.  Professor Elaigwu was able to exhibit his “theological” bent to match his physical stature that gave him the nickname “Pope”.  He asked participants to hold hands and renounce violence.  President Shagari recalled when J.S. Tarka joined the NPN with a cow as a form of payment for all the cows belonging to the Fulani which the Muchi (Tiv) people have eaten without payment. He called for co-operation between the present ruler of Plateau and the core North.  His majesty Jacob B Gyang, Gbong Gwon Jos exhibited the lamentation of a natural ruler who saw danger coming and passed a message to the security agencies only to be let down by those charged with the responsibility of the security of his domain.  Archbishop Kaigama, the chairman of CAN Plateau State said that those who perpetrate these heinous crimes are trying to give religion a bad name because the mayhem of March 7th has very little to do with religion.  Perhaps the most practical aspect of the conference was the participation of Inter-Faith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, Rev James M. Wuye and Imam Muhammed N. Ashafa and two other persons, Rtd Bishop Achigili and Alhaji Makarfi the brother of the then Kaduna State Governor on how Kaduna was able to overcome ethno religious conflicts in Kaduna State notwithstanding in my view the fact that Kaduna today remains a divided city but free from sectarian violence.  The definition of peace not being the absence of conflict but the presence of justice was highlighted by many speakers. There was an attempt by some youths outside the Hill Station Hotel the venue of the Conference to protest, which the organizers said had nothing to do with them.  The Governor Da David Jang in his speech which constituted the summary of events in the state and at the conference alleged that those who committed the massacre of March 7th 2010 came from outside the State and made it very clear that although he is the Chief Security Officer of Plateau State, he has no control whatsoever over any of the security apparatus in his State.  The conference was very well organized with about 700 participants from various walks of life in Plateau State and Nigeria.  Nobody unfortunately was able to tell us what those perpetrating these conflicts in Plateau State and in Nigeria as a whole hope to gain. In fact nobody asked the question.  I am convinced that unless the Nigerian problem is solved, the Plateau State or any other State problem cannot be solved, which make the question “what do those who promote violence and insecurity in the country want?”
Willink’s Report
It will be recalled that in 1958, the British Government set up a Commission of inquiry with Sir Henry Willink Q.C as Chairman to enquire into the “Fears of Minorities and the Means of Allaying them”.  The minorities included ethnic and religious minorities of the country.  At that time Christians were in the minority in the North.  The report said there were 11,333,000 Muslims, 4,279,000 Animist and 547,000 Christians in the North.
The Commission listed the fears of minorities and they included, the Northern system, traditional rulers, social fears and grievances, fear of political influence, fear regarding foreign policy, fears of religious intolerance, fears of Muslim laws and concluded that although some of these fears were genuine, the Commission did not recommend the creation of states but made far reaching recommendations including the distribution of power in “such a way that it may be to the interest of the party in power to pay due attention to the interest of others”.  The Commission therefore recommended liberal democracy - which promotes freedom and fair treatment of all.  The Commission was of the firm view that liberal democracy would take care of these fears. It also accepted the assurances from the Regional Governments that the future of Nigeria would be rooted in liberal democracy, which to my mind encouraged that Commission to recommend the inclusion of Human Rights in the Constitution of 1960, the first country to do so in the history of a constitutional development.  The Niger Delta Development Board was recommended “to foster the well-being, cultural advancement and economic and social development of the Minority Area and to bring to the notice of the Regional Government any discrimina¬tion against the Area”.  This was because as the Commission said it was a matter which required a special effort and the co-operation of the Federal, Eastern and Western Governments and not the concern of one Region only, as the area involved two regions, and because it was indeed poor, backward and neglected, the whole of Nigeria was concerned.  This recommendation resulted in section 14 of the 1960 Constitution.
Fulani-Hausa as an Ideology
One of the most important analysis of Willinks Commission is the identification and meaning of the phrase Fulani-Hausa which we now refer to as Hausa/Fulani as an ideology. He wrote,
“many witnesses have referred to their fears of Fulani-Hausa domination, and though the meaning of this phrase was not always expressed in terms, or even consciously analyzed by those who used it, it clearly implies a system of rule and of society of which an important ingredient is the operation of Muslim Law. Some witnesses have specifically referred to this system of law as an object of fear.” 
The coup of January 15, 1966 and the counter coup of July of the same year hardened the divide between North and South and for a number of years, Northern elites saw themselves as Northerners first before Nigerians because in my view “carrot and stick” resided with the North even though the “carrot” is a product of Niger Delta. In the agonizing choice of loyalty to the country or region, the Hausa/Fulani would rather choose the region even though regions were abolished in 1967 when twelve states were created by General Yakubu Gowon. With the overthrow of General Gowon a Northern Christian in 1975, two ideological systems were deliberately established and promoted by successive military regimes as contained in various military decrees and “no go areas” at Constituent Assemblies and Conferences.  The two ideologies can be classified as (a) Liberal democracy and (b) a system of rule of society of which an important ingredient is the operation of Muslim law, the former visible and inclusive the latter partly written but mainly invisible and exclusive.  This latter system is operated by those popularly referred to, in my view, as the “cabal” with the aid of the “mukhabarat”.
Invisible Institutions
Between 1975 and 1999 – 24 years, institutions were set up to battle evil conspirators against Nigeria. Unfortunately some of these institutions got entangled in the conflict of ideologies.  The most prominent of such institution is the office of the National Security Adviser “the Commander in Chief of Security and Intelligence of Nigeria”, which to some of us is the engine room for the promotion and entrenchment of the ideology of Invisibility and Exclusion.  Since the post was created, one cannot recall any Christian or Southerner who had occupied the post.  The NSA cannot claim ignorance of intimidation and extortion by security operatives on our highways, fake soldiers operating with genuine soldiers or policemen operating with thugs in the promotion of the ideology of Exclusion and how some famous Nigerians met their death or what the cabal stands for.  In any case, domestic security is like charity that must begin from home to town, local government, state and then to national level.  Unfortunately the Nigerian police for ideological reasons have been centralized to protect an ideological view point and has become an “armored division” for ideological reasons rather than an organization for the protection of lives and properties, prevention and detention of crimes.  We do not need military operation for peace time civil police duties.
Revenge Killings in Jos of March 7, 2010
The killings in Jos on March 7, 2010 which we are told was a revenge for one that occurred in January is the rehash of 1966 coups, this time in a smaller scale in Plateau State, and against fellow Northerners, which shows that the desire to introduce “rule and society under Muslim law” is very much alive because they now have adherents in political parties, various arms of government, various religious groups, non-government organizations that promote, enforce and profess politics of Exclusion.  Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is being made a victim of politics of Exclusion by being excluded from participating in the election of 2011 notwithstanding the fact that the North ruled Nigeria for 39 years while the Niger Delta where Goodluck Jonathan comes from is the region that has sustained Nigeria for 60 years and is yet to produce a Head of State or President.  To exclude him, he is now regarded as a Southerner which does not exist and not a Niger Deltan which exists. Ideology of Exclusion in practice. 
Ideological Competition since 1975
While the competition between the two ideologies persists, the one for exclusion seems to have prevailed because it has the finance, man power and authority.  Apart form carrot and stick, it has agents (mukhabarat) an Arabic word meaning “intelligence service employing a large network of informers” to destroy or weaken the effect of its rival inclusion ideology which is in my view, responsible for the difficulties in conducting accurate census, compilation of reliable voters registers free, fair and credible elections etc which are instruments of liberal democracy of Inclusion.  This competition is also responsible for promoting violence and insecurity such as planting of bombs during Abacha’s regime, assassinations after which innocent Nigerians are arrested and protecting criminals who have been implicated in heinous crimes against the people if they are judged to have aided the Exclusion ideology.  One has no doubt that it is the same competition that is responsible for insecurity, robberies and kidnapping in Nigeria today including ethno religious riots. To have two conflicting ideologies in one country is a recipe for conflicts and man made disasters.   
The above outlines constitute my understanding of the Nigerian problem and also answer the question “why must it be the Hausa who want to dominate Jos, why not the Yorubas or Ibos”.  The conflict of ideologies makes it possible to have a visible Niger Delta, an invisible North, visible section 145, invisible National Assembly resolutions, a visible Jonathan and an invisible Yar’Adua.  I am convinced that as long as the above facts become common place and are clear to the average Nigerians, Christians and Muslims, most Nigerians will opt for liberal Democracy that is open, visible and inclusive and the “cabal” and mukhabarat will be weakened.  Are our rulers, senators, representatives, governors, chairmen and councilors, religious, economic leaders, judges etc liberal democrats, “mukhabarat” or part of the cabal?  I leave that to the Nigerian people to judge but one thing that is very clear is that we can have either a liberal democratic country or an Islamic country but cannot have both.  Nigeria politics must be strengthened so that we can have one ideology and one united Nigeria.  I believe that this will happen in my life time, God willing even though I am 72, as Nigerians have woken up from their slumber and now condemn evil.  The most pleasing aspect is that Nigerians are far ahead of the political establishment in Abuja and unless the establishment decides to catch up, they will be left prostrate. We now march and demonstrate, men and women, young and old, Muslims and Christians.  That is why we have the “encouraging” development of Onovo vs Lame, Jang vs. Maina; a divided Federal Executive Council in a divided Nigeria signs that light is gradually overtaking darkness.  That is why I am a member of Change Nigeria (CN) and Save Nigeria Group (SNG).

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