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We The Stupid Southerners By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

If you are a Southerner reading this, I want you to know that you’re stupid.
If you are a Northern Muslim reading this, I want you to stop. Now!
I want you to stop because I am not feeling that brotherly love now. I will say some things you may not like. And I don’t give a hoot how they will make you feel. I am as mad as hell. I’ve had it up to my neck.

If you are a Southerner reading this, I want you to know that you’re stupid.
If you are a Northern Muslim reading this, I want you to stop. Now!
I want you to stop because I am not feeling that brotherly love now. I will say some things you may not like. And I don’t give a hoot how they will make you feel. I am as mad as hell. I’ve had it up to my neck.

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Nigeria is on a slow motion suicide mission. Sometimes it is horrifying. At other times, it is amusing.

This is not one of those amusing times.

In our eyes, the knife goes round the neck, maneuvers its way until it slices off an ear. At other times, it misses the wrist and slices off a finger. In one motion it goes for the testicles but ends up slicing off a chunk of the anus.

Nobody will admit it. But the wait is on for when Boko Haram will strike Lagos. Southerners who want to stay alive have left Maiduguri and many parts of the North. They have abandoned their sources of livelihood. They have also abandoned their homes. As the fear spreads, the number of internally displaced people increases. But who is counting? When Boko Haram finally strikes Lagos, the bottom will fall off.

It could be tomorrow. It could be the day after tomorrow. But it is coming. When it comes, there won’t be room for any more denials.

Nigerians are good at denying the reality in their face- even after it had slapped them. You hear it when Nigerians discuss the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.

Contrary to what revisionist historians are now claiming, the pogrom of 1966 was neither an isolated incident nor was it just a reaction to the coup of January1966. It was rather an escalation of what had been a continuous and systematic dislike, discrimination and massacre of the Eastern Nigerian people in Northern Nigeria. It happened in Jos in 1945. It happened in Kano in 1953.

In a report put together by a British Administrative officer after the 1953 massacre in Kano, the officer warned, “No amount of provocation, short-term or long-term, can in any way justify their behavior…the seeds of the trouble which broke out in Kano on May 16 (1953) have their counterparts still in the ground. It could happen again, and only a realization and acceptance of the underlying causes can remove the danger of recurrence.”

Of course, there was no realization by the Nigerian government. There was neither a search nor an acceptance of the underlying causes. Thirteen years after, when it reoccurred, it took the lives of millions.

Going through the history of Northern massacres of Southerners, the Maiduguri area had been one of the major centers of these atrocities. They only stepped it up when these seasoned killers transformed themselves into Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram killings have been going on for a while. No amount of provocation can justify the mayhem that has been happening. The underlying causes have been there for a long time. And these causes are very simple- from the very beginning, some people in Northern Nigeria have brandished a different agenda and they have gotten away, over the years, with using violence to exert their will on the rest of the country.

That is what it is all about. Because they have gotten away with it, they have continued to ratchet it up.

So if tomorrow, Boko Haram hits Aso Rock, nobody should pretend that it is a surprise. If they use shoulder-to-surface missiles (many of which are known to have been smuggled into Nigeria) to shoot down a plane, nobody should wonder how. If they hit Lagos and the resulting crisis gets out of control, nobody should forget when it really started or say that what might follow is avoidable. Those interested in avoiding the coming doom, should stop the provocateurs. Now.

There comes a point when the usual plea, “We’re all Nigerians. We have to find the solution together” makes no sense. If you line up the bodies of Southerners who have died in Northern Nigeria since 1945, they will go from Sokoto to Port Harcourt and then up to Maiduguri. The rate the killings have been going in the last ten years, the dead bodies will soon complete the triangle by going from Maiduguri to Sokoto. These Nigerians died for no other reason than their innocent belief that as Nigerians the territory called Nigeria belonged to us all.

Of course, it doesn’t. Because if it does, people in those lands where the blood of Southerners have been wasted for the past 70 years should be the ones providing human shield against elements in their midst who want to use violence to prove that some parts of Nigeria do not belong to us all.

I don’t know where you come from. But where I come from, every family has lost someone in the North. To them, the North is a graveyard of many of their children. To the victims, it is not comforting to say that these disgruntled elements in the North are beginning to kill Northerners too. One too many Southerners have died. And many more are still dying.

It is reprehensive that the citizens of Northern Nigeria have never staged a protest against the killings of Southerners in the North. Not in Jos in 1945. Not in Kano in 1953. Not in Kano in 1980. Not in Maiduguri in 1982. Not in Jimeta in 1984. Not in Gombe in 1985. Not in Kaduna & Kafanchan in 1991. Not in Bauchi, Kastina, & Kano in 1991. Not in Zango-Kataf in 1992. Not in Funtua in 1993. Not in Kano in 1994. Since 1999, no year passes without killings somewhere in Northern Nigeria. Even the January 10, 2001 riot in Maiduguri, which was inspired by Luna eclipse, did not necessitate a protest against such lunacy. But when America bombed Afghanistan on October 15, 2001, the North gathered enough crowds in Kano to protest, carrying the picture of Osama bin Laden. They also used that opportunity to kill more Southerners. That protest did not show how appalled they were of the annual killings.

I know the matter is more complicated than this. I know there are Christians in the North. I know it is not absolutely a matter of North and South. I know it has been said that there is a silent majority in the North that is welcoming and willing to live in peace with others.

But please spare me. Spare me of these excuses. Spare me of these alibis. They mean nothing to Gideon Akaluka killed in December of 1994. They mean nothing to the truck driver, Saint Moritz killed on December 12, 2001. They mean nothing to thousands of dead men who were burnt to death in their houses. They do nothing for the dead women who were hacked to death on the street. The dead children will not come back to life because there are some good people in the North silently observing the killings of their fellow human beings.

If the North wants a Mohammedan world where they will stone women to death for adultery, let them have it. If they want a world where thieves have their hands cut off, let us indulge them. If they want a world where women will not show their bodies in public, let it be for them. If they want a world where there will be no churches, for Christ sake, let’s give it to them. If the North wants a world where the Imam is the head of government, lets help them have it. If they want a world where the Koran is the constitution, by all means, let them own it. If the North wants a world where there are no Christians, let the Christians give way. If they want a world where there is no freedom of thought or freedom of expression, let them enjoy it.
Let us not continue to be stupid, let the North have their world.
The South must stop this ritual of getting angry the first two weeks after every mayhem and start doing something about this madness. There are basically only two choices left for the South - to excise itself from Nigeria or to exert itself in Nigeria.

Until Southerners firmly state that they cannot allow these killings to continue, the North will do nothing to stop it. Until Southerners make it clear that they are out of Nigeria, the so-called silent majority in the North will continue to maintain their observer status while abominations are committed by their brothers.

The Southern intifada must begin now.

One more strike, the wrist of the nation called Nigeria may burst open. One more hit, the neck may fly off its shoulders. One more mayhem, the testicles may fall on the floor.

When that happens, don’t be surprised.

Stupid people!

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