South does not need the consent of the north to be president of Nigeria — Gani Adams, Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Elder-statesman and frontline Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the Aare Onakankanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, have tackled the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on its plot to retain power beyond 2023.
Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the group, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, had insisted that North has the votes and would not play second fiddle to any other part of Nigeria.
The Arewa group said it had no apologies for rejecting the demands of the Southern Governors Forum that the 2023 presidency be zoned to the South.
Speaking on Arise TV Morning Show, Ahmed, who was responding to the backlash by prominent southerners and groups said no one has the constitutional right to compel any part of the country on how to vote and that if northerners chose to elect a northern president in a free and fair election, people should have to live with it.
“The approach of the southern governors and some organised groups in the south in speaking from both sides of the mouth is wrong. Even as we speak, certain southern governors who are saying we must do this or that are secretly negotiating and jostling for positions for themselves for 2023. They know all the options that are available and are actively involved in this. They know the politicians from the northern part of the country including their colleagues but they come out and create a bipartisan fallacy and start making demands that they know are inconsistent with the democratic process. This should stop because it is not helping. What we are saying is to allow a democratic process to determine who will become our president and we should ensure that we pick someone better than President Buhari,” he said.
Reacting to Chief Edwin Clark who faulted the claim that the population of the north is an advantage, Hakeem said: “For people like Chief Adebanjo and sometimes, Chief Clark to say things like, ‘if you don’t do this, there would be no elections in 2023’, (they) have no control over what happens in 2023. These kind of statements are what cause tension in the country.
“With due respect, there are many elderly people like Chief Clark and Chief Adebanjo who speak in a language which elders should not be speaking. They have no business leading groups. These are people who create more problems for politicians and politicians become hostages of rhetorics that people have.”
However, Adebanjo, in his reaction said: “I agree with him that we are not patriots because we don’t agree to the subjugation of the South to the Fulani in the North. If that is why we are not patriots, we agree. On the issue of power shift, what he said about retaining power in the North is part of the arrogance of their leaders, who want Nigeria to remain one, but on the condition that they have the rulers. It will not work. We had discussed that with his forefathers; so, we are not going to argue that with him again. If that is why we are not patriots, we are not going to agree on that. We knew we wouldn’t need their agreement before we said that we are not going to have presidency in the North in 2023. That is why we are insisting on changing of the constitution, which they gave to us through the military in 1966. And until that one is done, there can be no peace in this country. We are not going to stay in Nigeria where they will be the rider and we will be the horse. I don’t want to go into any argument with him. When did he come into existence? We’ve had these arguments with his forefathers. We don’t need to argue that again.”
In his reaction, Adams said other regions of the country were fully aware of the antic of the North to continue to dominate them and were ready to turn the table around.
The Yoruba generalissimo who spoke at Ibeju, Lagos during the maiden edition of Egbe Festival organized by the Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), lambasted said NEF’s statement only exposed the domineering agenda of the north and was capable of setting the nation on fire.
He held that Nigeria was not property of any region and any attempt by the North to force its domineering agenda on others would be resisted.
This is Igbo youths under the aegis of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL) warned that the South East would produce its own president if that happens.
Ahmed, while speaking at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organized by the students wing of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said anyone who did not want a northerner as president in 2023 can leave the country.
However, in a statement by it president general, Goodluck Ibem, the group described the utterance by the northern statesman as unfortunate and disapointing.
“It was the support of the south that made President Buhari to win his elections in 2015 and 2019. We are very surprised that Hakeem has suddenly forgotten so soon how President Buhari emerged as president. History doesn’t lie, he should go back to history to refresh his memory. We, as the youth leaders of South East geopolitical zone, stand by the decision of the southern governors that the office of the Nigerian president be zoned to the South for equity and justice. Enough said,” Ibem stated.
Mr. Aminu Malle, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, has thanked northern members of the House for protecting and promoting the interest of the North in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act.
The congratulatory message was sent on behalf of Wase by Malle to the northern caucus through their WhatsApp group and leaked to The PUNCH by one of the members.
In the recently passed PIB, northern Nigeria’s quest for oil received a huge boost as Section 9 of the bill states that at least 30 per cent of the profit generated by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited will go to the exploration of oil in ‘frontier basins,’ which are mostly northern states.
However, the demand by oil producing communities in the South for five per cent of the profit of oil firms was cut down to three per cent
For the Electoral Act, northern Reps also kicked against the compulsory electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission, arguing that many northern states have weak Internet penetration.
Experts argue that electronic transmission of results would reduce incidents of rigging.
In the message circulated by Wase’s chief of staff, the northern lawmakers were praised for protecting the interest of the North and showing unity.
The message reads, “On behalf of the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase and the Northern Caucus leader Hon. Musa Sarki Adar, I am directed to write and formally congratulate and appreciate all the northern caucuses for standing firm through their wisdom and strength to ensure the Northern interest in both PIB and Electoral Act is adequately placed in a position of advantage.
“There is no doubt a house united will forever get whatever it wants, giving [sic] the advantage we have in size. May God Almighty continue to unite and bind us stronger. May He bless and reward us all abundantly. Remain blessed and wish you the best holidays and Sallah celebrations. Thank you all.”
The 17 southern governors had, last week, insisted that the electronic transmission of results must stand and had kicked against the allocation of 30 per cent of NNPC’s profits to oil exploration.
Attempts to speak with Malle proved abortive as he neither responded to repeated calls nor a text message on Saturday.
However, the spokesman for the Deputy Speaker, Umar Puma, distanced his principal from the message.
“I have received calls on this letter. It was not written by the Deputy Speaker,” Puma said. (Punch)
In a recent interview with the Edo state Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shuaibu, he revealed that the 17 Southern States are ready to leave the Nigeria Union if their request that the presidency should be zoned to the South is not agreed to by the Northern elites.
He explained that the only thing the North has to offer Nigeria is their unproductive population which they use to intimidate the South, while the resources of the country are domiciled in Southern Nigeria.
“They should go with their population while we go with our resources.”
We will ask our ppl in the armed forces to relocate back home and leave their desert for them.
The Middlebelt peoples can join us if they wish to, they have good agricultural lands that can supply enough food to our new country.
Ask if he was not afraid of being persecuted by the Buhari regime he declared that “no one can arrest me as a sitting deputy Governor, I have immunity. I have been in the struggle for freedom my entire adult life.”
Senator representing Nasarawa West, Abdullahi Adamu, has in an interview with Sunday Sun, warned that no one should complain should the North begin to retaliate the killings and damages suffered by northerners living in the South. Adamu who was a two-term governor of Nasarawa State, and now a senator under the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Northerners living in the South have suffered injustice, while southerners living in the North enjoy the benefits without being attacked.
He however, added that moves by Southern Governors to ban open grazing without providing alternatives, and also doing nothing about the killings of Northerners in the South, could come at a heavy cost, as Southerners living in the North could end up paying the price.
He said while the governors pretend to be against the breaking of the country, their actions speaks otherwise.
“They (Southern governors) are sounding like a broken record. You know what a broken record does? It cracks,” he said while condemning the decision of 17 Southern Governors to ban open grazing.
“I expected them to be more educated people with responsibility of governance. Each of those governors is under an oath for loyalty, for preservation of the sovereignty of this country.
“That means every one of them is duty-bound to stay away from any act or words that have the tendency of being perceived as being separatists.
“I was a governor for eight years. I know what the Governors’ Forum is. I headed it for five years of my right years. Before that, I was chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum. So, the secretariat you see and the bureaucracy I set them up during my time.”
Adamu added, “Before the Asaba Accord, there was a meeting of all the state governors. About 36 of them were there. Less than a week of that meeting, some people came out and claimed Southern Governors Forum. There is nothing wrong with regional bodies.
“But these governors know the constitution and they know that every Nigerian has the right of movement and association. A right to pursue legitimate goals. These governors are saying no cattle or open grazing. What is the alternative? Have they provided any? If Northern governors come together and take a position, what will happen? What right have you to tell Nigerians not to move freely?
“If northern groups say no southern business in the area, how will that end up? There are killings of northerners going on in the South. If the North decides to retaliate, we will call it genocide. What is happening to us? We only know about problems, but not solutions. People are openly calling for a break up of the country.”
The ban was also condemned by the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, who insists that herdsmen have the constitutional right to graze anywhere in the country, and made it clear that the only thing that would stop herdsmen from grazing in any part of the country, is lack of grass. Otherwise, they’ll continue to graze and nothing would happen.
While speaking on ban on open grazing declared by the Southern governors, he said, “We are going to follow the law and see how to approach some good leaders in the South-East, South-West and the South-South. We will also approach the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to protect our people.
“It is not about grazing; it is a plan against Fulani people. Some people want to hijack the cattle business from us. Anywhere you go now, you see Fulani grazing cows and you will think they belong to them. No! The cows belong to some people in that area or community.
“If you go to Benue, the state that first promulgated the anti open grazing law, you can see cows grazing; their owners are Tiv people. Even the governor, Samuel Ortom, has so many cows. They want to chase us away and continue with our business.
“What these Southern governors are trying to do, some other African countries tried it, but it didn’t work. So, this one will not be an exception. You can’t just wake up without plan B, and say you have banned open grazing.
“This business has history; we didn’t just wake up and start cow rearing. It is a blessing from God; it is God that blessed us with this business, it is not like farming or palm wine tapping business. This is from the beginning; the only thing is how to transform the business.
“These governors are confused; they are trying to deny Fulani their rights and means of livelihood. Nigeria has only one constitution, which the governors are breaching. We may approach the court to stop them from carrying out their plans.
“The process by which they arrived at their decision was wrong. They were supposed to have invited us because we are part of their various states. If you are a governor, you are a governor for everybody living in that state. Since we live in all the states doing our business, it behooved them to have invited us to the meeting.
See also Osinbajo reacts to rumours on Buhari’s purported order “I don’t know who is giving them this evil idea. No state can progress without Fulani being in that state; any state without Fulani is backward and poor. Fulani attract blessing. They don’t have problem, but unfortunately, people attribute kidnapping, robbery and banditry to them. It is not fair.
“They have not seen their people killing police and other security personnel. How many police stations have Fulani burnt? How many policemen have Fulani killed? But they want to tamper with the business God has blessed us with. The governors are very wrong.”
When told Southern governors are determined to execute the recent ban, he said, “I say it categorically that this ban on open grazing by the Southern governors will never work. The only thing that can stop us from grazing in any area is if there are no grasses and water in such place. Fulani don’t have borders or boundaries; they don’t need permission to graze their cows from one area to another area.
“There is no law, no constitution prohibiting them from doing so. Fulani are educated and they believe in leadership. They follow the constitution, which permits them internationally to graze anywhere. ECOWAS permits us to graze anywhere, but any person that commits a crime, let the law of the land be visited upon such a person,” he added.
■The group appealed to Nigerians from these areas to boycott the cow meat as part of sacrificial rites given to their brave heroes.
A group called World Igbo Congress has asked Nigerians in the southern region and Middle Belt to participate in sit-at-home memorials to honour Biafra fallen heroes, the late Chief MKO Abiola and the late Major Gideon Orkar.
The group also appealed to Nigerians from these areas to boycott the cow meat on May 30, June 12 and July 27 as part of sacrificial rites given to their brave heroes.
This was disclosed in a statement released by Barrister Austin Okeke to SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu had earlier ordered members and people of the South-East to withdraw from any social, political and economic activities in the country on May 31, as a tribute to their brave fallen heroes.
In the statement, WIC said, “All Biafrans around the world, remember Biafra heroes on Sunday, 30 May, 2021 by 2 pm Biafra Time.
“Please, join us to remember, respect and acknowledge their generous sacrifices.
“Solidarity sit-at-home on May 30 Biafra Genocide Memorial, June 12 MKO Abiola Memorial Day and July 27 Gideon Orkar Memorial Day.
“Southern and Middle Belt indigenous Nigerians, sit-at-home on the above dates and boycott Fulani cow meat,” the statement read.
It also announced that there will be a conference on Sunday, 30 where Third Republic Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, among others are guest speakers.
Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje has said the Northerners remain the owners of Nigeria, describing the Igbos and Yorubas as minority.
Ganduje made the statement during an interactive session with Journalist in the State Capital, Kano on the need to restructure Nigeria.
The Governor however, emphasized on the need for every tribe in Nigeria to calm down and support the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in order for the country to move forward.
He maintained that Northerners are the owners of Nigeria as they occupy over 80 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Igbos and Yorubas are minority.
According to him, “It is a glaring fact that Northerners occupy over 80 percent of Nigeria’s population and that is primarily why other minority tribes like Igbo and Yoruba should respect them for that.
“The insecurity everybody is talking about is everywhere. Before, Nigerians particularly Igbos and Yorubas use to think that insecurity exist only in the North, but today, insecurity in those tribes is on the increase.
“Igbos and Yorubas are busy agitating for freedom, thereby creating their own insecurity with the establishment of IPOB and Oduduwa Republic which are now terrorizing the entire nation.
“My advise to every Nigerian is to support President Muhammadu Buhari in moving this country forward. He has achieved so much for the country and must be commended”.
No region in Southern Nigeria needs One Nigeria to survive. The problem is mental laziness on the part of the people who have been running the country like a conquered territory. Those who understand the principles of agenda-setting theory will see the goals in the face-off between the South West and Fulani North. It was the birth of a new order, where the wings of a bunch of ‘see no evil, say no evil politicians’ were clipped. Agenda setting, keeping a topic on the front page to underscore its importance, in this instance, the herders’ crisis. While the South West and the rest of the South East, South-South and North Central see the herders crisis as a threat to their existence, the Core North see it as a means to an end, and will achieve it with the silence of people like “where are the cows?
There are several theories to the escalation of banditry in the North and herders’ terrorism in the South. The most realistic of these theories is the position that these foreigners were used to boost the voting population in the North, using them to win the 2015 election, and abandoning them. Since they have acquired arms, with a lack of political will to chase them away, those who imported them are determined to put them to good use. This is primarily why each region down south has resorted to self-help. For the first time, regions like South East and South West are relying on non-state actors like the ESN and OPC, and Sunday Igboho for their safety from the menace of herders terrorism. If this is not evidence of a failed state, maybe you should go back and read John Locke’s Second treatise of government.
As the Sunday Igbohos, the Nnamdi Kanus etc agitate for an end to the killings by the herders, the Sheikh Gunmis, the Bala Mohammeds justify the killing by presenting the herders as victims, victims who should be rewarded with lands for their business, and/or amnesty. While Rotimi Akeredolu and Samuel Ortom are shouting over the illegality perpetrated by the herders, the Maitawalles and Yugudas counter by saying “if you want them to stop these illegalities, give them land or amnesty”. The overall silence by Buhari on these issues is a testament to this agenda. He had once sent Femi Adesina to tell us that the only way to avoid being killed is to donate land.
However, the end of herders terrorism is not amnesty. The end is something akin to Niger Delta Development Commission which has been replicated with the North East Development Commission. While the Niger Delta feeds the nation and has suffered decades of environmental degradation and deaths, politicians in the North East fueled Insurgency by widening the Socioeconomic gap, mass-replication of poverty and illiteracy and allowing radical religious ideologies to grow unchecked for decades. Poverty and insecurity are the SI units of underdevelopment. It backfired but they turned around to use the Nigerian state to clean up their mess. If you understand what Sheikh Gunmi implies, by blaming it on injustice, then it will be clearer. It is a case of those who were used and dumped to achieve a goal fighting back but since they are our people, let us give them amnesty, land and constant money.
Buhari’s government is a necessary evil. Necessary in the sense that each region that makes up the contraption called Nigeria has come to see the union as an open-faced lie that it is, and is weighing its options. While the South West, which became the backbone of the Northern dominance over the South for the past 6 years tries to pull back from the alliance, the South East and South-South which have been waiting for South West to get ready to crash the fraud, sit back and watch. South West has managed to corner the economic power of the country while the North keeps the political power through the unverified population claims. While the South West negotiates with economic and media power, the core North negotiates with unverified population political power. The South-South, especially the Ijaw areas negotiates with cutting off the mainstay of the nation’s economy. This implies that if the gas trunk line from Escravos is cut off, half of Lagos and Ogun will be out of power till it is restored, so they’re listened to. But South-South lost so many economic potentials due to years of inter-tribal wars and militancy. Lagos was able to gain what South-South lost by promoting itself as safe and peaceful; again with the power of media. The Ijaw-Itsekiri war forced many multinationals to relocate to Lagos from Warri. Years of militancy further stripped Port Harcourt of its garden city status, removed most of the benefits of oil the region had to the gain of Lagos while it became an ecological wasteland.
However, the South-East has nothing to negotiate with, because it has failed to build a local economy with its huge human capital, natural resources and individual financial war chest. Building an economy entails full industrialisation of the region. The governors have not thought beyond the monthly allocation from the federal government, and their innate quest to fritter away the commonwealth of the people of the region to set up a system that taps from the ingenuity of their people. Setting up this system means that there will be a direction and objectives to be achieved in say, 10,20, 30 years time. This system will build a market that is interconnected and becomes a go-to for entire West Africa. Instead, the economy of the region is scattered in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and only returns to either build filling stations or hotels. But the “hotel and filling stations” economy does not offer sustainability or keep the money in the East as no raw materials and labour are sought. The inability of the leaders to think beyond their stomachs is why Aba has no good internal roads, let alone the ones that connect her to Akwa Ibom to facilitate the movement of goods from Nigeria to Cameroon.
Nigeria is dominantly a gas nation and has the highest proven gas reserve in the whole of Africa with over 202 trillion cubic feet of gas reserve. A greater proportion of Nigeria’s gas reserve is in the south East. None of the Igbo leaders licking the anal hole of Abuja men has thought it wise investing in electricity, using their Abuja connections to add value to the economy of the region except one. Investment in electricity is a good starting point for industrialisation. The totality of Imo, Anambra and Abia are sitting on huge NAG reserves. While Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) supplies 2.2 Million standard cubic feet per day, the Assa North-Ohaji South project which holds more than 4.3 trillion cubic feet of NAG is the largest greenfield gas condensate development projects being undertaken in Nigeria and expected to supply 600 million cubic feet of gas daily. This will translate to 2.4 GW of electricity that can power more than 5 million homes. But the shocker is that it will not be used for electricity in the South East. Imagine 2.2 GW of electricity in Onicha and Nnewi and Emene industrial areas. The first conceptualised domestic gas supply project was the Aba-Owerri-Nnewi-Onitsha Pipeline Project but it was abandoned for the Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano project. There is also no domestic gas project covering the entire Niger Delta, despite the fact that the region supplies to Lagos and Ajaokuta. So what have the leaders in these areas been doing?
Another reason why these gas reserves in the East are not being developed is because of the so-called “competitive market and infrastructure to harness them”. Oil Serve is deep into gas development in Ukwa and Asa and built the supply base for the 188 MW Geometrics gas-powered plant. But Igbo leaders sat down and watched as Bat Nnaji and Emeka Offor’s Interstate electricity battled for nearly 8 years, depriving Aba of the needed power that will restore its industrial potentials. The funny part is that it took Vice President Osibanjo to wade into the dispute to settle it while Ohanaeze drank champagne from house to house. Taunting yourself as holding over 60 per cent of the country’s capital while there is no back up local economy will backfire as it did in the 60s when push comes to shove.
Igbo leaders over the years missed the lecture. Their inability to invest in youths like Zik, MI Okpara and Sam Mbakwe did, by setting up critical infrastructures like electricity and good transport systems pushed the youth to the wall. Their complicity and reliance on Abuja meant that their people no longer take them seriously. Instead of Arthur Eze using police to harass Abba people, he could have teamed up with Seplat and Oil Serve for a gas pipeline to Onicha and Nnewi. They can source $3 billion for the project. With Arthur Eze’s connect in Abuja, nothing will stop it. But what do we get? People who just want us to clap for them for driving Rolls Royce on tattered roads. Now the youths are fighting back, choosing death than to back down. Currently, there is a struggle for the control of the soul of the East, between the youths and the traditional politicians. Instead of using dialogue to settle the disagreement, the politicians rely on the same Abuja which understands nothing but brute force to crush the resistance. However, the consistent militarization of the East has not scared these youths but has emboldened them. From flying flags to now wielding AK 47 assault rifles, the next phase is already known. They have failed to understand that this generation won’t tolerate what their fathers tolerated.
Moving on, Nigeria breaking up, violently, is a matter of when and no longer that of ‘if’. We have all come to the brutal reality that each region needs an armed group that will speak for it in times like these. Even the central government with its clear lack of direction is beginning to prepare grounds for eventual break up of the union, through the appointment of people of Buhari’s ethnic group in juicy positions to steal as much as they could and using the wealth from the south to build an economically irrelevant railway to the Niger Republic. Despite all the noise, they would find out that all they contribute to the union are onions, cabbage, tomatoes and meat.
It is funny that Nigeria has not found a way to connect its economic clusters of Lagos, Aba, Onicha and Port Harcourt with rail but has all of a sudden found a way to connect an economically arid Niger Republic whose GDP is not up to that of Anambra. The significance of this is profound. The North West has more affinity with the Niger Republic, Chad and Mali than the rest of the country. It is why under Buhari, railway, refinery etc will get to Maradi. It is also why governors from the Niger Republic attend political campaigns in places like kano and Katsina. It is why herders are imported from Niger down to Chad and the Central African Republic to cause mayhem all over Nigeria while Abuja turns the other way. It is why Gas is channelled from Obrikom/Obiafu to Kaduna, Kano while Bayelsa has no stable electricity.
Nigeria is the biggest fraud to ever exist and it took the docile South just six years of Buhari to finally see what has been going on for about 60 years .
It was within these 6 years that the people who criminalised Kanu and his IPOB for only flying flags and demanding their own country began actively negotiating with terrorists, resettling them and publicly demanding amnesty for them. When they moved against Igboho, the South West resisted. The core North was handicapped and couldn’t sustain its propaganda in the Sasa incident because the South West plugged off its media power from their mouth. Outdone, they sent Kadiari Ahmed to appeal to journalists not to blow up the country while failing to put the blame squarely at Buhari’s nepotist feet. Nobody threatened to burn down their shops in order to cow them, a common threat issued to our people from the South East.
Will the bandits get the amnesty? I bet you they will. If you doubt it, then you are not paying attention enough. If the politicians whose actions led to the insurgency in North East, found a way to create a North East development commission, banditry is also geared towards a North West development commission which will sap more money from the South to the North while the wait for the D-day continues. Those shouting that the “Unity of Nigeria is not negotiable” are only waiting to steal enough. With the way the union is tearing apart, there will be little to no time to even negotiate.
Those who tell you that South East is landlocked do not see how wide and deep River Niger and Imo River are. The Port of Hamburg which is the 15th busiest port in the world and the busiest in Germany is along the Elbe River which is not as wide as the Imo River or Niger River. Google is your friend. They tell you that these rivers pass through other states to get to the ocean. But if Nigeria breaks up, those rivers will be bound by international water treaties or might be decided through other unconventional means. If you go to St Petersburg in Russia, you notice several motorised bridges that open at night for cargo ships to pass and close in the day for vehicles. While the biggest vessel to ever berth in Nigeria is 10,000 TEU, the Elbe River carries vessels above 24,000 TEUs. If Hamburg is Nigeria, you know how the story will turn out. The government is not thinking. You should also not stop thinking. Those who make peaceful coexistence impossible make violent balkanisation possible. Sadly, they’re in power.
I have a story to tell the North. I hope it receives it in good faith. I love the North. So I have decided to tell the North how his brother the South truly feels. The South loves the north but the South is getting fed up.
The truth may taste bitter but it sets free. I will throw away political correctness and let the North know how the South feels because the North has to sit up and shape up.
The South is getting fed up.
Today, it’s Boko Haram. Tomorrow it’s banditry. Yesterday, it was confounding mass illiteracy. And no mention has been made yet about the abiding mass obesity of the North.
Family resources are being wasted fighting useless fires!
The truth is, the South increasingly sees the North like a slothful temperamental brother that has stubbornly refused to go to school and has begun to keep the company of bad gangs.
So the North isn’t just a laid back family black sheep, it’s now the sort of black sheep that is bringing in wolves and troubles to impoverish and imperil the family.
And nothing rankles the South more than the fact that the North seems utterly oblivious of its predicaments and their toll on fortunes and future of the family. If the North understood the magnitude of its problems, its leaders will weep every day.
The South wants his brother the North to take out time and do some sober reflection in a pan Arewa village meeting. Their emirs, their generals, their billionaires, their Islamic clerics. So that the North can ask himself soul-searching questions about how he came to such a sorry pass.
Because nothing irritates the South more than the fact that the South sees the North, every day, chasing political shadows instead of chasing its children to school, instead of taking care of its ever-increasing number of young pregnant women.
The South is amused when he watches the North occupy himself, chasing population numbers, disfiguring meritocracy with the quota system and resisting power devolution instead of taking practical steps to save his children from poverty and illiteracy.
Yes, this is how the South feels. I know the North has things to tell the South too. It’s normal. But this is how the South feels.
The South is not an angel and the South is not without its own conspicuous sins. But the South can’t understand why a brother beset with so many crippling self-inflicted wounds could yet be so aloof, so arrogant, so enamoured of frivolity.
This is the North in the eyes of the South today: The picture of a backward brother in a poor family. The picture of a fat family liability.
I promised to tell the whole truth.
There is a feeling of disgust that seizes a brother when his own brother’s prodigal shortcomings and recklessness threatens to plunge the entire family into turmoil and shame. It solidifies into repugnance when rather than face his problems, perhaps, that brother takes more interest in claiming ‘firstsonship’ and talking about how his brother has lost respect for him. And rebuking sympathizers harshly, with reminders about groundnut pyramids and how he was once the prosperous one.
The truth is, the South has logged in its own eyes. The South might even suffer from bigotry. But it is indisputable that his brother’s slothfulness poses a more immediate calamity to the family.
The South wants the North to sit up and zip up. Yes, zip-up and stop breeding the way our great grandfathers ignorantly did when there was little else to do than marry and have children. The extended family lacks the resources to feed one hundred million children. And neighbours mock when our scrawny children go plate in hand begging for food.
The South wants the North to note how Fareed Zakaria painted Nigeria in glorious lights a couple of days ago. Nigeria has more percentage of PhD holders in America than China and the UK. Nigeria has a higher percentage of Bachelor’s degree holders in America than every other country. The CNN presenter told the world that Nigeria was rich in quality human resources.
That data is Nigeria’s but it is plainly the South’s. Because last year Zamfara with all its puritanism couldn’t get more than 20 students to write the National Common entrance Exams. It is indeed, an abomination. But have you seen any northern leader weep over this? Or call for a Jihad to fight educational backwardness and social injustice in the north?
So the South wants the North to produce only the children the North can feed and send them to good schools. The South doesn’t and can’t feel safe when his brother’s children rather than become doctors and lawyers are ending up in droves as angry street urchins.
The South doesn’t know how to say it, but he is fed up with the North dragging the family numbers down.
The South wants the North to see Boko Haram and banditry as wolves that can devour the entire family. The South wants the North to hold a village meeting and find a spiritual solution to the wolves. The South knows that his brother has a temper. But he is yet to see that temper unleashed on Boko Haram and banditry. He would like to see one Yerima or one Shinkafi stand up and issue a fatwa against Shekau and the insurgents. And follow it up by mobilizing 2 million volunteers into Borno. Because in actual sense the insurgents have blasphemed God and done incalculable damage to Islam.
The South knows the North loves Sharia. It doesn’t mind. But it wants the north to open the windows of its mind and excommunicate religious intolerance.
I’ve come to tell the North how the South feels. I didn’t come to mince words. The North must discard his pride and face his perilous reality. His farmlands are lying waste because of banditry while his children roam the streets with chronic malnutrition and preventable diseases.
Northern leaders can’t be frolicking in Abuja and Kaduna plotting 2023!
The South knows that it also has some rogues as leaders but it wants the North to stop scratching and smiling, and start treating, in earnest, the craw-craw of having about the worst set of leaders in a badly governed Africa.
An Elderstateman and Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, has explained that his grouse about the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is his insistence on the secession of the South-East region in the country.
Adebanjo said that breaking away is never a challenge confronting the country but the constitution.
The Afenifere leader said this during the Never Again Conference 2021 themed: 51 Years After The Nigerian-Biafran Civil War organised by the Nzuko Umunna of the Igbo Think Thank, held via the zoom on Thursday afternoon.
He noted that the constitution currently in use is not a representative of everyone in the country, adding that it gives so much power to the North and this speaks to why they want to be in power for a very long time.
“I am in war with Nnamdi Kanu because I don’t want this country to break.
“Instead of thinking of break-up, we should tackle the root cause of the problem.
“The root cause of the problem is our constitution which is not a true reflection of the yearnings of all the people in the country.
“Now that the North is in control, they want to continue to be there because they are enjoying from the lopsided and fraudulent constitution.
“The Constitution has made our President the most powerful president in the world,” He said.
Meanwhile, the Elderstateman said that there would not have been agitation for secession if the constitution had reflected an aggregated opinion of all and sundry in the country.
“If there is a constitution that is a true reflection of everyone in the country, there will be no agitation.
“There will be no ground for Nnamdi Kanu to want to get away,” he said.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised Fulani herdsmen to return to the northern region if their security could no more be guaranteed in their host communities.
The group also told northern governors to get themselves prepared to receive the Fulanis being ejected from southern states.
NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement yesterday, said the relocation advice became necessary following alleged attack on Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the south.
The statement reads in part: “NEF is deeply worried by reports of ejections, under threats and attacks, of Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the south.
The forum has been receiving these reports since the night of Sunday, January 31, and has taken the responsible step by drawing the attention of authorities to the dangers, which these attacks represent for all Nigerians.
“We have also advised law-abiding Fulani communities to seek protection where it is available, and have appealed to other Fulani to resist temptation to take the law into their own hands.
“It is necessary to warn people who threaten law-abiding Fulani communities in all parts of Nigeria, but particularly in some parts of the South, to desist.
Majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.
“The Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only on the basis of being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations.
States that seek to limit criminal activities are perfectly entitled to do so, but they must follow due process, and avoid exposing innocent citizens to danger at all cost.
The forum demands that the Nigeria Police must live up to its constitutional responsibility to detect crimes and arrest and prosecute criminals, whoever they are.”