Nigeria: A victim of its history, culture, by Abdullahi Musa

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“I have little optimism that the present regime will end well”. This is from an article “Whither Nigeria” by one Omatayo Fakinlade. It was published by Premium Times on July 14, 2021.

I am sure readers need no reminder that the regime under reference is that of the elected government of Muhammadu Buhari, with a Yoruba Pastor, Osinbajo as Vice president. I think it is on record that Pa Osinbajo acted as president two or three times while Buhari was on medical vacation.

Right from the commencement of Buhari’s second term, war fronts for the battle to secure Nigeria’s presidency were opened. “Wither  Nigeria” is from one of the many battlefronts.

Many who had the interest to witness the presidential debates by American presidential candidates described the candidates as “tearing down one another”. But the continuity of America as one nation was never on the agenda: no candidate had the audacity to think that his lack of success at the polls could end the existence of America as a nation.

And here is the relevance of history. Even though America started as a British colony, there was a strong presence of Spain in certain states. More importantly, the states preceded the nation, and it was the civil war that cemented the nation. But at the end of the day, it was the English that gained supremacy: making English the lingua Franca of the nation, and the Bible the book for taking the oath of office, implying that Christianity is the religion of the state. (I am not a historian, so errors that might be found in historical facts are regretted.)

Nigeria on the other hand did not enjoy a past like America’s. It had (has?) Kingdoms, Caliphate, Sheikdom (Bornu empire) and the likes. Islaam came to “Nigeria” earlier than Christianity. So Northern Muslims had become accustomed to reading and writing with Arabic alphabets of course. When amalgamation took place, the English language, English political, educational system gained ascendency. Suddenly the hitherto educated Muslim Northerner became an ‘illiterate’.

Of course those kingdoms, Caliphate, Sheikdom were mostly at war with each other, a human failing shared by many others as the examples of European wars attest.

Fakinlede heaped all the problems afflicting Nigeria on Buhari, read him:

“Centrifugal forces have been unleashed via the ineptitude and nepotism of the Buhari government.” (He forgot to add: in which a Yoruba man, who is also a Christian Pastor is number two.)

He also asked….” about the intentions of the Fulani nation that, despite their minority status, have long dominated Nigeria’s politics”.

Fakinlede was not writing for Hausa/Fulani audience (they are the enemy). He was particularly writing for his Yoruba community plus others like “the brave governor Ortom (who) has been shouting from Benue” (against the Fulani domination). Would he support “brave Ortom” for the presidency of Nigeria? Of course not: Ortom is a Northerner, and not Yoruba. The “braveness” of Ortom is appreciated by Fakinlede for his role in splintering the North.

What of him supporting an Igbo presidential candidate like Moghalu who has crammed all the relevant statistics; and in the fairness of sharing presidential power equitably? How preposterous! Afenifere was set up to protect, further the hegemony of Yoruba. Moghalu is the responsibility of Ohanaeze.

So if there is neither fairness nor equity in a power grab, why should Northern (Hausa/Fulani) elites be vilified when they do what Yoruba or Igbos would do when they have the opportunity?

Fakinlede was full of praises for “great peoples such as Indians and the Chinese”. He also poured encomiums on South Koreans.

But is South Korea configured like Nigeria? Is India; China?

In fact, no nation is configured like Nigeria, where toxic tribalism, toxic religiosity define every relationship, discourse.

Is it in Osun state that a Bill is being considered in order to outlaw human sacrifice as part of the rites for the installation of an Oba? What of the killings by cultists on daily basis in the whole of the South?

These cultural deficiencies are being glossed over by so-called intellectuals in the South. Instead of educating their people that you cannot build a great nation using cultism, they hoodwink them by telling them Hausa-Fulanis are the ones retarding them.

Yet….

I am a firm supporter of self-determination for any tribe that wants it. Since Yoruba and Igbos feel they have the right economies to stand on their feet, found their own nations, they should be allowed to have them. Even “brave Ortom” used the herdsmen bogey to win a second term as governor and to escape being held to account by his gullible people.

If Muslim North will gain nothing from the exit of the two most vociferous power-hungry tribes from the South, they will be free from sponsored banditry that is wasting the lives of its ordinary citizens.

Abdullahi Musa, a public affairs commentator, writes from Kano.

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