Nigeria came into being as a result of the British amalgamation of Northern and Southern colonial territories in 1914. The amalgamation was an act of colonial convenience for obvious reasons. The Brits wanted one country stretching from the desert to the Atlantic Coast. Northern Nigeria couldn’t pay its way while southern Nigeria generated more than enough revenue for its administrative expenses.
The amalgamation laid the historical bitterness, rivalry, and enmity between the two regions. The two regions are quite the opposite of one another. The North is largely Muslim. It was the center of the erstwhile Islamic Empire called the Sokoto Caliphate. The Muslim North look up to the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world for affinity, solidarity and sociopolitical model. The South is largely Christian and highly influenced by the sociopolitical pattern of the West and traditional African societies. This was the beginning of a precarious foundation of our federalism.
The foundations of a true federalism are based on the concerns for the unity and integrity of a culturally diverse nation like ours. Our historical experience is a sharp contrast to the important foundations of federalism. Ours is a disruptive and disintegrative sectarian forces coupled with political rancor and instability prevailing since independence.
The lopsided power sharing arrangement between the federal government and the states fuels precipitation and intensification of ethnic conflicts. The politics of ethnicity has remarkably retarded our national development and has remained the sole engine that drives our modern history. The unjust monopoly of power and resources by the central government has galvanized the federating states to advocate for restructuring of the federal system. The Northerners have never favored restructuring because the status quo guarantees them a perpetual hold on power and resources at the center.
The latest northern antagonist of restructuring is Tanko Yakassai. In a recent interview with the Vanguard in Kano, Yakasai said the restructuring of Nigeria is a Yoruba agenda. He said the current agitation to restructure Nigeria was an age old ploy by the Yoruba speaking group of the south west to enable her to have a shot at power. He said the desire was driven by envy and hatred for the northern geopolitical zone. “From Action group to UPN, to NADECO to PRONACO,” says Yakasai, “the agitation for restructuring is concentrated among the south west people of southern Nigeria.”
“The whole aggression originated from Action group, and the intention was to deny the North the benefit of the population and land mass,” continues Yakasai. “It is therefore a gang up to deprive the north the benefits it’s getting for being richly endowed.” “This agitation is not driven by patriotism, rather it’s driven by hate and envy and this campaign started with some politicians in the south west way back in 1959,” says Yakasai.
Why are Yakasai and his northern emirates afraid of restructuring? Who is jealous of who and for what? Who wants the mass arid desert? Who is envious of the northern backwardness? Which benefits of richly endowed north is Yakasai talking about? Show us or name the riches. How come the “richly endowed” north still remains the least developed and civilized part of the country? To be sure, Yakasai must be indulged in a prolonged trance of day dreaming.
Of the 56 years of independence, the northerners have been in political and economic control of the central government for 38 years. They have always found it compelling to capture the central government. Indeed, they believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy that they were born to rule Nigeria forever. The arrogation and arrogance to be in perpetual control of the central government has further marginalized other federating units in the union.
In all the years they have been in power at the center, the northerners have used diverse strategies and tactics to maintain and perpetuate the grip on power at the federal level. For 38 years they have been responsible for the economic neglect and infrastructural decay of Nigeria. Full of monumental incompetence, they are the unrepentant pirates and predators of our economy. Because of their long hold on power at the center, they, more than any other ethnic group in Nigeria, hindered the process of national development and integration. For all these years, the northerners who headed the central government are icons of corruption. National funds allocated for developments never reached the target groups and purpose.
Agreed all the different ethnicities that have served as Nigeria’s Heads of State or Presidents have performed woefully abysmal. However, the northerners who have been in charge for most of the years are the most generously deficient in democratic leadership. They lack sacrifice, courage, initiative, imagination, wisdom, and vision. The northerners have exhibited more profoundly than any of the groups because they have no idea of what participate leadership, servant leadership, transformation leadership, super-leadership, and value leadership mean.
The statement from Yakasai is not surprising. That the Hausa-Fulani feudalists have consciously sought to monopolize power at the center is not a matter of speculation but of public record. They have consistently opposed progressive ideas that would chip away their hold on the center. The northerners have always fought against everything progressive and prosperous for a true federalism. At the National Conference, they opposed devolution of power (restructure), resource control, derivation principle, revenue sharing formula, state police, and the development and exploitation of mineral resources nationwide. In fact, they want the current 13 per cent derivation to be further reduced.
Yakasai no doubt, spoke the minds of Hausa-Fulani hegemonic oppressors by openly confessing their loathsomeness of the Yoruba race for nothing other than wanting a better Nigeria where peace, progress, and happiness reign. As a matter of fact, we can take his word as coming from President Muhammadu Buhari because Buhari does not favor restructuring. I campaigned and canvassed for Buhari. At that time I believed he was the best choice and the best candidate over the corrupt Jonathan. I believed Buhari was best positioned to reshape Nigeria. But, with the Hausa-Fulani agenda espoused by Yakasai and surreptitiously pursued by Buhari, and Buhari’s averse to restructuring, I consider Yakasai’s declaration as a declaration of war against the Yoruba race.
To Yoruba bastards, prodigals, crumb eaters, back stabbers, traitors, alatenujes, and akindanidanis that are the willing allies and ready tools in the hands of Hausa-Fulani hegemonic oppressors, get your acts together. Stop selling your birthrights for a bowl of amala. Stop playing a second fiddle to Hausa-Fulanis. Stop selling your own people to the feudalists. Now is the time for all Yorubas regardless of party persuasion and religious affiliation to come together and fight the Hausa-Fulani hegemonic oppressors. Our demand is simple: restructure now or we’ll opt out of Nigeria!
No more political alliance with the northerners. This is it. For 2019, the battle lines are drawn. We’ll not be used – never again – by the Hausa-Fulanis. Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola was used by the northerners to set the West on fire and consequently got rid of Chief Obafemi Awolowo by making sure he was sent to prison. Yorubas, consider this: Why should we continue to elect these political parasites into office whose agenda is not the Nigerian agenda? Why should we abdicate leadership of this nation to the narrow-minded, selfish, power hungry feudal imperialists? What are we going to get by allying with northerners to elect another northerner in 2019 that would be different from their past deformed vision and spineless leadership? The Hausa-Fulanis need us more than we need them.
The die is cast and there is no turning back!
You can reach Bayo at firstname.lastname@example.org.