By Dele Sobowale
“The North has become a region of endless funerals and perpetual bereavement. Bandits in the North have become a state. They impose fines and taxes, send notices, control spaces, determine life and death and operate without challenge” – Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna State, March 2020.
I wish that historical Lord Lugard and the King or Queen of England who granted him the powers to rule and ruin our lives are alive today to behold the explosions being set off by the time bomb they planted in this part of Africa in 1914. History does not tell us its alternatives. In other words, we don’t know what would have happened if amalgamation had not occurred. But, we are now beginning to see the beginning of the end of the “geographical expression” (apologies to the late Chief Awolowo) they formed and named Nigeria by the satraps’ concubine.
More than a century after, the feudal, mostly Islamic North, backward, slow to adapt to changes, mostly lacking in any interest in universal education and bereft of vision, remains relatively just that. Just about any major calamity impeding progress and tending towards the destruction of the disaster waiting to happen is now located squarely in the North whose elite have, for too long lived, under the illusion that the region could increasingly breed millions of almajiris side-by-side with the selfish tiny political and feudal minority without dire consequences.
Well, the “judgment days” are here. The almajiris, hitherto docile and gratefully accepting the crumbs from the elite’s tables, have literally turned the tables against their masters – including Sani – who, now dumped from the buffet table, discovered wisdom which previously escaped him and his friends and associates for years.
This article could easily have been titled, LESSONS FROM A SUPER-TERRORIST, and it would still have been apt. In my library is a little known book titled, HITLER’S SECRET BOOK, and written by the late German monster himself. One thing I have learnt from my adventures into history is the fact that when the major topic on the national agenda is war, then go and read what war-mongers think about it.
What is wrecking Nigeria, especially the North, and will continue for years to come, is TERRORISM. So, the first port of call is a super-terrorist – Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945. It will amaze our leaders and readers to know how much of what had developed in the North since the rise of Boko Haram in 2009 could have been predicted by reading Hitler’s book.
The FG in particular might also pick up some ideas about what to expect next. Finally, they just might discover how to combat it – for the sake of our country Nigeria. I wish them luck; although it is doubtful that those in charge of our fate now can ever learn anything useful. People who have lost the appetite for reading have almost always lost the appetite for learning, for thinking deeply and for finding novel solutions to serious problems. The brain, like any organ, rots – if not actively used – as is the case within Abuja’s top government circles.
Buhari, as the Commander-In-Condolence Delivery, C-I-CD, is contented to just send condolence messages to the bereaved without an accompanying message of hope that terror will abate. There is no discernible plan. He is an example of what David Halberstam, in his best-selling book, titled, THE BRIGHTEST AND THE BEST, called “the best general for another war.” General Buhari (retd), clearly tired, is leading this war effort so badly, it is pathetic. He is actually now part of the problem and it is increasingly difficult to see him as part of the solution. That is bad news for all of us.
“An increase in the population which finally no longer stands any relation to the productive capacity of its own soil to support life” – Hitler p 22.
That, according to Hitler, follows from prolonged periods when a people or nation or parts of it regard “large families as a blessing rather than a burden.” Only recently, the Federal House of Representatives was treated to a show put up by a buffoon. A member from one of the northern states brought his four wives for exhibition of his prowess. He announced that he already had 19 children and he was just starting because his father had several wives and over 80 children. He did not tell us how many of the 80 siblings are almajiris. That is the sort of lunacy to which the South is yoked – like indentured slaves.
Eventually, as Hitler had warned us, territorial expansion becomes imperative for those who have exhausted the limits of their capacity to provide for themselves within their own domains. I will come to it later. But, the rapid and violent expansion of herdsmen communities, all over Nigeria, in the last four years and nine months, is more deliberate than most of us realise and it is being encouraged at the topmost level of government. The body language says it all but what is being said to southerners and Middle Belt people can only be understood by a few. The C-I-C is alive and well in Abuja. But, first let us trace the history of how we got here and how goddamned Lugard and the British got us here.
POPULATION WAS THE CAUSE OF OUR DESTINY
Preparatory to their departure, our evil-minded colonial masters had a strategy for making the contraption they glued together to form Nigeria eventually unworkable – an accident waiting to happen. First, they conducted a bogus census. Whereas everybody in the far better educated South, Christian or Muslim, had to be sighted to be counted, the same was not true of the North. Women and young girls in harems were counted sight unseen. My eldest brother, who was born in Zaria, was one of the enumerators. The Megida of each primitive shanty stood in front of the place and issued a figure – so many wives and kids.
The figures were accepted as the truth. The problem was, the young people in the communities knew how many of their age groups were in each shanty. My brother, who spoke Hausa fluently, knew that the figures he was forced to record were grossly exaggerated because the District Heads and Serikis had conducted a campaign misleading the people that money would be distributed per head. So, the more people in the shanty the more money could be expected. The North was declared to have a larger population than the South. That made Nigeria unique in the history of the world – a country in which the arid zone had more people than the luxuriant and well-watered South. It was a deliberate ploy. England was just getting ready to play its biggest jokers.
Armed with a bogus census, political constituencies were created and the North was given the majority. The country was handed to the region with less than five per cent literacy compared to already close to 50 per cent in the South. Leaving the country in the hands of the least competent people to manage its affairs after independence was a master-stroke of wickedness. But, they were not finished with us just yet. While southerners were encouraged to attend schools, northerners were urged to go into the Army with the ominous words “who controls the army controls the nation”. That was a campaign which the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Premier of Northern Region, carried to all the schools – primary and secondary – in the North. Meanwhile, Awolowo and Azikiwe enrolled us in schools. The Army was actually intended to safeguard northern elite interests and not to protect the nation against external aggression because none of our closest neighbours – Cameroun, Benin Republic, Chad, Niger, Sao Tome, etc – was strong enough to attack us. The first coup of 1966, which was quickly crushed, came as a surprise. It was a temporary setback for the British.
Thereafter, political and religious leaders in the core North – North-East and North-West – went about encouraging their people to breed like bed bugs – the more the better. Incidentally, most of the Middle Belt was left out of the race to over-populate the earth – mainly because of the higher percentage of Christians in the old Benue/Plateau zone. When the oil bonanza started in 1973 and federalism had given way to unitary government under General Gowon, population became the primary basis for sharing crude oil revenue. The lion’s share went North; the left-over came to the Niger Delta. It never ceases to amaze me when Niger Delta people welcome Gowon as they do. Making a hero out of somebody who enslaved the people is the clearest sign that the black man is indeed mentally retarded. The man took 50 per cent derivation from them and gave only one and a half per cent in the worst case of barefaced robbery in history and yet they still clap for him? Gowon established the template for the economic enslavement of the South – which exists till today. If I am an Ijaw or Ibibio, or Ilaje, Gowon would never be my hero. Never! He started the injustice which is still the basis for federally-allocated revenue till today.
It might shock our readers to know that Gowon did not act alone. The Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Finance during the Gowon administration and the author of the atrocious edicts which resulted in the economic rape of the South was none other than our own dear late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Papa helped to enslave us despite his known position on true federalism. We might never know why Awolowo did it. But, we cannot deny his complicity in the financial crimes against the South. He and Gowon took our 50% and gave back to us as derivation a mere 1.5% as federating units. Lagos now generates about 60 per cent of Value Added Tax, VAT, revenue. It gets back less than four per cent!!
But, without realising it, Gowon also set the events which will destroy the North eventually. He encouraged population explosion and idleness. He probably never knew about Ghandhi’s warning regarding the things that would destroy a nation. One of them was “wealth without work”. Thousands of the northern elite today are extremely wealthy without working.
So, the British had taught and the North had learnt a lesson about the positive use of population as a means of retaining control. What the perfidious English deliberately failed to do was to point to the negative repercussions of uncontrolled population growth. And, the northern elite have still not learnt them on their own. Religious and traditional leaders combined to promote unlimited population growth when a casual glance, followed by some use of intelligence, could have told them that the land mass is limited and could not support unlimited number of people. That alone should have thrown up the caution sign. It never did. Judgement days are here.
When the oil bonanza started in 1973 and Gowon seized what justly belonged to the Niger Delta and sent it to his people in the North, he inadvertently got started the acquisition of “wealth without work”. All you needed, and still need, was the right political connections and/or appointments and you can stop working. The elite embraced it whole-heartedly. Obviously, nobody had enough sense to know that in the long run, the only “free food” is found on mouse-traps. Now that the Age of Oil is coming to an end, the North is in a worsening poverty trap from which it will not soon escape. Population has now become the biggest trap because all the other calamities revolve around it. The elite have become the targets of the almajiris they created for almost 50 years…..
To be continued