Historically uninformed members of the elite in southern Nigeria, especially those parading intimidating academic and professional titles, seem unaware that some of the most influential muslim members of the Fulani military cum civilian establishment headed by different sultans of Sokoto never abandoned completely the ambition of continuing the nineteenth century jihad of Usman Dan Fodio until the entire country is dominated by Muslims or, in otherwords, until the Koran is dipped into the Atlantic ocean in the south.
The most audacious public expression of that ambition came from Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi State, who in a television interview few months ago revealed the federal government’s plan to make Nigeria a homeland for the Fulani. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, the northern revanchist coup of July 29, 1966, repudiation of the Aburi accord championed by several high-ranking selfish federal civil servants from the southin concert with British and American diplomats, the devastating jihadist civil war against Biafra, succession of military coups that produced northern muslims as heads of state, and annulment of the June 12 presidential election – all this can be better explained and understood as the unfolding of the philosophy of Fulani domination in Nigeria backed by Islam.
As I stated at the very beginning of this series, Nigeria at this moment ison a cliff-hanger of possible disintegration. Therefore, based on the metaphysical principle that any composite entity can disintegrate when the conditions are right, the possibility of”Niger Area”imploding was immanent immediately the colonial amalgam was created by British imperialists notwithstanding the boastful false claim by successive military adventurers and their civilian clones that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable and sacrosanct.
It is also evident from our analysis that at the outset leading politicians from the south in general wanted a viable modern democratic country while their northern counterparts were pulling in the opposite direction of creating an Islamic state governed in accordance with sharia. Again, lop-sidedness in the geopolitical structure created by Britain which is advantageous to the north was a serious obstacle against Nigeria’s evolution into an equitable nation in that it created the opportunity for northern leaders to blackmail the British and the other two southern regions for concessions by threatening secession, which would have been ineffectual had the northern region not been treated by colonial officials as a single political unit ab initio.
That said, southerners must accept that their First Republic politicians committed serious blunder by underestimating the political sagacity of Ahmadu Bello and his acolytes: despite the impressive educational superiority of Azikiwe, Awolowo and others over their northern counterparts, the latter manifested a more realistic understanding of how to use what they have to get what they want politically. Unfortunately, myopic selfishness, lust for power,and malignant quest for primitive accumulation prevented the Sardauna, Tafawa Balewa and others from using political power to improve the wellbeing of the suffering masses in their region.
- On the increasing possibility of Nigeria’s disintegration (1)
- On the increasing possibility of Nigeria’s disintegration (2)
Certainly, no one can deny the multiply plural nature of the country in terms of differences in ethnicity, culture, religion, language, and habits which make nation-building quite demanding and very difficult. And after one hundred and seven years there is no scintilla of doubt that Nigerians have failed to develop a strong and sustainable national consciousness that can override centrifugal forces tending to tear the country apart.
Physical symbols of nationhood such a single geographical location and paraphernalia of national political and economic organisation cannot replace that inner feeling of belongingness to a single country by the citizens which serves as a necessary foundation for genuine nationhood. Put differently, without the psychic or psychological glue connecting a group of people together in the pursuit of shared values and historical destiny, it is impossible to form a nation.
The emotional connection between Nigerians from different ethnic, religious, and socio-cultural backgrounds is extremely tenuous. Thus, Nigeria is a crippled giant according to Prof.Eghosa E. Osaghae, and if care is not taken her limbs might soon be amputated for good. Repeated failure of the northern-dominated federal government to create a conducive environment for the blossoming of strong feelings of togetherness in Nigerians and emotional attachment to a single nation irrespective of ethnicity and religion has reached its apogee in the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, prompting speculations in certain quarters that the dominant faction or segment of the Fulani ruling cabal think that now is the best time to implement the Fulanisation and Islamisation project initiated in the nineteenth-century by Usman Dan Fodio.
Despite denials by a handful of Fulani politicians, evidence is mounting that the sinister programme has been on surreptitiously for decades, but it gathered traction after the Biafran war ended in 1970, aided and abetted by myopic egoistic southerners. That is one of the inescapable conclusions from Prof.Omoc Omoruyi’s eponymous exposé on a traumatic period in Nigerian politics entitled The Tale of June 12: The Betrayal of the Democratic Rights of Nigerians, and Dr.ChinweizuIbekwe’s little pamphlet, Fulani Caliphate Colonialism: The Taproot of the Trouble with Nigeria.Consider, for instance, how northern military heads of state deliberately calibrated and configured the loci of political power to serve northern interests.
In all the military coups after July 29, 1966 the highest decision-making body of each military regime had been dominated by northerners who created all the states and local government areas. Presently, there are 36 states and 774 LGAs: the north has 19 states and 417 LGAs, compared to southern Nigeria’s 17 and 357 respectively. The 109 member Senate comprises 58 northern senators and 51 from the south.
Out of 360 members in the House of Representatives the north has 191 members and the south 169. From the statistics above, one can see easily that the north has numerical advantage over the south in the number of states, local government areas and membership of the National Assembly. That is why on any issue which comes up in the federal legislature with ethno-religious underpinnings northern federal legislators would always brag to their southern colleagues that democracy is a game of numbers, meaning that they have the numerical strength to pass any bill favourable to their region and frustrate any legislation that might favour the south, a situation that played out not too long ago when the National Assembly passed the bill that created the North-East Commission whereas bills granting special status to Lagos and for establishing a special commission for the south-east were rejected.
Although the north is not monolithic in terms of ethnicity, religion and culture, the Fulani domination of that part of Nigeria using Islam as a foil is such that in consequential matters bothering on politics, economy and security, those from what is sometimes called “the political the north” display appreciable herd mentality: in the federal parliament those from there vote en bloc to protect northern interests which, in practical terms, are the bulimic interests of the northern ruling elite and their foot soldiers.
It follows that the obnoxious trend of northern political domination which began rearing its ugly head before independence has continued till the present time. Given the intimate umbilical cord linking political power and distribution of benefits from such power, it is not surprising that in spite of the derivation share of 13% to oil-producing states in the south northern Nigeria as a whole still receives a sizeable percentage of oil revenue to which the region contributes not even a single dollar.
To be concluded…