By Douglas Anele
A few shallow-minded readers of this column (mostly from the north) while responding to my essays critical of the divisive northern obsession with political control at the federal level (which is complemented by domination of the military) sometimes accuse me of hating the north.
One or two buharimaniacs amongst them even alleged that I dislike President Muhammadu Buhari so much to the extent of deliberately ignoring the good work he has been doing since his election and re-election in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
From the logical and empirical points of view, claims about someone having a particular attitude or psychological stance towards everyone from a particular ethnic, racial or religious group (or combinations of these) tend to commit the fallacy of converse accident or hasty generalisation because it involves making an illicit inference from a typical cases to typical ones.
To be clear, even if it is true that I dislike President Buhari due to his unimpressive performance as a top public official, it does not follow that I hate all northerners because there is no reason for me to do so. Of course, only useful idiots buzzing around the presidency like flies on decaying flesh, Fulani ethnic jingoists, sycophants and beneficiaries of the ringing mediocrity of this present government use every opportunity to praise the President irrespective of the fact that his administration is probably the worst in Nigerian history.
In fact, despite the hyperbolic “achievements” paraded by the oti mkpus of Buhari particularly in the social media, a consensus is emerging amongst Nigerians that his government is spreading or democratising poverty and insecurity nationwide, such that even some elements from the north who staunchly supported him in 2015 are now lamenting their misjudgement.
But it is too late to weep over a broken clay pot: the damage has been done already although there are a few diehard buharimaniacs who still claim to the consternation of reasonable Nigerians that Buhari has performed well as President. Accordingly, if I criticise President Buhari, as I did all his predecessors, it is because he deserves it.
I am among the countless Nigerians whose income has not only gone down but has also lost much of its purchasing power since 2016, not to talk of those that have either lost loved ones or their means of livelihood due to rising insecurity and square pegs in round holes running the economy right now.
For all Nigerians whose lives have been messed up in one way or another since APC became the ruling party over six years ago the sententious platitudes from Garba Shehu, Ajuri Ngelale, Bashir Ahmed, Joe Igbokwe, Tolu Ogenlesi and others are putrid hot air to cover up for their paymaster’s grave vulnerabilities.
In my opinion, Buhari should have stayed back in Daura instead of allowing vile political jobbers led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lure him back to presidential contestation after he tearfully announced his retirement having lost to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. To shorten a long story: it is stupid to say I hate President Buhari; I do not. But I seriously detest his desperation for political power knowing full well that he just does not have the capacity to govern efficiently a multiply plural and complex country like Nigeria. I am also unhappy with the deteriorating existential conditions of overwhelming majority of Nigerians because of his poor quality leadership.
Going back to the issue of hating the north, it is important to point out that every socially significant collection of human beings comprises individuals who fall between the bi-polarity of angel and beast, so to speak. In other words, northern Nigeria just like the south is made up good and bad human beings, morons and intelligent people, and individuals with attributes in-between.
Aside from genetics, the major differences between northerners and southerners are mainly due to complex socio-cultural variables that over time had led to the internalisation of certain habits in terms of attitudes, behaviour and world outlook or weltanschauung. Generally when I criticise the north the usual target are members of the northern military-civilian establishment, especially those that have played prominent roles in the political evolution of Nigeria, or have held and still hold important public offices but failed to use the opportunity to maximise public good.
As I have argued repeatedly, despite dominating power at the federal level for over three decades northern military dictators and their civilian counterparts from the same region have failed woefully to harness the incredible resources domiciled there to uplift the living conditions of the downtrodden, notably the almajiris and the talakawas.
While the emirs and other big men and thick madams from the north are enjoying sybaritic and lavish lifestyles of bulimic ostentatiousness, the typical ordinary northerner, weighed down by socio-cultural and religious practices which impede individual drive, initiative and self-reliance, is poorer, more undereducated, and intellectually disadvantaged than the average southerner.
To say that most members of the northern ruling elite are a disgrace is an understatement: they are evil parasites who deliberately impoverish their own people using religion and social exclusion strategies to prevent positive social transformation particularly for the youths of that region.
The intellectual and economic enslavement of northern youths is the main reason why northern politicians exploit them as cannon fodder to achieve their selfish political objectives.
In that regard there is an urgent need for a revolution in the mind-set or orientation of northern young men and women to replace the old order that has dehumanised and degraded them for so long and establish a better system that will help them actualise their potentials and prepare them for the challenges of the twenty-first century and beyond.
Only a dyed-in-the-wool optimist living in a cloud cuckoo land would claim that the future of Nigeria is bright. There is growing trepidation, an increasingly palpable sense of unease or foreboding among the people, that the country is lumbering towards a perilous future.
The disjointed irrational policies and activities of the present administration have led to greater divisiveness, mutual suspicion between the north and the south, as well as to profound disillusionment regarding the viability of the Nigerian project.
For example, the desperation by Fulani caliphate colonialists in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to wrest federal power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 which led to the influx of nomadic Fulani from all parts of West Africa and the Sahel has had the unsavoury consequence of compounding and worsening the terrorist threats of Boko Haram.
As murderous herdsmen, bandits, and kidnappers, the nefarious activities of Fulani political foot-soldiers have made the country much more insecure than she was in 2015. Added to this is the presence of terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda-affiliated group called Ansaru and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) which has links with the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS).
Now, because President Buhari and his closest allies are clearly working primarily for the interest of his Fulani ethnic group which benefits most from the present inefficient over-centralised governing structure and are worried that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB), if unchecked, might topple the apple cart with its demand for referendum leading to self-determination, he turned a blind eye to the bigger existential threat to the continued existence of Nigeria as a single geopolitical entity posed by Islamist terrorist groups that have been infiltrating the south masquerading as herdsman and decided to destroy IPoB once and for all. But in doing that he achieved two negative outcomes.
One, his brutal clampdown on largely peaceful, flag-waving, IPoB supporters further alienated millions of Ndigbo who actually began to see him as a hater of the Igbo intent on humiliating and destroying them.