October 18, 2021

Nigerians: Geographically Connected, Politically Divided

4 min read

By Bala Ibrahim

Whoever is in the business of listening to the news about happenings in Nigeria is concretely familiar with bad news. It’s either the story of kidnappings, insurgency, carnage caused by calls for cessation, or cries from those clamouring for good governance. The country’s landscape is painted in the picture of frustration, as citizen’s dreams are put on hold, like the life of those whose future is disappointedly doomed.

Because of the complaint that corruption pervades the daily lives of the people, the road to a strong democracy at all levels of government, is seen to be signposted with the graffiti of conflicts. Tussles, triggered by political competition and communal, ethnic, religious or resource allocation rivalries continue to pose major threats to the unity of the country, and the sustainability of democracy. But all these vigorous struggles or scuffles are typically in order to obtain something only. Like late Fela would say, “Na shakara”, which here, I would call, political shakara.

Nigerians are geographically connected, even if they are politically divided.

I read the beautiful, thoughtful and insightful article of Musbahu El-Yakub this morning, captioned, THE NORTHERNER IS LESS NIGERIAN! And I want to advise Musbahu not to lose sleep over these shenanigans. They are nothing but political Shakara.

The article goes, “Everyone has the right to be ‘sectional’. Not the Northern Nigerian!

Eastern Nigerians killed Ahmadu Bello.
Killed Tafawa Balewa.
Killed Zakari Maimalari.
Killed Yakubu Pam.
Killed Abogo Largema.
It was a revolution, nothing sectional!

Northern Nigerians killed Aguiyi-Ironsi.
It is sectional!

Jonathan sacks Sanusi.
Replaces him with Emefiele.
Jonathan replaces Dambazau with Ihejirika.
It is in the day’s job, nothing sectional!

Buhari renews Emefiele’s tenure.
It is fine!
Buhari replaces Minimah with Buratai.
It is sectional!

Buhari replaces Jibrin with Ibas.
It is OK!
Buhari fills where Attahiru was with Yahaya.
It is sectional!

Jonathan refuses to honour rotation agreement.
He has the Constitutional right!
The North must ‘handover in 2023’.
It is in the spirit of rotation!

Remove federal character principles in public appointments.
Employ based on competence.
But rotate the presidency!

If these guys are not confused, dumb, dishonest and shameless at the same time, I don’t know what else they are!”

I want Musbahu to know that, none amongst the political players is confused, dumb or shameless. The closest to it all is, perhaps being dishonest to the fact that as a country, we are geographically connected, even if politically divided.

Two days ago, a friend sent video clips of prominent South West politicians, including Asiwaju, chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaba of Borgu and the ruling APC national leader, trooping to the terminal of the airport, under the cover of the night, to receive Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the defeated presidential candidate of the PDP in the last election. The friend attached a query to the clips, asking, “could this be true?”.

I didn’t bother to respond, because I know even if the clips were doctored, there is the possibility of such practicability. Forget about all the hullabaloo, regarding their political differences and disagreements, in politics, parleys is always on standby. This is because; Nigerians are geographically connected, even if they are politically divided.

They know each other well enough and long enough, either through their businesses, sociocultural settings, or some silent but salient connections. Because each knows the worthiness of the other, separation is only in the minds of the gullible, that permit themselves to be bamboozled.

When Sunday Igboho started his crusade, calling for the establishment of the Oduduwa Republic, citing marginalisation, pseudo-federalism and some flaws in the 1999 Constitution of the country, I know as a political thug, he is only being used by some people, to do Fela’s “shakara”. It’s nothing but a ploy, cunningly planed to trigger negotiations to the political advantage of the South West.

The growing unrest in the South East, that is culminating in the persistent attacks on security formations, including the country home of the Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, is another of such ploys. This time around by IPOB, whose leader Nnamdi Kanu, is known to enjoy the night support of the Ibos, but day’s disapproval of the same people. The South East is not sincere about cessation. They simply want power to come to them in 2023, but are doing it deceitfully and wrongly through violence, with today’s killing of Hon. Ahmed Gulak, destined to compound the problem.

Since last week, when Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, responded to the resolve of banning open grazing by the southern governors, saying it is equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the north, the situation in the south has been unbalanced. The south cannot afford to ban the movement of cattle, because they know the opportunity cost would be equivalent to prohibiting the trading of spare parts in the north.

Yes, Nigerians may be politically divided, but they are necessarily geographically connected.

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