Tunde Aboyade-ColeSunday, November 24, 2002


he above title was taking from the BBC interview with the eminent writer, Professor Chinua Achebe. When the news of the ongoing riot in the North flashed across my screen at my trading post in New York, I had barely read the first line before my colleagues drew my attention to it. Been all too familiar with the pattern, they - in the diplomatic style of Americans - carefully inquired why the killings if the protest was about the pageant. I could hardly offer an answer, but deep down I knew that the beauty pageant was a mere pretext.

The history of the killings of Christians and southerners (both Christians and Muslims) in the North is at least forty (40) years' old, and during this period anything however flimsy or serious had served as a pretext for the Hausa-Fulani to display barbaric instinct and satisfy their bloodlust. Even mere arguments between themselves had often resulted in an orgy of violence and looting directed primarily at southerners. It was a mere argument that led to the beheading of the hapless Ibo chap, Akaluka. Another Ibo chap driving a truck inadvertently climbed over a copy of the Koran while backing up and he was promptly killed.

The Maitsatsine phenomenon was an exclusive Hausa-Fulani matter; yet, southerners - mostly Yoruba and Ibo - bore the brunt of the mindless killing and looting. Recently, in the guise of protesting against American bombing of Afghanistan, Christians and southerners who had nothing to do with America were slaughtered. We can even recall the genocide against the Ibo in particular, and southerners in general after the coup of 1965. These are but few instances of the lunacy often displayed by these people. It is an act that they stage two or three times every year.

Let us look at the current madness. A writer in ThisDay commenting on Muslims' opposition to the beauty pageant had opined that Mohammed would not have opposed it and could even had wished to marry one of them. This comment incensed many Muslims who considered it derogatory of their prophet. This they had every right to and their protest was - even if many did not agree with them - a just exercise of their rights. Now, it would all have been fine had it all ended there, particularly as the newspaper published profuse apologies for several days. But not so for this group, their blood lust must be satisfied. They went on a killing spree slaughtering everyone that did not share their faith or looked different like southerners. (I am happy that Christians in Kaduna have risen in the defense of themselves).

Now, a number of questions arise from the above:

  1. What is the connection between the burnt churches and the butchered Christians and southerners with the beauty pageant?

  2. Has Allah announced to anyone that He is unable to fight for Himself and had, therefore, asked for human assistance? I am married into a Muslim family and I have many Muslim friends too, but none has answered this question in the affirmative!

  3. Is there anywhere in the Koran that enjoins "zealots" to kill innocent people, or burn other people's houses or places of worship for any reason at all? Perhaps the evil politicians and clerics that manipulate their demented followers to commit these horrendous acts can answer this.

Given the fact that ThisDay has so devotedly served the diabolical plan of the Fulani and the Hausa parasitic elites to demonize Obasanjo and deepen the division in the South in their bid to recapture "their birth right", it would have been expected that their reaction to the paper's publication would have been reasonable and within bounds, but that is a misreading of minds preoccupied with evil. The fact is periodic violence against invented enemies is the way that evil men dominate and control the minds of the people they exploit, oppress, use or rule.

And nobody understands this better than the Fulani who constitute the bulk of the northern elites, and who have perpetrated one of the longest and subtlest colonialisms known in human history against the Hausa majority. For Irabor - the publisher of ThisDay - as are Yorubas (Awoniyi et al) and Igbos (Okadigbo et al) who believe that bending to the dictates of the north or serving their interest is the beginning of wisdom, they need to learn from Abiola and Obasanjo that it is the beginning of foolishness. Division in the South disempowers everyone while empowering a parasitic, satanically cunning cabal.

Bello-Barkindo, a northern journalist who often lay pretense to objectivity while abusing the Yoruba and cleverly supporting Igbos in order to create or deepen division in the south had, in a recent piece, supported the actions of Muslims in the north. While giving his blanket support, save for the boycott of ThisDay, he had cleverly left out the horrendous killings that took place. His obvious reason for disagreeing with the boycott of ThisDay (ignore all the other pretensions) was because the north should not lose an "ally" who has served them so well in the last three years "at this time". Bello-Barkindo idolizes Na'aaba who is championing and implementing northern agenda against Obasanjo.

So while Obasanjo "hates the north" and his government is "corrupt" and "incompetent", Na'aaba is exemplary to have led a horde of northern legislators to force the release of Abacha who together with his father has looted the nation to the tune of $4 billion! Or for presiding over a House that is not known for passing any meaningful bill, not even those forwarded to it (there is a huge backlog), but excels in intrigue, abuse of power and raw corruption. His silence about all these is probably the way of the northern patriot.

The dimension introduced into the beauty pageant crisis by an Emir in the north, handing down demands and ultimatums (if I remember well enough) to Obasanjo shows clearly that violence is seen in that part of the country as a veritable political tool.

To conclude this piece, it is clear that something is deeply wrong with the way Nigeria is presently constructed, structured and managed. And it cannot be addressed effectively by other groups creating their own defense mechanism (weather Egbesu, Bakassi, or OPC), or by some group trying to ally with the "powerful north" to "experience" or "taste" power. It is more than what Obasanjo as done or not done (although there is enough on both sides to either praise or denounce him); it is even more than the "Patriotic" call for a one-term presidency. It runs deep; it touches the very soul of the country, the desirability of its existence; its structure, institutions, its concentration or diffusion of power; sharing, control and autonomy.

A human contraption is dissoluble, unless there is justice, fairplay, sharing, equality, equal access and liberty (individual and group). Chief Enahoro's ideas come closest to addressing these issues practically, and adopting them may well be a way forward. Otherwise, a conference of nationalities - if well handled - may provide a framework for saving the nation. I hope to expatiate on this in the near future when I will have enough time to do adequate justice to it.