|Remi Oyeyemi's Open Mind|
Monday, March 3, 2003|
A FALLACY AND A FRAUD
"You can deceive some of the people some of the time. But you can not deceive all of the people all the time."
-- Bob Nesta Marley quoting Marcus Garvey
"All frauds, .... always tend to the decay of what they are devised to support"
ow that the elections are around the corner, one considers it of great pertinence to examine one of the major fallacies that has been undermining the healthy growth of democratic aspirations of Nigerians - the Northern population majority. This is pertinent and indeed, highly imperative because of the repeated dubious claim that there are more human beings in the North of Nigeria. This is especially so because of the continue threats by the members of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy and their intellectual sentries that the North was "ready to take back" the political power that they "graciously" gave to the South or Southwest to assuage the pains caused by their atrocious annulment of the Nigerian people's will as expressed in the now legendary June 12 mandate.
This threat was based on the usual age long fraud that the North has more population than the South. This lie has been repeated long enough in the tradition of Joseph Goebbels that some Southerners have begun to parrot the lie. But before some of the uninformed among us begin to quiver as a result of what at best is an empty threat, it is important to put it on the table for the world to see the British inspired apartheid that Nigerians have been forced to endure for over four decades - the rule of the Northern minority over the Southern majority. The last population counting exercise in 1991 produced some filthy figures that elicited deserved condemnations. Alhaji Shehu Musa who was the Bureau's Chairman was forced to defend his integrity at a VERY PRIVATE meeting that he summoned as a result of the wide spread contempt that the figures were held. At the meeting, he begged that his reputation not be destroyed and that he was only doing an assignment that he was given. He confided in the journalists that if his integrity continued to be torn apart as a result of the figures released, then he would have lost the template for his presidential ambition. Obviously, he was not sufficiently politically educated enough to realize that he was not "Northern" enough to aspire to the presidency, but he was naïve enough to allow himself to be used. He implied in an off-the-record comment that the figures were figments of some farcical imaginations rather than a reflection of the Nigerian reality. The figures were cooked. Though the circumstances for that meeting created the possibility of a plausible deniability, should anything be published, but without any doubt, the message was clear, and those receiving the message were not morons. The journalists are still alive. One of them is working at the presidency presently. One of them is now a lecturer in a University in Nigeria. Others are editors in some of the national dailies. Alhaji Musa actually sent his public relations director to Ibadan to invite this writer, albeit unsuccessfully, after the publication in a number of national dailies, a critique in which the figures were shown to fail the test of the universally accepted demographic variables.
To clear a seemingly complex, quagmire-like uncertainty about population distribution in Nigeria, the following two questions could be helpful. Is an arid desert more conducive to human life than the rain forest or the savanna grass land? Is repeated civil unrests engendered by religious fundamentalism an incentive to economic activities? If these questions could be answered candidly and honestly, it would expose the lie that has been used to deceive Nigerians since the late fifties when the British was faced with the reality of having to lose control of the land that flows with "milk and honey." The British, scared of the intellectual militancy and political boisterousness of Southern politicians, conspired to give the seemingly reticent but foxy and calculating Hausa/Fulani leaders the political control of Nigeria. It was the only way to remote control the nation from Birmingham Palace and No 10 Downing Street. The strategy was simple. Democracy was a good tool. And it was despotically used to impose apartheid on Nigerians - the rule of the Northern minority on the Southern majority.
It should be remembered that the first headcount done in Nigeria was in 1952-53. The figure that was produced by that exercise was 31.6 million which most demographers agreed was an undercount because of the attempt to escape the British overlords' taxation. Essentially, the figure was not reckoned with. However, the British, who glamourised "diplomacy" (a euphemism for lies and deceit) as the standard in International Relations, pulled the rug out of the feet of the future stability and progress of Nigeria!
Without any factual basis or demographically acceptable rationality, the British, out of the blues, just ALLOCATED 174 seats to the North shortly before 1959 elections out of the 312 approved by the 1959 Constitution. Their excuse - because of the larger population of the North! This was done without any census whatsoever. How they arrived at this odious conclusion, they never bothered to explain. This was a departure from the result of the 1954 election that gave a total of 83 seats to the South and 79 seats to the North (which also included the Yorubaland of Kwara). Thus by tyrannically allocating 174 of 312 seats to the North, it effectively put political control in the hands of Ahmadu Bello and his stooge, Tafawa Balewa. Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikwe took it not necessarily hook, line, and sinker, but because of their eagerness to attain independence and chase the Brits away.
However, the Southern politicians, still trying to play fair, led the charge to right the wrong. Therefore in 1962 another census took place by "head count." Historical records show that the preliminary results of that exercise gave the South "a clear majority." The Balewa government refused to officially release the figures. A "supplementary count" was "immediately taken in the Northern region that turned up additional 9 million persons" reportedly missed in the first count. How could "supplementary count" be done specially in one part of the country to the exclusion of the other part(s) and expect fairness to be done? That episode signaled the beginning of the practice to use the instruments of the Nigerian state to conjure falsehood and have it disseminated not only in Nigeria but also around the world about the population distribution in Nigeria.
The controversy that trailed that 1962 fraud by Ahmadu Bello and his stooge in Ribadu, gave birth to a repeat exercise in 1963. This one produced a figure of 60.5 million. When it failed again to meet the minimum demographic requirements, it was scaled down to 55.6 million. The crisis generated by the census controversy actually unnerved Tafawa Balewa and his Sultan of Sokoto mentor who therefore went into a secret military defence pact with the British on behalf of Nigeria. That Awolowo led the charge in the Parliament while other patriotic Nigerians spoke out and the students took to the streets to have the pact revoked irked the neo-colonialist agenda of Ahmadu Bello and his cohorts. To succeed with their agenda of neo-colonising Nigeria, they engineered the Western region crisis, diverted the focus of the young nation and imposed a figure of 55.6 million, 29.8 of which was "allotted" to the North. This means that the South had only 25.8!
The issue still remained contentious through the years and rightly so. Then the military wing of the Northern oligarchy felt it could deodorant the deceit and make it acceptable to Nigerians by glamourising another cooked figures for the country. Nothing could show a better evidence of fraud, lies, deceit and forgery on the part of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy than the 1973 figures that was also cancelled eventually. After the usual charade, the Federal Government released a figure of 79.8 million. Out of that the North was once again allotted 51.4 million (over 64%) while the South was gratuitously granted 28.4 million! This figure means that the North population in the throes of a heat radiating arid desert increased in ten years, by almost 70 per cent while the South, in the comfort of the rain forest, increased by about 5 percent in the same period of time!
The lies and the fraud did not stop there. Table 1 below shows the1987 population estimates submitted by the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government to a London - based Economic Intelligence Unit in 1990.
This estimate gives the North of Nigeria 59,200,000 (including the Yorubaland of Kwara) and the South of Nigeria 53,100,000. This in percentile would translate to 52.7 for the North and 47.2 for the South. But the percentile distribution of the ethnic groups in Nigeria does not support this. The ethnic distribution in Nigeria is as follows :
Tiv = 2.5% Ibiobio = 3.0% Kanuri = 4.0% Ijaw = 10.0% Igbo = 18.0% Yoruba = 21.0% Hausa/Fulani = 29.0%
For clarity and understanding, everyone knows that Ibiobio (3.0%), Ijaw (10.0%) Igbo (18.0%) and Yoruba (21.0%) are all in the South. This already gives the South a total percentile of 52 of the Nigerian 100% population. If you add the Hausa Fulani (29%), Kanuri (4%) and Tiv (2,5%) you will have 35.5 percentile. Therefore, if you add 52 (South) and 35.5 (North) you will get 87.5 percent of the total population. This means that the balance of 12.5 percent would still have to be distributed between other minority groups in the North and the South. In the North there would be the Nupe, Mumuye, Etulo, Kataf, Ebira, Yoruba, Igala, among several others. In the South there would be the Urhobo, Bini, Efik, Itsekiri among others.
However, for the purposes of argument, out of the balance of 12.5 percent, let us concede 7.5 of this to the North and give the remaining 5 per cent to the other Southern minority groups. The South would then come to 57 percent of the total Nigerian population. Thus if one may ask, how come that the South which has about 57% of the total population could only come up with the less than 50% of the states (17 out of 19, excluding the Federal Territory) supposedly created based on the population?
A look at Table One would reveal the attempts by the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government to misinform the world about the true situation of population distribution in Nigeria. It was an attempt to reinforce the lies. How can Sokoto State (9,000,000) have more population than Imo State (7,300,000) and Ogun State (3,100,000)? What is the parameter to arriving at such conclusions? What are the determinants for such estimates? Is it economic activity or conducive atmosphere for human habitation? Is it uninterrupted long period of peace or incessant civil unrests?
In the same estimations, Kano (11,500,000) has more population than Oyo State (10,400,000). But the whole world knows that on the African continent Ibadan is the largest single city (unlike Lagos that is an amalgam) after Johannesburg and Cairo. Not only that, the United Nations did a water project in Ibadan in 1990 and came up with 3 million residential units alone. Let us assume that there is only one husband, one wife and one child in each house, this would give us 9 million people. Yet there are other cities like Ogbomosho, Ilesa, Oyo, Oshogbo, Iwo among others to be added to that.
In the then Kano State, that was given this estimate by the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government, after Kano City, Hadeijah is probably the only big town of note. Kazaure is even about the half of Hadeijah. So, where are the people that gave Kano State an edge over Oyo State in that 1987 estimation?
The conspiracy of lies and deceit is not against the South of Nigeria alone. A look at the estimates would show that Benue State, named after the second most important river in the country and that has a reputation as a food basket was allotted only 4.8 million. Have a look at Kwara and Plateau estimates. The estimates are along that of Benue. These are states along the rivers Niger and Benue, the Savanna belt of Nigeria. According to the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government, the states of Kano and Sokoto, far-flung into the abyss of a very arid desert have more human beings than those states situated on arable savanna land and with close proximity to the most important source of human survival - water.
To further establish the fallacy of the lies that has been sold about the Northern population majority, let us examine the Table two below . According to the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government there was no indigene of Ondo, Imo, Niger and Ogun States in any Federal University in Nigeria in 1980/81. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If nothing at all, it shows that all figures relating to demographic distribution in Nigeria that emanated from all the Hausa/Fulani controlled governments since 1960 are cooked. Federal Universities refer to the Great University of Ife, Universities of Ibadan, Lagos, Nsukka, and Ahmadu Bello among others. This writer was in Ife in 1980/81. He was actively involved in student unionism and traveled to quite a number of Universities for NANS activities. To release this kind of statistics to the whole world that there was no indigene of Ondo, Imo, and Ogun in any Federal Nigerian university between 1980 and 1983, as reflecting the true situation in Nigeria is nothing but treason!
Table II : Enrollment in Federal Universities by State, 1980-81 to 1984-85
In 1980/81, Sokoto, according to the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government has 883 enrollees in Federal Universities while Ondo State that has more professors than any state in the Federation, and presumably knows the value of education, has none. In 1984/85 Sokoto has jumped to 3,000 enrollees while Ondo State was still at a miserable 400 number. Yet, this was around the time, when Alhaji Abdulkadir, the Executive Secretary of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) delivered his lamentations in Arewa House in Kaduna on how the North has failed repeatedly to fill its quota in admission to Universities!
The logic of the Hausa/Fulani controlled Nigerian government population distribution is that people would rather live and settle where they could starve than live where they would have access to arable land and by implication, abundant food. That large number of people would rather bet their lives on a fast evaporating oasis, if any, than take advantage of abundance of water. That people would rather stick to an environment of perpetual religious upheaval and civil commotion than a stable and peaceful one. This is against the first law of nature. It is why the logic would crumble no matter how hard the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy tries to prop it.
The only incentive, or if you like, motive for this kind of fraud is the determination to maintain the myth and the fallacy of the Northern population majority. It is the only reason that the Hausa/ Fulani leaders are so afraid of a national Identity Card project. It is the major reason the ANPP presidential candidate, Muhamadu Buhari has been hysterical about it in a recent interview with VOA in which he averred that the ID project was "a means of marginalizing the Northern part of the country."
According to Muhamadu Buhari, the identity card project "will present the North as having a low population since a majority of the rural dwellers that do not understand its importance will not participate in it." But like one Ajayi wrote on the Nigeriaworld message board, "if the so called rural dwellers in the North could be counted for the census, why is it now a problem for them to be given an ID card?" And if one may add, if the so called rural dwellers always understood the importance of voting in elections, why could they not understand the importance of truly being identified to lend integrity to their existence?
Buhari also posited that the project "will depopulate the North" and that it "would deny millions of Northerners in the rural areas of their citizenship." Except the identity card project is a plague, how it would "depopulate the North" is yet unclear. But if what Buhari meant to say is that it would reveal the true population of the North as far being less than that of the South, then so be it. Buhari himself knows this to be true - that the South has more population than the North - because he has been part of the oligarchy that has foisted the falsehood on Nigerians. This explains his action of canceling the project during the twenty - month madness of his tyranny. Confessing to this in the same interview he said inter alia:
"I warned the northern politicians then, who were supposed to protect the interest and integrity of the Northerners, not to accept the national identity card project."
This statement, to discerning observers, is as loaded as is explicit. It confirms the thinking among the rest of us that the fears of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy is that they would be exposed for having deceived Nigerians and the rest of the world for over four decades. It would expose them for being exactly what they are - a bunch of dishonest political leaders (or dealers). It would expose the truth about them that they never wanted power for the progress of Nigeria but only for their own selfish ends. It would expose their tyrannical tendencies dressed in the garb of "democratic majority." It would expose their age long fraud of having used, dumped, dominated, exploited and victimized the minority groups in the North in the service of their parasitic life styles. It would expose and probably validate the suspicion that some of them are not actually Nigerians and that is why they never cared about Nigeria, destroying its institutions, inflicting endless pains on its peoples and undermining the national integrity. Yes, it would expose the fact that since 1960 there has being apartheid in Nigeria - the rule of the Northern minority over the Southern majority.
Therefore, Nigerians should not worry about the empty threats of the so-called Northern "power brokers." They are a very tiny minority and do not have any large population under their influence. To manufacture figures now would be difficult that they are not in control, especially so now, that the Northern minority groups have discovered the trick. Nevertheless, there must still be vigilance because a beheaded snake could still wag its tail, if only for a short period before its final death. The ID card project is a MUST DO. One's fear is that Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, probably would not be courageous enough to follow through with the project. If he does, one is not sure he would do it well. But if he ends up doing this right, it would be the beginning of a new beginning for the Nigerian nation. If at the end, he fails, it would be another strong nail in the coffin being prepared for a dead nation called Nigeria.