Nigeria Is Not Just Fulani/Hausa, Igbo And Yoruba
Warning: I’ll like to use this opportunity to warn my fellow Nigerians or Biafrans who will come here to comment please try and be civil, make your points without insults, name calling and abuses, if you do you’ll be blocked and you won’t ever get the second chance to write anything on my page. So be warned!!! Let’s go…
In my opinion the whole problem of secession in the Southwest and Southeast is majorly based of the wrong narrative that is deeply rooted in the psyche of an ordinary southern Nigerian. This narrative is capable of destroying our beloved country if we don’t find a way to change this mindset in our people. This narrative is the concept of seeing Nigeria as mainly South versus North, an average southerner thinks up the Niger it’s only Hausa/Fulani and nothing else. This is a faulty belief that is capable of tearing our country apart if not quickly addressed. So an average southerner will make such statements like the north has been ruling Nigeria since independence or a similar one that the north has ruled Nigeria for 40 years out of the 60 years of independence.
Unfortunately, a lack of research and analysis make the general public believe these lies. These are the types of stereotypes that are fueling the secession movements. The agitators either ignorantly or intentionally propagate these narratives, making their followers burn in anger against the imaginary injustice in Nigeria. Our people must get to know through sound education that there are over 200 ethnicities above the Niger River, we don’t just have Hausa or Fulani people in the north. The north is not completely a Muslim enclave as most southerners have been made to believe, so many states in the north of Niger are majority christian states, including the so called capital of the core north Kaduna. When you begin to think about this, it’s easy to understand why our fathers divided the country into six geopolitical zones. I will advocate that we prohibit the use of the word north versus south, but rather stay with the geopolitical zones description. It does better justice to how the country is rather than how people tend to think it is in their imagination.
This takes me to the main subject of this articles, “Reflections on Biafra”. The Biafran people are mainly represented by the Igbos even though some claim Biafra includes the South-South people. As the case may be, the Igbo people are a leading light in our Union. As a matter of fact, Nigeria has changed so much in the past 50 years that each time I visit Nigerian churches both home and abroad, prominent among the songs of worship are Yoruba songs, Igbo songs, apart from English songs. I have even been to Yoruba parties where Igbo songs were being sung and vice versa. In most cases it does not really matter who the pastor of the congregation is, everybody has learned and is still learning by the day, to embrace the culture of other Nigerian tribes. With this Biafra agitation, I cannot but help to reflect on a scenario of the Nigerian state being divided. I cannot imagine a situation whereby the Igbo influence, culture and personalities would be removed or ejected from the Nigerian socio-economic reality. For someone like me who has come to understand and embrace a Nigeria that is beyond his village, it would be extremely heart breaking.
Our integration has been so intense during these years after the civil war that I now have family members who are Igbos. I don’t know how or where to send my sister in-law Amaka, or my cousins and nephews who bear the identity and carry the Igbo blood in them. We are Nigerians, we have one simple identity that makes it easier for all of us to accept each other beyond the tribal lines. We are all Nigerians, this is the way it has been all my lifetime and I believe it is the way it must remain. We all must be proud to be called Nigerians.
It is my personal belief that the people agitating for the Biafra Republic, who are mainly from the Igbo tribe are some of our most talented people. In my opinion, which I believe most Nigerians would agree with, Igbos are the most enterprising people in our nation. Their culture has become our culture no matter which part of the country you come from, thanks to the works of the likes of Chinua Achebe etc.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
Unfortunately, my Igbo brothers and sisters, I must admit not all believe that they are being deprived of their rights in the Nigerian nation. My thought on that is, the truth be told, we have all been deprived in Nigeria. It is not something we are proud of, but it is part of our past and to a large extent our present too. The Nigerian society we grew up in, starting from our independence, has not been a fulfillment of the dream and passion of the majority of us, either you are Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Tiv, Idoma, Angas, Berom, etc. We have all been deprived. We have all been oppressed, we have all been cheated, we have all been let down and we have all been deceived. So who or what has deprived us?
We have all been deprived not by a particular nationality or tribe. We have all been abused and violated by our leaders. These leaders don’t belong to just one nationality, they include Igbo people as well. So let’s take a look at those people who have ruled us from independence to date, to get a better picture of who is to blame for our failure as a nation. A look at the list of Nigerian leaders in the years after independence will show us that Igbos have been prominently present in the governance of Nigeria till now.
The Igbo nation has produced a Nigerian President, and a Vice President. The Igbo nation has produced a Nigerian military Head of State. The Igbo nation has produced more than 5 speakers for the Nigerian senate. The Igbo nation has produced ministers of virtually all existing ministries in Nigeria. This includes key ministries like, Ministry of Finance, Chief of Staff, Foreign Affairs, Education, Health, Communication, Information and Technology, Power, Roads and Works, Petroleum, etc. So who is really to blame for the injustice in the Nigerian society? My answer is, we are all to blame!
A recent research claims that even though Fulanis have ruled Nigeria, or a mixture of Fulani and Hausa, it has been discovered that Hausas have never ruled Nigeria before, even though they are about 20% of Nigeria’s population. A largely believed rumor says that Hausa is the largest tribe in Nigeria, while in actual fact they are second to Yorubas who are the biggest singular monogenic nationality in Nigeria. Fulanis are only about 3%, Yorubas 23% Hausa 21% and Igbos 18%, Ijaw 5%, Tiv 2.2%, Ibibio 2.8% Kanuri 1.4%, and others are minority groups.
Of all these groups, let’s examine which tribes of the 371 have ruled Nigeria before.
Abubakar Tarawa Balewa (Middle Belt Bauchi) 1960-1966 (Bageri tribe from Sefawa dynasty)
Nnamdi Azikiwe 1960-1966 (Igbo).
Major General Aguiyi Ironsi (Abia) Jan-Jul 29 1966 (Igbo)
General Yakubu Gowon (Middle Belt Plateau) 1966-1975 (Angas tribe)
General Murtala Muhammad (Middle Belt Plateau) 1975-Feb.1976 (Berom tribe)
General Olusegun Obasanjo (Ogun) 1976-1979 (Yoruba)
Shehu Shagari (Sokoto) 1979-1983 (Fulani).
General Muhammad Buhari (Katsina) 1983-1985, 2015 till date (Fulani)
General Ibrahim Babangida Badamosi (Middle Belt Niger) 1985-1993 (Gwari/Gbagyi tribe).
Ernest Shonekan (Ogun) 1993-Nov 1993 (Yoruba).
General Sanni Abacha (Borno/Chad) 1993-1998 (Kanuri tribe).
General Abdusalami Abubakar (Middle Belt Niger) 1998-1999 (Gwari/Gbagyi tribe).
Olusegun Obasanjo (Ogun) 1999-2007 (Yoruba).
Musa Yar’adua (Katsina) 2007-2010 (Fulani)
Goodluck Jonathan (Bayelsa) 2010-2014 (Ijaw/Igbo?)
According to these statistics, we can see that there is no need for the kind of speculation and hatred that is being circulated in my part of the country. As a matter of fact, most people in the southern part of Nigeria still believe that the problem of Nigeria is the Hausas. Meanwhile, the statistics above show that no Hausa has ever ruled Nigeria.
The people who complain most about the Hausas are the people I come from, the Yorubas and the Biafrans. Apart from the Fulanis, the Yorubas have ruled Nigeria the most. Yorubas have ruled Nigeria for 12 years, Igbos have ruled Nigeria for 6 and half years, Fulanis have ruled Nigeria for a little above 11 years. Others are from minority groups. But when our society is more reliant on rumors, village talks and tales rather than on facts and research, we end up having a society of prejudice, sentiments, hatred, and purported tribalism.
According to the information above, if anyone is supposed to complain, the complaints should come from the over 500 tribes that have never gotten a chance to rule the country. What I am trying to say ladies and gentlemen is that when we rely more on rumors, gain sayings, folktales, we risk the danger of destroying the beauty and harmony of diversity.
“Celebrate diversity, practice acceptance and may we all choose peaceful options to conflict.” ― Donzella Michele Malone
Apart from this argument, are Hausas the ones ruling in all the 774 local governments in Nigeria? Are your governors from the Hausa or Fulani tribe? Are all you Senators and House of Representative members from the Hausa Fulani tribe as well? Are the Hausas the ones stealing our collective money and allocations given to each state? Are Hausas the ones refusing to build our roads, schools and hospitals even though the Federal Government has awarded the contracts to our own people? Are the Hausas the ones robbing people in Igbo land and grabbing lands? Are they our kings and Obis?
What a huge tragedy it is when people don’t think. It is this absence of logical and analytical thinking that caused the genocide in Rwanda, because the masses only follow what their so called leaders and elites told them. If we are not careful these lies and exaggerations could lead to another war in Nigeria. At the rate at which our gullible people are believing the lies from IPOB and Oduduwa agitators, I’m afraid we are preparing the ground for another Rwanda type of genocide in Nigeria.
While we are busy blaming other tribes for our woes, our so called leaders who are behind these misinformation are laughing to the banks. They are happy that our attention is not focused on them and their misdeeds. With our attention wrongly placed, they can embezzle our funds and treat us as they wish, yet no one calls them to account.
Rather than call our politicians to account, we are busy attacking and blaming the Hausas and Fulanis for our woes. Unfortunately this type of language is what people like Nnamdi Kanu have introduced into our socio political climate, calling people names, abusing them without facts and critical evidence to support their claims.
Our people are busy believing the lies, putting all the blame on Hausas and Fulanis as the source of all their woes. Their own very officials are busy depleting everything but they could not see it, since their attention has been diverted, all they want now is to shame the foreigner. They have forgotten the Yoruba adage that says if death does not emanate from the home, it can’t kill, that is it’s impossible for threats from outside to kill. I’m sure there must be similar adage in Igbo language. Only the threat from home can kill. Igbos and Yorubas need to put their house in order, when they do they’ll clearly see there won’t be any need for secession.