Posted by News Express | 5 August 2021 | 543 times
When I reflect on Nigerian history and our antecedents as a giant and robust nation, I wondered why the good things we garnished are fading, or we’re throwing away the good things we established with our own hands. It is a sad scenario; very pathetic events that culminated to the ruin of our nation.
Before and independence and the discovery and exploration of crude oil, the Northern Nigeria was the heart of the country; it was the engine of our economy, and the feeding hand of the entire nation. The agricultural prospect in the northern part of the country, which with it the colonies and our indigenous leaders established the country to a powerful and a giant nation in the whole of Africa. Ironically, now, the North is seen as the parasite of the nation because of something the region harboured and laboured is not in their centre; and despite all segregation, the North stays calm for the unity and the development of the country.
Before independence, the heroes and the patriotic Nigerians were united to champion the country to an independent state. Though there was politics and disagreement in some quarters of the nation before independence, but there was peace, unity and stability among the masses before division crept into the minds of others.
There were no do-or-die political affairs in the country and, in the North, there was a very good example of northern polity. In the North, Premier Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, anointed Sir Abubakar Tabawa Balewa to occupy his position as the Prime Minister of Nigeria for the progress of the Northern people. That was the nature of Arewa political interest. As the late Dan Masanin Kano said, “to serve but not to be served.”
The North was a united and indispensable nation that worked towards a goal without difference of purpose. I read, Sardauna considered suitability as the basis of assignment not eligibility and that was how the North flourished and developed (at its own pace).
After the joy of Independence, in just six years, the region plunged into mayhem and anarchy. Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, a Kaduna-born Igbo, who was raised in Northern Nigeria with other four majors (including Northern officers), dethroned and killed notable northern leaders (among others), including Sardauna and Sir Tabawa Balewa in a military coup and the North remained peaceful while it mourned it slain leaders (then struck with the 1966 Pogrom and bloody retaliatory coup in 1967).
Since before the independence of Nigeria there was disagreement and disloyalty to our national integration, because the North was challenged for having two years to prepare for the 1960 independence started (even though the three Regions were created same time); The first coup in Nigeria that overthrew a democratic government of just six years had explained the rift in our pretence.
In 1967, the Nigerian Civil War began and lasted till 1970, to tread the country to a stabilised entity. The civil war, led by General Yakubu Gowon, lasted almost three years (30 months) to bring back the strings of the country's unity, but it led to the death of more than one million (over 2 million) Nigerians with high casualty (and devastation of the Eastern Region).
The North, unlike other regions in Nigeria, produced many heads of state, both army and civilians and like what happened to Sardauna and Balewa, Gen Murtala Ramat Mohammed (assassinated in a coup led by northern officers) and General Sani Abacha (who died in office and was immediately succeeded by another northerner). So, come rain, come sunshine, the country did not boil and the North remained the pacesetter of its people and the country, because of its size and population.
Though the peaceful North was pest with insecurity that begun in 2004, with the advent of Boko Haram (Islamic insurgent) sect, the peaceful and united north was put into chaos and destructive trend. The northerners have never become violent with all those predicament that befell them and neither stumble on anyone, because of their misfortunes.
The incessant banditry and kidnapping are not pointed to anyone but to the criminals, and, however, a criminal has no religion; neither tribe nor identity.
But, nowadays, a cow is an identity of trouble and some tribes in the north are prescribed as nuisance, which all these are abuse to the constitution and the Universal Human Rights Decrees.
The North is tearing, and her people are living with turmoil and fear in any place they go just for their identity (herdsmen) – North.
At this time, the northerners in the south are hiding their identity because of interests. The constitutional right of human freedom is denied and mobility is impeded for egocentricism.
There was ethno-religious cleansing in Osun because a common citizen directed the Fulani-northerner to vacate the state while his own tribe is lavishly enjoying the constitutional freedom of Nigeria in the North. Moreover, more than 12 northerners were killed in Imo State (where Nigerian Air Force Helicopters bombed several villages with heavy casualties) in the quest for Biafran nation while knowing that the indigent and common northerners living in the south cannot give the Igbo a sovereignty of Biafra. But, as many will say, it is an intended provocation to inflame the country for a common purpose. Like the popular proverb, there is no smoke without fire. But, every story has its end.
And, as God has it, there has never been a fuss in any part of the northern country (in recent times) from all the sparks erupting in other parts of the country. The north is facing a lot of challenges and is not ready for any fracas. I believe no retaliation will come from the north. And, as the government is putting all hands on deck, the northern forums and associations are doing their best to contain peace in the country. And just like what Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said, Nigeria is a home of all and security of the northerners everywhere should be protected.
The life of every Nigerian matters while we are more progressive united than divided. It is our collective responsibility to nurture the spirit of our progress, and it is never wise to devise an illegal means for a gain of interest.
The Constitution is at our finger tips, available to all, to check and toe the line of actions. Courts are there to resolve our grievances, and it is never an ideal decision to take the laws into our own hands.
We are intellectuals and elites; and we have rules and regulations governing our affairs and activities; only primitive people decide and act upon their nerves.
Killing and sabotage should not be the remedy to our problems, just for us to laugh last.
In Nigeria, if the north decided to go for northerner-northerner ticket, it can be successful because of the (manipulated) 19 states and the population. This can be possible when the northern presidential contestant won in all the 19 states and a second round of election is done and, at least, one vote is gotten from other states.
But for the nation’s unity, it has never happened but, even though, with the highest population and vast land, the North agreed on rotational presidency for the progress of the country and supported many non-northerners to be presidents of the country (8 northern heads of state to 4 southerners).
I strongly believe Nigeria will eliminate its woes when we see ourselves as one, work for our progress even if we are not part of the system, and respect the rules of our laws, and the authority (including the President) must ensure compliance with these values.
The Constitution of this country is bigger than anyone and only good examples on offenders can breed good leadership for the country.
Surely, if other regions of this country will emulate the North, Nigeria will forever be a progressive and united nation.
•Auwal Ahmed Goronyo, member of Global Peace Ambassadors, India, writes from Kaduna and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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