June 15, 2014
You might have read this statement purported to have been made by Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, somewhere on the media:
“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”. Parrot Newspaper, 12th October, 1960, recalled by Tribune, 13th November, 2002.
The statement suddenly emerged for the first time on the internet in 2002.
As can be seen from the statement, it is purported to have come from a defunct ‘The Parrot’ newspaper in 1960 as an ‘accurate’ quote of the late Sardauna.
As usual, NewsRescue decided to fact check this statement. We summarize our findings:
1. We have found no evidence of ‘The Parrot’ newspaper or evidence of such statement being in any paper in 1960. We solicit whoever has a copy of the said ‘The Parrot’ newspaper with said quote, to please make this public.
2. The quote in all its references online is phrased to have been revitalized by the Tribune of November 2002. While we were unable to verify if the Tribune of 13th November 2002 actually did post this quote as coming from a ‘The Parrot,’ we actually did find perhaps the true first source of the quote in 2002, and it was NOT the Tribune. The first internet source of the quote we found was in ‘NigeriaWorld,’ an article written by a seasoned journalist, Remi Oyeyemi. This article published online on 24th October, 2002, predated the Tribune reference.
Remi’s article, captioned, ‘The Northern Agenda,’ first pushed his quote, referencing ‘The Parrot,’ only and not ‘The Tribune.’ Hence, we believe Remi Oyeyemi is the fist person who claimed to have found this quote. We hope he can furnish us with the actual print copy image from the said ‘The Parrot’ newspaper of 1960. We have attempted to contact him for this information and await his response.
3. If indeed this was carried by the said ‘The Parrot,’ is it possible to confirm that this is a true quote of late Sir Ahmadu Bello?
4. There is no associated context of the purported quote and no name of the interviewer or editor who purportedly wrote this quote published in the said ‘The Parrot.’
Based on the above lack of credible editorial chain in transmission of the attributed quote; and lack of evidence of any such ‘The Parrot’ newspaper carrying any such comment from late Sir Ahmadu Bello, we advice Nigerians to sanitize their minds of ambiguous and inaccurate material.
If any evidence of the said quote is furnished to NewsRescue, we will update this article with it for the enlightenment of our intelligent readership.
NB: Sir Ahmadu Bello was without question a Regionalist as were many Nigerians in the founding period who all wanted absolute regional autonomy. This was in a period when Nigeria existed in distinct regions as a True Federalist state. The Sardauna was also clearly apprehensive of Igbo’s in particular who he described as domineering and a people who always took over industry and opportunity in his northern region, rendering his people jobless and subservient to the Igbo’s. However, these regionalistic views do not suggest that he made the frank tribalist ‘Dan Fodio Agenda’ quote. Sardauna was killed by Kaduna Nzeogwu, a northernized Igbo in a coup attempt to take over the nation’s government in what can be called a deadly prophetic fulfillment of Sardauna’s apprehensions in his comments below: