Farouk Martins Aresa
What is the best way to unite Hausa and Igbo? Yoruba Presidency! If some of the speculations bear out, Buhari will not honor his one term pledge for the usual reason given by others, that he needs to implement and see his initiatives and programs through. There is nothing Tinubu can do just as Fashola proceeded to his second term. The worst that can happen is for Tinubu, his cronies or other Yoruba to mount a campaign for Yoruba Presidency based on competence.
Anyone that thinks the Igbo would lie low and allow Yoruba Presidency to succeed regardless of their penchant for merit or competence without ethnic consideration, know little about the political history that always repeats itself. Say what you want, it has always kept us together and bring peace home to Hausa and Igbo. The agitation by IPOD and MASOOB may even dwindle if the terms of alliance between the two, i.e. Igbo and Hausa work out.
Despite the denial today of who was responsible for the derailment of Akande as Speaker, Igbo members of PDP were only too happy to work with Tinubu ACN. While they were at it, neither Igbo nor Yoruba gained the Speaker position, it went to the North. When Igbo were told, their alliance with Tinubu ACN would have consequences, they said they would cross the river when they got there. Tinubu used them to remain a powerful ethnic leader in future negotiations.
It was the same Tinubu that negotiated with Buhari and left the Igbo PDP, his accomplice that denied Akande the Speakership out cold. They turned bitter into wailers. It does not mean Yoruba love Tinubu that much, but they have their own devil they send to quench fire with fire. If Tinubu thought he could pull that again, Igbo answered with Ekweremadu as Saraki’s Deputy.
Marginalization in the country means one section of the country is not in power. In coalition with the North, the East is willing to concede the Presidency. But in a coalition with the West, the East would want nothing less than the Presidency. Even when Zik was offered, alienation of Hausa came last. Nigerians still fail to realize that no matter where the President comes from, it does not affect their daily lives. Politicians only take care of themselves and their cronies.
There are growing factions in the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria for either a breakup of the country or some regional restructuring. The only time we have relative peace within the country is when the North and the Eastern part of Nigeria are in coalition to form government. Right now, the envious position of the “beautiful bride” (courtesy of Zik) is vacant. The way it is supposed to work is if the East is either in a coalition with the West or preferably, the North.
Only Western Region has demonstrated progress as opposition in Nigeria. Yoruba and Igbo fight as much as they make up. One measures the progress of the other by competition. We must also admit that Yoruba has stopped turning the other cheek in the midst of poverty growing in every part of the country. So if we want unity in Nigeria Yoruba must vie for Presidency in 2019.
Most Igbo are surprised by the reaction of the Yoruba to the ongoing rivalry and insults traded. The wailing that has never got to this stage in the history of Nigeria. Actually, some older Yoruba never expected the reaction of their young generation to be this strong against their Igbo cousins. When the Igbo claimed Yoruba were unfair to them in Yoruba land, Yoruba always apologized and pointed to areas they had been fair to Ndi-Igbo.
Not so with this new generation. They want to know what Yoruba were smoking to concede so much to Igbo while Igbo gave up nothing. Since the fifties, jobs and political positions were conceded to Igbo in Lagos and Ibadan as a matter of fairness. While those from Edo, Calabar, Togolese, Benin Republic and Ghanaians have been in Lagos longer than Igbo, their demands were subtle, not as a matter of right like the Igbo. Igbo came last but demanded more.
So the new generations of Yoruba are wondering why their elders were so permissive to the detriment of their own, so much that Azikiwe was crying that he was not made the government leader in the West! What the hell! The Igbo have never given anything up in their land but they always refer to Umaru Altine, an Hausa man who became the first Mayor of in 1956. For this reason, Igbo think they deserve whatever position they want in Yoruba land. Not in the North?
The Igbo create justification for insisting on Yoruba land. They claimed they have the population in Lagos. They are always pointing to statistics, imagined or true; that they develop Lagos and pay most of the taxes. They also claim that most of the businesses are owned by Igbo. In short, their contributions to Yoruba land give them the right to demand more than other ethnic groups that they met in Yoruba land and Lagos specifically.
The only problem is that their self-proclaim statistics is self-serving. It is true that Lagos State collect more taxes than other states but majority of Nigerians do not pay taxes. Indeed, only about ten million do in a population of about 170 million. Most of the Igbo businesses are in the service industry like small parts import, buying and selling. These are trades that can be performed by anyone in any country.
Manufacturing is where the real business is and these factories are mainly located in Lagos and Ogun states. Indeed, this is the major attraction to Lagos and Ogun states for entrepreneurs and workers. Investors, including Igbo want a region where they can get safe returns on their money. Western areas still remain relatively peaceful compared to the rest of Nigeria. This is why many people located their primary residence in the West.
Yoruba only progress well when in opposition. Despite Yoruba and Igbo social and economic teamwork, their political rivalry will always give Hausa an edge and keep the country one.