Farouk Martins Aresa
There are those of us that have never had Federal or State scholarships but are still grateful for the discipline instilled in us in primary and secondary schools. So when people say those that want Nigeria to exist as a Country are members of the looters club, they are dead wrong. We just cannot imagine our Country without Igbo or Hausa. Where do the so called minorities that have contributed more, to our existence in social and all aspect than the mega ethnics go?
The call for Igbo separation after each disappointment is usually misplaced but understandable. However the loss of breaking up Nigeria is monumental to the point of shaping the rest of the world. The amount of refugees alone will destabilize many countries, not only in Africa but in Europe and America. Worldwide repercussion is secondary, local disaster is immediate.
Religious riot in the North is a topic in itself; otherwise most Hausa are usually low-key outside the North. In the Federal Government they are willing to go alone since the days of Tafawa Balewa. It is the Southern parties that seek unions with the Northern parties. This time around, the Yoruba of the South-west have decided to form alliance with the North for the first time in the history of Nigeria. It is usually the South-east and South-south parties in union with North.
It is even doubtful how long the new union of the North and South-west is going to last. But cat calls, prediction of dooms and wishful thinking have crept up each day to create problems. Each and every move has been criticized and the union is “no longer at ease”. Even if this alliance fails, it is not going to break up Nigeria. The Hausa and Yoruba are not as keen as the Igbo to call for the breakup of the Country. Though everyone is fed up and may accept a loose union.
What does a loose union mean? It is either united group of ethnic nations or the confederation Ojukwu asked for. This is what led to the creation of more and more states to the point where everyone has their own governor, super secretaries and government workers that are now owed many months in salaries. Even worse is the discharge of workers from state positions because they are not from within the individual states.
If this is the chaos creation of states is creating, we cannot imagine the disaster creation of ethnic nations would create. In fairness, the Ndi-Igbo are not the only ones agitating for their own Country; the fever has caught the rest of the Country. It has caught fire amongst the Ijaw of South-south. They want their own Country to manage and spend the income mostly located in their backyard. Even worse, their leaders have been kicked out of power as President.
If there is anything to learn; it is that Ijaw leaders will spend oil income the same way they pocket it when they ruled Nigeria. The only habit Nigerians have in common more than anything else is the conspicuous spending and looting of the treasury. It is the way you can distinguish a Nigerian from a distance.
Unfortunately, some Igbo want to use the defeat of Ijaw leadership from federal power to recreate the Eastern bloc in the name of Biafra. It will never work. South-south is not made up of Ijaw alone. Both the Igbo and the Ijaw have allied with the North in the past to rule Nigeria and the rest of the Nigeria have never used that as a reason to break up the Country. The fact is, some minorities in the South-south have used their alliance with the North as a poison pill.
Indeed, it is only recent that ijaw has become a big minority. The fact is they are still not the main ethnic group in the South-south, the Edo are. Sometimes, present difficulties and pressing problems make us forget the past. Many have temporarily forgotten that amicable coexistence between Urhobo, Ijaw and Itshekiri was broken before Ijaw gained power. Families that have lived together for ages began killing one another: My People Are Killing My People!
Ndi-Igbo must remember that when they had less friends after the War and their properties were “abandoned”, the only place they got all their properties back, up to the present day is from Yoruba land. When they were ostracized from Federal Government after the War, their friends crying for inclusion were Yoruba. The first Government to bring them out from the cold and included them in sensitive and important federal position was Obasanjo Government.
The animosity between Yoruba and Igbo is very uncomfortable for many of us because we have never seen it at this dangerous level. Yes, we’ve always had conservatives on both sides warning us about the dangers of the other. What we see now that is so discomforting is the amount of insults thrown to one another by young people that are supposed to be more open minded than their parents. The parents are now more liberal than their children.
Some Igbo have five years plan to leave Lagos and Yoruba are fed up. The reason the Igbo have more to lose is because they have always been welcomed and well tolerated in Yoruba land. Majority of them have appreciated this accommodation and have contributed in return for the friendship by integrating well into the agbule (compounds) and families of Yoruba. The trend we see now is hostilities between Yoruba and Igbo.
It is not good for both and it may spell disaster for the Country as a whole. The union between political parties is for temporary convenience in order to rule or gain power. It never lasts as differences always show up. Shehu Shagari on why NPN and NPP alliance had to crumble: NPP kept on asking for more and more ministers and power. No position is permanent. This is not the first time that we have had political alliance in Nigeria and it will not be the last time.
Ndi-Igbo and Ndi-Yoruba must re-evaluate their relationship because the new generation is being poisoned by bad vibes between the two. It is not good for Hausa and most Nigerians.