THE NORTH AND THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NIGERIA
“Federal Nigeria has never since her independence shown the distinctive mark of
a united nation. It has been impossible for her to silence tribal rivalries –to
achieve that mixture of ethnic /cultural blend required to forge National Unity”
---Francois Duvalier, then President of Haiti, March 22, 1969.
The above quotation is a time honoured statement that aptly describes Nigeria
since 1947 till date.
If it is from the hearts over-flow that the mouth speaks, I invite the reader to
listen to the words of “Our hero’s past” whose labours (we sing), shall never be
In 1952, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa addressed the Northern House of Assembly thus “The Southern people who are swamping into this region daily in such large numbers are really intruders; we don’t want them and they are not welcome here in the North. Since 1914, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country. But the people are different in every way, including religion, custom, language and aspirations…….. we in the North take it that Nigeria unity is only a British intention for the country they created. IT IS NOT FOR US”.
In the same year, Sir Ahmadu Bello approached the Colonial Secretary and said
“If you want us (the North) to be part of this Nigeria you have in mind, then we
want 50% of the membership of the National Assembly”.
It was accepted by the British and the 1953 census figures were manipulated to
justify the concession given. With majority in the National Assembly, whatever
the North says becomes law---of course the ever vulnerable South-East and
South-South people(the only true Nigerians) would always be used(willingly) to
ensure the North is happy.
When in 1956 after the Northerners defeated the motion for independence moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro and were jeered by their Southern colleagues, Sir Ahmadu Bello said “ what kind of trouble have we let ourselves in for, by associating with these southern people. Lord Lugard and his amalgamation is not for us. We shall set up our own and cease to have anything more to do with the southern people”.
Two days later trouble broke out in Sabon-Gari, Kano and southerners, mainly
Ndigbo, were slaughtered. The Yorubas of the South-West who jeered at them in Lagos oddly enough were out of it.
Papa Awolowo’s reaction to these happenings was in his ever green speech
excerpts of which is “Nigeria is only a geographical expression to which life
was given by the diabolical amalgamation of 1914, that amalgamation will EVER
remain the most painful injury a British Government inflicted on Southern
What did Zik say? Hear him “Nigeria is now a political reality, let us bury our
differences and build it together”.
It is instructive to note that Britain had programmed to grant independence to the
“Babel” they created and the North of Nigeria must be appeased by ensuring that they, (the Northerners), control power over the British Babel called Nigeria. So it came to pass on October 1st 1960.
Note that the 'do or die' election of 1959 did not give the North the required
majority to form Government until Eastern Nigeria (Today's South-East and
South-South) came to the rescue.
Despite that, listen to what Sir Ahmadu Bello had to say on the 12th October,
1960 (culled from the PARROT Magazine of the same date-just eleven days after independence) “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate from our
great-grand father Othoman Dan Fodio. We must RUTHLESSLY prevent a change of power. We must use the minorities of the North as willing tools, and the South as conquered territories and never allow them to have control of their future”
Note that Southerners were not allowed to join the N.P.C. the political party of
the North then.
Students of history would recall how in 1964 the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar
Tafawa Balewa, wanted to whittle down Chief Awolowo’s influence in the Western Region and found a willing tool in Chief S.L. Akintola. The Prime Minister gave Akintola all the support to recklessly breach the constitution as it pleased him.
That gave birth to the crisis in the Western Region. 'Operation wet eee'
followed, leading to the first military coup of January 1966 that was quelled by
General Aguyi Ironsi. Then the pogrom of May 29th 1966, then a counter coup in
June 1966 in which General Ironsi (an innocent man) was brutally murdered and
General Yakubu Gowon took over. Part of his maiden speech to the nation was to be thus “……. Suffice to say , putting all consideration to test: political,
economical as well as social, the basis for unity is not there, or it has been
so badly shaken not once, but several times”.
All of these mayhem, killings, secession, and civil war were just because the
Fulani leaders of the North were not happy and they must be pleased.
So it was in the beginning and so it is now. Nothing has changed.
On the 15th of September 2010, the same day President Goodluck Jonathan declared his intention to seek the mandate of his party and Nigerians to steer the ship of state for an additional four years, a group described as the Northern Elders Forum/Assembly, took an advertorial in a National daily addressed to the
President and Commander-in-Chief, captioned “As you declare”. They proceeded to threaten him. The “Great” Elders who signed that advertorial were mostly
National awardees who claimed to be “honest, dispassionate and deeply care about the continued existence of Nigeria as one indivisible, harmonious and peaceful country”.
The “Great” Elders saw President GEJ’s declaration as “ill-conceived,
ill-advised and definitely divisive”. That for GEJ to declare on the platform of
PDP (a Northern party?) heralds a “clear and present danger that would undermine the peace and tranquility of the nation”. That GEJ’s candidature “would open old wounds of primitive politics where sectional ethnic, religious and other undesirable primordial sentiments will assume center stage with attendant
The “Great” Elders even saw GEJ’s expression of his intention as illegal and
immoral. They said quite a lot and warned the president that “the peace, harmony and progress of the country or OTHERWISE are in his hands and he would be answerable to God and humanity” for his deciding to declare to run for office of President. Hmmmm!!
All they said plus the threats of Lawan Kaita, Adamu Ciroma, Prof. Ango
Abdullahi’s interview, the threats of the Director-General of Buhari Campaign
Organization before the election, that they would not accept the results of the
elections, if CPC loses are all happening exactly and nobody is looking in the
direction of these so-called Northern elders-Tanko Yakassai & Co and all those
who laid the foundation for the violence we are witnessing today.
Nigeria belongs to the Fulani’s of the North as Ahmadu Bello said. They can say
or do anything they please and nothing would happen. Rather we would all be
scared not to offend their sensibilities by complaining. Meanwhile not a single
Northerner (Fulani’s) was recorded in history as having been part of the true
struggle for the independence of the Nigeria they so ardently love to control.
I read the advertorial of the Northern Elders TEN good times and allowed my
thoughts to flow towards their instinctive directions. I saw, in the words of
Sir Ahmadu Bello, 'THE MISTAKE OF 1914'. I saw Papa Awolowo in Heaven laughing with an “Did I not tell you people" attitude. Because Papa fought so hard to convince Zik and others at the Constitutional Conference of 1957 in London, to
stand with him and demand that a SECESSION Clause be inserted in the
constitution (for the independence), so any tribe that becomes unhappy with the
union could leave. It failed, because Zik refused and the Colonial Secretary
ensured that the Northern Delegation refused also.
I remembered how Winike Briggs, J. Umorem and another Niger Delta person rushed to the North in 1966 to plead with them not to break away after Nzeogwu’s coup.
I remember former Gov Kure’s arrogant statement in 2006 about the South-South daring to dream of becoming President of Nigeria. I remembered the political support the Ijaws, the Efiks, Ibibio, Kalabari, Ogoni etc have given to the North since Dec 1959 up until 2007. And whenever there is a deadlock, the Ndigbos are forever ready to compromise and help.
I remembered the arrogance with which Dr Dikko said “Presidency is not for sale" to Abiola in 1983. I remembered the killing of male children above 11yrs of age with their fathers and uncles in Asaba on October 7th 1967 under the
instructions of Gen Murtala Mohammed who we revere with his picture on our
I remembered the pogrom of May 29th 1966, July 29th 1966 and September 29th 1966. (all Fridays ). First of its type in Africa. I remembered the
Genocide-First in Africa long before Rwanda's. I remembered how my friend’s
father, Mbonu Maiduguri, was killed by his best friend in 1967.
Thinking of that advertorial, I felt Ralph Uwazurike’s was not stupid. I felt
the apparent 'treason' of the Niger Delta militants should be commended.
Thinking of the Advertorial, I respected the Yorubas, even more as the smart
tribe in Nigeria with a focus on development for their land and their people
only, I saw the ignorance of the South East and the South South people who, as
very forgiving people with enormous liberal hearts, would be prepared to die for
a Northerner who they call their friend and brother but who sees them as
instruments to be used to acquire power and then killed whenever they feel
I saw the liberal minded South East and South-South people, endowed with
excessive natural and human resources, but lacking in cohesion to conspire for
power like their Northern brothers or the successful South Westerners, until
this blessed year of 2011.
Maybe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was right when he said, ”We are different in too many ways”.
Our sense of Justice is just not the same and may never be reconciled; not with the hopeless unitary constitution 'dashed' to us by Gen Abdusalam Abubakar. No! We would not forget the drama when the late President Yar’dua was ill.
Lest we forget, since 1966 the Ndigbos of the South East have been crying for
justice. By 1993 the Yorubas in the South West joined and stared crying. In 1994
and 1995 the South-South people found their voice and started crying also.
Today, it seems the North(fulanis) also cry but with the blood of innocent
These are trying times indeed!
History would record that never has a seat-in Head of State been so embarrassed for tribal reasons. History would record that those who never really fought for the development of Nigeria but have enjoyed her more and held her captive for long, are today in the fore front of the struggle to break up Nigeria.
Oh Lord, I could write a book on this “let’s open old wounds”. Who inflicted the
wounds? Who was wounded and still being wounded? Can we count how many times innocent blood (particularly that of Ndigbos) have been shed in the North since 1949? For reasons nobody has explained till today, and nothing happens except panels of inquiry, reports and then silence.
Have we forgotten what happened in Odi, Choba etc when the allegation was that the people there killed members of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Policemen, Youth Corpers and Soldiers are being killed in the North now and nothing would happen. I do not want to hear that it is religious. Lies! That is the opium they use. It is political. If a Fulani like Buhari rigged massively and won, there would be
How come there was no riot when Yar’dua won the hopeless election of 2007
against the same Buhari? In 2003, he planned a mass action and OBJ wrote him a stern letter of warning. He went to court instead.
If the Fulanis wanted a National Conference, it would be held. If they wanted
true Federalism, so it shall be. The day they decide that Nigeria would become a
Dubai, so it shall be. Until then, we all must wait, be killed whenever they
need to appease their knives and now bombs.
We say nothing, do nothing all because Nigeria matters more to us. They killed
my nephew (a youth corper) in Bauchi and I will not keep quiet.
At times like this, we must remember the words of our Elders. The Rt. Hon. Dr.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, frustrated by the activities of our Northern brothers in 1964,
had this to say “ If this embryo republic of ours must disintegrate, then in the
name of God, let the operation be a short and painless one”.
And in the words of President Goodluck Jonathan “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”!
Oscar Onwudiwe Esq.,
Co-Ordinator Vanguard for Transformation.
Writes from Lagos
Best regards'Yemi Saheed Lawal BSc Econs, MBA,MSc, ACIB(UK) FCTI, FCA
Seagle Property Development Co. Ltd
Suite 3 Mega Mound Place
14 Muri Okunola Street
Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria
"THERE IS LOVE IN SHARING" ...................Mesh. Live Well, Be Well and Stay Blessed.
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