A letter bomb to Alhaji Shettima Yerima
By Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe
The Igbo know those who defeated them in the civil war. It was neither your Hausa kinsmen nor your Fulani overlords because they possessed not the power to do such at the time.
Rather the Igbo defeat came by the undaunted riffle-power of our own Middle Belt Christian brother-soldiers and the ingenuity of Yoruba commanding officers, all crowned with British armored machine, the invincibility of Russian Mig-fighters, fundamentalist Egyptian military pilots, supported by mercenaries from Niger and Sudan Republics and finally coloured by the self-sabotaging. Instinct of the Igbo themselves.
The only notable Fulani commander in the Nigeria civil war turned hero coup-plotter—General Murtala Ramat Muhammad was routed by the Biafran forces several times and never won any single battle against the Igbo.
The records are there equally for people to see how the almighty Fulani army fell like pack of woods before the invading forces of only few men commanded by Colonel Frederick Lugard in 1903.
The bulk of the present Middle Belt were never conquered by the Fulani jihadists, including the present Hausa-pride kingdoms turned emirates of Argungu and Ningi as well as the present Dakarkari group of ethnic nations of Kebbi State, who even though mainly Christians have been forced under the artificial Emirate of Zuru with a Fulani imposed on them as Emir.
It is often a spectacle of authoritative ignorance to hear Shettima Yerima saying “We Northerners”, as if we are still living in British colonial times or the First Republic. The question is who are the Northerners in the present Nigerian political context?
What Shettima Yerima does not know is that the concept of “One North” which he presently carries as his political Holy Qoran is a moribund political entity which no longer exists in every practical term. Successive episodes of Nigeria’s post-civil war history have clearly rendered the concept of “One North” impracticable and thus a perpetual nullity.
The Murtala Mohammed-led coup against General Yakubu Gowon, the Colonel Dimka-led abortive counter-coup that followed and, the most eventful of all the military coups in Nigeria—that of Major Gideon Orkar, are clear indications that a clear demarcation of what constitute the Middle Belt and what constitute the feudal North has been established.
Or how can the likes of Shettima Yerima convince us that the same places Fulani herdsmen have turned into killing-fields of defenceless citizens are part of the same “One North?”
Can the people of Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Adamawa, including Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, Southern Borno, Southern Gombe, the Gwari of Niger State, and Zuru Emirate of Kebbi State be included in Shettima Yerima’s “One North?”
As far as the present Nigerian political equation goes, these are defined as the “Middle Belt” geo-political zone in Nigeria in practical and cultural terms, and they are willing to go with the South any time and any day under normal electoral process.
So one does not know where Shettima Yerima’s concept of Northern majority sprouted from. Or does Shettima Yerima think these people are fools to the extent of not knowing who their friends and enemies are in present Nigeria?
As far as the present political equation stands the Middle Belt are not part of Shettima Yerima’s One North and so one does not know his statistical basis of Northern Majority.
Is it by mobilizing grossly underage Almajiri to vote in general elections in criminal defiance of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Indeed without mincing words, if I am put in a political contest in Middle Belt with the likes of Shettima Yerima I will soundly defeat them.
As a friend and fellow comrade I am advising Shettima Yerima to stop dissipating his energy campaigning for those who do not regard his esteemed personality and right of identity and refocus his energies towards the liberation of his down-trodden Hausa kinsmen, unless he is telling us that he is not proud of his Hausa identity.
To do this Shettima Yerima needs a sublime reflection of his past brought forward to the present and raise such testimonial questions as:
First, why did it take a Nigerian President of Southern extraction to introduce Almajiri formal schools after many decades of continuous Northern domination of Nigeria’s political landscape?
Second, what is the population ratio of Hausa to Fulani children in Almajiri Schools?
Third, how many State Governors from Sokoto to Gombe are of Hausa origin?
Fourth, how many Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other appointees are of Hausa origin?
Fifth, how many Hausa are appointed Imams and Alkalis in Northern Nigeria?
Sixth, how many Hausa men are permitted to marry Fulani women in the same manner Fulani men are allowed to marry Hausa women?
Seventh, does Shettima Yerima know that the term “Arewa” which symbolizes traditional Habe Hausa identity does not include the Fulani who have recently in the most fulsome manner adopted “Miyetti Allah” as their counterpart group identity thereby rendering the compound identity term: “Hausa-Fulani” irreconcilable with their imperial objectives and therefore obsolete?
A stitch in time saves nine. Shettima Yerima should therefore stop building the castles of political authority in the air and face the realities of his institutionalized slavery status in his Sharia-driven Northern part of Nigeria.
It is delusive for his likes to think that the Upper North can make the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without the willing support of the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria, the degree of inglorious rigging notwithstanding.
They tried it under AP and APP before and failed, and it took only the moral disintegration of the gullible Southern and Middle Belt political leaders to let the Fulani have their ways last time. This time around we can only but place it on the divine table of judgment to decide.
Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD
Co-Convener, United Middle Belt-Southern Front (UMBSF)
Institute of African Studies, & Dept. of History & International Studies,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Odogwu of Ibusa Clan, Delta State