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« CNN Attacks On Nigerians in Houston & Why Nigeria's Image Matters | Main | Words and Consequences »

June 07, 2006

Old Faces from the North will Help South-South-East Win

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Old faces are no longer popular in the North or South, but as money bags and their guns. There is a dictum laid down by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe that Nigeria can only be ruled by a permutation of North and South.

Anyone who disobeys this rule, does it at his/her own risk. Actually, the first person and only one to have ignored the rule was Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was not a politician but a straight talker (Otito koro) who thought he could rule with Igbo as a running mate. Before then, he thought Azikiwe could rule with him as his deputy. It was not the best leadership formula.

That is why I snicker when I hear the call for the South to unite and separate from the North. We need the North as a peaceful force in the South and the South as a moderating force in the North, not the United Nations which we made the best peace keeping force in the world. There are those of us who grew up in metropolitan areas that are exposed to different ethnic groups with this expectation that it is the same relationship all over.

The Yoruba and Igbo for example get along very well, even in business, until politics of the Country comes in. At that point we need Hausa, Fulani or Kanuri to cool the tempers.
When that tempers flare between the Fulani, Tiv and the Kanuri, thank God we have the Igbo in Nigeria to cool the atmosphere. Sometimes it is between the Hausa and the Igbo; we call on the Yoruba to come to the rescue. It goes on and on between the Ilaje, Ijaw and the Itsekiri. Everyone knows the closest Army or Police barracks. Not even a President from the South-south will solve all these. Our diversity is our strength.

All Nigerians use the North for the convenience of discussion. You must have heard that there is nothing like the North, south of Kaduna. Well, you must also have heard of the North with one destiny. It is still the same North. One of the advances we made in Nigeria is the new intellectuals from the North and the South who have been able to articulate their needs in each of the local and foreign etiquettes by which we communicate with one another. In those days, when the investment was being planted, we were impressed on, that it was for the benefit of Nigeria. How true today.

We usually divide the North into progressive and the conservatives during elections. In the conservative camps are those Christian and Islamic scholars whose allegiance is not necessarily one-sided. It is very clear among the informed Nigerians today, that many of our leaders do nothing really, to benefit their areas of origin. This feeling has to permeate to the less privileged that are used as thugs for nefarious activities. If they provide them with good education and jobs, there would be less people to recruit. The message may be getting through. Evidence of this can be seen as masses stoned and disrespected spent politicians in the North, South, front and center. The disadvantage is that the innocent may be mistaken for a rogue.

There are so many diverse ideas and opinions from the North today that can marry that of the South into the form of government and a Country we want. I have on many occasions articulated the fact that the South-south and the North-central still do not understand their potential power that is so much of a threat to the Yoruba/Igbo/Hausa oligarchy. That this diamond cooperation has not been formed is a god-sent to the so called tripods. There are now common ideas on which to base our unity and reject those leaders who separated us.

Whichever region wants to present the President must wow, dance and court a region apart from his own in the opposite pole before the rest of the regions will fall on his lap. My feeling is that South-south has never tasted the presidency and South-east has tasted it least. However, I have to accept that it is the machinery of the candidate that wins, not fairness. It sounds like you get what you negotiate and not what you deserve. Since I have not seen people like Nuhu Ribadu campaigning for presidency from the North, there may be a good chance that the South-south or South-east may get the support of the whole Country, not by threat or blackmail but by persuasion.

It seems that the leadership of Civil Right Congress, The Northern Solidarity Forum and others from the North are calling for South-south President. This can be the fruits of similar ideas on fairness which is now emerging in our Country. We should not be surprised then if opposite and more conservative ideas are propagated. The competing ideas are good for democracy and for those of us looking for the best candidate without the constraint of ethnicity, naked thugs and moneybags.

Third term rejection regardless of ethnic affiliation has shown that if we stand together, certain leaders can not take us for granted. As for the South-west, they are still basking in their victory over the third term agenda. Their role in shooting down one of their own so that others can get a shot at the presidency must be commended. If every ethnic Nigerian can emulate this, we may have a Country to celebrate. I also know that South-west will not support a crook from any part of the Country. So they stand a good chance of tipping the presidency to a region with the best candidate.

I am not unaware of the TTA (third term agenda) flying saucer between those who have forfeited their birth rights to presidency, as if it was a regional fight; and those who retained their birth rights, as if nobody supported it from their region. Some of us have predicted exactly that fight. Then, those old soldiers stirring up storm in a tea port or pages of newspaper arguing about who won the war. You would think that this shameful past of ours would not rear its ugly head at this point.

No matter how you slice it, we are talking about brutes. Wars are fought when human beings have lost any form of decency, become uncouth and uncivilized reducing us to our primitive state. There are many books to read from blind men describing different parts of the elephants. What was done to the Igbo, what the Igbo did in the Mid-West, what the Hausa and the Igbo did in the North and the half job left undone? The Yoruba Generals agued about who brought the war to an end. Shame, shame, shame!

The gory detail is to provoke the unborn. So I am not surprised when those who hardly spend less than a year or two in the Country talk as if they are ready to kill again. When these arguments fly back and forth, foreigners wonder if we can be left alone with one another without another civil war. These are the same Nigerians who others countries hugged and kissed for threading and daring to step into chaos, saving lives, while the most powerful Country in the whole world waved from the shore.

Nigerians who should be spending their time or their thesis on ways to create a better Country, waste their time on research about how they are related to those whose civilization are more recent than ours, with a fraction of our population. There are Centers all over the world for Economic and Political researches, these academics or intellectuals can not volunteer their services, work for them or create one; but are ready to provide demeaning findings on our people. Here we are crying for political leadership, economic research, scientific research and MANAGERS to steer the Country into the right path. Some people spill their bile looking for relatives anywhere else except in Nigeria.

Please leave me with my Hausa brothers and sisters. I will not exchange them for anything. I also love my relationship with my Igbo brothers and sisters. Where will I be without the Efik, Edo, Kanuri, Fulani, Idoma etc brothers and sisters? Oh, how I wish to be a teenager again so that I can dream about which of them to marry. By the time our child declared for the presidency, nobody would know for sure which ethnic group to link him/her with. I’m sorry, may be it is the different ethnic food that fill my belly or the different ethnic drinks that tickle me. I have seen people, places and a few countries, none of them can compete with my Country men and women in these places.

It was the Yoruba that were crying about their women being married by other ethnic group yesterday, today the Igbo are crying, and tomorrow the Hausa will be crying. I used to think talking about women would debase and dilute our discussion about unity and presidency. I have come to realize that Nigerians attach important ties to women being married by other Nigerians. It has to be discussed as it has proved equally emotional. There is the story of a young man who thinks all he needed was money and no need for education. The same young man would love to marry a woman with a PhD. He was told if he did not study hard, other ethnic group with education would marry his girl.
He hits the books!

In many Countries including our own, women have managed to rise to power only to get bloody in the process as sleeping their way all the way to the top. Since there are more of them in colleges in the Western countries than men, it is only a matter of time before that happens in Nigeria. Luckily, we now have competent women performing at per with men if not better. There are whispers that they are less prone to corruption than men. Where am I going? I just arrived. We want women from all parts of Nigeria to contest for the big job. Why not Madam President?

The benefits are enormous. The fact that they would be less corrupt in itself is a great deal. They can not flaunt men the way men flaunt women and get themselves into responsibilities that drive them to steal. Who knows? May be when we see our women performing better than us, we may retrace our steps and start wondering where we went wrong. As for women who are trying to be like men, you will be displaced like men.

We need to get to that level where we can chose the best individual to lead our Country out of hatred, distrust and hopelessness instead of relying on spent individuals. That is lack of confidence in our persons as a Country.

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

Posted by Administrator at June 7, 2006 10:27 AM


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