Born in kano and Growing up as a child in abuja was one of the happiest times of my life, opposite our house were some native Hausas while on the adjacent were the non-natives of which some were Igbos. life was good, pidgin English was the lingua franca and the two other languages I could not do without were Igbo and Hausa,even though I struggled to speak the Igbo but spoke Hausa more better. And as kids we just grew up learning the language,we spoke it as we mingled with eachother without segregation.
I have stayed out of the Biafra discussion because I realized that whenever the issue comes up,emotions run high while common sense and logical reasoning is always thrown out of the window, hence my decision to watch the drama on the sidelines.
As a child who was born, raised, educated and served in the North, I have felt the warmth, kindness and undiluted love of the people, I also understand the thinking’s of a typical northerner haven spent 80% of my life here and as an Igbo who has the Igbo blood in my veins, I also have a stake in the Eastern region.The Igbos are peaceful, smart, Resilient, hardworking, innovative and are able to fit into any economical space,no matter the size.Civilization actually started from the South Eastern states which brought about the Christian Religion and Education.
There are 6 issues we must objectively look at in the ethnic and religious conflict that produced the Biafra agitation.At this point in our nation’s history, silence is no longer golden, and history will not be kind to me if I fail to objectively dissect the issue and help the warring parties understand what is truly at stake.
Just before I start,Once upon a time when the Igbos and the Hausas lived Peacefully.”No animal was more equal than the others “But when civilization came in,the hoolabaloo started,and here we are…
Issue number 1: Victimization.
Overtime, precisely before I was born, the northerners have falling victims of circumstance with regards to their educational background.It may interest you to know that education came to the North 50years after it had already been established in the East. Hence,the Igbos took advantage of every opportunity they had on the Hausas in every civil affairs and business transaction,just because of their naivity.Did you know that the Igbos once sold a single leg of shoe to the hausas,while they return another time to buy the other leg of the same shoe? Ofcourse, the poor hausas where ignorant to know that shoes were sold in PAIRS, this is just to mention but a few. Today they have even changed the hausa meaning of “aboki” (FRIEND) to the Igbo meaning of “aboki” (FOOL), so if some Igbo calls you an “aboki”, dont be in a hurry to smile. I can continue but to cut the story short,civilization got its wings to the north and when they realised how the Igbos have been victimizing them,they began to develop scorn and hatred for an average Igbo man.
PLEASE NOTE📝: The events above were perpetrated by a few despirate Igbos. THIS WAS HOW IT ALL BEGAN. The Hausas started developing inferiority complex,it grew to hatred,hatred led to rage and rage led to what i will be discussing in ISSUE 2 below.
Issue Number 2: The Tendency of the North to always be Violent.
Some northerner’s have spilled so much human blood, about 55 % of their innocent and defenseless victims have been the Igbo people and their children, and they have not spared our property also. Once it feels a civil disturbance is brewing, the next idea a northern miscreant thinks of is how to destroy the Igbo’s property and sniff life out of a fellow human being.
During the sharia and election crises they killed and destroyed our properties across northern Nigeria. While we were still bleeding from the pains of the civil war and the trauma of abandoned property, the north continued to make us their number one target at the slightest provocation.
PLEASE NOTE 📝: The bastardize act above is only perpetrated by a few northern miscreants who are bent on tarnishing the image of the larger group. Therefore, the religious leaders must step up their game and preach peace rather than brain washing the innocent illiterates into becoming carnibals. The Islam I know is a religion of PEACE!
Issue Number 3: Beneficiaries of the Northern Population.
Another truth we must tell ourselves is why are the Igbo’s found in the remotest villages of Northern Nigeria, No one has milked the benefits of the Northern population like the Igbo nation truth be told. Unfortunately, majority of Igbo’s and southerners are unwilling to accept the role of the north in developing the Igbo entrepreneurial zeal. As at today, the Igbos control about 70% of the core commercial activity in the North while Northerner’s control less than 3 % in the Eastern region, these are facts.
It also takes the hospitality and kind gesture of the north for the Igbos to achieve these strides. But to claim the Igbo’s are doing the north a favour by making money in their enclave like some have claimed is taking the joke too far.
Issue Number 4: Insensitivity to Religious Beliefs on Both sides.
The complete lack of regard for the religious believe of the typical Muslim is usually the trigger for violence between the Arewa Muslim community and the Igbo nation. It is not unusual to find an Igbo man provocatively gulping a bottle of beer before a fasting Muslim neighbor without recourse to their emotions during Ramadan, the failure and outright refusal of a vast majority of the Igbo community to recognize and respect the religious beliefs of their host communities will continue to be the weakest and most lethal link in this complex relationship.
On the other hand, the insatiable appetite and perpetual quest to burn churches by arewa miscreants and few illiterates is another issue that has hastened the segregation of the nation along ethnic and religious lines. This must stop, Religious leaders must step up their game in Preaching the true values of Islam rather than brain washing the innocent illiterates and turning them into carnibals.
Unfortunately, the political elites on both sides see this as a political weapon and often use same to whip up sentiments during elections, this explains why elections in Nigeria is never based on issues of development but largely on ethnic propaganda and where you pray.
Issue Number 5: Demerits of the Biafra agitation and Arewa exit declaration.
It was Micheal Crichton who said “if you don’t know history you don’t know anything, you are like a leaf who does not know it is part of a tree.”
Today Puerto Rico is begging to lose its statehood and join the US as its 51st state, South Sudan the world’s newest nation is currently in coma with no end in sight to the infighting for power by her political elite. It’s not about chasing people out of a land or claiming you want Biafra, it’s about the huge consequences of what some of our friends are asking for….
A. If Biafra is granted independence as some want, that will automatically transform Igbo’s into foreigners in Nigeria, a nation they contributed immensely to build.
Which country in the world will allow foreigners to control 70% of the commerce within its territory? It will be against National security to do so, except the capital of Biafra will be Abuja.
B. If Biafra secede, Will the Arewa dominated “new” Nigeria allow Igbo’s who by this time are non-nationals to still hold on to 70 % of the real estate which they control in the capital?
C. Many of the Nigerian flagged ships are Igbo owned, with Biafra coming into the picture they will automatically lose their privileged rights under the Cabotage laws and even go bankrupt because they automatically become foreign flagged ships with little or no expertise in foreign shipping and the huge demands
D. It will be odd to see Goods from Aba ‘the China of Africa’ and Onitsha paying import duty just to cross the Niger Bridge into Asaba!!!! Yes, that will be an export terminal if the agitation succeed, this will reduce the competitiveness of these products in terms of pricing.
E. Our current laws limits foreign equity in local banks, even Jaiz Nigeria’s only Islamic Bank has more Igbo shareholders than arewa Muslim shareholders, if that is the case imagine the Igbo shareholding and equity in traditional banks! What happens to these investments by hard working Igbo men and women? Will the law be changed overnight?
On the other hand, my Arewa brothers who are banking on free crude oil money must have a rethink before sending the Igbos packing. Go back to the drawing board. It is sad that they fail to realize that once the South east goes, the South South will joyfully exit, and as we all know their agitation will not be as peaceful as IPOB who present themselves for practice training with live bullets by drunk officers and men of the Nigerian police and army. Even the middle belt might not be willing to stay after the fragmentation and trust the highly educated Yoruba nation, they have all the ingredients and capacity to start and sustain a viable new country.
As at today, many of the northern states cannot sustain themselves, Benue state inclusive, with all the noise about food production and food basket, there is widespread hunger, desperation and hopelessness in the land. The Northern healthcare system is driven by the population they want to expel, 9 out of every 10 pharmacy and chemist in the north are owned by Igbo’s.
The educational system in the core north is on life support, thanks to Boko Haram. The north have failed to properly manage the industries bequeathed to her by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello. What happened to the great groundnut pyramid in kano?. If there is a time the north need entrepreneur’s and investors to come to her region, it is now !!!.
Many of those who have joined the band wagon of “chase them away” and Biafra agitation have not seen war, and some are under the influence of tramadol, alcoholic drinks and other substances which they abuse. Nevertheless,there are issues which needs to be addressed. It is instructive to note that the general feeling among Nigerians who genuinely have the interest of the nation at heart is that, there is an urgent need to RESTRUCTURE or tweak the framework of Nigerian state in order to prevent an imminent collapse and descent into lawlessness and anarchy.
Finally, just like my Eastern family, my Northern family must recognized that we all need each other. We must learn to TOLERATE eachothers INADEQUACIES and ACCOMODATE eachothers EXCESSES. No ethnic nationality can claim to know all, and no region is entirely self-sustaining, and as such we must stair up the Nigerian spirit of innovation and seek for ways to permanently resolve our DIFFERENCES, salvage our crumbling economy and preserve whatever is left of our common HUMANITY.
Issue number 6: This issue has nothing to do with the Igbos nor the Hausas but has everything to do with this article. Everything written is based on my perception which I stand to be corrected. Please also feel free to disregard it just incase it doesnt align with your own school of thoughts. And for the sake of objectiveness, I wont say either the Igbos nor the Hausas share a greater blame in this unfortunate situation.
May God Bless the Federal Republic Of Nigeria….