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Tuesday 8 January 2019

Editorial: Nigeria: The Incompatibility And Divergent Systems Of The North And South

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue, Chief Editor | The Biafra Times

January 8, 2019

If there is anything that captivated my attention most during the presentation of the 1st January new year message broadcast by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the most cohesive liberation force in Nigeria, the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB), then it is the excellent speech and lecture about how the Igbos and indeed every other ethnic nationalities domiciled in the defunct Republic of Biafra, cannot fuse together with the Hausa/Fulanis in the northern region of Nigeria.

In the wonderful lecture, Kanu made it clear and unambiguous that no matter how you try to fix things together to make these two distinct ethnic groups constituting Nigeria to live together in a nation or country under one system, it would always crumble because it is simply not meant to be; their belief system and the way of life cannot mix together. The monarchical and dictatorial rulership/leadership structure of the north, when juxtaposed with the republican nature of Biafrans, cannot form a cohesive structure or belief system needed to drag and rescue the country out of the abyss and that is the reason Nigeria cannot develop beyond what is obtainable at the present.

As a matter of keeping fate with history, the three largest and most dominant ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo and prior to their conquest by the Europeans, these ethnic groups had separate and independent histories. Though there is archaeological evidence that societies have been living in Nigeria for more than twenty-five hundred years, the borders of modern Nigeria were not created until the British consolidated their colonial power over the area in 1914. The grouping together of the distinct ethnic groups into a single entity known as Nigeria was a construct of their British colonizers. These various ethnic groups never considered themselves part of the same culture.

Read Also: IPOB blast David Umahi and other Igbo governors, over deceitful and perverse statement

As calls for self-determination and a transfer of power into the hands of Nigerians grew, Britain began to divest more power into the regional governments. As a result of early colonial policies of divide and conquer, the regional governments tended to be drawn along ethnic lines. With this move to greater regional autonomy, the idea of a unified Nigeria began to crumble. Regionally and ethnically based political parties sprang up as ethnic groups began to wrangle for political influence. This general lack of Nigerian nationalism coupled with an ever-changing and often ethnically biased national leadership, have led to severe internal ethnic conflicts and a genocidal war which some people prefer to recognize as ‘a civil war’. Today, bloody confrontations between or among members of different ethnic groups continue.

It is now the turn of the Yorubas and the Hausa-Fulani who tend to create the wrong impression that once Ndigbo have been subdued in that unfortunate Nigeria-Biafra war, the rest of Nigeria seems to have become an easy game where they can play their political football, jointly or singly, with the destiny of Nigeria as they wish.

But before I descend properly into Kanu’s viable postulations, let’s consider the statement of others in similar aspects. Many people in the past have written and categorically enumerated different reasons why the Igbos cannot live together with the Fulanis in Nigeria. Prominent among them was Africa’s literary giant and celebrated writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe of the blessed memory who posited that Nigerians, especially the Hausa/Fulanis and the Yorubas, do not like the Igbos because of their cultural ideology that emphasizes ‘change, individualism and competitiveness.’

The late literary icon observed in his best-selling yet controversial masterpiece, ‘There Was A Country,’ that the Igbo culture’s emphasis on change, individualism and competitiveness gave his ethnic group an edge over the Hausa/Fulani man who was hindered by a “wary religion” and the Yoruba man who was hampered by “traditional hierarchies.”

Read Also: Biafra: IPOB with Israeli experts, to commence mass employment via high-tech & Agricultural initiative

The book, There Was A Country, generated controversy for his onslaught on the role of Obafemi Awolowo as the federal commissioner of finance during the Nigeria-Biafra war. He accused Awolowo of genocide and imposition of food blockade on Biafra, a claim that has drawn rebuttals and contradictions of emotional intensity from some Yoruba leaders and commentators.

“I have written in my small book entitled The Trouble with Nigeria that Nigerians will probably achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo,” he wrote under the heading, A History of Ethnic Tension and Resentment. He traced the origin of “the national resentment of the Igbo” to its culture that “gave the Igbo man an unquestioned advantage over his compatriots in securing credentials for advancement in Nigerian colonial society.”

He, therefore, described the Igbo, who are predominantly Christians, as “fearing no god or man, was custom-made to grasp the opportunities, such as they were, of the white man’s dispensations. And the Igbo did so with both hands.”

Now, bringing it down to Nnamdi Kanu’s narratives, the Biafra he is agitating for, is a determined long walk to freedom “where black people in sub-Saharan Africa will for the first time since colonialism, live under guaranteed freedoms and rights unlike the primitive arrangement people are forced to live under in Nigeria.”

Delving into the seemingly endless disparity and non-conformity between the Igbos in the South and the Fulani in the North and quoting reasons why Nigeria as presently constituted is unworkable, the IPOB leader said that “by virtue of their orientation and heritage, the dominant-ruling Arewa Northern Nigeria, with their feudal societal structure, is not designed to understand or practice democracy.” He said that: “this is one of the greatest mistakes early thinkers like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe made. The social arrangement they have in Northern Nigeria makes it impossible for their leaders that are thrust upon the people in Nigeria to appreciate and respect democratic values such as respect for the rule of law, freedoms and liberty. These noble ideals of democracy are incompatible with Sharia.”

Read Also: Qualities That Distinguished Nnamdi Kanu As The Most Outstanding Freedom Fighter In 2018

And as we all know, the ideology and basics of Sharia is only practiced in Northern Nigeria whereas the culture is highly aversed in the South. According to Kanu, “True federalism particularly is evidently unrealistic in a country where twelve states have already adopted Sharia as state religion and code of justice, which denies non-adherents of that religion certain freedoms guaranteed by the military-imposed Nigerian Constitution. Conversely, restructuring has defied every sensible definition.”

He, therefore, questioned why the sudden drift in administration and code of justice principles in the North when Nigeria achieved its independence under the umbrella of ‘true federation’. “Come to think of it, was it not under a federal arrangement or True Federation that Nigeria had at independence but which could not survive more than six years? What then is this new true Federalism or Restructuring that will suddenly become workable when it had failed in the past and even led to a war of attrition?” he had asked.

“I have nothing against those wishing to live under the Fulanised British colonial contraption called Nigeria as most Yoruba and Hausa people do. What we resent is the inability or the unreasonableness of the chattering class in Nigeria to come to terms the inescapable realization that no country with a myriad of divergent value systems can peacefully exist as a nation state. This is elementary political philosophy. Meaningful human development in Nigeria is impossible because the Fulani feudal mindset, Yoruba monarchical system and the republican disposition of Biafrans are forever irreconcilable value systems that will ensure the unworkability of Nigeria as a country,” he added.

In reference to the incompatible and in-cohesive ruling systems in different parts of Nigeria, Kanu made several instances with the government systems of the Western and Arabic nations saying that “it is tantamount to fusing England, Saudi Arabia and United States into one country. It will never ever work. Imagine transplanting a portion of sword-wielding Kandahar province in Afghanistan, a piece of the monarchy-supporting East Anglia in England and a part of the republican gun-loving libertarian Texas in the United States into a nation state. That will be like returning humanity to some kind of Hobbesian “state of nature” where life will be truly hellish, brutish and short.”

Read Also: Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu delivers New Year message, insists on referendum for Biafrans

He said, “These same irreconcilable divergent and often conflicting conditions are what we are being forced to endure in the British-artificially created Nigeria today due to a combination of poor education, inability to reason properly and dependency on one natural resource(oil) for national economic survival. Nigeria will never ever be a viable nation because the ethnicities the British cobbled together are not the same people and can never be. Even the British that created Nigeria have respect for ethnic nationalities in their own country. Scotland and Wales have their own parliaments that make their own laws in their own languages. They retain the right to become independent should they choose to pursue that path. Why are such privileges not extended to ethnicities in Nigeria? Perhaps Nigerians are sub-humans not deserving of such an opportunity. The way Nigeria and most other similarly backward states in Africa were created is not how nations are formed or created. These unnatural colonial experiments in Africa is the reason why the continent will continue to struggle until an intelligent breed of people like IPOB, rise up to return it to its precolonial borders. Only then will we know peace.”

Ndigbo who lost a war of survival during Biafra have learnt their lessons and have resorted to their fate. It does not matter how loudly or silently they cry or complain over the seemingly-scorched-earth-policy of marginalization against the Igbo nation perpetuated by either Federal governments, many other unaffected Nigerians, particularly Yorubas and the Hausa-Fulani, do not seem to care. Even some excrement Igbos, sycophants or scallywags would join Igbo tormentors to gleefully say that Ndigbo are not marginalized. Such people claim that Ndigbo are crying wolf for nothing even though the black werewolf of neglects and deprivations that hunt the Igbos can be seen plainly all over Igbo lands and beyond even by the blind.

But as almost everybody in the defunct Eastern region have come to the realization that whether Igbos and Fulanis, North and South would come together and accept to co-exist as one nation and do away with their overt diversity, is a question Nigeria and its inhabitants will answer for themselves using the instrumentality of a referendum.

The Biafra Times
Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah
Contact us: [email protected]

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