Editor’s note: Nigeria is a country made up of several ethnic groups but the Hausa-Fulani people in the north are usually seen as being in charge of power and authority of the country.
In this opinion by Charles Ogbu, he points out that the southern region of the country especially the Yorubas and Igbos can come together for success instead of fighting.
The southern part of Nigeria
"Power is like a shadow. It resides exactly where men who are under its control think it resides" The above is true with regards to the situation of Southerners in the Nigerian experiment. We think the Fulanis are the ones that have been holding power and because we think and believe so, it actually look so. Because of this assumed knowledge, we hand over our destinies, our future and those of our children to a people who are not above 11 million, have little or no education and contribute little or nothing to the national pulse.
What if I told you that the real power rests in the South and with southerners but that the mutual distrust and foolish superiority contest between Igbos and Yorubas is the biggest obstacle to wielding this power? This senseless feud between these two Southern giants is also the biggest enabler and promoter of the fulani Oligarchy.
The southern part of Nigeria owns the oil which feeds the entire country. Without the oil today, there is no economy and there is no Nigeria. The same south controls the commercial sector of the economy. The media is still owned and controlled by the South. When a people owns the only thing that is feeding a whole country and still control commerce plus the media through which people's thoughts and opinions about anything can be shaped and can equally boast of the best human resources, what else does it take for such a people to wield power in such a country? Unity!
The few fulanis who have been running this country directly and indirectly since independence, what do they have? Unity!
When the fulani Oligarchs want to achieve an aim, they effortlessly find a way to get every northern minorities such as Christians and middle Belts on their side even when they almost always end up discarding these same minorities.
Now, ask yourself: how have the fulani Oligarchs managed to turn the entire Nigeria into an 'Animal Farm' with them as the only "Napoleon' despite their low education and the fact that all the prerequisites/bargaining chips for acquiring and wielding power are domiciled in the South?? Igbo-Yoruba 'cold war'!
This, right here, is the answer. The day the two biggest southern ethnic groups --The Igbos and The Yorubas --decide to put a stop to their needless bickering and channel all their energy towards confronting their common enemy, that is the day the Fulani Oligarchs will understand that even though the king is the one with the crown, he is nothing without the kingmakers and the people.
I am no historian neither do I pride myself as a man of letters but I know for a fact that the biggest weapon of the fulanis is neither guns nor bombs. Their biggest weapon is their ability to identify their opponents' weak points or even create one where none exists, magnify it and use same to create division amongst them just so they would effortlessly implement their Divide And Rule tactics.
Sadly, they have succeeded in using this weapon against Southern Nigeria's two biggest ethnic groups.
The suspicion between Yorubas and Igbos
Throughout history, all the wars and woes visited on both the Igbos and the Yorubas all came from the fulanis. There is no record of ethnic clash between these two humane southern Nations. No time has these two people ever disagreed violently. Strangely, the mutual suspicion that exist between these two great peoples seem far greater than the one they harbour against their common oppressor.
It was not the Igbos who imprisoned Awolowo and killed thousands of Yoruba youths who protested the unjust imprisonment for days in different Yoruba cities in 1963. It was the fulanis.
It was not the Igbos who imprisoned many Yoruba leaders, forced others into exile and killed others like Abiola after annulling his presidential victory. It was not the Igbos who attacked Yoruba citizens in Lagos neither was it the Igbos who desecrated Yoruba cradle of civilisation, Ile-Ife by cutting off the head of a Yoruba citizen and parading it along the street, thereby sparking off a bloody ethnic clash that ended in the arrest of only the Yorubas including an Oba.
It is not Igbo herdsmen that kidnapped a Yoruba son, Chief Olu Falae and have been going about terrorizing and killing Yorubas in Osun, Ogun, Kwara etc with govt-sponsored impunity.
On the other hand, It wasn't the Yorubas that killed thousands of Igbos in the 1945 Jos pogrom and 1953 kano pogrom. It was not the Yorubas who killed millions of Igbos in the North after the first 1966 coup. It was not the Yorubas who jailed an Igbo son, Alex Ekwueme who was only the vice president,
Was it the Yorubas that is holding Nnamdi Kanu? Or was it the Yorubas who rained bullets and acid on hundreds of Igbo sons and daughters praying inside a school field in Abia state on Feb.9th, 2016 and those remembering their Biafran heroes inside a church in Onitsha on May 29-30, that same year?
It was the rejection of the Aburi Accord by the Fulani Oligarchs which would have restructured Nigeria as a Confederation that led to the Biafran war. Today, the Yorubas want a restructured country. The Niger Delta want the same thing. The Igbos want Biafra BECAUSE Nigeria has refused to restructure. Who are the only people resisting the call for restructuring, thereby holding everyone to ransom? Your guess is as good as mine.
Dear Yorubas and Igbos, what exactly are you dragging? Why have you refused to realise that you have a common enemy, a very ruthless common enemy who have kept you busy fighting among yourselves? Can you not see that your siblings; Ijaws, Urhobo, Edo, etc are all looking up to you for that 'big brother' leadership and direction? Can't you see that the fulanis are not really the problem? You are! Your disunity is! You have no reason to be fighting.
Was it not a Yoruba man, Lt. Col Fajuyi, who chose to die with his visitor and commander-in-Chief, Thomas Umunnakwe Aguyi-Ironsi, an Igbo man, rather than give him up to the Hausa/fulani soldiers on 28th July, 1966?
Was it not an Igbo man, Odumegwu Ojukwu, who released Obafemi Awolowo from calabar prison and sent a squad of Eastern Nigerian policemen who escorted him to Ikenne, Ijebu, his home town?
In 1979, it was one of the best Igbo brains, Alex Ekwueme, playing 2nd fiddle to Shehu Shagari. In 1983/84, it was Idiagbo playing 2nd fiddle to a Buhari. Ojukwu is dead. So is Awolowo. And since I was born, Igbos and Yorubas have never killed each other.
You can join forces to fight a formidable enemy and still remain ethnically patriotic to your respective ethnic groups! Wisdom is profitable to direct.