Since I wrote the inconvenient truth (1). I have been contemplating whether to proceed with second part of the write up. I have been juggling the idea in my thought processes until when Governor Ganduje, suddenly decided to vulcanise the Kano Emirate council into five.
Ordinarily, the creation of additional emirates shouldn’t be a problem but for the diabolical motives behind the actions of the governor aimed at whittling the influence of His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sunusi II
Ganduje, has since denied the insinuations that he was being vindictive, the lame reasons he gave for his action is far from the truth.
The crime of HRH SLS ll is he spoke the truth and truth is what the politicians don’t want to hear.
But before we look in to the merits or demerits of the Ganduje’s action, let us go back to the prepositions in our initial article “ The inconvenient truth (1)”.
We had in that article shown how the creation of states have failed to solve the problems of minorities.
The people who once shared cultural linkages, speak the same language and have lived together harmoniously for centuries were arbitrary dichotomised by the fiat of a Military decree.
The hegemony that existed was broken, the hither to peacefully loving people became arch enemies. The domination of the majority tribe continued while the misery of the minorities were exacerbated each time additional states were created. The whole process became “ Spencer’s World”. A good intention producing a bad result.
To say that we are not better off under the Regional Government is an understatement. The more the merrier.
History has shown how the Military realised so early the mistakes they committed in the creation of states. General Gowon, in his defence of state creation said, “ the political situation at that time was very difficult. “There was fears of the country breaking up, fears of domination by the majority”.
The creation of 12 States by the Gowon administration was the most genuine effort to address the issues arising from civil war. Subsequent attempts by other Military Juntas were purely political and self serving.
General Babangida was the Military leader who created the Six (6) geopolitical zones for whatever reasons he did this, is still un explained, as he to was an actor in the state creation. Hopefully one day he will give the reason in his memoire.
We have also learnt from good authority that former Nigerian Vice President, Late Dr Alex Ekweme constructed and nurtured the idea for the restructuring of Nigeria in to six geopolitical zone.
In an interview he granted to staff of the Saturday Vanguard, Onochie Anibeze, Emmanuel Aziken and Emeka Mamah in 2016 on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence anniversary just before his 84th birthday, he gave an insight into the processes that led to the clamour for restructuring and how it came about.
They asked him whether the six geopolitical zones was his idea alone?
He said, the only person who contributed to the idea was his friend, Bisi Onabanjo. According to report the duo discussed the subject matter when they were in prison.
The 2005 Constitutional Conference, provided for him the opportunity to get official rubber stamp for the idea. Even though his effort to convince the conference to adopted the six geopolitical zones failed. He however succeeded in getting the support of the then Military Head of state late General Sani Abacha.
A development that for the first time divided the One North philosophy which the Southern intellectual and politicians thought would break the hegemony of the feudal Northern champions and the hold the North has over the polity.
Before then, political transactions in the country had been conducted on the basis of North, South, East, and West in which the North prevailed over the polity on account of its numerical supremacy.
The rationale that the six geopolitical zones would resolve the problems of the minority, was not the intrinsic reason for the call for restructuring. The unspoken reason for doing this was to whittle the numerical advantage the North has over the other regions.
The diabolical under belly of the movers agitating for the creation six geopolitical zones was exposed, when the hidden agenda of the group aimed at creating a regional parity between the regions became manifest.
The persuasive reasoning the advocates put forward to convince their audience was not different from that of the military when the states were created.
They expounded the theory that within each region, there are majority and minority group.
In the West, the Yoruba were the majority group, and the minority group were grouped together in what became the Midwest.
In the East, the Igbo were the majority and the minority group called themselves the COR State – Calabar, Ogoja, Rivers.
In the North, Hausa Fulani were the majority group and the minority were mostly the Middle Belt and to some extent, the Kanuri.
So, you had a struggle within each region between the majority and the minority. To cure these problems, they opined there must be parity of regions, that is between the Old North and the Old South. It was on this assumption the geopolitical zones were conceived and manifested.
The North was divided into Northwest, Northeast and North-Central and the South was divided into Southeast, Southwest, and South-South.
The protagonist for the six geopolitical zones further argued that by having six zones you would have three majority regions as well as three minority regions comprising of the following, majority regions being the Northwest, mostly Hausa-Fulani. Southwest, mostly Yoruba and the Southeast , mostly Igbo.
The minority regions being Northeast where you have the Kanuri with a number of ethnic groups in Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba; and in the North Central you have Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Niger; and in the South you have the minorities in the former Midwestern Region and the minority of the Southeast region who together formed the South-South.
To them therefore instead of three regions, you now have six regions; three majority, three minority; three in the North, three in the South.
The arithmetic representation advanced by the proponent of the six geopolitical zones as a panacea for addressing issues of minority in Nigeria was over simplified by the group.
The whole concept was deceptive, it lacks deep thought and broader understanding of the historical issues the state creation has generated among the minority tribes they are trying to protect.
Nigeria is a country populated by over 250 linguistic groups, to dichotomise the country in to three majority and three minority regions and to assume it will solve the problems of the minorities is laughable and nonsensical.
The real reasons behind the restructuring is the appreciation of the fact that numbers in democracy determine who gets what.
The movers of the geopolitical zones have identified the numerical strength of the North, is not in their best political interest. When it comes to issues of political leadership and how politics could be played in Nigeria.
The fear that if the old status quo is maintained the North will always come together and dominate the polity. This became a matter of concern to the likes of late Ekweme and his cohorts.
They know the North with its numerical strength in a representative democracy will continue to provide leadership and must have a say in how the country can be governed. They tried succession which failed, and for them to deal with the Northern hegemony they have to find a way to whittle the Northern grip on power.
The narratives that arose from the creation of states have shown how communities that were hither to living together peacefully, can through some political manipulations be put against each other and become irreconcilable enemies.
They also realised how religion and tribal differences between the people in the North can be manipulated to disfranchise the community to their advantage.
Take for example the North Eastl Region, where I come from, since vulcanisation of the North Eastern state, the states that were created out of the region no longer share anything in common.
The acrimonious relationship that developed after the creation of Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa and later with the addition of Taraba, Yobe and Gombe is still with us to date. The enmity is phenomenal that we behave as if we never lived together as a people who shared common linkages, culture and religion.
Today there is no single entity that is jointly owned by the former North Eastern States as a legacy. This is the state those who wanted to destroy our hegemony wished us to be.
Of the six geopolitical groupings. only the South West can come out of arrangements with a greater advantage by emerging monolithic. And perhaps this is reason the Ekweame group and the south western agitators for restructuring have for first have found common ground on which they can do business together.
The South Western intellectual knew fully well if the six geopolitical structure is smuggled into the constitution they stand to gain more because their zone having one dominant linguistic group will emerge more stronger. They would have the advantage of having a blog vote in the contrived arrangement a situation they are denying the North.
The Ekweme, South East having lost the major chunk of the revenue accruing from oil, realised the numerical strength of the Ibos does not translate to any advantage as no Ibo state produces oil. That is why the Kanu group are calling for the re -Biafarization of the Region or out right secession.
The other card being played is religion. By extracting the North Central from the core North. The assumptions were that religion and tribalism will play a significant role in whittling the unity of the North. The intention was to create divisions as result of which it can exploited by South East and the South West when it comes to who becomes the leader of the country.
This game plan played out in the 2019 Presidential election and it became a welcome litmus test for the geopolitical purveyors.
I recall when the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso, in Benin when he addressed PDP delegates and members during his nationwide tour, he asked the delegates to pick “its presidential candidate from the North West”. He said the North West must produce the next President of Nigeria because they have the highest number of registered voters.
The result of the 2019 Presidential election supported this argument. The think tank of President Buhari campaign team, were aware of the betrayal of the Yoruba group in the 2015 Presidential election where former President Good luck Jonathan went head to head interns of votes received from the south west in spite of the merger of the ACN and the APC .
This time around the handlers of the Buhari campaign did not rely so much on the south west to provide them with required number of votes to counter the South East who are likely blog voting the opposition party.
Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara Kebbi and Kaduna voted massively for the President in spite of the decimal performance of the President in his home zone.
The assumption that kidnapping and killings in the zone would affect the President chances did not happen.
The game plan worked out as the South West maintained their voting pattern.
The degrading of the activities of the Boko Harm in the North East also helped the President in spite of the fact that the opposition flag bearer came from the zone. I don’t intend to comment on other intervening variables for the Presidents high votes in the North East and North West because the subject matter is under ligation.
With the benefit of hindsight, where does this place the people coming from the minority zones of the North East and North Central?
The same permutations also applies to the other Southern clustered minority zones under the six geopolitical arrangement? (To be continued in “ The Inconvenient Truth 3).