Orgasm is sweet and pleasurable but pain hurts. Perhaps, nothing best manifests these two contrasts as the way two of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, the Igbo and Yoruba, relate with each other. It is a relationship fraught with so much mutual suspicion that they both prefer to enjoy the pain of relating with their common oppressor albeit slavishly, like a man in heat that cavorts with an infected woman only to wince with the pain of gonorrhea afterwards.
As 2019 approaches, we really need to interrogate why these two giants of southern Nigeria cannot work together to liberate themselves and siblings from the ravages of the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy. Ordinarily, southern Nigeria should be dictating the tone of the music Nigeria should dance but for the self-inflicted and induced mistrust of the two ethnic groups. The oil that powers the economy and, in fact, everything in this country, comes from the South, which is equally the heart of commerce and media as well as the best brains in all fields of knowledge and endeavour. How come a section so blessed plays second fiddle to the Hausa-Fulani that depends on it to thrive?
The simple answer is that the Igbo and Yoruba have allowed their common enemy to sow seeds of divisions among them. The Hausa-Fulani oligarchs know what it is getting from the sustained air of mistrust among the two ethnic nationalities and go all out to oil it lest their hold on power crumbles.
This article by no means intends to repudiate the Hausa-Fulani. In fact, it recognises that they deserve commendation for reading the cards very well and playing it with great dexterity. After all, it is all about survival and they too have a right to survive and nobody should begrudge them for being smarter. However, I ask: For how much longer will they survive at the expense of the South, all because of the mental indolence of the Igbo and Yoruba to understand how fast the hands of time are moving? For how much longer would the South enjoy the massage of an infected lady? That is the orgasm of pain referred to, suffering and smiling.
Look at the appointments being made under the present administration and see how the South has been brazenly and repeatedly shortchanged. Government recently released a list of appointees where the Yoruba was said to have more appointments than the other sections of the country. That may be true but what positions are those, backroom or frontline? Even at that, would the Yoruba gloat over their ‘bounties’ and forget to raise their voice against palpable neglect of their Igbo brothers? The Yoruba should never be carried away by the marginal droplets they get but must fight alongside their southern brothers that equity and fairness prevail.
Take the appointments made into the Department of State Security (DSS) and now the appointment of judges for the Court of Appeal. The North has taken virtually everything and we are slavishly grateful for the pittance that drops from the master’s table.
The Yoruba, against all odds installed this government but can we honestly say that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is getting his dues apart from the nebulous title of national leader? Yet this is a government he gave his all. Disenchantment may have prompted his meeting with leaders of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, lately, a very welcome move indeed. However, I urge him to extend such meetings to other leaders in the South, especially the South East. The Yoruba and Igbo must close ranks and let the king know that he cannot mount the throne without kingmakers, neither can he rule without the people.
We have heard enough of how the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo did this or that to equally late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and vice versa. We want to hear what we are doing to ourselves today to advance common and mutually beneficial grounds. We need to hear stories of how Adekunle Fajuyi chose to die instead of giving up Aguiyi Ironsi. We need to hear how Ojukwu released Awolowo from Calabar prison and sent soldiers that escorted him to his home in faraway Ikenne. Whether these are true stories or not as contended do not matter. What does is that such selfless sacrifices make sweet melodies and make the heart tender. Let us block our ears to how the same Awolowo used economic blockade to kill millions of Igbo children. That memory should die with Awolowo. We need to reorder our thoughts as we build new bridges for the good of today and tomorrow.
It is all so annoying when we allow our heads to be knocked together by the Hausa-Fulani oligarchs, only to guffaw at our expense over bowls of fura. Ask yourself what the Hausa-Fulani contribute to sustainable economy in real terms. Yet they control the political power. They control the military and paramilitary forces. They are decked in overflowing agbada and sit atop juicy boards and agencies while southerners come bowing at their feet even while doing the job.
The Niger Delta is on the boil because oil exploration activities have destroyed the entire landscape and acquatic life. The people have neither potable water nor land to farm. The mostly fishing communities are now idle because the fishes are dead in the greasy seas but every year fake promises of cleanup activities abound; even contract papers are being flaunted in our faces for years but nothing seems to be happening. Such is also the case of the Second Niger Bridge that is coming up again as electoral promise for 2019. Arrant nonsense; we have been deceived enough!
Until the Igbo and Yoruba realise their parlous state and harmonise their relationship, the entire south will remain slaves of the North. Even our people who rise to power do their utmost to undermine their brothers in order to impress their northern task masters.
The assumption that power resides in the North and the Yoruba and Igbo undermine each other to kowtow to the North in order to have a piece of the action is misplaced and unfortunate. It’s like going to Sokoto to look for what is inside your sokoto. The power grain is in the South, not North, but we foolishly released it to the North, and by power, I am not talking necessarily in terms of political office but the entire gamut of control.
The Igbo and Yoruba have been pulling in different directions and undermining each other like the crab while the Hausa-Fulani are held in place by the bond of unity and purpose. They know the Igbo and Yoruba are dry sand that cannot stick together and so divide and rule over them. This is a wakeup call to jettison parochial and selfish tendencies, otherwise the Hausa-Fulani will continue to run roughshod over the South. God forbid!