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Ndiameeh Babangida Babreek: Unity In Northern Nigeria, Can It Be Salvaged?



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By Ndiameeh Babangida Babreek
Map of Nigeria
Within the past week, we read in the papers that the self appointed and self styled Northern Elders Forum (NEF) met with their other arm, Jamatul Nasir Islam (JNI) in Kaduna. As is always expected after their meetings, they were spitting venoms as usual.

This Northern Elders Forum are self appointed and do not represent the North as it is. The Northern part of Nigeria has over 250 recognised tribes. Are these over 250 tribes represented in the Northern Elders Forum?

Before the 1914 amalgamation and the in-direct rule by the colonial leaders, all the over 250 tribes in the then Northern Nigeria had their kings and chiefs as it were.

The in-direct rule imposed Muslim rulers called emirs on virtually all the tribes in the North as can be seen in most states in the North.

All effort by these tribes to free themselves from this shackle of modern slavery is resisted using the famous statement in the Parrot Newspaper of 1960 quoted below.

Eleven days after Nigeria got her political independence on October 1, 1960, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello said, as was carried by the Parrot newspaper on October 12, 1960:

“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Othman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the north as willing tools and the south as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future.” – Parrot Newspaper October 12, 1960.

Indeed the other tribes in Northern Nigeria are being ruthlessly dealt with and are prevented from getting what is rightly theirs.

Indeed there are still some willing Northern Christians like Dr Paul Unongo, Anthony Sani, Joseph Waku and one Solomon Dalung still serving as willing tools in the hands of the oligarchy.

The above persons and their cohorts have forgotten that the sustained campaign by Boko Haram is sponsored by JNI, Northern Elders Forum to wipe out Christianity out of Nigeria and particularly the North. As it is, the following states are war zones; Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Southern Kaduna. These are core Middle Belt states with overwhelming Christian population.

To deceive their foreign financers of the Boko Haram terrorists, they have coined a language called “mainly Muslim North”.

During the Christmas service in Abuja, the President of Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) announced to the whole world that over 200 of their Churches have been destroyed by Boko Haram.

Last year, the President of the Church of the Brethren (EYN) had cause to tell the world that 186 of their Churches were destroyed by Boko Haram.

Just with the week, one Peter Biye Gumtha who represents Gwoza/Damboa/Chibok in the National Assembly escaped death by the whiskers while the whole of his village in Gwoza was completely destroyed by Boko Haram because they are Christians.

Yet the lousy Northern Elders Forum/JNI is still threatening brimstone and fire because the military under the dynamic trio of Admiral Ola Ibrahim, General Ihijerika and Marshal Badeh have drastically reduced the terrorist acts by Boko Haram to the barest minimum.

Honestly speaking, I think, President Jonathan is too gentle on these guys.

These guys are the major sponsors of Boko Haram. There is no harm in investigating some of them at all.

The former service chiefs must be commended by those who love Nigeria for halting the advance of Boko Haram.

Coming to the issue of unity in former Northern Nigeria, who is talking of unity really with the well outline plan to wipe off Christianity in the North?

Those sponsoring Islamic fundamentalism using Boko Haram are the agents of disunity in the North. Those who imposed emirs on other tribes are the agents of disunity.

If the British can pack their luggage and leave Nigeria and other countries they colonised.

If the French and Portugal can let go off their colonised countries. In fact if the apartheid in South Africa can crumble. There is no justification whatsoever to imposed the emirate system on Northern tribes of Kafanchan, Keffi, Birnin Gwari, Lafia, Ilorin, Lapai, Borgu, Jalingo, Mubi, Biu, Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Potiskum, Zuru and many other towns and villages in Northern Nigeria that are predominantly Christians and have their tribes separate from the Hausa and Fulani.

Therefore let every tribe in the North that desire to have their chiefs and kings be granted that honour.

Again coming to the issue of unity in the North, trust and confidence can still be build between the various tribes and religions if justice and equity is applied uniformly in Northern affairs.

If the agitation for power shift to the North is for purposes of equity, justice and fair play, then the Northern Elders Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum should agree on a Christian Northern candidate this time for the 2015 presidential election.

That will promote the desired sought after unity in the North. This is fair and just since on all previous occasions it has been Muslim candidates that ever represented the North since the first Republic. Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello were Muslims, Shehu Shagari is a Muslim, Bashir Tofa and Atiku Abubukar are all Muslims.

Like I mentioned in one of my articles recently, there are many able, capable and willing Northern Christians who can represent the North ably and fairly.

The APC has the opportunity to present a Northern Christian as their presidential candidate in 2015 since the PDP has been foreclosed by Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

Able and willing candidates are first class materials like Chief Audu Ogbeh, Senator George Akume, Barrister David Umaru, General Ishaku Dikko, General Timothy Shelpidi, Professor Daniel Saror and Engr Markus Gundiri amongst other APC bigwigs in the North.

I am simply making the above suggestions to promote the so called unity that has since flown away from the North.

Unfortunately agents of disunity like Rabiu Kwankwaso, Murtala Nyako, Mua azu Babangida Aliyu, Ango Abdullahi, Lawal Kaita may not allow the progressive suggestions to see the light of day.

Finally the injustice done to great Northern Christians like Professor Andrew Nok, Obadiah Mailafiya, Professor Sunday Bwala, Professor Jacob Kwaga, Professor Dakas Dakas and General Ishaku Dikko by the Yar’ adua administration should be redressed and reversed.

In my opinion, the suggestions above are the ideal path to seeking unity in the North.

Better still convening of the conference of all Northern tribes is still a feasible and noble. Northern Governors Forum should kick the ball rolling.

Let us come to a round table and ask ourselves, why the North is backward? Why is there religious crises and ethnic cleansing in Plateau, Benue, Southern Kaduna and Bauchi by the Fulanis?

Written By Ndiameeh Babangida Babreek

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