By Ahanonu Kingsley
The kingmakers of the prominent town of Iwo in Osun state, Southwest Nigeria, had in 2015 installed Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi as the new Gbaase of the land. But it seemed as they set out to effect their choice and finally landed the crown on his head, they were in for what they never bargained.
Not long after the new Oba was crowned, with the associated fanfare, that he began to act funnily, declaring in emphasis that his kingdom is a centre-piece for Islam in Yorubaland and how it is ‘the citadel of Islamic knowledge’.
Yes, it is understood how Iwoland is a predominantly muslim community, what seemed to be the spreadsheet of islam in the Southwest. But with the coming of the new king, people around and the world needed to know how that status is so cherished by and special to him.
He basked in that euphoria, and when the sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar, paid him a visit, it just seemed- from whatever was the fallout of their meeting, that he was buoyed to assert, without mincing words, his love and admiration for the way the northern rulers decked and appeared in their style of royalty.
Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi quickly started appearing in turbans and dressing in the heavy apparels as is unique in the paraphernalia of the northern muslim kings. Although his steps were strongly criticized by the many discerning elements who looked beyond the moment to see where the young man was headed, this was taken lightly by some few who just watched, and who had taken his new disposition as one that merely portrayed his likeness for the kingly fashion of the north.
As if that was not enough troubling dilemma, the people of the Yoruba southwest woke up, sometime around March 2018, to the traumatic realization of how the new young monarch of Iwo took his wacky admiration further to a sicking assertion. It was something they expected but which, nevertheless, beat their mind; of how that Oba Rasheed relinquished the customary moniker of his Yoruba royal stool to take up the muslim Fulani traditional title of Emir.
In strong will, the Gbaase of Iwoland declared that henceforth he’ll be referred to as the ‘Emir of Iwo’. It was a title that sounded awkward, especially in the part of a country that entirely and traditionally identifies their kings by Oba.
He said it as one that knew indeed what he did; he said it with such an affirmation that showed he was aware of what he did and feared no implications. The young man gave reasons for his action, saying it with all sense of clarity and straightness.
He said: “I have decided to officially adopt Emir title today because I want to emulate the attitudes of Northern Emirs. They don’t begrudge themselves (sic) like Yoruba Obas. It will surprise you to discover that for the past two years, there has not been meeting of Yoruba traditional rulers just because of enmity. There is nothing strange in adopting Emir title. I am the Emir of Yorubaland.”
Indeed, it is obvious that Abdulraaheed did what he did with his full senses. It is not hidden why he took the step that inches him closer to an identification with the muslim Fulanis and away from his Yoruba royal brotherhood. According to Vanguardngr.com, Akanbi said he decided to now bear “Emir of Iwoland” because he wants to emulate the attitudes of northern Emirs.
Believably, the action of the new-won and self-submitted Emir seems to portend a negativity, especially to the culture and tradition of the Yoruba, which obviously is the basis from which his claim to the throne and its privileges was drawn. It is akin to saying that he has turned around the ladder from the height which he had climbed to tinker with the foundation upon which the ladder stood. Does it work that way? Can he survive this seeming anathema? I leave it to the kingmakers and Yoruba traditionalists to answer.
However, beyond the cultural implications, the recent act of Oba/Emir Akanbi seeks to beg a question whose import would apparently seek to dig deeply further and into the history of the Uthman Dan Fodio wished conquest of the Yoruba nation and to a larger extent, the whole of Nigeria.
The last attempt of the Uthman Dan Fodio jihadist invasion, which happened to be the initial entrance into the Southern belt was the land of Kwara. Kwara was and still is majorly a Yoruba state. In the fiery flight of the jihad movement, this place gradually fell to the might of the Fulani warriors. It was at this point that the conquerors established their emirate -the first ever in Yorubaland.
Consequently, the Fulani dominated in the leadership structure in Kwara and subjected the people to their pattern of rulership. It is instructive to note that while it is the aboriginal community of Yorubas that dominated (population-wise), they were yet subject to the ruling class of the emirate. The vestige of this subjugation is still found today as the Ilorin Emirate.
Silently, it seems the conquest desire by the leader of the jihadist is been projected to further accomplishment by the natural descendants of Uthman, who happened to be the first Madi. In view of nationalism, these offspring of the madi might seem just to be for an integrated national being, they, however, still bear within them the sublateral blood that identifies them and demand their loyalty to the principal legacy.
They are Fulanis, they are the descendants and kins of their cherished lord and master, Uthman, and they are meant, by whatever inclination, to answer to the hegemonic call. Their submission to the establishment of Ottoman Empire must stir their commitment to the course to dominate and bring all to subjugation.
The unwritten yet clear tendency of the hegemonist to dominate has been made manifest by their assertions. It’s one mandate they have stated with, sometimes subtle judiciousness and sometimes open unambiguousness. The question is how else do we seek to grasp it?
On October 12, 1960, The Parrot Magazine quoted Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of Northern Nigerias as saying: “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grand father, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the north as willing tool 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.”
[To be continued]
Ahanonu Kingsley writes from Owerri
Breakdown Of Igbo Marginalization In Nigeria
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
“I sincerely believe that the incessant cries about Igbo marginalization in Nigeria is unfounded”
Mr. Kassim in a well written article (On Feb 17, 2020, at 3:43 PM,) wrote the above. He went to try to prove the impossible, that the Igbo is not marginalized except for the period 1967-1970 (the war period). He cited examples: The Igbo are doing just as well as other ethnic groups; The Igbo are found in almost every village, town and city outside of the SE where they ply their trades; work in all professions for which they are qualified, live and raise their children; have been in every government since the war; have a small percentage of their mega rich, the ordinarily rich and the comfortable ones among them who breathe the same air as the ever dwindling and struggling no of the middle class and a mass of poor people; thanks to their hard work, the Igbo own more than 2/3 of the privately owned properties in Abuja; The Igbo also own residential and commercial real estate properties in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and many other major cities in Nigeria; etc.
Mr. Kassim concluded by stating that “Marginalized and oppressed peoples throughout the world are usually not granted free access to live anywhere they want in their countries.”
The examples cited by Mr. Kassim would look like true. When the Igbo cry about marginalization what they actually mean is marginalization by the federal government. Let’s see how:
The SE zone has only 5 states as compared to 6 and 7 states in other zones; has just 15 senators as compared with 18-21 in other zones out of 106 members; has 43 representatives out of 360; has 5 governors out of 36; the lowest number by dollars and by counts of all federal infrastructure development programs including road mileage and bridges; zero police and military colleges and infrastructure; little refineries and electricity grids and pay the highest for electricity; etc.
The federal government borrows money for its development programs but invests the least in SE even though we collectively pay for the loans. 50 years after the war, the war damages have not been repaired despite the fact that billions of dollars were donated by foreign government to repair the damages. The money went to other Nigerian states that had no war damages; some state governments seized Igbo assets and did not release them and did not develop them and they went to blazes. Etc.
These are the reasons for the incessant cries about Igbo marginalization. Nigerians when they sit in a conference like in the House or the Senate agree on the marginalization principles.
But individual Nigerians once out of group welcome the Igbo in their communities. The quick recovery of the Igbo is due to individual efforts of Nigerians. The Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Edo, Ijaw, Efik, etc. each as individual made tremendous sacrifices to see the survival of the Igbo. My uncle had a couple of houses in Kafanchan. During the war, the tenants collected the rent from his property and after the war they handed the rents to him. He was instantly rehabilitated and he sent my cousins to America where they now are thriving. The suppliers to Igbo traders refurnished their customers with inventory without demanding credit worthiness or security deposits. My former students came looking for me and one who was in a secondary school in 1970 gave me one pound from his pocket money. The former military governor of Midwestern Nigeria, Col Ogbemudia, gave a grant to University of Nigeria. There were many benevolent acts like these.
But the Military Governor of Rivers State, Diette Spiff, seized Igbo properties in Port Harcourt and disposed them to his cronies. No compensation. And he put a Rivers’ government stamp on the act. Mr. Kassim’s treatise on the Igbo discrimination/marginalization may look good to a casual reader but there was/is structural marginalization embedded in Nigeria governance that calls for incessant marginalization calls. Until we listen to the cries and do something about them, they will be incessant.
Restructuring is possibly the only solution and many other Nigerian ethnic groups seem to be coming around to the idea.
Nigeria putting her head in the sand like the ostrich, and ignoring the reasons for the cries is not the answer.
~ Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
The North And Vanity Of Power
By Charles Ogbu
Northern Nigeria is a tragic paradox. A walking contradiction, I mean.
For over 40 years, the North has ruled Nigeria and controlled every aspect of her national life. The current President of Nigeria is from the North and virtually every security agencies in Nigeria including the paramilitary ones are in the hands of Northerners. Yet, almost half of the North is firmly in the hands of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements operating under different names. Both our Army Chief, Defence minister and even the Commander-In-Chief now need to be escorted by almost the entire Nigerian armed forces before they visit their home towns all in the North. As I type, some of the bodies of dozenS of people butchered by bandits Friday evening in President Buhari’s own home state of Katsina are yet to be interred.
All the revenue generating agencies in the country from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) etc are manned by Northerners. The richest man in Africa is from the North. Yet, according to a recent report released by World Bank, 87% of Nigerians living in poverty are in the North.
Beyond poverty and insecurity, the North boasts of having the highest number of out-of-school children estimated at 12 million by a UN report. The worst case of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria is in the North. The worst case of illiteracy and drug abuse is in the North. It is also in the North that the highest number of unemployed and unemployable youths are found.
This raises the question: What exactly has the Northern elites done for the North with all the long years they’ve controlled political power in the country? Of what use is power if you cannot use it to change the fortune of your people?
In the midst of all these internal contradictions, why do Northern youths still seem to worship their political elites as some god instead of seeing and treating them as the real authors of their misfortune? Why do Northern youths only care about helping their elites acquire political power without deploying that same energy towards making sure they use that power in a way it will benefit the average Northerner?
Funny enough, despite the consensus on the nothingness that is the Buhari regime and the entire North becoming a hotbed of terrorism and banditry under a Northern Commander-In-Chief, if elections were to be held today between President Buhari who has failed beyond every doubt and a Southern candidate with excellent record and a credible chance of transforming Nigeria, chances are the average Northern youth will vote Buhari even if doing so will conclusively put the country on the way to golgotha. He will, because all that matters to him is having a fellow Northern Muslim at the helm of affairs. Mind you, if the North were to be a separate Nation, Northerners would never elect someone of Buhari’s intellect and competence to head even a hamlet because they know he has nothing to offer. The only reason they support Buhari is because they care more about dominating others than they do about performance.
It is a cultural thing. It has a name: Feudalism.
And this is exactly why the North and the South can never coexist happily because the two regions have a world view and value system that contrasts sharply with each other. One wants to explore the world and her full potentials while the other simply wants to dominate everyone and force others to go back to the dark ages with her.
I understand that we are in a time when truth sounds like hate to those who hate it but it must be stated in an unmistakable term that the Northern part of Nigeria is a huge liability to the rest of the country. If the region fails to take immediate steps to address her issues, the North risks collapsing under the weight of her internal contradictions. And when it happens, it will drag the rest of the country along as we are already witnessing.
Southern leaders must start making preparations for the day-after-tomorrow because if a man cannot stop a bad rain from falling, wisdom demands he should at least take measures to protect himself from being beaten by the rain.
Ogbu is a socio-political analyst and good governance advocate. He tweets from @RealCharlesOgbu
‘Dear Igbo Governors, You Don’t Have Sense!’
By Baron Roy
The Yoruba governors eschewed party affiliations, personal pride and all. They sought the help of their intellectuals, sociocultural groups and technocrats and established the South West Regional Security outfit.
The Northern Establishment went mad with rage! They got the President of Northern Nigeria to summon them, threaten them and attempted to intimidate them. But the governors, with the backing of their people (and indeed Southern Nigerians) stuck to their guns, and told the Northern President to ‘go f@ck himself!’ We clapped and danced in delight!
And the Fulani Terrorist Herdsmen are on the backfoot in the Oduduwa Region now.
But what did the South Eastern governors do?
They ignored every single sociocultural group of South Eastern extraction, approached the Northern President like the regular neanderthals they are, and declared their support for his moronic security policies.
Whereas the Yoruba governors align with their citizens to ensure the security of lives and properties in the Oduduwa Region, the gubernatorial slaves of the South East threw their own people under the bus just to get a patting on the back from the Northern President!
Dear South Eastern governors, you don’t have sense! You’re very stupid!
Disclaimer: Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official standpoint of Oriental Times or any of its editors thereof.