We must revenge this genocide
The subject matter
I have a difficulty with the choice of the subject matter for this page. I have promised a friend, Mal. Ya’u Shehu Darazo, that I will use this week to write about the Arewa Consultative Forum, less than a week before its next meeting. But recent happenings in the Middle East have since made that promise difficult to fulfill. I am sorry. I thought I would write a strong article urging all governments in predominantly Muslim states to severe relations with Israel. Recently, there has been a growing unholy romance with the Zionist state with our governors and local government chairmen frequenting it. One wonders why they feel that we need another master in addition to America. If they have the feelings of their people at heart, they should borrow a leaf from the late Sardauna, who expelled all Israeli related companies from the North in the early sixties.
But writing about Israel too will not be possible with the recent genocide in Lagos. Why discuss about injustice in a distant land when you have enough perpetrated here at home, committed by the people with whom you share the same nationhood? And so I feel compelled to postpone discussing about Israel, like that on Arewa Consultative Forum, until another day.
The recent genocide against Hausas – and that, in the context it was used by the bloodthirsty Ooduists in Lagos, means anybody of Northern extraction – has illustrated what I discussed last week. That is, for the peaceful and continuous existence of this country as a single nation, the North, which is clearly in the majority, has to maintain its hegemony particularly under a democratic set up. We have no other option. We must take over; we must discontinue the insensitive and partial government of Obasanjo in 2003.
What is at stake is justice. Nothing else. Innocent people are losing their lives. When the life and honor of citizens are not safe anywhere in the country, the responsibility to restore confidence and protect lives and properties lies squarely on the able hands of the majority. The President came to power with our blessing; he rode on our backs. But if he cannot prove to be responsible enough to let us live, then getting rid of him in the next election becomes imperative and a national responsibility in which all well-meaning Nigerians must join hands. That is the crux of the matter.
We owe the nation a duty to return the sense of belonging to everybody, southerners and northerners alike. We cannot sit back and watch the selfish parochial whims of some primitive tribalists exterminating the lives of defenseless citizens, more so when such bizarre scenes of lawlessness become increasingly recurrent.
What actually is OPC aiming at? What on earth is the crime of an innocent housewife in her home that makes her deserve a hatchet when she was preparing a breakfast or a supper for her hungry kids? What in fact was the fault of her kids who were herded and burnt alive on their way to school without given the least chance to say farewell to their poor mother back at home. What sin did their father commit, when he was cut into pieces after a hectic day that was spent gathering the little he could find for the kids and their mother? What was their crime to deserve this barbaric brutality? These are questions for the OPC, the President and his service chiefs and other supporters of the Oodua ‘curse’ as well?
When the Babangida Administration first muted the idea of a southern President after the nullification of the Yar’Adua and Ciroma primaries, some of us could see the danger inherent in entrusting such a strong office in the hands of people that have a pathological hatred for all other ethnic groups in the country.
The argument from the protagonists of the idea among Northern politicians then was that it was time for the North to allow others a chance. A barsu su ma su dana mana! Some of them were innocently naïve, not knowing the implications of a power shift. But many were deliberate and hungry prostitutes that entered an agreement with the South. And as Joseph was sold at a paltry price, they traded off the North and our national security for peanuts. They were shameless to make clean their breasts on it publicly.
It was a combination of naivety and deception that brought Obasanjo to power in the last election. No one will denounce the overwhelming support the North gave him. But other factors or groups of people came into play this time. One was the sympathy for June 12 as pointed out by many writers. The second was those who wanted to protect their loot. The third was those who thought that Obasanjo was the same person they knew in the seventies; that is assuming that they had a clear understanding of whom he was, which the world now has every cause to doubt.
Whatever was the role we played in making Obasanjo successful in the last election, one thing remains crystal clear: that though he has fulfilled the desire of the second group, those wishing him to protect their loot, the other two groups are grossly disappointed. That is because he has failed to satisfy the yearnings of the majority of Nigerians who are looking for nothing but the peaceful atmosphere in which they will make a living for their children and themselves. This feeling of betrayal has thickened our political atmosphere, taking us back to square one.
May God have mercy on the souls that were lost! If they were to reincarnate, they would have asked two people two simple questions. They would ask OPC and their supporters, “What is our crime, as children, as housewives, as petty traders, as mai-guards, as tanker drivers to deserve your anger, brutality and murder? I know the answer from their murderers would be simple, “intori iwo gambari ni.” Then they will look at Obasanjo and say: “where is your campaign promise or is it the reward we deserve for voting you into power?” What would his answer be other than what the OPC had told them earlier? Baring his back to expose the beatings he allegedly sustained during his detention, he would say, “Ausa, look wetin you do me...”
When the recent genocide in Lagos started on Sunday, one thing must have preoccupied the minds of northerners living there, that an intervention from the Federal government security agencies will come soon enough to save their souls from the champions of an ethnic cleansing. Monday morning came to pass. The government was quiet. Its evening was worse. The Tuesday that followed was not better than its Monday. Wednesday came, nothing throughout the day. In all these days, the President was busy attending summits and conferences in Abuja.
Until the 9.00am news when the hoping souls have died away, their bodies butchered, and enough news of the mayhem have reached the North that the government, through no better person than its amphibious Goebbels of this administration, came out saying that it condemns this act in the strongest terms, that the OPC is banned and its members will be arrested... I wish the voice that was only meant to save the souls of Yorubas in the North had come early enough to save the northerners in Lagos.
We are tired of this rubbish, of this deafening mediocrity and its conspiratorial underpinnings. We are tired of empty promises and delegations of sellouts coming to pacify us. Why should the government solicit for our forgiveness without telling us its sin? Tell us what wrong you did, that you are now coming down kneeling, asking for forgiveness. We urge traditional rulers to keep a long distance from the gimmicks of this administration. If the government is serious it should undertake a mass arrest of OPC members and force their supporters in government to resign. We are tired of its ambivalence and its double standard.
Didn’t the President have the time to publicly come out and mourn the dead as he once came out to solicit for their votes? Didn’t they deserve it? I would like to believe that he did not have the courage, if at all he cared. Months ago he told us that he has given an order that anybody who claims to be a member of OPC should be arrested or shot at sight. Was it done? On the contrary, Fasehun was ubiquitous, attending meetings with the cream of the Yoruba ‘nation’ and running his clinic. Even after his arrest, we wait to see what justice will be meted on the tribal gangster. The case is adjourned until mid-next month! That is news No. 1. May the dead rest in peace!
But God has decreed that the dead will not return to ask questions or to take revenge. We owe them a duty to terminate this government, wait a minute, not through a coup or other nefarious means, but by the constitutional means of voting it out of power. Nigerians other than the Southwest brought it to power. And with this record of insensitivity no one would deny them the right to choose a different set of leaders altogether.
We will be patient. When the time comes, Tinubu with his fake certificates and army of butchers will have no place to hide. He will be prosecuted and there will be no Obasanjo in power to shield him. Those that engaged in these dastardly acts will be brought to book too. They will be made to wear the same shoe as the alleged murderers of yesterday. We owe the dead this responsibility. Let no one be in doubt.
It is not Obasanjo alone that will lose the 2003 election. The entire Yoruba ‘race’ are squandering a golden opportunity that would have guaranteed the possibility of being entrusted with power once more during our lifetime. I assure them that Nigerians will never grant any of them such an opportunity again.
And one really wonders how their amoeboid machinations encapsulated the President. Time is fast running out and, believe me, there is not a single achievement that this government can show. Where is it, with these killing, with gross partiality in administration and resource allocation, with the capacious inability to tackle the smallest problem it has inherited? I just called a friend and he told me that a gallon of petrol is N600.00 in Lagos, N500.00 in Kaduna while I know it to be N350 here in Bauchi. The Abacha that this administration likes to castigate so much was in this respect alone a thousand times better than Obasanjo. This administration was quick to cash on the temporary effort of General Abdulsalami Abubakar; it falsely moved to claim that the availability of petrol at its debut was as a result of the transparency they introduced into the system. But lies, as the Hausas would say, only flower but cannot seed. So is the transparency over now with only three people, two allegedly close to the President as pointed out by Wada Nas last week, importing 90% of our petrol requirement? At least Abacha was magnanimous enough to allow as many as fifteen (!) Nigerians share the contracts.
Where is the efficiency that the President promised us on 29 May 1999? Where is the security to lives and property that he promised to guarantee? Gone with the winds.
Before closing this discussion, I would like to advise the government to concentrate on leaving a last minute record, if it is interested in any. It should forget the dream of returning in 2003. I would like to say the same thing to its supporters in other parts of the country. I heard that a forum has been formed in Sokoto with the aim of improving the image of the Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar. What a wild goose chase! Who told them that his image is so bad to need a whole forum to improve it? A good beer does not need a push. Last year this time, who ever thought that they will return to the North so early, cup in hand? We thought the North was worthless, deserving only abuses. Ashe wargi wuri shi ka samu wallah.
On the other hand I was shocked because I never believed that there are still political prostitutes willing to sell a failed government. But I know Sokoto very well. Its people who are descendants of Jihadist will be the last to support the perpetration of injustice. They will do the right thing when the time comes. They will reject the political prostitutes in their midst.
We must work extra hard to block every path towards the return of this government to power come 2003. They want to come back through the back door, using Atiku as a ladder. That will not prevent us from doing the least that the dead expect us to do on their behalf.
We must revenge by compelling the President and his boastful Oodua army to hand over power to a respectable Nigerian whose heart is large enough to tolerate our sight and accommodate our differences. That will be a great moment to witness. It will then be time for justice to take its cause. The culprits will be brought to book. That is the cudgel that those who lost their lives in the recent genocide in Lagos would like us to take up. May their soul rest in peace!