Abuja is not a Northern city. Abuja is a city in the North Central part of Nigeria ( The Middle Belt axis) which is constitutionally the Federal Capital of Nigeria.
Many Nigerians in the South have never visited Abuja or cared to know anything about the city. To such people, they see it as one of the infrastructurally challenged cities in Northern Nigeria (as many cities too in the South are blighted by such too) and view Abuja as a city of Northerners and Almajiris all over the place.
Abuja is a beautiful and modern city. Perhaps the most beautiful city in West Africa, which was planned from the scratch. It took about twenty years to build and has a growing population. I am eager to know the population of Abuja in next year’s scheduled census. I am sure it would be above 3 million people with more people relocating every year to the city.
It’s a city of power, peace and promise. A green city, serene and beckoning.
Abuja, as far as I have seen since I started living here, has more Southerners as residents than even Northerners. There is a strong co-relation of tribes here in the city. I have come to appreciate the Northerners more while here. It is actually part of my pan-Nigerian wish list; born and bred in the South-South, spent four years of University Education in the East (Nsukka), spent over 25 years living and building a career in the South-West ( Lagos), and now expanding my empirical interactions in the Northern zone. And I am all the more enlightened for it.
And I have come to startling conclusions but quite profound in our quest to build a nation. We all fucking need each other. Excuse my French. But, I am just one with a perhaps lopsided though on National Unity. But, that is the truth.
So, when bombs go off in Abuja or any part of the North, it is not ‘their place’ or ‘their wahala’ which should immediately come to the minds of those in the South. It is ‘our nation’. The bombs kill Christians and Muslims alike, Northerners and Southerners. Who says the bombs won’t sneak to your comfort zone over there soon and cause the same pain it is causing some here?
God forbid that a bomb should go off in Lagos one day (as He should forbid that more bombs go off in the North from now on) but if that happens, this plastic SouthWest and Northern political relationship will be tested. And that’s when people would have to really think deep about building real structures of integration and cohesion.
We need each other.
Charles Novia is an award-winning filmmaker. He is founder of November Productions and November Records. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.