Bayo Adeyinka explores the difference between the politics of Nigeria in the South and that of those in the North. He concludes that Nigerians from the South tend to be atomistic while those from the North are protective of one another.
I am writing this post with a lot of caution and trepidation. I have never subscribed to ethnic chauvinism and I actually detest being labelled as a tribal bigot. I am usually very careful because I have friends and colleagues from every part of the nation and some of my best friends are not even from my side of the country.
However, recent events are making me to have a deeper reflection and I wish we- Southerners in this instance- can have some kind of introspection. Out of 25 appointments made so far, 18 are from the North, 3 are from the South West, 4 are from the South South while the South East has ZERO appointments. A tweet which I saw today stated that “southerners are only competent when it’s time for elections but northerners are competent in terms of governance” and this made the following thoughts run through my mind:
1. Only Southerners have been accusing fellow Southerners of corruption. Oshiomole has been attacking Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as if Ngozi turned down his marriage proposal. The same Oshiomole tried to make nonsense of Akinwumi Adeshina’s successes in the agriculture sector. Ambode tried to pull Fashola down and successfully smeared him with stains. Maybe that’s why Fashola did not get the Chief of Staff role. I’m yet to see a Northerner accuse another Northerner of corruption, even when they belong to different parties. The closest a Northerner got was when the new Kano State Governor attacked Rabiu Kwankaso but he quickly sheathed his sword and even disowned previous reports of attacks. Why are we like this?
2. Are Southerners the only ones who are corrupt? Were there no northerner heading the ministries and parastatals? Did the outgone Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko not have an alleged case of certificate forgery but he still served out his tenure until he resigned voluntarily? I’m not in support of corruption under any guise but the fight against corruption must not be seen to be sectional.
3. How come it’s easier for the President to believe that Sanni Abacha was not corrupt in spite of recovered loot while it is so easy for him to believe Goodluck Jonathan is irredeemably corrupt?
4. I still remember that aside from God, Tinubu made Tambuwal what he is today. The same Tambuwal would later call Femi Gbajabiamila ‘incompetent’ and rated Dogara as more competent. The same Tambuwal was propped up by Tinubu, a Southerner against a fellow Southerner, Mulikat Akande. Obasanjo was very key to denying Goodluck Jonathan a second term. A good number can still recall how OBJ tore his PDP membership card in public glare. The Northerners find it easy to support themselves but we are always pulling ourselves down. Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido and all the other Northern Governors including the former PDP Chairman Adamu Muazu often times refused to campaign for Goodluck Jonathan openly and many times even espoused the virtues of the opposing candidate on the rostrum!
5. Southern leaders and Presidents pull down Southern business men but prop up Northern ones. How many people still remember how Obasanjo ran Mike Adenuga out of town but both Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan made Aliko Dangote what he is today. No northern leader goes against their own. I dare to put it on record that President Buhari will never go against Aliko Dangote for any reason.
6. How come OBJ pardoned Salisu Buhari, the ex-Speaker who forged his credentials and he later was given an appointment as a Governing Council member of a University and heavens did not fall- but when Goodluck Jonathan pardoned Alamieyeseigha it became one of the major issues counted against him? Is there one rule for some and another rule for others?
7. We find it easy to raise our voices in support of the deportation of Buruji Kashamu but have no qualms with Atiku Abubakar strutting around the corridors of power.
8. Only Southerners find it so easy to abuse their elders when they voice opinions not in tandem with the popular opinion. We find it easy to diss Afenifere elders and call them ‘Afenifebi’ while hurling expletives and curses at them. We even abuse our kings and priests. Northerners will never abuse an Emir no matter how unpopular what he said is. Can you imagine any Northerner raising his voice against the Sultan? In spite of Tanko Yakassai, Balarabe Musa and Dangiwa Umar’s perceived support for Jonathan, northern youths did not abuse them. But our own youths run down our elders on social media while our educated elite also support the act.
These are some of the thoughts that have been running through my mind. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I do this at the risk of being labelled an ethnic bigot. The point however is that Southerners have to get their acts right. We have to put our house in order. The bickering must stop. Let’s engage our emotional intelligence. Let’s not allow others to exploit our tendency to self-destruct.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.