In this article, Femi Fani-Kayode, a prominent thought leader in Nigeria, dwells on the recent message sent to the Yorubas by an Arewa Youth group calling them backstabbers.
On June 27th 2017 in Daura, Katsina State one Tanko Abdullahi and one Mohammed Shehu, after a meeting of the Arewa Youth Council, issued the following statement. They said:
“We are very much aware that all the attacks against President Muhammadu Buhari were planted in the media by the Yoruba and spread by southerners generally just to discredit the north in order to pave way for their son, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to become President.
“But their plans will fail insha Allah. We shall resist every of such plans and ensure by all means possible, that the north completes its eight-year tenure and possibly even continue after then, and that the federal structure of Nigeria as it currently is, is not tampered with by secession mongers and their collaborators.
“Having given power to the Yoruba on a platter of gold in 1999 as a way of compensating them for the June 12 saga, it is quite worrisome and unfortunate that they have lived up to their legendary reputation of backstabbing and betrayal by supporting the divisive calls for restructuring or dismemberment of the nation against the will and desire of the north.
“We gave the late Chief MKO Abiola the mandate in 1993 but shortly after that, as it is with the Yoruba as a culture, they immediately started circling around Abiola plotting on how to emasculate the north and strip us of every access we had to the politics and economy of this nation.
“They had also raised a secret army of their elites to carry out these sinister plans against the north if Abiola eventually became President. It was this army that was unleashed on the nation in the guise of NADECO during the June 12 impasse.
“May we remind the Yoruba that without the willingness and magnanimity of the north, there was no way Abiola could have purportedly won that election, and that all the Yoruba have now as assets in the south west, especially Lagos, were given to them by our leaders out of our own usual magnanimity.
“However, time and time again, the Yoruba have always turned their back on us whenever their support is needed. They have chosen to pitch tent with the Igbo this time around just to spite us, but we shall not succumb to their antics”.
Their words are laced with hate, fuelled by ignorance, filled with contempt, propelled by hubristic pride and garnished with the arrogance of Atilla the Hun: indeed they have spoken like the true almajiris that they are.
Meanwhile let us look at the facts.
12 million children are out of school in Nigeria. Out of the 12 million, 10 million are from the north whilst Kano state alone has 3 million beggars.
Nigeria has the highest number of young girls suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the world. And 90 per cent of those young girls are from the north.
According to the UNDP 72 per cent of northern Nigerians are living below the poverty line.
According to UNICEF if Nigeria were to ever break up the core north would be the poorest and most barren place on the African continent.
According to Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna state in northern Nigeria, if the north-western zone of the country were to ever find itself on its own it would be poorer and more ravaged by war than Afghanistan.
According to the World Terror Index Boko Haram and the Fulani militias are the first and fourth “most deadly terrorist organisations in the world” respectively and they both come from northern Nigeria.
According to UNESCO 65 million Nigerians, which represents 50 per cent of the total population!) are stark illiterates and 55 million of them are from the north.
According to UNICEF the heartland and base of pedophiia, child sex, child slavery and child marriage on the African continent is northern Nigeria.
According to President Donald Trump of the United States of America “northern Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places for Christians to live in the world” and “Christians are murdered there in their thousands every year whilst Churches are blown up and burnt down”.
According to CNN “the bastion of radical Islam, Islamic terror and Islamic fundamentalism in Africa is northern Nigeria”.
According to Governor Yari of Zamfara state in north western Nigeria the north has been afflicted with all manner of diseases and epidemics, including meningitis, as a consequence of their many sins against Allah.
According to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo the northern states “have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, the lowest rate of child enrolment in schools, the highest number of unemployed young people, the highest levels of poverty and faces the challenge of inter-ethic and inter-religious conflict including the Boko Haram terrorism.”
All these daunting challenges, disturbing facts and alarming statistics and instead of putting their house in order the Arewa Youth Coalition not only threaten the Igbo with mass murder and genocide and order them to leave the north by October 1st but they have also gone a step further by insulting the Yoruba and accused us of being “serial traitors” and of “trying to impose Osinbajo on Nigeria as President”.
This is the same Osinbajo that has bent over backwards to appease them, that has taken all their insults and provocations and that has resolved to accept the fact that he is more a co-ordinator of government affairs than an Acting President.
I really do wonder what these young northerners really want?
They issue quit notices to fellow Nigerians and they are still going about freely and with AK47 and daggers stained with the blood of their innocent compatriots.
They issue statements insulting their compatriots by calling them ungrateful backstabbers even after stabbing and butchering them to death .
They tell the world that Yoruba Muslims are not real Muslims and that they will never allow them to lead in prayers in the mosque.
I ask again what do these young northerners really want?
Do they really believe that the rest of us are interested in THEIR Nigeria anymore? To many the unity of Nigeria is not sacrosanct and neither do we insist on it at the cost of our lives, our future, our self-respect and our dignity.
This position has been confirmed and reaffirmed by the General Alani Akinrinade-led Yoruba Assembly, the Odua People’s Congress, the Odua Liberation Movement and Afenifere itself.
We may love Nigeria but we are not prepared to sacrifice our liberty on the alter as a sacrifice to her gods and neither are we prepared to be treated like animals or a people that have no history or do not know where they are coming from. The Yoruba culture and race are irresistible and irrepressible.
The influence and power of the ancient Yoruba empire and people stretches from South America, the Caribbean, West Africa, various parts of western Europe and other parts of the world till today.
We come from an ancient lineage of empire and tradition which is thousands of years old and which pre-dates Christianity and Islam. We are well-educated, focused and strong.
We have never been conquered in battle and we have never lost a war to a foreign aggressor or usurper. We are slow to anger but irresistible in battle.
We are a proud and noble race from an illustrious and royal heritage: se bow to no other. That is who and what we are.
If Nigeria remaining one means that we must live as slaves and serfs whilst the north laud it over us and insult us every day then we say let her break and let us go our separate ways before we kill each other.
It is only in this country that those with a blood-lust, the perverted, the depraved, the lazy, the parasitic, the barren, the poor and the diseased insist on leading and ruling over the peace-loving, the sane, the wholesome, the righteous, the generous, the kind, the accomodating, the hard-working, the productive, the prosperous and the healthy.
In view of these racist, divisive and provocative rantings and sentiments from the northern youths (which in my view have the tacit support and backing of their traditional rulers, political elite, trusted leaders and revered elders) those of us from other parts of the country must wake up, smell the coffee, get our act together and rise up to the challenge and to the occasion.
This is the time for men and women of valour and strength to step up to the plate and redeem the honor of their kith and kin. This is the time to say “enough is enough!” (TO BE CONTINUED).
Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from@realFFK.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.