The tragedy of one Nigeria
When I lost my father, the late Emmanuel Nwodo Ogbu Nwa-Chima, not too long ago, too afraid to admit the obvious and too scared to face the world on my own, for days, I lied to myself that my good man wasn’t dead but had somehow disappeared to someplace cool and would re-appear later to attend to his good boy. Sadly, he never did. And here I am. Stronger than he left me.
The biggest tragedy that would befall a man is for him to live in denial for far too long that he has now come to accept his own lies about his ugly situation and swallow them as though they were the gospel truth.
Sadly, this is the tragedy of the situation of Southerners in the Nigerian experiment.Contrary to what many believe, the Southern part of Nigeria IS NOT in a union with the North. They are in slavery and the North is their slave master. It grieves me to admit this but it grieves me even more that its true.
But this is not even the real problem. The real problem here is that most southerners appear either oblivious of the fact that they are in slavery or they’ve come to see their chain as a very beautiful bracelet. There is no task more tedious than rescuing a slave who is unaware of his slave status.
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves,” says Harriet Tubman.
Southern Nigeria is living in slavery. Let’s hurt ourselves with the truth rather than comfort ourselves with lies. If the truth is bitter, that is more reason we need to hear it.
Here in this country, less than two years ago, a Northern Muslim man from Kano State who goes by the name Yunusa Dahiru (alias Yellow) kidnapped an under-aged Christian girl named Ese Oruru from Bayelsa State. And to prove that a child sent to steal by the father breaks the door with his head, Yunusa took his victim straight to the palace of the Emir of Kano where the girl was brain-washed and forcibly converted to Islam before being repeatedly raped and impregnated by Yunusa. She is nursing the baby even as I write this.
Now, here is the real proof of the slave status of the southerners: The then Police Inspector General was a southern Christian by name Solomon Arase and this police chief had known about this case for over nine months. He equally knew the identity as well as the address of both the victim and the perpetrator and accomplices of this crime but he was too scared of the slave masters to intervene to rescue the innocent girl. On several occasions, the mother of the victim travelled from Bayelsa to Kano in search of her daughter but was assaulted by a Kano mob at the palace of the emir while the police played the spectator. I.G Solomon Arase would later tell the whole world that he could not just walk into the emir’s palace to rescue the kidnapped victim without the blessing of the emir who was in Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj.
A police chief admitted waiting for the permission of a traditional ruler before rescuing a kidnapped victim hidden in the palace of the traditional ruler with the full knowledge of the said traditional ruler.
How do you think this would have played out if it was a certain Chukwudi that abducted an under-aged Muslim girl from Kano and hid her at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha? Would the police wait for permission from the Obi before invading his palace? Would our Muslim brothers even wait for the police before killing any southern living and non- living thing around them?
Fulani criminals have murdered thousands of Nigerians and displaced millions. To make it worse, they’ve repeatedly admitted to these killings right in the presence of security agencies. Matter of fact, last year, immediately after they slaughtered over 500 Agatus in Benue State and dozens in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani, Enugu State, the leader of the marauding Fulanis, one Senator Dagari Alkali led a delegation of the butchers straight to the defence headquarters where they publicly told everyone that, indeed, they were responsible for the killings attributed to them because in his words; “we have been pushed to the wall”
And what was the response of the defence chiefs? They all shook hands, took a group photograph with the ‘special’ visitors with open teeth and the Fulanis majestically walked out of the defence headquarters like the slave masters that they are. And the killing continues.
But just in case, these instances didn’t quite explain the slavery situation well, here are other instances: Last year, an Igbo Christian woman, Mrs. Bridget Agbohime was gruesomely murdered in broad day light in Kano by a group of Muslim youths for what they call blasphemy. We cried. We shouted. We wailed louder than the reggae god, Bob Marley.
To pull a wool over our eyes and shut us up, the sharia government of Kano State – the same state government that has secured death sentence in the state sharia court against number-less persons for the same blasphemy – decided to arrest the killers of Bridget. And it did and even charged them to court. Right there in the court, the state chief prosecutor, Mr. Dauda Jubril took time to explain to the magistrate how the five accused carried out the crime but the moment the case file got to the state Attorney General, Mr. Haruna Falari, he categorically told the court to discharge and acquit the five accused as according to him, “they had no case to answer”. And that was the end of the case. Meanwhile, the case of Joe Umunnakwe who named his dog “Buhari” was not left to the government of Ogun State. A police D.I.G was put in charge of the case.
Now think of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB members in different prisons all over the country while Boko Haram and Fulani terrorists once tagged the deadliest and fourth deadliest terror groups in the whole world, all from the same religion and region as the slave masters, are being gifted with a juicy amnesty offer, released from prison and even protected with a special army task force on top your tax and oil money.
Now, think of Ile-Ife where despite the fact that Hausa/Fulanis drew the first blood and even paraded the severed head of the victim, according to report, the arrests by the Hausa/Fulani headed security agencies have been lopsided against the Ife indigenes and have seen even a Yoruba monarch arrested and paraded alongside other Yorubas like common criminals simply for defending their ancient city of Ile-Ife.
The Interior Minister, Abdulrahaman Dambazzau, has never visited any venue of the Fulani attacks in the past. But he quickly visited Ile-Ife and suddenly, the badly compromised security forces that have never arrested and prosecuted the Fulani terrorists killing and maiming innocent people have suddenly become more efficient than Jack Bauer. They want us to think that the killings were done by the Yorubas alone while the Hausa settlers folded their arms all through.
The most shameful aspect of this whole tragedy is that while this rape is being perpetrated against southerners, southern elites are still busy mortgaging the future of their unborn generation to these same Northern slave masters for crumbs while their well educated but fundamentally stupid youth are busy in some Igbo-Yoruba-Niger Delta cat and mouse fight. Talk of misplaced anger!
If you criticise the lopsided arrest in Ife killing, chances are the first person that will attack you will be a southerner. Condemn the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu and trust me, you will be attacked not by northerners but southerners first.
Such is the degree of the willingness of southerners to continue defending their slave masters. But, while it is important that we acknowledge our slave status at the hands of a few northern oligarchs and work towards our freedom, it is more important if not most important that we do not fail to remember the faces of our southern parents who deliberately marched us into this slavery out of sheer greed.
Ogbu, a social analyst, writes from Port Harcourt.