Only very few people would say they know or would be prepared to risk talking about what is really tearing Nigeria apart. Regime ideologues and many northerners do not think it is Buhari’s nepotism as commonly accepted. But, until they are able to articulate what they believe to be the case, the Buhari’s nepotism analogy will remain hegemonic. And until President Buhari were to show evidence of conversion of a Pauline proportion, the Fulanisation narrative and its implications would persist. That makes the storyline in this representation of the late Sardauna of Sokoto and first and last Premier of the defunct North interesting. Intervention did not know the author and did not seek to know him or her or try to establish if it is true or not. Sent to Intervention by a senior legal mind and a Whatsapp connoisseur, the representation which is capable of a million interpretations goes as follows:
The legend, Dan Masani Kano, Dr. Maitama Sule once told me about the sacrificial leadership of our founding fathers when he narrated this episode to me.
During the first Republic, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna Sokoto had a tradition of coming outside his office, standing under the tree and discussing with some of his ministers and officials to gauge the pulse of opinions about his administration.
On one of those occasions, Sardauna expressed his concerns about the unity of the peoples of Northern Nigeria. He interrogated one of his ministers who was standing next to him, the Makaman Bida on why political opposition in the then Western and Eastern Regions were not as fierce as what was obtainable in the Northern Region?” He continued, “despite their differences, they are united whenever common regional interests was at stake, but this was different with the then Northern Regional opposition parties?”.
Makaman Bida responded by asking the Premier to audit his immediate political environment. Sir Ahmadu Bello immediately turned to his right and looked, all those standing around him were Hausa or Fulani Muslims. The same thing was applicable to his left hand side. There was not a single Christian or non Muslim of Hausa or Fulani around him that were appointed into his government except civil servants. Sir Ahmadu Bello said, “Makama, I can now understand, because we excluded them from our government, they cannot appreciate our noble intentions for developing Northern Nigeria. No wonder, there was antagonistic opposition by them against us”, he lamented.
There and then, the Premier ordered the recruitment and appointment of young Christian intellectuals into the Northern Regional government. As a result, Sunday Awoniyi, from Kabba Province was appointed Private Secretary to the Premier, Michael Buba from Shendam, Plateau Province was appointed Minister, who became Sardauna’s closest ally until death. Dr. Abashiya was appointed physician to the Premier, while Canon Selchang Miner from Lowland federation, Plateau Province was appointed Resident of the then Sokoto Province now Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.
Sir Ahmadu did not only end there, he opened up broad engagements and consultations with different shade of opinions, leaders of thoughts, traditional rulers, community leaders and ethnic nationalities with the intention of rallying them around the agenda of developing the North. Anybody whom in his considered opinion mattered, he personally engaged him directly or through trusted emissaries. It yielded positive impact in building trust and confidence building on his leadership. Also, the scope of antagonistic opposition to his government and policies narrowed, which resulted into stability and massive progress recorded within six years of his administration.
The Tarok people of Lowland federation in Plateau Province were ardent opponents of NPC government. Sardauna tried to gain acceptance into the predominant UMBC controlled territory but to no avail. Therefore, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the humble political tactician decided to approach Mallam Potter, Christian Missionary in Langtang to assist him in convincing Tarok people to joined not only his party but the Federal Government. Of course, out of respect and honour to the Church leadership of Mallam Potter, our people joined NPC’s government, our Member of Parliament, Chief Solomon Lar, was appointed junior Minister in Tafawa Balewa’s Federal Government in Lagos. Yergam Native Authority was created, Ponzhi Tarok was upgraded, General Hospital was sited in Langtang, all within a short period.
The bottom line of all these narration is that inclusiveness and justice is what is lacking in our contemporary democratic traditions. Injustice, nepotism, ethnicity, discrimination, marginalisation, religious bigotry and extremism are the building bricks of government architecture at all levels in Nigeria. Yet, perpetrators of these atrocities expect peaceful atmosphere to exist, how?
When majority of the people are excluded from participation in their governments, then how do you expect them to appreciate that the intentions is not conspiratorial against their collective aspirations? When you saturate the government with people of your faith against our secularism, how can you convince other faiths that your intentions is not sinister but patriotic?
When you populate the government with only people from you ethnic affiliations, how do expect others that have been excluded to have confidence in your leadership as capable of guaranteeing their rights and dispensing justice to them?
This was the moral burden Sir Ahmadu Bello had to deal with instantly under the tree outside his office in Kaduna when he was confronted with it, because as a leader, he realised how critical it was in entrenching unity of his people.
You cannot ride a horse of injustice to the market in search of justice. It is morally dishonest for our leaders to expect peace to reign in the face of brazen injustice, awful bigotry, excruciating hunger, demonic impunity and escalating unemployment, which dehumanised every resolve to attain social stability.
We are a multicultural society, endowed with pluralism. So, what is penitent is the deployment of these God given resources to fortify our strength. No amount of extremism or fanatical pressure from utopian zealots will alter the social status of Nigeria. It is mere deceit for any diabolical ideology to fantacise employment of heinous tactics to impose utopian agenda on us. We are Christians, Muslims, traditionalists and atheists. We are Nigerians, take it or leave, period.
So if we must get solutions to the mirage of problems confronting our society, I challenge every elected or appointed leader in Nigeria to audit his immediate political environment to ascertain those who populate it. This was the jab of vaccine Sardauna of Sokoto took against the political virus which addressed similar epidemic in the then Northern Region and it worked.
Any religion devoid of love, peace and justice must reconcile its teachings with the scriptures to ascertain its barometer, because God Almighty is Love. My ambition is to live a life of love and not to be religious. Peace be upon you all!
Have a great week!