Why are we in the same boat with Gumi and co?

February 27, 2021
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NIGERIA today is in a fierce battle with mean men of coarse manners. They are everywhere preaching peaceful coexistence and ‘love your neighbour’. They are our political leaders who talk with a robber’s liberty. These ‘troubles-of-Nigeria’ come in torrents and are in the form of ‘leadership’. And these demons beautifully conceal their true intentions like cold, sly mien of a snake. We are daily left to assume that our sanity is still intact as we lament our cruel fate as ‘ordinary’ Nigerians. Members of our household understand our exasperation but outsiders might assume our display is the onset of a mental issue.

Since Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State gave the order that criminals that come as herdsmen should vacate Ondo State forests, our brothers from the North have not ceased to bare their fangs. None of them has however made as much as a queer whimper on the killings, kidnapping, destruction of farms, rape and sundry criminality that gave rise to the order. The anger of our lords of the manor was heightened when a minor issue in a food market in Shasha, Ibadan degenerated into inter-ethnic violence. Shasha eclipsed the atrocities of the Fulani in Ibarapaland and the celebrated personal intervention of Sunday Igboho. Shasha was a kind of defeat for the northern lords, a slap in their concealed faces. And this slap has forced them them to show their ugly faces.

Governors from the north trooped to Ibadan. They were alarmed. They sensed danger that must be reined in promptly because ‘our people’ are affected, so affected that they can’t even transit to Lagos from that axis. They cringed at the hurt of Shasha. Shasha mayhem is not good for Nigeria. The hurt of Ibarapa killings and destruction is none of their business. Why would those northern governors care about the killings in Ibarapa and destruction of life and property in the entire Oke Ogun and other areas of the same Oyo State when ‘our people’ have the upper hand? Why would they come to Oyo State or anywhere in the South West for that matter when it is obvious that the execution of the low-intensity war against the non-Hausa/Fulani is going as planned?

There has not been one voice of northern sympathy for the Middle Belt, South East, South South, South West who have been screaming that their people are under the siege of bandits and terrorists. The Federal Government since the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari refused to condemn the bandits until recently. Banditry, many of us believe, heightened in the country when our president gleefully threw our borders open to all ‘our African brothers’ and sundry. The Northern Governors Forum has not been this united as when they came to Ibadan. Why has the forum been silent all along? Why are they speaking on the insecurity in the country as if the problems are new? Am I the only one seeing the ‘we against them’ posturing of the northern leaders in all of these?

It is sad that former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda and his successor, Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir; and former governor Sule Lamido have all spoken like northern leaders. They have shed themselves of Nigeria and bared their true-northerner identity by rising only when Ondo and Shasha happened. When the housefly was feating on a man’s sore, there were no eyebrows raised until the man retaliates…

While the others were brazen and flung caution away, Lamido was careful by burying his scalding in an opinion article by one Adamu Muhd Usman of Kafin-Hausa. Lamido, however sounded typical. “Nigerians are free to live wherever they chose and their rights are guaranteed by the constitution. Lamido spoke about the incident when non-indigenes were asked to leave the state or forced to register in some states. He said in order to promote peace and unity in this country, every Nigerian must have freedom of movement and to live anywhere he chooses without intimidation, victimisation, humiliation or deprivation.”

It is heartbreaking that these so-called leaders have chosen to ignore the cause of what they are defending. They can keep their bandits and killers and let us keep our peace and life. If they have refused to address the serial criminality of their untrained sons that strayed to the south, should we not exercise our rights to life and freedom?

This united front for banditry and terrorism by northern leaders is suspicious. What is the true mission of Sheikh Abubakar Gumi? What indeed is in the big picture? If the North needs Gumi, does the South need him and his divisive message? Why has the presidency and the National Assembly  kept mum on Gumi’s guile? Why have they not addressed the message of “Two Nigeria” as we are getting them?

These questions remind me of the story of a priest in a homily recently. I will adapt the story to our current situation in Nigeria:

“A mother camel and her son are talking as they walked. It was “walking-talking” in their animal kingdom. The boy boisterously asked his mother: “Mom why have we got these huge three-toed feet?”

The mother camel, typical of dutiful mothers, replies promptly: “To enable us trek across the soft sand of the desert without sinking.”

“Wow! Thanks mom, the convinced boy exclaimed happily.”

Then he asked again “And why have we got these long, heavy eyelashes?” Mrs. Camel was sure her son was getting his ears full as he frolics with other animal children in the kingdom.

“To keep the sand out of our eyes on the trips through the desert,” she replies her son’s growing inquisition.

Soon after, the boy camel was at it again: “And Mom, why have we got these big humps on our backs?”

The mother, now a little impatient, yet replies, “They are there to help us store fat for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without water for long periods.”

After this, there was a long silence. The boy and his mother parted ways through their thoughts. However, it turned out that the boy camel was not done.

“Ok, I get it!” he blurted. With what looks like a finality on his face he said: “We have huge feet to stop us from sinking in the sands of the desert. We have long eyelashes to keep the sand from our eyes and humps to store water. Then, mom, why the heck are we here in the Toronto Zoo?”

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