Ethnic Pride and Prejudice in Nigeria

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Simon Kolawolelive!, Email: simon.kolawoe@thisdaylive.com. SMS: 0805 500 1961

Riddle: name the Nigerian ethnic group known for being “arrogant” and “clannish”. I will give you one or two clues to make things easier. They are perceived by others as thinking and acting like they are God’s greatest gift to Nigeria. They think they are by far superior to the other ethnic groups. Give them a space in public office and they will take a yard, filling every available position with people from their ethnic group. Even the gateman, the cook and the cleaner will be from their own part of the country. When one of them starts a line of business, sooner than later they will populate and dominate that space with their kith and kin. Any guesses? Yoruba? Hausa/Fulani? Igbo?

Maybe your guess is Yoruba. They are accused of “ethnic arrogance”. They actually call themselves the “Yoruba race”, meaning they are not just an ethnic group like others but a whole race — as you have the white race, the black race and the human race! In fact, the Yoruba pride themselves as the “most educated” and the “most sophisticated” in Nigeria. Their elite often say “the rest of the country is holding us back”. The solution is the revival of the defunct Oyo Empire under an Oduduwa Republic! There is this Yoruba saying: “Ajise bi Oyo laari, Oyo kiise bi eni kookan” (“You can only imitate Oyo; Oyo do not imitate anyone”). Pride? Arrogance?

On clannishness, some argue that the Yoruba are the kings of “tribalism”. Some say Yoruba started ethnic politics in Nigeria when the Greak Zik was denied premiership of Western region in 1952. President Olusegun Obasanjo was initially accused of running an “Afenifere government” in 1999. Mr. Louis Odion, respected columnist, wrote in Daily Sun (November 9, 2003) that Obasanjo had established a “new Yoruba oligarchy”; the NNPC GMD, the police IG and the CBN governor were all Yoruba, he said. Most recently, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was accused of filling government with Yoruba and Redeemed Church members within two weeks of being acting president!

Being classified as “arrogant and clannish” is not limited to the Yoruba, so my riddle remains unsolved. You want to make another guess? The “born-to-rule” Fulani and their Siamese twin, Hausa! I grew up being made to understand that the “Hausa/Fulani oligarchy” think they own the country. In fact, I used to hear of the “Kaduna Mafia” that decided everything about political power in Nigeria. The rest of Nigeria believed (believes?) if you do not pander to the Hausa/Fulani interest, you can never become president. The late Alhaji Maitama Sule, former minister, was once quoted as suggesting that northerners were the ones divinely gifted with the leadership of Nigeria.

As for clannishness, one of the raging accusations against President Muhammadu Buhari is that he has filled his government with the Hausa/Fulani. Since he came to power in May 2015, there has been an outcry that most revenue-rich agencies (“plum jobs”, as we call them in Nigeria) and key security bodies are headed by the Hausa/Fulani. The recent recruitment by the DSS, in which more people were employed from Katsina state than the entire south-east, is further given as evidence. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was also intensely accused of not just filling strategic positions with northerners but making sure they were from the Katsina-Kano axis.

So maybe Hausa/Fulani is the answer to the riddle? Or Igbo? I recently got entangled in a protracted but decent argument with a reader over my article, “Biafra is Not a Dirty Word” (May 28, 2017). In it, I broached the possibility of a president from the south-east in 2019 to balance the national equation and continue the nation-building project. The reader objected furiously. She said she would never support an Igbo to become president. She said the Igbo think they are superior to everyone else “and that the rest of us are just making up the numbers”, reminding me that the Greak Zik was quoted in 1949 as saying the Igbo were created “to lead the children of Africa from bondage”.

She referred to a statement attributed to Mr. Charles Onyeama, an Igbo lawyer and member of the central legislative council, in 1945 that “Igbo domination of Nigeria is only a matter of time”. She argued that the central thesis in Prof. Chinua Achebe’s book, “There Was a Country”, is that Nigeria was making progress when Igbo were the ones calling the shots — “an arrogant suggestion that merit is an exclusive Igbo thing”. She added: “Achebe more or less said Nigeria was no longer a country because his Igbo brethren lost their strategic positions at federal level after the July 1966 countercoup. That is conceit undisguised.”

Sure, I am aware of the arguments being articulated against the Igbo by other ethnic groups, particularly the charge of clannishness. They are often accused of seeking to dominate anywhere they operate. It is said that when an Igbo trader rents a shop, he will soon make sure all the surrounding shops are taken by fellow Igbo traders. I am aware of the accusation that Senator Anyim Pius Anyim filled his office with Igbo when he was secretary to the government of the federation, and that the financial sector was overwhelmingly Igbo when Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was minister of finance. So, is Igbo your final answer to the riddle?

Wait a minute — what about the Ijaw? They were also accused of being “arrogant and clannish” when President Goodluck Jonathan was in power. Ijaw leaders and youth constantly reminded the rest of Nigeria that it is “our oyel” (also known as “oil”) that is sustaining Nigeria, isn’t it? The haughtiness of Ijaw militants such as Asari Dokubo and Government Tompolo, it was said, stank to high heavens. They were accused of walking on people’s heads. The Ijaw also speak proudly of their rich history, reminding anyone who cares that they had an embassy in Portugal many centuries before the rest of Nigeria knew civilisation.

And the clannishness? I used to argue that there were only two Ijaw appointees in Jonathan’s 42-person cabinet: Elder Godsday Orubebe and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. So how can you accuse Jonathan of running an Ijaw government when there were only two of them in his cabinet? Then I was reminded of the influence the “almighty” Chief EK Clark, the Ijaw leader, had on Jonathan to the extent that Clark’s word was final on most of Jonathan’s decisions. All Clark’s nominees for federal positions got appointed, I was informed, and the militants virtually ran Aso Rock — in addition to controlling the pipelines.

To solve the riddle then, we may need a lifeline. But here are my thoughts and personal convictions. One, there is no ethnic group in Nigeria that cannot be accused of being “arrogant”. We always use Abuja and any incumbent government to make our conclusions about ethnic pride and prejudice, but when we shift the focus to our states and localities, we will discover that these complaints and accusations are universal. Ethnic pride is human, I suppose. Go to India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Singapore and even mono-ethnic societies such as Somalia and you will find it there. Even the most advanced societies are not immune to it. You have white supremacists all over the world.

Two, “clannishness” is not confined to one ethnic group. Sociologists and anthropologists are in a better position to explain why the Yoruba control taxi business in Jos, why northerners dominate retail kiosks, and why Igbo rule the motor spare parts trade. More so, every ethnic group uses derisive terms to describe others — “Ofe Manu”, “Awusa”, “Yanmiri”, “Aj’okuta ma mumi”, etc. It is not limited to Nigerians, I know, but why are our prejudices so inflammable and so easily mobilisable, thereby leading to conflict? We have to view this within the bitter competition for limited opportunities in a country where whoever holds political power controls the juices.

My conclusion, lest I forget, is that we will never build a strong and viable nation if we continue to look at the negative traits in others rather than the positive things they have to offer. Agreed, every ethnic group has something bad to say about the other, but why do we always have to look at one another from the points of weakness rather than the points of strength? I will never argue that conflicts, prejudices and biases will disappear from our society. There is no society in the world devoid of prejudice — be it ethnic, racial, religious, ideological or regional. As far as I can see, it is human. I am not expecting Nigeria to become the first perfect country in the world. Not so fast.

My expectation, however, is that those who call the shots, those who mould opinion, those in positions of influence would reflect deeper. There are no saints in the underdevelopment of Nigeria. No ethnic group is devoid of arrogance, clannishness, corruption, indiscipline and greed. How then can we begin to construct a positive story for Nigeria, in spite of prejudice? That is the challenge. I’m convinced Nigeria can work. Unfortunately, it is easier to destroy than to build. What Nigeria desperate needs are builders, but what Nigeria is getting is a growing tribe of preachers of hate and purveyors of prejudice. Those who wish Nigeria well must create a new narrative. Imperative

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AND FOUR OTHER THINGS

NGO BULLY
Non-government organisations in Nigeria are stealing money, funding terrorism and violating immigrations laws, according to Hon. Umar Buba Jibril, deputy majority leader of the house of representatives. The solution? A new law! That is what we love to do in Nigeria. The solution to our problems is always to write another law or produce a new constitution. Meanwhile, we already have laws dealing with funding of terrorism, violation of immigration rules and stealing. And the registration of NGOs is already provided for under CAMA. Jibril says he was inspired by the NGO laws in Kenya, Uganda and Israel — which they are using to suppress dissent. Instructive.

PEACE MAKERS
May I seize this opportunity to thank those who worked behind the scenes to prevent bloodbath across the country in the wake of the face-off between the security agencies and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The tension, following the reported killings in Aba and Port Harcourt, was spreading and could have led to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. There are people who love preaching bloodshed on Facebook all the time, knowing well that they are safe in the cyberspace. I’m definitely fully aware that Nigeria’s underlining problems remain unresolved, but I rejoice in the fact that we have managed to bring down the temperature a bit. Respite.

ILL CREST
My attention has been drawn to a potential case of discrimination by Hillcrest School, Jos. Rinret Yusuf Gukas underwent the entire admission processes without being asked if he had any allergy. It was only upon his resumption that he was asked. The parents confirmed he has nuts allergy and provided the medication in case of accidental ingestion. To their surprise, the school nullified his admission. He had relocated from the UK and paid all the fees. In advanced societies, this is a case of discrimination on health grounds. While Hillcrest might be seeking to play safe, it needs to review its admission processes. And where are the regulatory authorities in all this? Sickening.

EBOLA COACH
Eniola Aluko, English female footballer, complained to the FA about racist comments by national team coach Mark Sampson in 2015. He allegedly asked her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a game at Wembley Stadium. Her complaint was recently dismissed, perhaps for lack of evidence. But to see former colleagues swarm on Sampson during a goal celebration “in solidarity” after the “clean bill” was like an insult on injury: it further magnified the racist flavour. Sampson has now been dismissed on another charge of “inappropriate behaviour” on a previous job. Many commentators think it was a face-saver for the FA, some think it is karma. Bemusing.

  • Rotimi Lawanson

    Simon you have shown that you are an ethnic bigot. I recall you were the same person that accused Dr Okonjo iwuala of taking a bribe during the debt cancellation period only for you to back track after you went abroad and got enlightened. Now you are back and in order to make a point you told a fat lie. The Ministry of Finance under that lady was never overwhelmingly Ibo. Infact, the available statistics shows that it was actually 40% Northern, 30 South West and 20% Ibo with about 10% belonging to other ethnic groups. That the numbers came down for the North was due to the restructuring undertaken prior to her arrival so you are a liar!!!!!!

    Secondly, all the people purported to have been recruited by her were not hired by her. Recall the false accusation that she recruited Ibos for parastatals? Mustafa Chike Obi of Amcon. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has already come out to tell the whole world that HE recruited him since both of them were friends at Kings College. Arunma Oteh was recruited under Yaradua when she was serving at the World Bank. Dr Bright Okogu who was DG Budget was falsely presented as an Ibo person. He is infact very much an Urhobo son as the Urhobos will clearly tell you. It is the height of stupidity to assume that anybody East of Ore is Ibo. Also, Uche Orji at SWF was recruited through a process handled by KPMG which was run at that time by my friend Kunle Elebute and Seyi Buckersteth. She had nothing to do with his recruitment. He was hired on merit and after a rigorous process. So where are the Ibos she recruited?? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!!!!

  • Fairgame

    Simon please as you continue your journey into seeking a federal appointment and in so doing finding yourself unable to make any real impact on society through your spineless writings , I advise that you leave OkonjoIweala out of your ethnically motivated bigoted statements not based on fact. It will be more useful to your readers to list the positions and how those who got there got there. For instance NSIA was advertised in international media and a committee headed by Fola Adeola oversaw the hiring of the best candidates. The head of AMCON at the time was appointed by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Head of SEC was appointed by the president, etc. so unless you are willing to give real background information your statement on okonjoIweala is as mischievous as it is misleading. But you are an ethnic champion Afterall.

  • Lakeon Show

    The ball is in our courts altogether to make redress as soon as possible.

  • Lakeon Show

    I won’t really blame some political office holders at times because when they refuse to grant the demands of their kith and kin they are labelled bad names.

  • Lakeon Show

    Nigeria must survive by our collective efforts to eschew acts that tear us apart and engage ourselves with tendencies that promote our well-being.

  • Lakeon Show

    Nigerian politicians and political office holders have a great deal of work to do to ensure the federal character policy of government is abided by in the area of appointments to public offices.

  • Lakeon Show

    This is a general problem we experience in Nigeria but there should be a way out.

  • Lakeon Show

    Accusations here and there. Though these author is reasonable on some of his submission, I still hold my view that Nigeria has brought itself to this unsafe state and until there is a move away from these incurably suspicious tendencies the future isn’t sure for this country.

  • Lakeon Show

    Nigeria has come of age and we need to get our thoughts and reasoning right if we are to move to the next level as a united nation.

  • Lakeon Show

    A lot of accusations are being traded on a daily basis in Nigeria and most of those are borne out of natural sentiments and propaganda by persons from each ethnic groups from the majority to the minority sides.

  • Lakeon Show

    According to this article we can see that none is justified in these rounds of blame game and accusation. Even you.

  • Lakeon Show

    If anyone has anything against the former minister of finance, let that person do that in print- a document or payroll at the time will do to ascertain if truly Igbo dominated the finance ministry. You cannot just lay an accusation without substantiation. Simple!

  • Melvin Great

    Its time Nigerians dealt with each other with equity and fairness so as to move our country forward a day at a time while we leave biased sentiments behind.

  • Melvin Great

    The future of this country rests on those leaders that are able to step out of these retrogressive and biased mindset and actually take fair decisions that will positively affect the whole nation not just where he/she hails from.

  • Melvin Great

    We as a country have allowed ourselves over tie to form a stereotypical perception of other ethnic groups and this continues to affect how we perceive them and how we treat them. It ought not to be so.

  • Melvin Great

    We should all endeavor to exhibit fairness to all and sundry when recruiting other to fill a role. Let whoever merits whatever role or job should be recruited and not selected based on regional sentiments or where they are from.

  • Melvin Great

    Personally, I don’t believe the statement that Dr. Ngozi okonjo-iweala is guilty of displaying tribal sentiments whatsoever in the discharge of her duties is true. She has always displayed fairness and objectivity in her work.

    • yusuf bell

      Under Ngozi. the following are agencies under her supervision: NSIA Igbo, Sec Igbo, Pencom Igbo, FIRS SS Igbo(she sent igbo as replacement to NASS but David Mark and co rejected the candidate and they refused to confirm Kabir MAshi for 2yrs), budget office igbo etc etc. need i say more

      • Fairgame

        If you what you wrote was so outrightly dangerous I wouldn’t bother to respond. NSIA was an advertised position that a committee chaired by Fola Adeola oversaw. And it was the committee that chose the best candidates. So it is OkonjoIweala’s fault that the best candidate that passed all the tests and interviews was Igbo? SEC was appointed by the president so was it OkonjoIweala the president? And how come the FIRS wasn’t confirmed? The sad thing about your write up is the refusal to admit that the spirit of competition which built great countries like America and Germany have been jettisoned in Nogeria for quota system. And when an OkonjoIweala brings it in by openly advertising positions and transparently appointing the best people like you will try to drag her name in your ethnically motivated nonsense. Get a life.

      • Rotimi Lawanson

        Actually you qualify as being called a dunce!!!Olodo!! This is what happens when they set the cut off mark for Secondary School at 10 and 15 for people like you. I have explained up there who recruited who. NSIA has been explained. Read up there. He was recruited through a fair process presided by KPMG in which my people were in charge. Secondly, your brother, Umaru Yaradua recruited the SEC DG. She had nothing to do with it. She was in faraway US as MD of World Bank when this happened. Pencom is not under her and was never under her. It is also common knowledge that the former DG of Pencom was the one that wrote the Pemcom Act under the guidance of Nasir El Rufai and Fola Adeola under Obasanjo. They are responsible for her rise. Once again,the previous FIRS chair was a woman known as Ifueko Omoigui from Edo State. She is well known in Lagos circles and worked with Arthur Andersen. Her replacement was also a lady from Akwa Ibom. This was common knowledges so I wonder why you lie so much. Unless everyone East of Ore is Ibo in your eyes. That will make you a compound idiot.

    • Fairgame

      Thank you. It is only proponents and beneficiaries of quota system that will continue to try and fail at throwing OkonjoIweala’s name into their ill motivated ethnic outbursts.

  • Melvin Great

    If leaders in positions of authority do the necessary without unduly favouring and leaving out a particular people or area of the country in making life-changing developments then there wouldn’t be need for restiveness from other ethnic groups in the first place.

  • Melvin Great

    Nigeria is still suffering the effect of ethnicity and that’s why some regions feel they are being left out of major participation in government affairs.

  • Melvin Great

    What good will undue favouritism and tribalism bring us in this country? I fail to see it.

  • Melvin Great

    I don’t think the solution here is to blame all the major tribes of Nigeria for believing its superior. Ethnic pride may be a good thing as long as you do not use it as a yardstick to choose who does what and get what.

  • Melvin Great

    The sad thing is the older generation teach the new generation to continue to observe and practice these sentiments.

  • John Paul

    People that believe that everything will be okay if you give every tribe, or people that speak their own language, their own country, are suffering from tunnel vision.

    They forget that most of the Banana Republics (poorest countries) on this planet are largely homogeneous, speak the same language, and have the same religion:

    1. Honduras;
    2. El Salvador;
    3. Guetamala;
    4. Nicaragua, etc

    The most successful nations on this planet are not ethnic enclaves. They made their bones by capitalizing on the population and diversity of their cosmopolitan cities: Ancient Rome, London, Paris, New York, etc

    Human beings gravitate towards open countries, that have cosmopolitan cities, and flee from ethnic enclaves like Honduras, El Salvador, Guetamala and Nicaragua

    We see this in Nigeria, everyday. States that are open – like Lagos – are prospering, experiencing population growth and investors are pouring in. While Investors are fleeing from States – especially States in the Niger Delta – that are obsessed with tribalism, clannishness and cultism

    The other day, some Niger Delta governors were threatening oil companies that do not return to the Niger Delta with punitive measures. Go figure. You cannot attract investment by turning cosmopolitan cities into clannish enclaves. You attract investment by being open, guaranteeing security and developing your infrastructure

    So Igbo that think that Biafra – a nation of people that speak the same language – will lead to the development of Igboland are being sentimental and naive

    Even if you have Biafra today, Igbo that have succeeded in other parts of Nigeria will not leave their life work and businesses, in Lagos and Abuja, and return to Biafra. They will remain in their base, continue making money, and keep on paying taxes and developing Oduduwa Republic (Lagos) and Arewa Republic (Abuja)

    What Nigeria needs is the devolution of powers to our 36 States and resource control

  • Mr. Wilson

    Mr. Simon, why are you finding it hard to say (I’m sure you know) that much of our problems come from the ‘winner takes all’ unitary system of government we currently operate.

  • remm ieet

    This description of Nigeria by Simon has an apocalyptic tone to it. That we are all biased and ethnocentric shows that we have deceived ourselves for fifty seven years. All the occupants of political office since independence take turn to reinforce the anomaly, until Nigeria became genuinely threatened. They were under the facade that Nigeria would continue to roll over unto the Brighter Day, without doing anything to generate consensus around selflessness in state building. Now other opportunistic events have caught up with the lie. It is sad that APC has completely gone under now. They are preparing for 2019 I supoose.

  • RumuPHC

    All are guilty as charged . The negative practices associated with ethnicity in the country have been dominant in our society because past and present leaders are limited in their vision of the greatness of Nigeria despite the abundant huge natural and human resources .

    Ethnic pride and prejudice could be a positive force for development in Nigeria if directed at productivity. Unfortunately this has not been the case since independence. We have consistently squabbled over sharing of resources and who becomes the top dog to further promote our interest in share of the national cake.

    The debate and contest has never been about how to produce more but always on how we get more. It is always me; my brother; my townsman; my kinsman; my region/zone; my fellow southern or northern ; my fellow Muslim or Christian. As long as leadership is related to us then it must the desirable leadership for the country. This is the essence of ethic agitation in Nigeria today.

    Can there be a paradigm shift so that ethnicity can be a force for growth in Nigeria ? It’s difficult to say.

    Poor leadership seem to be driving the country more and more into ethnic and tribal enclaves. The hustle for limited resources has further inflamed ethic passion.

    • Jon West

      Ethnicity is always a force for growth, because when well handled , it can engender competition like in Malaysia. Singapore and India. It moved Nigeria at rocket speed before the military intervention in 1966 ,and since then ,the hypocrisy of One Nigeria where every ethnic group has equal natural endowments , has succeeded in making this once promising country, a failed state, a banana republic.

  • Falaye Adeyinka

    SIMEON KOLAWOLE WHY TRYING TO POOL THE WOOL OVER OUR EYES ! YOUR ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN AWAY THE NEPOTISM AS EVIDENT IN THE LOPSIDEDNESS OF BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION WHICH IS THE WORST IN OUR HISTORY AND YOU KNOW IT IS NOT ONLY SELF SERVING BUT DISHONEST AND HYPOCRISY WITH EYES FULL OF LUCRE GAINS.HOPELESSNESS!

    • Tony Ezeifedi

      Perfectly right.

      • marcos avelino

        Its not right Give us the numbers – Buhari is only trying to re-balance the 13 years of Obasanjo and Jonathan.

        • Fairgame

          You can’t be serious right? Quota system has been the Northern playbook since the start of the entity called Nigeria. So it is actually Obasanjo and Jonathan that helped Nigeria inch a bit towards meritocracy but all that has been lost under Buhari who has brought the worst of quota system incompetence since recent memory back in full force. No wonder the retrogression under 2 years of Buhari will take atleast 10 -20 years to overcome. What a zoo.

    • okbaba

      Point blank

    • marcos avelino

      Give us the numbers – Buhari is only trying to re-balance the 13 years of Obasanjo and Jonathan in which most public service posts were filled by over 60 percent wih southerners. Always crying more than the victim – masters of blackmail. Check the CBN how many employees from yobe or Kebbi and how many from Delta the same is repeated in all the over 500 MDAs. Check the Vanguard report on civil servants analysis by state. Buhari only scratched on the surface till now.The LOPsidedness is in your mind and heart

  • the masked one

    ” It’s a theocratic, sectarian state. We have our geography, land and culture. We have our own language. We refuse to be subordinates”

    The above quote could easily be ascribed to a section of the country. Do not waste your energy. I am not Simon Kolawole, the double-equivocator and fence-sitter, so this is not another riddle.

    The above statement was made by Iraq’s Kurdish Leader, Masoud Barzani, as he prepares to defy overwhelming international opposition to take the Kurds to a landmark referendum, Monday 25 September 2017.

    Barzani believes the interests of the Kurds will be better protected under an independent state of Kurdistans. He sees the parliament in Baghdad as “a chauvinistic sectarian parliament”.
    Baghdad on the other hand is supported by the US, Iran, Turkey, the EU and the Arab League. Baghdad says, it will intervene militarily if the Kurdish referendum takes place. Only Israel is in support of the Kurds independence. And remains the main oxygen(apologies, Liar Mohammed) driving the declaration for the Kurdish referendum.

    Wondering why some countries are opposing Kurdish referendum? Simple! Enlightened self-interest. Kurds are spread all over the countries bordering Iraq, their major concentration. Iran and Turkey fear a possible success of the Kurdish referendum will galvanize Kurdish minorities in their own country including Syria. The US fears the war against IS will be disturbed since the Kurdish Pershmerga has been instrumental to the huge success recorded over the war against IS. Pershmerga defeated Iraqi army in 2014.

    Let’s come back home. Kanu, leader of IPOB, is pushing for a referendum to actualize the sovereign state of Biafra with strong opposition from the FG. Recently, his organization, IPOB, was proscribed and declared a terrorist organization, as the FG said, for being in possession of “Molotov cocktails, machetes, stones and trying to snatch guns from armed military men”.

    Supporters of the FG’s action condemn Kanu for what they call his hate speeches. Well, we all know this is pure bunkum. Looking for the actual meaning of hate speech visit Jordi Ballart’s facebook? Ballart is a Catalonian opposed to Catalonia independence.

    The Iraqi government says Kurds referendum is a break of the constitution and a potential trigger for the breakdown of the country. Nigeria government is harbouring the same fears about the outcome of the Biafran referendum. The importance of the Biafrans to continuing corporate existence of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. A successful Biafra referendum, no doubt, will lead to the dismemberment of the country.

    The truth must be told no matter how unpalatable it might be, and that is, you don’t force unity just as you don’t force peace. Peace and unity require equity, fairness and justice to evolve.

    As the Kurds prepare for referendum tomorrow, 25 September 2017, the Catalonians led by Carles Puidgont are also preparing for their own referendum on October 1 2017, despite strong opposition from the Spanish government.

    Both Kurdistan and Catalonia are semiautonomous entities but their various governments are opposed to their respective independence. This information is for those who feel Kanu should have sought elective office to pursue his ambition?

    The reality is that no man forgoes the advantages he has over another man without a fight. Kanu will still have opposition from the Arewa North and their sidekicks even if his party controls the whole of the South East and neighbouring states.

    The outcome of the referendums in Kurdistan and Catalonia will yet determine the future of independence struggles world over. I wish the Kurds and Catalonians goodluck!

    • Iggy

      Bros,
      Please educate me, Who is organizing the catalonia referendum? The Spanish government?

      Hmmmm! If Kanus party control the whole of the South East and “neighboring states”

      Very instructive. The agenda is unfolding gradually

      • the masked one

        The Catalonians led by their president, Carles Puidgemont, are organizing the referendum but the Spanish authority are opposed to the referendum.

        The message is that the Catalonians are going ahead with the referendum despite government opposition.

        The point is that whether you have elected representatives or not(both Catalonia and Kurds have elected officials) as long as the government feels you’re important it’ll not let go easily.

        Kanu needs to re-strategise and learn from the Catalonians and Kurds.

        • shina

          Do you know that the catalonia referendum is not binding ? As in its a test run..and won’t actually lead to catalan secession bcos the spainish court has made it illegal.

        • Tony Oshea

          Let us be informed that despite the conduct of a regional referendum by Catalona,the Spanish govt did NOT order soldiers to disrupt the process or annihilate protesters and those committed to Catalan indepedence. Instead they went to court to annul the campaign for self determination.

  • Olufemi Bello

    Lack of economic opportunities escalate the situation. Let the governments at all levels put the economy first or at least on the same level with their politics and things will start to look up for Nigerians . Consequently, prejudice against each other will be less.

    • Daniel

      You can only propose an economy at different levels in a restructured Nigeria.

      Right now we must address the FG directly. They hold the levers of the economy.

      I hate fence-sitting opinions.

      • Iggy

        Mr. Daniel, the federal allocation is 55% to federal government and 45% to others(or thereabout)

        The federal government share of 55% is very huge and will make significant impact if well utilized in an equitable and just manner.

        But I am sure we would also not discount the importance of 45%

        • Daniel

          That argument cannot stand until states control their own resources.

          Right now what you have is an over bloated government that is riddled with corruption and under-utilised staff.

          The FG has to show leadership.

    • William Norris

      HOW do you put the economy first? And on the same level as politics? That’s a new one.

      H O W ??? I’m really curious as to proposals that you recommend to make this happen.

      Tribal, ethnic, religious and racial rejudice will ALWAYS exist. The USA is one of the richest nations in the world and probably has the most open economic opportunites even for those at the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder and also immigrants, YET RACIAL PREJUDICE is alive and well in that country.

      Ask yourself why.

      • Country man

        Mr Norris,
        At what LEVEL does tribal and ethnic prejudice exist in developed countries? Discrimination with regards to color or tribe is at a TOLERABLE level, that’s why people from third world countries go to USA and other 1st world nations and do well.
        Every man has his bias, accepted.
        When that bias eschews meritocracy and logic it becomes a problem.

        • William Norris

          I understand where YOU are coming from, not so much Mr Olufemi Bello.

          What YOU consider tolerable is strictly your own judgement, there are many who consider the USA, France, Germany and other 1st world nations to be HELL ON EARTH for certain races or tribes. The Aborigines of Australia or the Native Americans aren’t exactly loud about their views.

          And WHAT exactly is MERIT….the Igbo tend to be fixated on this thing, as if passing exams and bagging PhD is a qualification for national dominance. I’ve gone into this with Jon West. The ultimate distinguishing skill for nation building and domination is the ability to KILL and kill and kill. The Fulani have it, the Igbo don’t.

          Logic….the British massacred, conquered and enslaved the Igbo and other Nigerian tribes. Then the same Igbo accepted moral dictates of Christianity from the same British. Worse than illogic, that’s MADNESS.

          I know, I know. Never mind me.

  • Daniel

    This article is jejune and has no realistic answer to the problems on hand.

    Why are our journalists so timid and intellectually uninspiring?

    Are they unaware of their constitutional , if not natural, role to mould public opinion and influence government policies?

    Apart from Shaka Momodu, these people simply love fence-sitting and subservience.

    What hogwash!

    • Tony Ezeifedi

      Wow.

  • Baron Roy

    Man of Straw…where standeth thou? Wither thy counsel for a better society? You’re too politically correct to admit that the country is going to the dogs? Never mind the role you played in birthing this unfortunate regime but at least you ought to be a vertebrate once and admit that a grievous error was made and the polity suffers as a result!

    But nay, you’d rather sex-up some mumbo-jumbo about all ethnic groups having their blames! What the heck has that to do with the country going up in flames with supposed opinion moulders like you doing a whole lot of NOTHING!

    I am sorry to inform you, that you’ve become a great embarrassment to man and manhood! Your treatise would have been better off not written!

    Damn!!!

    • Full blooded Nigerian

      Everyone will not share your lines of thoughts; some would and some would not. And that’s the beauty of freedom of information, association and expression of oneself as a human being.

      Simon has his own views and so do you and yours truly. Let’s keep it at that.

      • Daniel

        This period in Nigeria requires public opinion moulders like Kolawole to speak truth to power.

        We are in a state of governance stasis.

        Nigeria is in a serious state of chaos.

        Thus, journalists must be alive to their responsibilities.

        This is not the time for sentimental talk and patriotic platitudes on steroids.

        • Iggy

          If Simon has failed to carry your message the way you want it, there are always options for you to air your message the way you want it.

          • Daniel

            I am airing my impression already.

            Kolawole has become a very terrible fence-sitter.

            He writes like someone still hoping to get FG appointment.