Restructuring Nigeria is not about artificial regionalism as created by ‘Empire Builders:, is a pieces put together by kaduna State chapter of Middle Belt Forum, may interest you to read for purpose of clarity as expantiated by the state secretary of the forum John Haruna titled: “The Middle Belt and Nigeria Politics”, relayed by
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
WE need to discuss briefly the political experience of the Middle belt in national politics. The kairos (time) has come for a serious discussion on the political question of the Middle belt in Nigeria politics. The British Colonial Administration Northern Nigeria did everything possible not to create the Middle belt Region. In spite of the overwhelming indigenous agitations of the peoples of the Middle belt to have a region of their own carved out of Northern Nigeria, the British adopted some policies in order to suppress the Middle belt Movement and used its colonial might to silence them into submission.
THE POLITICAL CLASS AND ELITES OF THE NORTH
This very dominant group of the North have continued to use the arbitrary and artificial boundaries created by the most oppressive and brutal Empire Builders. The term North and all that it contains and means is by this dominant group for one singular purpose, to entrench its historical and human advantage in the present political equation of Nigeria. North as both political and religious give them a wider territory. population and historical advantage that they may always use to intimidate and instil fear into the Middle belters of Nigeria and the Southern people of Southern Nigeria.
We need to explore and use every means of ensuring that all ethnic nationalities and groups of the Middle belt be given their historical and inalienable ethnic. Cultural religious and political rights and also be given their political freedom from the dominant North. The Empire Builders took away the ancestral land rights , religious, cultural economic and social rights of the ethnic nationalities of the Middle belt and in its place, they impose the BURDEN NORTH upon them. This is the task that awaits every Middle belters and minority.
Restructuring Nigeria is not about artificial regionalism as created by the Empire Builders, but dismantling such oppressive and dominant structures and giving political freedom to all those who are still being oppressed in Nigeria. This is the state of the Middle belt and all other ethnic nationalities in the Nigeria. They are still under the oppressive yoke and burden of North-ism.
HOW NIGERIANS PRACTICE POLITICS AT THE CENTRE
Southern politicians have always fallen victims of North -ism by being intimidated with the bogus claims of territory, population and Islam from their political counterparts in the North. The truth is that the politicians of the North always ensure the subordination, humiliation, discrimination and marginalization of the Middle belters and other ethnic nationalities. The major problems of the Middle belters and other ethnic nationalities of the Northern States of Nigeria is the nature of national political arrangement and practice as set up by the Colonial masters. For example, at the political centre, the Yoruba politicians goes with only one ethnic political card. He does not present a religious political card. The same thing with an Igbo politician, who also goes to the national political centre with one ethnic political card. Similarly, and now also, the man from the South South, he goes to the same national political centre with one ethnic political card. But, on the contrary, the man from the North brings two political cards. The first . card is NORTH-ISM. This political card is not an ethnic political card as that of the rest of Nigerians, because his religion has de-emphasized his ethnicity and ancestral land. His political card does not carry the ethnic symbol of Hausa-Fulani nor that of his ancestral land (Hausaland of Sokoto or Kano), but that of artificial and contrived North. He has the North as historically and artificially contrived and created by the Empire Builders of yester-years. His second political card is Islam. Both NORTH-ISM and ISLAM give him a wider political space, power and population as a political bargaining-chip and also as an intimidating tool for all Southern politicians at the national political centre.
The Middle belter goes to the national political centre with NO political card at all. He can’t submit a Middle belt card, his northern counterpart would shout him down by saying “Middle belt does not exist” He can’t present a political religious card; his northern counterpart would shout him down, Islam only, The Middle belters must address their subordinate status and social-political in national politic.
From my own personal experience, the North does not speak for the Middle belters, but always as against them, both in word and deed throughout history. North-ism as a political ideology has in reality has become a political IDOL, which many of the political class and elites of Northern Nigeria worship and revere.one often hears, Middle belt does not exist, But what really exist? By 1903, the British had conquered the Sokoto Caliphate and the sultanate of Kanem -Borno. By January 1966, the military dismantled the Northern Region of Nigeria and created states, If Middle belt does not exist, the North too does not exist. If Middle belt is an ideology, rather North too has become both an ideology and religion.
However, Southern politicians have been able to create Mid-west during the first Republic and South South during the Abacha Regime. Thus, the aspirations of the ethnic minority groups of Mid-west and the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers ( COR) have been met, while their counterpart in the Middle belt, have been left to contend with fate and evil. The recent created Geo-political Zones of North-west, North-east, and North Central and that of the earlier States creation by the Military Regimes are in effect a political geograghy that further entrenched North-ism upon the Middle belters and other ethnic nationalities. This political geograghy is a window dressing of a further and deepened subordination of the Middle belters to the oppressive and dominant ideology and idolatory of North-ism.
The political question of the Middle belt has from recent history exhibited great fears and anxieties by those who derive enormous political benefits by the subordination of the Middle belters. The historical strong hold of the then Sokoto Caliphate and the then sultanate of Kanem-Borno, the then British Colonial Administration and the then Military Regimes, and now the Northern political class and elites all combined has not been fair to the Middle belters.
The term Middle belt in itself generate great anxieties and fear in some people. some hate the term to the core. But we know that their anxietiy and fear are deeply rooted in the political manipulation of the ethnograghy, geograghy, religion and culture by the ideology and idolatry of North-ism. Until when these issue are brought in the open, one will not be able to fathom the foundation of such great anxiety and fear that is embedded in the political question of the Middle belt. In order to understanding and appreciate the deep seated anxiety and fear of the political question of Middle belt, one need to be well educated beyond the dominant and oppressive ideology and idolatry of ONE NORTH.
Historically,the British have created a political geograghy of Northern Nigeria, but gave us only partial geograghy, but took away politic from us. As Middle belters, we believe that we reside in Northern Nigeria as only geograghy. WE DO NOT NEED THE NORTH IN ORDER TO EXIST. God has endowed us with both human and natural resources, Rather, it is the North that need us. They need only our population so as to bargain with the South. Again, they only our land so as to bargain with the South. If they truly need us, they wouldn’t have unleashed Book Haram and Fulani Herdsmen upon us as invaders, kill and grabbing our ancestral lands through military and Jihadic warfare. These are just the preliminary signs that the worst of them is yet to come. The darkening clouds are.hovering over the Middle belt areas.
In Conclusion, I ask “WHAT IS THE POLITICAL QUESTION OF MIDDLE BELT IN NIGERIAN POLITICS? End