Welcome Yesterday


Dahiru Maishanu



Bullying is a first class, painful experience to go through especially by the one that is being bullied or taunted. Likewise, foolish pride is a nauseating behaviour that is painfully detested by anybody who in one way or another experience it as the receiving object of ridicule.


The recent election/selection and or endorsement of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’dua, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and General Mohammadu Buhari, as the flag bearers of the three most prominent political parties in the Country has naturally courted many reactions, from different quarters. That all the three contenders are from the Northern part of the country and coincidently, two are from the same state is also something that Nigerians have to come to grasp and bear with as a reality, not fiction. That both of those two come from the hub-centre of the so called Hausa-Fulani with all the zone’s antecedents is also not in doubt.  


With the completion of the Primaries and the consequent emergence of these presidential candidates, one is left with no iota of doubt in the fact that the whipping kid of Nigerian politics is back. The northern element has once again been re-introduced to our political discourse.


The so-called Lagos-Ibadan axis of the press will have a field day attacking a familiar foe. The average Nigerian, south of the Niger, can now be sold the idea that the whole of the north and all northerners are after his extinction and he will take it as gospel truth as it comes from the press, the most reliable source of information in the country.


The story has started; the facts, the fictions and innuendoes have started to resurface again. My friends in naijapolitics.com have already started flogging the issue of the return of northern domination. The selection/election of Yaradua and co. has been cynically read as a northern agenda being pursued by the northerners in order to put one of their own as the leader of the country. Any mention of President Obasanjo’s seeming culpability in Yaradua’s emergence will immediately be rebuked by our friends who believe that the north has no business in producing the President for a very long time to come. The debate is still going on in that most interesting email forum of Nigerians from around the globe.


The same goes for other internet forums like Nigeria Village Square, Nanka.org, Saharareporters.com, amanonline.com, gamji.com and elendureports.com The same goes to the Television medium, as some viewers of BEN Breakfast Show (BBS) on BEN TV here in London, have already started questioning or rather insinuating that it was a grand design by President Obasanjo to hand over the leadership of the Country once again to the, ‘incompetent’ northerners. This is in addition to all the heap of talk going on in the local media.


Let me be clear here; I do not support power-shift, especially to the north for the simple reason that the average northerner has not benefited from power when it ‘resided’ in the north. For this reason, I’m not advancing the doctrine of power shift here, neither am I celebrating the emergence of northerners to contest their parties’ presidential slots. The point I’m making here is that some people who see nothing good in the north are always ready to orchestrate a campaign of calumny against the whole of the north and its people when ever a northerner is on the saddle of leadership.


This to me explains the level of hatred and loathe some people have against a particular section of the country primarily due to a blanket belief that the northerner is on the average, not intelligent enough to square up with others from the rest of the country. Also, due to the fact that almost all the military leaders we’ve had, came from the north, all atrocities committed by the military against the people of Nigeria have been attributed to every body in the north, including the man selling cigarettes and sachets of ‘Omo’, on the streets of Lagos who may not even be a Nigerian, but a migrant hustler from Niger Republic


Prior to the advent of President Obasanjo to power, every little thing that happened in Nigeria was blamed on the north and its people even by some of the most educated or exposed Nigerians, south of the Niger. Northerners, who resided in other parts of the country and especially in the western world, were daily bombarded at the slightest opportunity for the woes of the country.


The coming of Chief Obasanjo was a welcome relief for the hapless northerner who at least this time around, cannot be blamed for the problems caused by the Obasanjo administration. Conversely, and surprisingly too, the people and the region where the President comes from have not been blamed for any of his numerous mistakes in the governance of the country from 1999 till date.


Many things have happened before and after the second coming of President Obasanjo. Those of us who were living in Lagos during the June 12 crisis had a raw deal from those that thought the annulment was all a northern agenda. This was despite the fact that Chief MKO Abiola got more votes than Alhaji Bashir Tofa even in Kano, Tofa's home state. The crisis in the education and the energy sector and indeed all other sectors of the economy were all blamed on all people of northern origin.


The period when General Abacha held sway also brought another opportunity for the average northerner to be attacked at the slightest opportunity and Abacha provided the spice for many of those opportunities. Even the subsequent expose of the man Abacha and his escapades in kleptomania for his ultimate selfish ends was not enough to spare the northerner from these incessant attacks. The coming of Obasanjo was therefore a welcome reprieve for these hostilities to seize albeit temporarily.


Many things that happened in the country during Obasanjo’s tenure would have easily been ascribed to the so-called handiwork of the ‘evil’ northerners. The brutal murder of Chief Bola Ige would have easily caused unprecedented crisis had it been a northerner was ruling the country at that material time. The motive behind the murders of Funso Williams, Dr. Ayo Daramola and other politically instigated murders would have been thrown at the door step of every northerner.


The ill fated air crashes that dotted the historical landscape of the Obasanjo administration would have similarly been ascribed to a sinister motive by the ‘northern ruler’ in order to annihilate certain people from the society. All the series of impeachments we have seen recently would have been given northern mafia coloration. The Third Term agenda would have been made to look as a grand design to perpetuate northern rule on all of us, not a plan by the President and his PDP cohorts to elongate his stay as been touted today.


The return of the northerners has elicited the attacks of yesterday on ordinary northerners that were not part of the past leadership in any way and this is just the beginning. By the middle of 2007, what ever happens that is not palatable to the Nation’s well-being will be squarely put on the shoulders of all northerners. Whether it is Mohammadu Buhari, Umar Yar’adua or Atiku Abubakar does not make any difference, the defining criteria is that the President is from the north.


This blanket treatment of the northerners doesn’t however represent the thinking of all the people of Nigeria. There are millions of Nigerians, from all parts of the Nation that ascribe the actions of leaders only to themselves, not to the people of the area they come from. The struggle against insensitive and corrupt leadership has been fought by a combination of all progressive forces from all parts of the nation as evident in the struggle against tenure elongation. It is also important to note here that these stereotypes also exist in the north even though in a less vociferous but none the less condemnable manner.


The treatment of yesterday has started creeping back as we have once again been inundated with these verbal as well printed attacks. The lesson for all is that leaders in the Country should be made accountable for their actions while in office irrespective of where they come from. No one should be held responsible for actions committed by a leader who accidentally happen to come from the same geographical area or speak the same language with him.  Unless this is done, for the ordinary struggling and hard working northerner, Yesterday is once again here. Welcome Yesterday, you were here before.