Abuja Cipher and Naked Tribalism

by Taju Tijani

Abuja holy man, Katsinian Musa Umaru Yar ‘Adua, father and president of embattled Nigerian failed state is a proud, unrepentant and naked tribalist. When I surveyed the lush savannah of his administration, I detected his monstrous gift for bias, bigotry and also his cruel sentimental attachment and preferment of Arewan stock for the best orange in the Nigerian orchard.

In the Nigerian netherworld of blinkered vision, all of us look but few of us see. Our rulers, no, Northern rulers especially, have acclimated and conditioned our flaccid reflex to accept some level of socially skewed tribalism. And because they go unchallenged, this insult morph into malignant and incurable tribal vectors threatening the very foundation and sustenance of our ongoing democratic experiment. Abuja cipher is today convicted in the court of public opinion as a tribalist. Under Yar ‘Adua the self-escalating official hatred of the North against the South assumed a shockingly high proportion. His crude relapse into tribal animus reminded me of his old enfant terrible uncles and unrepentant haters of Southerners who are now silent, irrelevant and forgotten deadwoods.

In the public hierarchy of Satan, Umaru Dikko was placed right next to him in the Second Republic orgy of Shagari Administration. In the trove of our democratic history, Dikko, Uba Ahmed and Sanni Kontagora preached right wing illusion of Northern supremacy that heightened tension during the Second Republic. Their own tribalism cuts clean like scissor. They believed in blood prudery. Uba Ahmed who tribal-baited his way into national prominence was a gnomish mean-spirit who hated all except his own dry Aryan clan in the North. All of us look but few of us see.

And this debilitating disease of tribalism has worked its enfeebling sorcery on Musa Yar ‘Adua so gravely that we could regard him as a clan-protecting pragmatist. There are booby-trapping evidences to show that all the plum offices are skewed to Northerners in his administration. This tribal sorrow is still a Northern bondage and Nigeria’s manifest deceit of projecting equality of all tribes. How long can we remain prisoners of truth? Who does not know that our democratic, economic and military institutions are designed to encourage, promote, justify and enthrone Fulani/Hausa domination? Why do we still subscribe to the popular cultural deceit that we are equal partner in the Nigerian project?

Why are we still chained by the diaphanous fetters of national diet of gratuitous hypocrisy? All of us look but few of us see.

Abuja as the capital of Nigeria is festooned with statutory Fulani/Hausa totems. One garish totem blackening Abuja landscape is in the form of the outrageous ‘babanriga’ and the cacophonic dialect of largely Hausa language which is now the currency of public dialogue. All of look but few of us see. In the idiom of his own balance and fairness, the Abuja dotard with no embarrassed deceit further stoke tribalism discomfort through appointments that are starkly tribal-driven. Look below at his spectacular distortions of balance and equity of plum offices.

Dr Rilwan Lukman is the ageless Petroleum Minister. The Ministry of Finance is the fiefdom of Dr. Mansur Muktar. The Central Bank Governor is Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The Group Managing Director of NNPC is Mohammed Barkindo. The Chief Justice is Idris Legbo Kutigi. Internal and Police Affairs Ministers are from the North. The Comptroller-General of Custom Services is Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko. The Ambassador of Nigeria to the UK, our most important partner, is Dr. Dalhatu Tafida. His head of Chancery is Mr Ahmed Uma. The Secretary to the Federal Government is Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed. Abdul-Kadir Bin Rimdap is the Ambassador to Germany. The boss of NDLEA is Ahmed Giade. CBN’s Head of Corporate Affairs is Mr Mohammed Abdullahi. Alhaji Dangote is the President of Nigerian Stock Exchange and Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio heads the Transport Ministry. Accountant-General of the Federation is Ibrahim DanKwambo. The new Auditor-General is being head hunted from the North.

The tripod jugular of oil, Finance Ministry and Central Bank are held by Northerners to underscore the fact that juicy offices are seldom fairly given to Southern political office dreamers. For 49 years we have been accommodating Northern tribal lordship, deflecting its insult, sustaining its ugly bruises and worse, we grin and kept no conscious tab of its damage to our organic democratic apprenticeship, talent, merit and unity. All of us look but few of us see.

I am thinking big here. I am thinking of how we can weave a sobering scholarly concourse around the issue of Northern tribal supremacy without the needling, distracting energy of tribal war. The North has enjoyed relatively undisturbed, unfettered latitude using tribalised orthodoxy first in the disproportionate military rulership of this nation and now again the beat goes on unabated under democratic dispensation. In a situation where Fulani is not an available choice, the Northern fixer of our tribal quota would then prefer the Tivs or the Gboko man leaving us all gasping.

Nigeria cannot remain the supernatural property of the Northerners. It should be said on the rooftop that Nigeria is not wholly Hausa/Fulani nation. Therefore, the Fulanis should dramatically begin the process of dramatically reconfiguring the old symbolized picture of their dominant self-image. Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua might be a Mahatma Gandhi in his holy personal disposition but his crudely benign tribal siren heard through his lopsided appointments confirms the verticalization of tribalism in this realm. It would take revolution to equalize it and rearrange the furniture of tribalism properly. All of us look but few of us see.

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