The following was written by Reno Omokri, spokesperson to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
When we in the South say that the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria are our enemies, we really ought to be aware that we are just playing into the divide and rule strategy of the oligarchs who have been the powers behind the throne in Nigeria for decades and who want the North and the South to be suspicious of each so they can play one side against the other and continue to dominate us to our detriment. Now if you are a Southerner, ask yourself, who are these so called Hausa people that are dominating us?
Of the thirteen Prime Ministers, heads of state and Presidents that have either ruled or led Nigeria since her independence from Great Britain in 1960, not one of them have been Hausa by tribe. Tafawa Balewa, our first prime minister was from a small minority tribe called Gere in Bauchi state, known in the singular form as Bagere.
Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi was Igbo by tribe from Abia state.
General Yakubu Gowon is Angas by tribe from Plateau state.
Murtala Mohammed was Fulani from Kano state and President Olusegun Obasanjo is Yoruba from Ogun state.
President Shehu Shagari is a Fulani from Sokoto state.
President Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani from Katsina state while President Ibrahim Babangida is a Gwari from Niger state.
Ernest Shonekan is Yoruba from Ogun state and Sani Abacha was Kanuri although he claimed Kano as his state because he was brought up there.
Abdulsalami Abubakar is the only Hausa leader we have ever had. Yet was he a dictator? Was he domineering? Capital NO.In office, he was a God-fearing ruler who treated every part of Nigeria equally and ushered in the Fourth Republic which has been our longest democratic experience ever. Abdulsalami is, and was a good man.
Does his image fit the stereotype of the mean and monstrous Hausa man? No! Abdulsalami is more humane than some people who even call themselves clergymen! If he had wanted to stay on in power, you and I would not have been able to stop him. More than President Obasanjo, General Abdulsalami Abubakar is our own Mandela!
After him we had the second, Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration which was succeeded by the Umaru Musa Yar’adua administration.
President Yar’adua was a Fulani from Katsina state. He was succeeded by President Goodluck Jonathan, a minority Ogbia (a minority clan within a minority tribe).
He has been succeeded by President Muhammadu Buhari who is a Fulani from Katsina as previously noted. From the above, some persons may want to adjust Hausa domination and make it Fulani domination, but that again is another Myth! Of the four Fulanis who have either ruled or led Nigeria, two of them were reluctant Presidents. President Shehu Shagari, whom I have met physically, never wanted to be President of Nigeria. That is what he meant by the title of his own autobiography, ‘Beckoned to Serve’. All he wanted was to be a Senator. He was prevailed upon by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) to run as its flag bearer. He was a reluctant President.
Ditto for the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. He never wanted to be President. He wanted to retire as a chemistry lecturer in Katsina. He was persuaded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and even during the Presidential campaigns of 2007, President Obasanjo campaigned for Yar’adua more than Yar’adua campaigned for himself!
Now of the remaining two Fulani leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari tried three times to be Nigeria’s President and three times he failed because he largely depended on the Hausa-Fulani (there is really nothing like Hausa-Fulani, it is a creation of the Lagos-Ibadan press. You are either Hausa or Fulani). The fact of history is that in 2015, the then candidate Buhari’s victory depended on God who used two Southwestern Yoruba men, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In other words, what the North could not do for President Buhari was done for him by two South-westerners. So ask yourself who is dominating who?
And in fact, Hausa is more of a language than it is a tribe. It is a language that connects the people of Northern Nigeria.
A lot of these people that we in the South view as Hausa are not Hausa. They have their own individual ethnic nationalities.
But when we in the South resist them and band them all as Hausa, they have no choice but to fall back on that identity and unite on it to also resist us in the South.
You cannot expect people you do not like to love you. And government cannot force us to love each other. Government cannot legislate patriotism.
You and I must learn to understand each other and grow to love each whether we are from the North or South. When the oppressed people of Nigeria unite against their oppressors, it is then they will know that the masses are the only dominant power bloc in Nigeria. Until then, enjoy your imaginary Hausa enemies!
Omokri is the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California, author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept and the host of Transformation with Reno Omokri
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