“MASTAYIN AREAWA A SIYASAR NIGERIA A YAU”
ARADA SENSITIZATION SEMINAR
“MASTAYIN AREAWA A SIYASAR NIGERIA A YAU” A LECTURE DELIVERED BY ELDER STATESMAN ALHAJI TANKO YAKASAI ON THE 16TH SEPTEMBER 2018
As part of its research efforts for the progress of Nigeria, African Research and Development Agency (ARADA), founded by Prof. Sule Bello (History lecturer ABU, Zaria and Maitama Sule University, Kano) organize series of seminars for public sensitization. This is the first of such seminar. The organizer of the seminar, Prof. Sule Bello said that the purpose of the event was to enlighten the public on the political development of Nigeria to date.
Alhaji Yakasai thanked the organizers of the seminar and also appreciated the representatives of NGOs and CSO’s for coming to discuss the problems of Nigeria and the way forward. He said it has always been his dream to form something like what he has seen and it is his hope to continue supporting this laudable initiative by ARADA.
The lecture was divided into seven parts: pre-colonial era, colonial era, independence struggle, post independent era and the struggle of building a nation, military era as well as the 4th Republic to date.
The lecture started with the historical relationship between the people of the North and the South before colonization which was centered on trade between especially the Yorubas and the Hausas. Although prior to independence there was nothing called Nigeria, there was free movement of people and trade without any hindrance to any part of the “Nigerian area.”
The Northern Nigeria has a leadership which was established by Usman Dan-Fodio who united the people through Islamic principles. The extension of the Sokoto Caliphate came with the promotion of Islam and therefore extended into some Yoruba territories, thereby consolidating the existing relationship.
The coming of colonialism affected the relationship between the South before North. In fact, the colonialists deliberately complicated the situation to their own advantage. Western education, for example, was introduced in the South for almost two decades before extending it to the North.
During the colonial period especially in drafting constitution for the country, the leadership of the North demanded for half of the seats in the legislative council and the South agreed with the hope that they could use the smaller tribes in the North who were mainly Christian to out-vote the North in forming a government. The Yoruba plan failed because of disagreement within the NCNC where the Zik faction refused to support the budgetary proposals. This even resulted in the collapse of the First Republic.
STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
Meanwhile, the Northerners participating in the government were under the Native Authorities who controlled them for the colonialists. There came the formation of Northern Elements progressive Union (NEPU) which was against the NA system. Also, there were those Hausas who served in the British Army in India during WWI. They were influenced by nationalists around the world who had fought for their independence.
In 1953, the Yoruba’s Action Group tabled a motion seeking for independence without consulting other parties especially the NPC. The NPC on its parts refused to support the entire motion unless an amendment was inserted that they want the demand to read “as soon as practicable”. This would give the NPC time for the region to develop.
As mentioned elsewhere to support the motion would mean surrendering the people of the North to Yoruba’s Action Group. This invited the anger of Action Group and its supporters in the House who started booing and insulting the Northern delegates. Even on their way home aboard the train the Action Group supporters continued insulting and stoning northerners. When the news reached the North, people became furious. Therefore, when the NCNC sent Akintola to the North to “console” the people, he was stopped at Zaria and advised to return home, because there would be trouble for him in Kano. Unfortunately, some newspapers published photos of Awolowo embracing each other with Zik in the spirit of “we dealt with them”.
Meanwhile, some politicians in Kano started propagating that Akintola was afraid to come to Kano. Due this, about half of the people at the station went to Sabon Gari and surrounded businesses and began attacking the Igbos. This was the Kano Riot. The refusal of the northern delegates to support the call for independence led to the suspicion of mistrust which lingers to this very moment.
The Yoruba’s started using political terminologies to cause more problem within the polity. In fact, organizations like Omo-Odudua, Afenifesi UPN, were set up to achieve this objective. They used terms like “power shift”, and “cross carpeting.” These were meant to undermine the North politically and economically.
STRUGGLE FOR BULDING A NATION
This political development, led to the hatred of the Hausas by the Yorubas and the Igbos, and further led to the blind acceptance that the problem of Nigeria is Hausa/Fulani. And, it culminated into the killing of top Northern politicians and senior military officers in the first coup. This led to the Civil War in Nigeria.
However, during the thirty-month war it was only in Kano that Igbo businessmen abandoned their properties only to be looked after by the committee set up by the N.A. administration with Dr. Mohammed Uba Adamu as the Chairman. The properties were rented out instead of destroying or seizing them. The collected rent was saved and eventually given back to the Igbos.
THE SECOND REPUBLIC
Even recently, Gen Adeuinka Adebayo wrote to Senator Ahmed Timubu to stop calling himself a Yoruba leader, because he did not do anything to Yoruba people like Awolowo, Shonibare, Akintola etc. He lamented that 70% of all industries in the west belong to Igbos and the rest belongs to Indians and Lebanese and this challenge is what Tinubu is facing in the current dispensation.
Alhaji Tanko argued that with our land mass which is full of moisture, number of population and what the united Nation Law of the Sea declare that 2/3 of our sea belong to the North. The North or Hausas has a friendly relationship with most of the smaller tribes in the North. And in the South-south we have a political understanding that exists up to now. Therefore, it is left to Northern politicians to consolidate upon. Both regions need each other to develop. Therefore, we must reach out to consolidate our friendship and position in the polity. He finally called for the formation more NGO’s, CSO’s and CBO’s in all the 44 local governments of Kano being the most unifying factor in order to influence the selection and election of leaders of the.
Later members were asked for contributions or questions.
Dr Saidu Dukawa(Dept. of Political Science, BUK, Kano) – wanted to know how relationship with our neighbor members of Sahel could be improved.
Alh. Tank replied that even before the creation of Nigeria there existed socio-economic relationship that even led to inter marriages. Even now the relationship could be improved by political parties as it happened with NEPU and Sawaba Party in Niger Republic.
Barr. Tukur Bello asked why Northern politicians did not support Alex Ekueme bid to contest for presidency.
Alh. Tanko replied that the zoning/rotation as practiced by most parties, gave Ekueme a chance to contest for what he wants. But, he blames the Northern politicians for sponsoring a military coup to stop him from contesting. This belief was natured into suspicion and even hatred, making Northern politicians to view Ekueme as someone to distrust with the leadership of Nigeria.
Hajia Aishatu Jafaru Fagge called for more sensitization for our youths to be involved in politics and that more women representatives should be supported by parties.
Eng. Bashir Wali asked why there is no leadership in the North like what is happening in the South.
Alh. Tanko said it is lack of “manufa” (agenda and commitment to service). He gave an example of Gen. Buhari who could have filled this gap. But, he had failed the people as majority of those who had voted him seemed to have lost confidence in him.
Finally, Prof. Sule Bello delivered the vote of thanks and gave a commendation certificates to the participants.