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2010 presidency: Who speaks for the north?

With political maturity in the future, we hope that such absurdity would sing the nunc dimitis of any party that tries such endorsement. For now,…

With political maturity in the future, we hope that such absurdity would sing the nunc dimitis of any party that tries such endorsement. For now, with most registered parties having neither roots nor practical existence, such aberation could be tolerated as the only way to justify the right of the handful of executives to justify the sharing of government subvention only to fizzle into oblivion until the next round of elections. It would not be out of place if we begin to see Abacha-like who the cap fit adverts.

The Nigerian press which has equanimous propensity to be both a vanguard of people’s policies and a rearguard of anti-people politics, has been carrying out its Janus-faced roles with unchequered gusto. Over thirty years after General Yakubu Gowon dismembered the pre-independence regional contraptions, replacing them with contiguous state structures, a section of the Nigerian media continues to drag the nation and its polity to pre-independence times. Or how else does one translate the tendency to lump entire states together and bind them with the regional belt whenever it suits them in discussing national issues.

In the past weeks, this tendency has reached an unprecedented crescendo with headlines screaming that the north has taken a decision on the issue under discourse. Having failed to steamroller the so-called north into accepting that a PDP-ticket is as good as a won electoral battle, these sections of the press continue to kick awake political sleeping dogs of northern extraction and to pass their personal opinions off as the thinking of the north.

Eveready losers of the current political arrangements have quickly jumped on the platform sometimes ganging up in trickles to sing the songs of these ethnic jingoists and passing off their individual or group thinking as the thoughts of the north. Nothing else could be wrongly cheeky. In the past four decades, no plebiscite has been held anywhere in Nigeria to my knowledge on any issue. Even our constitution is a lie parading itself as our joint decision and the courts have declared them so at different times. The entity once called the north is a big one, geographically spanning 19 of Nigeria’s 36-state structure, but except in areas of sharing of common patrimony when elected representatives gather, each state has a structure that takes decisions on its behalf and has never taken a joint decision on any political issue to anyone’s recall.

This is why it must be disgusting and insulting to taste, personal intellect and personal will as a member of the northern entity to equate the views of anybody or group to that of the entire region who is not even an elected representative of an existing state. This is why one finds the ganged-up gangrenous views of a few losers who happen to come from any part of this country as the common will rather offensive. Nay, it is their view and their view does not represent my view or the views of the generality of any state, town or village except where otherwise and by consensus so mandated.

This corporate insult is a political trick that helps that section of the media to pigeon-hole northerners as a bunch of backward region filled with illiterates who wait for an Emir or Chief to do their thinking and talking for them. This is nothing but primordial  branding. True there are elites among our so-called unlettered citizenry with access to the mass media either by virtue of their popularity or notoriety or both; but they are not spokespersons for the ‘north’ in the same way that Edwin Clarke is Izon but his views are not the views of the Izon people. In the same way that the expressed thoughts of Olusegun Obasanjo does not represent the regional thinking of the Yorubas.

This insult must stop forthwith. If it is a ploy by this section of the media of misinformation to cause disaffection and ill-will among the diverse people of the north to political advantage, then we must advise these dim-witted opportunists not to fall for this bait by claiming to speak for the ‘north’. For the avoidance of doubt, every northerner has his position on any issue including the propriety or morality of Jonathan running in 2011 but these statements have not been aggregated anywhere by anyone. The attempt to make a few individuals speak for the north is indeed disgusting. It seems to me important that those making statements make it categorically clear that they are speaking their own minds. Like other regions, we were brought up to respect elders, but not at the detriment of speaking our own minds. Northerners are not cows whose herders speak on their behalf. We have voices and we know how to use them coherently.


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