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What it takes to make northern elders angry

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu deserves his tri-monthly Paris holidays. He has worked hard for it. As hard as his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, whose favourite destination…

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu deserves his tri-monthly Paris holidays. He has worked hard for it. As hard as his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, whose favourite destination was London. The president has been working incredibly hard, and his party stalwarts have assured us that by 2027 we would all be in Eldorado. Endurance is a virtue of every farmer, why are enlightened people lacking this simple virtue?

The president spent Christmas and New Year at home in Lagos with his people without burdening the budget with remodeling costs. Bourdillon Drive was built with the president’s ambition in mind and we must appreciate his clairvoyance. It is annoying that much of the noisy complaints against our performing president come from the South West. These loud complaints are alarming, disturbing and disgraceful. It is sounding like the South West has abandoned its Shon of the shoil so soon. It sometimes sounds as if Lugard is back in the saddle again, lording it over rustic natives.

A pure Yoruba man from Ìsàlẹ Èkó who made Lagos what it is today is about to transform Nigeria and his people are at the forefront of ingratitude. The zeal with which Yoruba elders presented their best to the northern bride – and the eastern priest is waning.

The president has spent eight months running, only taking a break to catch his breath for an eight-year marathon and people are already shouting. The gestation period of a human pregnancy is 39 weeks. Tinubu must be allowed some peace of mind to bring this pregnancy to term. Even professional critics like Wole Soyinka have sheathed their swords of criticism until the president has completed his first year in office, except of course when herdsmen mistakenly direct their cattle to his forest house.

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Lagos did not become Idan in eight months; it took two terms and subsequent surrogacy to achieve that. Lagosians are generally very appreciative of their first successful candidate for the presidency. Last weekend, they trooped out en masse to endorse Tinubu’s candidates that replaced his chief of staff and his minister.

Other grateful souls did the same in other re-run elections across the country. With that in mind, one would have thought that the honeymoon had just begun. Ill-advisedly these grooms give the impression that they are tired of their bride.

The loud decibel of complaints and criticisms is reverberating across the nation, even to the abroad. So much so that Canada has announced tougher measures against intending students from Nigeria. Britain, our overlords, is always reassessing its entry criteria to keep out these loud Nigerians. This is the blackmail that great groups like Afenifere must stand up to address, remembering that one’s child is never so disdainful that they are thrown into the lion’s den.

From screaming headlines to broadcasts on radio and TV; to social media influencers especially since the courts have taken the bite from the chaps at the National Broadcasting Commission; one might be tempted to think that the entire Nigeria is against a subtly performing president.

Each time they discuss the insurgency, it is as if Tinubu unleashed Boko Haram, ritual killers, kidnappers and royal genocidaires’. Yoruba elders must remind their kinsmen that these things have been long before Tinubu and have come to stay with us. It is true to quote an army chief these killings are done to “embarrass” the president; his people should be the last to complain. The last time anyone took a cursory look at military and intelligence chiefs, they were 90 per cent led by Yoruba.

In the past, bloodsheds were attributed to ‘Fulani’ herdsmen. However, the few serendipitous arrests so far made attests to the contrary. The names of the culprits arrested bear no semblance to common names attributed to the Sultanate. For once, it is reassuring that all the troubles of Nigeria are not caused by the much-maligned Fulani.

Eyewitnesses have confessed that those that killed the monarch in Kwara, a state with significant Fulani ancestry spoke English. Nobody should blame Britons for the crime until the evidence proves otherwise.

Yoruba critics that do not use Lux, Omo or Surf are suddenly on the rooftops complaining that the price of toilet soap has increased. It’s as if it Tinubu drove Unilever away from Nigeria. Shylock fish traders in Oluwo Fish Market, Epe are complaining about the fallen value of the naira. We’re talking here about the fish they catch free of charge from the Atlantic, the lagoon and the neighbouring swamps.

Lagos-Ibadan axis landlords are increasing rent on houses built in the 1940s without home improvement. They also blame their actions on the falling naira as if Yemi Cardoso is a Fulani man.

From those of us whose offsprings would never become civilian president and commander in chief of the armed forces, here is our counsel – stop whining. At eight months, Tinubu is barely warming up for the marathon. Buy yourselves some chill pill that, unlike Emzor paracetamol, is not affected by the fluctuating exchange rate. This brings us to the matter under discourse – the elastic fortitude of northern elders who have learnt how to keep silent in the face of self-inflicted tyranny.

Western wailers need to enroll in the northern school of patience and perseverance in followership.

When it comes to patience, no ethno-political group has the resistance of northern elders and leaders. They do not lose their cool over the mundane. As non-northerners complain about the Almajirai system, northern elders enjoy the benefits of its advantages. Apart from building resilience and self-reliance in young children, virtues that the disrespectful ajebo generation of the South West lack; during electoral seasons, the almajirai is a vote-making machine only complimented by mass illiteracy. These children are empowered to vote in ways and manners that woke South West young adults in other areas are simply not privileged.

Northern elders love their own no matter by what name they are called. Before Boko Haram became a money-making machine for people with access to security votes, northern elders warned soldiers not to treat their insurgent children like enemies. In spite of the carnage that these insurgents have unleashed on the North, our elders have demonstrated uncommon courage in silence. The code appears to be not to complain loudly but to accept divine will, especially while our lofty son, General Muhammadu Buhari was in the saddle.

It takes a lot to sway the loyalty and perseverance of northern elders. It takes more to make them turn their back against anyone they enthrone. It is dangerous that Tinubu is trying the patience of northern elders. The anger-inducing thing making northern elders furious is something more valuable than life itself – Tinubu’s direction for certain departments in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Federal Airports Authority Nigeria, FAAN, to be moved back to Lagos from Abuja.

In the books of northern elders, this is sedition. It is more heinous than the estimated 50,000 deaths and the 2.5 million displaced since the start of Boko Haram. It is more painful than the 200 that died in Tudun Biri. It is more hurtful than the seizure of huge chunks of Niger State by insurgents and the crippling insecurity in the FCT. Indeed, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, described it as a “deliberate ploy to further underdevelop the Northern region”.

Other notable ‘elders’ warned of serious political consequences if the action is not reversed. Tinubu should reverse this decision or else, the North might withdraw its endorsement of Nigeria’s independence. It happened before, and it could happen again.

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