FRIDAY Column by Engr. Abubakar A. Fari
In Nigeria, we have too many cooks. They have the trait of I too know. Indeed as the facts with the anti-graft agencies unfold, Nigerians witness who is who in the abuse of public trust. In addition, their common denominator is crass ignorance. An ignorant person though clueless, sees himself as one full of wisdom. Such class of demagogues represent the most difficult to convince to see logic and reason. It is more so with those with fake or purchased “honorary” degrees and certificates. And they abound in all the nooks and corners of Nigeria. The wise say too many cooks spoil the taste of the soup. If one wishes to enjoy a good meal with a tasty pepper soup to go with it, with too many cooks, the reverse will be the case.
With many cooks, there will emerge confusing scenarios in the kitchen. The different chefs with all kinds of ideas coming to RESTRUCTURE the meal will serve the beneficiaries, unpalatable delicacies. The soup may taste at best like Gestid the anti-acid used when one has indigestion. While one chef prefers more salt, the other will go for less. One wants too much pepper and the other would prefer the smelly stockfish which stench is perceiveable by the time one approaches the kitchen from a distance of 50 meters. Yet another one will like a bush meat with bush rats from Benue and Ekiti or Delta region with equally similar stench that perhaps will make someone like me throw up. At the end of the day, the meal will become undesirable.
No wonder all the reports of the Confab end up in the garbage bin. In reality, we have not studied the dynamics of the over 300 tribes with less than 25% of the population but wish to take the 75% control. While among the three majority tribes – Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba constituting 70%, there is the disproportionate and unreasonable equation that discounts the population matrix. The Ibo with 1/3 of the north-west zone’s population are asking for equal share for the south east. The Yoruba schemed the Ibo after the ’66 coup. Yet by their nature, must bark with the advantage of the control of the media, unfairly, to retain the disproportionate share of the cake among the 3 major tribes and add even more to their kitty.
The other 300 ethnic minorities each with a share of population ranging between 0.05%- 2.5% will like to insult the Hausa Fulani at the instigation of the Ibo and Yoruba who will never let go a fraction from their share to any of them. Never mind the deceit the southern dominated media and a section of the new generation churches dish out.
It is noteworthy that, Kano state with more population than the south-east and less than half of the north-west zone, yet the Ibo will wish to have same share with the north-west. The core northern Muslims, as Aminu Kano said, careless for justice for their people.
If they are serious, northern elites from the north-west should seek to secure 3 times as mush Senators and members of the House of Representatives than the south-east, south-south. If youth development and scholarships and project development are to be at stake, it is the population and land mass that are at issue. It is an individual self development that is the consideration not tribes. There is no human being that lives without food, shelter, health and education which are for government to provide. It is not Boko-Haram that we deceive our selves but to make each Nigerian citizen empowered to contribute his part to the national development and security. So even road and highways constructions to link people, urban and semi-urban and the basic infrastructure in a country is to be based on developing people and not tribes. The north-west needs to.do more to get their people on.
In Nigeria where the slogan “though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand” is the culture where Nigerians are known for saying with their mouth, what they believe not. A survey of Nigerian Tribes drawn from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the none-exhaustive list of Ethnic groups, will reveal the compendium of strange bed fellows that stand as the amalgam of the “too many cooks” that make Nigeria difficult to govern. According to Emeka Chigozie, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with the largest aggregation of ethnic groups. There are more than 300 tribes in Nigeria with the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba making about 70%. The balance of about 1 out of 3 Nigerians is a make up of over 300 wrangling tribes who are the ready spoilt cooks who will not allow the soup to be cooked well.
We have in Adamawa, for instance, 34 tribes, Benue 8, Kaduna 30, Plateau 64, Taraba 50 and Bauchi 52. So in the so-called middle belt, in less than 6 states, there are 238 ethnic cooks who must all converge in one kitchen to cook the soup. In Kaduna with less than 25% of the population, 30 tribes must have Chiefs equal to the Emir of Zazzau with all the packs!! If say you give 100.0 million water project and a secondary school in Kaduna you must give each tribe the same, population variance notwithstanding. It follows those with 75% are at the receiving end.
Thus every local champion from 30 ethnic groups will make wild allegations of marginalization of his less than 1% of each of the majority population. If one has to share 6 top positions in the state, Governor, Deputy Governor, SSG, HOS, Chief of Staff, and Chief Press secretary during Yakowa 4 went to those with 25% stake in the state even then the southern media will mischievously cry marginalization. It is only when 75% northern Kaduna Muslims are marginalized that CAN and NADECO accept it as proper RESTRUCTURING! Meanwhile only one Emir of Zazzau speaks for 75% while 30 disparage complainants cry loud that they have been left behind.
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Emir of Zazzau and his chiefs, like their counterparts in the headship of the body, are not known for standing strong for their marginalized people in the scheme of things. In the armed forces recruitment, I have followed the trend. Out of 10 for Kaduna, 7 went to minorities in southern Kaduna for the 8 years each year during Makarfi’s administration. It is the same in Taraba, Borno, Adamawa even though with the “Generals” and “Presidential hopefuls” and the PDP “big-wigs” who surface when seeking juicy public offices on behalf of themselves and family only. A tail wagging the dog is it. So in Nigeria a restructuring mantra is one where the tail is wagging the dog.