- Written by John Okiyi Kalu -
When you read some so called leaders or elders you simply think of old age related illnesses that require medical help. Senator Joseph Waku, Vice President of Arewa Consultative Forum is one of those men who seemingly need help. Given that am not a medical doctor, I will avoid recommending he sees a psychiatrist, though common sense analysis of his interview with Sunday Sun Newspapers indicates that only a psychiatrist can help him.
It is not uncommon for slaves to overwork themselves to please their master and be accepted. That’s slave mentality and it is common among those who were enslaved for long. Unless am mistaken, Joseph Waku is from Benue state in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. As his name, Joseph, suggests, he is a Christian, just like Yakubu Jack Gowon of Plateau State. The self evident truth is that Joseph Waku’s forebears were conquered by the Hausa/Fulani and effectively assimilated. Even the Hausa language was imposed on them and at some point they started feeling like Hausa/Fulanis and lost their real identity and sense of pride as a people. For some of them, the only path to political relevance is to kiss the ass of the slave master. The best ass kissers get rewarded with political positions and used from time to time as the attack dog of the slave master.
Students of history will tell you that the most brutal Nigerian combatants during the civil war were from the Middle Belt. It is also a known fact that more Igbos were massacred in then Benue-Plateau axis than in Sokoto/Kano. Yakubu Gowon, Theophilus Danjuma, Yakubu Pam etc were used by the “real” North to fight their dirty wars.
Not long ago, a group called United Middle-Belt Youth Congress, UMYC, demanded a separate identity for the people of the region to “differentiate them from the Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri peoples of the far North”. Leading a delegation of executive officers of the congress on a courtesy call to Vanguard’s corporate office in Lagos, the group’s President, Mr. Abuka Onalo, said the people of the Middle-Belt were “now remorseful of their roles in past actions of spearheading Northern interests that did not benefit their people”. Obviously these are Joseph Waku’s children realizing that their fathers acted as slaves would.
How will Mr Abuka Onalo and his group feel after reading Senator Joseph Waku arguments for the “North”?
The United Middle Belt Youth Congress on a visit to another Lagos media house in December 2011 strongly decried the manipulation of Joseph Waku’s people against Igbos during the civil war. ‘We know the ignorant years that have passed when we went to war. When they mobilised us to war and told us ‘ah they want to terminate you people. The Igbos are majority and in fact they are coming to swallow you people’. ‘A lot of us went to the bush to fight. I know how many families of our brothers that we lost in that war. Not to talk about our other brothers, the Igbos who we went to fight ignorantly.’ The president-general, Abuka Omababa said. He added that while it was disheartening enough that they were manipulated into a fratricidal war with the Igbo, the Hausa/Fulani ‘were in Sokoto and Kano relaxing and watching the two of us kill each other.’ Joseph Waku should have learned from these young people and the only reasonable conclusion I can reach is that he needs psychiatric help. Obviously certain errors cannot just be attributed to foolishness given the truism in Chief M. I. Okpara’s assertion that “first fool no be fool, second fool na proper foolish”. In my part of the country, “proper foolish” is simply madness.
In fighting the cause of the North, men like Joseph Waku forget even the truth that stares them in the face. People from the Middle Belt are not Northerners and have never been treated as Northerners by the Hausa/Fulani. At best, they are accorded the rights of “favored slaves” when there is need to do xmas for the “conquered territories”. As the Jos crisis have shown, when the come become, everyone will answer his fathers name. Berom versus Hausa conflict is a typical case of the “slave” revolting against the master. The consequence is the massacre of the people by so called Hausa/Fulani herdsmen and compromised security forces. Even Boko Haram said they are killing Igbos and Christians because “muslims were killed and eaten in Jos”. That’s the same Boko Haram Senator Waku was sent by the Northern establishment to defend. He was told to go and “fight for the North” as if it wasn’t the same North that is killing Middle Belt Christians in Jos, Kaduna, Kogi, etc. Why won’t Waku listen to the youths? ‘Whenever there is riot in the north, it affects us. Our people run like any other southerner. If you look at these youth corps members that were killed, they brought two to Kogi. So, if Kogi is north, then why is north burying their children?’-UMBYC
Permit me to extract key quotes from Waku’s Sunday Sun interview and make brief comments in the hope that he will read them and stop selling himself and his people cheap.
1. “As hardened as former President Obasanjo was, he brought into consideration authoritarian spread of appointments. The National Security Adviser of Mr. President was a northerner. The Director General of SSS was a Yoruba man but a Muslim. And so it was for all other service chiefs. These are sensitive positions. Now, Jonathan went and picked National Security Adviser from his village. He picked Director-General of SSS from his village. He picked Chief of Army Staff from his village.”
That Waku does not know that the Chief of Army staff is a proud Igbo man from Abia state speaks volumes on the kind of job Waku was hired to do. Again, is this man from the moon? Where was he when Shehu Yardua, Shagari, IBB, Abacha and Buhari led this country? Does it mean those positions were not “sensitive” then, since all available records to me shows that Northerners occupied all those positions and added President and Commander in Chief to them? Does it not even matter to hirelings like Senator Waku that apart from the current President who occupies the number one position, the number 2, 3, 4 and 5 are occupied by Northerners? Yet nobody is yelling. Can we sit down as a nation and agree on a formula for sharing political offices? Why is Waku’s North afraid of a national conference if they feel strongly that they are marginalized in the current dispensation? My guess is that a National conference will even strip them of some of their current positions.
2. “And I have never heard a responsible person from that region coming up to say these young people are saying this on their own. So, one begins to wonder whether this is a grand plan to cause confusion so that Nigeria can disintegrate. To hell with disintegration of Nigeria. Let everybody answer his father’s name. Let them go and drink their oil, we will eat our yam. Yoruba will eat their cocoa in their region. Life will still continue.”
Given that Senator Waku never said anything against United Middle Belt Youths who asked for separation from the North, it will at this time be fair to say his “real” self supports their call. Am also convinced that it was his real self that voiced these lines before retreating. “To hell with disintegration of Nigeria. Let everybody answer his father’s name. Let them go and drink their oil, we will eat our yam. Yoruba will eat their cocoa in their region. Life will still continue.” Senator Waku, Nigeria does not need to disintegrate for your wish to come through. All you need do is campaign for 80% derivation so that we will use 20% to keep the centre while those who produce yam and/or groundnut will use it to develop their states as against using oil money to fund Islamic terrorists. We can have a true federation where nobody will blackmail you sir. Unless am mistaken, when you were my current age, derivation was 50% and nobody asked anybody to go “to hell”. Why must we disintegrate before you and your slave masters allow true federalism and 80% derivation? I challenge you to recommend national conference to your masters and see how they will disown you as a “non Northerner”.
3. “But the president is sitting down there and listening to people making advertisement of secession and they are not arrested. Yet, some fools somewhere are saying why don’t you arrest Babangida? Why don’t you arrest Atiku? Why don’t you arrest Gusau? Why don’t you arrest Ciroma?”
Senator Waku, if those “asking for secession” are to be arrested then all those who vowed to “make the country ungovernable” should also be arrested. Or are they more Nigerian than others? What are they contributing to our national economy that gave them the right to incite anarchy and still enjoy protection from the state? I can understand it when those who pay the piper dictate the tune. In Nigerias’ case, those who have the resources sustaining our penchant to steal should be allowed to dictate the tune. Am not aware that anybody is complaining about the North’s control of revenue from solid minerals, groundnut, cows and yam. Nobody is even asking for subsidy on those goods. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
4. “When his election was annulled, we all teamed up with him. But when Yoruba decided to make it Yoruba affairs, I then pulled out. I pulled out because I was working for a Nigerian that I knew his competence. I knew his support cut across borders of religion and tribes.”
Senator Waku, you lied. You simply abandoned Abiola because the Hausa/Fulani told you to do so. You were not alone. Even his VP, Babagana Kingibe also dropped Abiola’s cause. As at the time you and others worked for Abiola, he was financially liquid and freely dispensing financial favors. I challenge you sir, to tell the world that Abiola’s money never “blessed” you.
5. “Nigeria is not all about religion or tribe. But when one tribe is trying to claim that it is wiser than others, that is where we have problem that is going on now.”
It is true that Nigeria is not all about religion or tribe, as long as it is the interest of the North that is served. Abiola’s muslim-muslim ticket with Kingibe clearly served the interest of the North. Buhari’s muslim-muslim ticket with Idiagbon also favored the North. What if we have President Goodluck Jonathan running with pastor Adeboye will the North accept that ticket? Will Waku’s north accept President Yaradua, Vice President Ekwueme, Senate President Tinubu, Speaker Uwazulike and CJN Ibinabo? For your information sir, that is what we are living with, currently. And as long as the North is favored, all well and good. That’s what Nigeria is all about: “making the North happy”. That’s what your interview is about too.
6. “But if those staying in the north are tired of staying in the north, they are free under the constitution to move. But the north cannot accept a blackmail that Igbo are being targeted. Let them come out with what is motivating them to move back home. Of course, they are free to move anywhere in this county.”
Obviously you don’t believe your self, given that you also said this “They (Igbo) probably have recorded more casualties than any other tribe. They recorded more casualties because in terms of religion, particularly in the north, the Igbo dominate Christian religion. So, if a church is burnt, naturally, Igbo who are in the church would be affected.”
If a mosque at Aba is bombed and Ama Awusa attacked, will it amount to targeting your “Northerners”? I have this feeling that if that reverse scenario had happened you and your ACF would have gone to war. Hypocrites!
7. “He has spoken sufficiently because you know that it was not the turn of the South to produce the president. Let me not deceive you, people are angry. Our governors in the north are angry. But they don’t know what to say and the people of the north are against them because they sold out. They betrayed the confidence reposed in them; they sold out the north.”
While I love and respect Adamu Ciroma, am wondering if the same people that voted and continue to vote PDP are the same people we are talking about. Could it be that ACF and such like-minded groups like Boko Haram, are manipulating the people to be “angry”? If it is true the “real people of the North” felt “betrayed” by their governors, how do you explain the fact that the same people overwhelmingly re-elected Murtala Nyako of PDP? As far as I can see, the angry people are the political cabal who had power for 38 years of Nigeria’s 50 and yet literacy level in the North is the worst in Nigeria. What exactly did those of you in ACF do for your people apart from turning many to Almajirin and raw material for Islamic terrorists?
8. “The President and Commander in-Chief of Armed Forces said that there are Boko Haram members in the executive council, the police, SSS, and the military. And we northerners are saying bring these people out so that we can be vindicated that we don’t know them….We northern leaders are even contemplating that Boko Haram is his own making to blackmail the north so that they can secede”.
This is pathetic and the major reason for my recommendation of psychiatric examination. Is he saying that Kabiru Sokoto, Zakari Biu, Abubakar Shekau, Abul Qaqa, Comrade Nuhu Intelligence etc are not Northerners? If the North really believes that “there are some people somewhere that are fueling this crisis to give a dog a bad name” it therefore suggests to me that somebody might have also “engineered” October 1st Bombing to give a dog a bad name. It is simple logic that what you suspect others of doing are things that you do or want to do. With the recent Zakari Biu angle and the mysterious appearance of his son at the site of October 1st bombing, Nigerian security men should re-investigate that bombing. Senator Waku may have given us a new lead.
9. “Government should not be personalized. Government should be inclusive and not exclusive. Governance is not exclusion……Government is to extend hands of fellowship to various interest groups so that you can always get feedback as to when they are happy. Jonathan should make a statement about the South-South’s provocative pronouncements because we are suspecting that someone is behind them. And it is not the best.”
Inclusion and extending hands of fellowship simply means invite us to also come and chop. Rather than all the rigmaroles from Senator Waku, he simply should have asked the President to give him and his ACF friends appointments or contracts. From all indications Mr President is willing to “transform” his opponents if they are ready to denounce use of violence as a political tool. Already we are reading about new appointments involving his erstwhile rivals and/or their supporters. For those sponsoring Boko Haram, the minimal condition should be to denounce, disown and expose their boys. You cannot hold a sword over the nation’s head and come here to talk about “inclusion and fellowship”. Those who are already “included” by Boko Haram should not “fellowship” with Nigerians. They are the enemy of Nigerian people. Doesn’t matter if they are the suicide bombers or the message carriers. All are terrorists!
In October 2009, one of Senator Joseph Waku’s political daughters, then Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri advocated a psychiatric examination of people who are standing for public office in order to determine their suitability or otherwise. I wish to second her but expand the list of those to be tested to include out of job political jobbers and hirelings. These are the people that are normally used for dirty jobs by politicians.
Obviously the sponsors of Boko Haram didn’t get their expected response from Ndigbo. The plan bombed and now they are losing the momentum. Kabiru Sokoto, Zakari Biu and Abul Qaqa are in jail and singing sweet melodies like canary birds. Very soon, arrests will be made, including very senior members of some ethnic groups. Igbos have decisively proved they are for ONE Nigeria. Reward them with 2015! Help Waku to rediscover himself.No. of Views:1161