Many in the media have severally commented on the recent Jos mayhem, but in the spirit of political correctness virtually none has broached the touchy issue of real and perceived fears of Muslim Hausa domination by the Jos indigenes. Their grievances have been variously dismissed as irrational, unpatriotic, irredentist, unconstitutional, un-nationalistic or retrogressive. The Zango Katafs, Kafanchans and other Middle belt peoples who have similarly revolted against Muslim-Hausa hegemony would certainly disagree.
It’s all well and good to pontificate about the constitutional rights of all Nigerians wherever they reside within the country, but many Middle belters and Southerners can’t help wondering why only Hausas should be insisting on such citizenship rights given that Muslim Hausas in their home states of the Core North deny other Nigerians such rights (nay privileges).
Consequently most non-indigenes in the Core North have more or less accepted their second class status and make no attempt to vie for any major political office like Senator or local govt Chairman like Muslim Hausas in Jos. Non-indigenes in the core North simply wish to be left alone to get on with their lives.
Even this very modest unambitious expectation of peaceful coexistence is often denied non-indigenes by Muslims in the Core North who habitually organize massacres and bloodbaths of Aarna (non- muslims), based on flimsy excuses such as Danish cartoons, a Christian preacher arriving in Kano, America’s post 9/11 bombing of Afghanistan, or even an innocuous newspaper article complimenting their Muslim “prophet” with beauty contestant brides. Consequently many non-Muslims in the core North sleep with one eye open, lest they get caught up in the incessant religious violence.
Religious violence isn’t the only ordeal of non-indigenes in the Core North. They also contend with other unconstitutional practices such as discriminatory school fees and employment, discriminatory admissions into choice courses at tertiary educational institutions, severe restriction on non-Muslim places of worship and imposition of Sharia not only on non-Muslims but also on secular Muslims – provocatively destroying non-Muslim alcohol consignments.
If this religiously motivated, state sponsored destruction of non-Muslim property and livelihood is allowed to continue, one doesn’t need to be a soothsayer to predict a violent clash that could trigger another bloodbath of non-Muslims. And when the inevitable violence happens, they will as usual resort to denial…it has nothing to do with religion !!
It would thus appear that our Muslim compatriots up here in the core North only remember the constitution when it suits their narrow-minded sectional interests such as in Jos politics and Niger Delta oil. They brazenly flout the secular provisions of the same constitution when they impose Sharia. Kano state government even maintains an illegal religious police ( Hisbah), in direct contravention of our constitution that doesn’t allow for state police.
Every once in a while, state broadcast and print media regale the public with reports on how many of us Maguzawa (Hausa traditionalists), have been lured or coerced into Islam, as the supposedly secular state governments in the core North have made it their business to systematically destroy our indigenous African culture to facilitate the imposition of violently intolerant Arab pseudo-religion – Islam. And we wonder why Black Africa remains developmentally stunted. It is this same Jihadi-supremacist penchant for conquest and domination that has provoked the Jos backlash.
Granted that institutionalized discrimination against non-indigenes is not peculiar to the North, but a national disgrace. However, it is only in the Core North that non-indigenes are under the constant threat of religious violence, thereby intimidating and subjugating non-indigenes to second class Dhimmis who are unable to assert their constitutional citizenship rights.
Muslim supremacists from the Core North residing in Jos are therefore the least qualified to champion (or pretend to champion) non-indigene citizenship rights; which for them, is just a ruse to camouflage their domineering Jihadist expansion. If they are serious about full constitutional citizenship rights for non-indigenes, Muslims from the core North should begin in Sokoto, Kano and Maiduguri. After all charity should begin in their home states of the core North, not in Jos.
With regards to the burning issue of supposedly rigged Jos North Chairmanship election; the mistake of the Jos indigenes was allowing the creation of Hausa majority local government in their ancestral homeland. In Kano metropolis, the predominantly non-indigene peopled contiguous areas of Sabon Gari, Nomans land, Brigade, Yakudima / barracks, Bompai and Dakata are sufficient to constitute a local government. Instead they are divided and parceled to Hausa dominated areas just to ensure that non-indigenes never dominate any political space in Kano that would result in the abomination of an Aarne (non-Muslim), non-indigene local government chairman. Even then, at least half the population of Fagge local government – that include several of the aforementioned non-indigene dominated areas – are non-indigenes, yet the LGA has never had a non-indigene vice-chairman, talk less of Chairman…and there has been no violent protest.
But then one supposes that Jos indigenes did not have much of a say in the delineation of the LGA that was created by executive fiat of Muslim Hausa-Fulani oligarchy controlled military dictatorship. The military junta that decreed the tribally segregated, Jos North Hausa enclave into a local government didn’t deem it fit to accord the same priviledge to non-indigenes in Kano. Kano is particularly pertinent to the Jos discourse because many of the Jasawa (Jos Hausas) that are now insisting on full citizenship rights are actually relatively recent migrants from Kano – refugees of the first republic NEPU/NPC clash.
The Muslim-Hausa intelligentsia who should know better, have not helped matters. Instead of sanctimonious pseudo-nationalist indignation against “Christian terrorists” in Jos; and peddling spurious pseudo-historical revisionism that Jos was a no man’s land prior to the arrival of Hausa settlers; they would do well to address the justified skepticism of other Nigerians with regards to their duplicitous double standards on citizenship rights and constitutionality. Little wonder Gideon Orkar and his fellow coupists wanted to remove the Core North from Nigeria.
Just a few years ago such double standards in the selective enforcement constitutional rights for our Muslim Hausa compatriots was at the heart of the violent OPC-Hausa clash. Prior to that violent clash, the infamous OPC had severally extra-judicially executed Yoruba and Igbo thieves as well as those of other ethnic stock…and the heavens did not fall.
But when a Hausa thief was similarly murdered by the vigilante group, all hell broke loose as Nigeria’s special citizens (sorry Hausa-Fulani Muslims) in Lagos with their exclusive inviolable constitutional rights – just like their Jos brethren – went on rampage to protest the extra-judicial murder. Thereby provoking an annihilating counter-attack by neighbouring Yorubas (not just OPC), in which the local Hausas were inevitably the crying losers.
This of course is not to condone extra-judicial killing by vigilante groups who try to compensate for the failure of our dysfunctional Nigerian state to protect her citizens’ life & property. But rather to point out that Muslim Hausa compatriots should have known better than resort to violent protests to assert their exclusive constitutional rights; just as Igbos in Kano knew it would be futile and self-defeating to go on rampage when, Gideon Akaluka, a law-abiding Igbo citizen was gruesomely beheaded and his severed head paraded around Kano.
Furthermore, in the aftermath of the OPC-Hausa crisis, the Sarkin Hausa was reported to have threatened to dethrone the Oba of Lagos…which was largely ignored. It is of course unthinkable for an EzeIgbo under any circumstance to make such provocative comments against a northern Emir. Yorubas wouldn’t even dare it in Ilorin, which is Yoruba land. All of these buttress the point of duplicitous double-standards by Muslim Hausas, which undermine their otherwise laudable campaign for full citizenship rights in Jos.
Then there is the issue of Yar Adua stopping the Plateau governor from swearing-in the Jos North LGA Chairman, which seems to suggest that UMYA favors his Muslim kinsmen rather than his party – blood and religion being thicker than party affiliation. Although this writer isn’t sure if stopping the swearing- in was a presidential order (which would be an unconstitutional interference of the Federal government. in state matters), or an appeal to the governor; it is nonetheless disturbing as it sends the wrong message of encouraging violent murderous protests against disputed election results.
What happened to election tribunals as per Yar Adua’s much vaunted “rule of law”? This wasn’t the first rigged election in the country; in fact rigging is the norm rather than exception. How come Nigerians are more willing to kill and die for local elections than they are for presidential election where there’s much more at stake?
If the election is rerun and a settler Hausa wins; are the Biroms, Anagutas and Afizeres expected to accept the result, given that their Hausa neighbours refused to accept an outcome that wasn’t in their favour? With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps we should have similarly violently protested UMYA’s Iwuruwuru election of April 2007 to forestall his swearing-in as the Supreme Court has repeatedly failed to deliver justice on presidential elections.
No doubt, this write-up will in some quarters be misconstrued as a hateful diatribe against Muslims in the Core North rather than constructive criticism for them to mend their malicious ways, and stop constituting themselves a nuisance to Nigeria. However, the bottom-line of the intractable Jos conflict is that of two mutually antagonistic alien dogmas (Islam and Christianity) that prevent meaningful integration of the predominantly Muslim Hausas with the predominantly Christian indigenes.
Having lived together in Jos for about a century, by now both peoples should be harmoniously integrated by intermarriage, such that there shouldn’t be much of a distinction between settler and indigene. The intolerant alien un-African dogmas (Islam and Christianity) with which our people have been brainwashed prevent this integrating union from happening to any significant extent. Hence, the ‘we-vs-them’ settler-indigene dichotomy persists and is occasionally violently ignited by unhealthy competition for resources and position occasioned by socio-economic deprivation due to corrupt inept leadership.
Nafata Bamaguje writes this article as a social commentator for Baobab Africa – People and Economy magazine from Daura, Katsina State in Northern Nigeria.
“The intolerant alien un-African dogmas (Islam and Christianity) with which our people have been brainwashed prevent this integrating union from happening to any significant extent.”