“The most difficult challenge that Nigerians face is not the hegemony of the Hausa Fulani ruling class but the ignorance and the slavish mentality of some of those from the Middle Belt and the South they have conquered….Ignorance, cowardice and delusion is the language and practice of slaves. And it is typical of a slave to despise and hate those that seek to liberate him from his slave masters and his chronic bondage” – Femi Fani -Kayode.
Under normal circumstances, I would never react to anything written by the former Minister of Aviation and so-called Media Coordinator for the doomed re-election campaign of Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. His antecedents and serial flip-flops in politics foreclosed that.
His notion of public commentary, for which he always seemed to enjoy lavish space in the social and mainstream media, not only tended to be tainted with unimaginable abuse and disgraceful bigotry, they invariably lacked depth, coherence or even decency. Like his soulmate, the Osun state Governor Ayodele Fayose, conventional wisdom dictated that they be allowed to swim in their own vomit unhindered
Even so, I simply could not resist reacting to the most recent onslaught from Fani-Kayode published in last weekend’s edition of the Vanguard newspaper, excerpts from which I have quoted above. I happen to hail from the North-central part of Nigeria and proudly so!
It is the same region mercenary or emergency politicians like Fani-Kayode routinely refer to as the ‘Middle-Belt’ of Nigeria at different times, even though they cannot tell where its exact boundaries begin or end. That explains the frequent interchange of the various descriptive terms foisted on the region at different times since our independence. The so-called ‘Middle Belt’ has been more of an enigma to its suitors and predators alike, largely on account of its composition and complexity.
To political journeymen like Fani-Kayode, the so-called Middle Belt is restricted to only the Christian minorities in Plateau, Nassarawa, Kaduna and Benue States despite the best efforts of the likes of Professor Jerry Gana. Blinded by decades of prejudice and incurable ignorance, they hardly contend with the other Christian populations in Niger, Kebbi, Kano, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states except during election cycles. And the later four are states in the Northwest and North-eastern parts of Nigeria!
The seeming confusion over the identity of the region, in the eyes of politicians especially those south of the Niger, is often predicated on political expediency, itself the manifestation of a conscious, or unconscious primitive impulse. The same factor masked some, or even all, of the mishaps those who deliberately planned to exploit the region for political capital have experienced since our independence in 1960. Fani-Kayode’s idol Goodluck Jonathan, only happened to be the latest casualty. I shall return to this point in due course.
In the meantime, I have taken special notice of the