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Up till now, the Hausa/Fulani leadership has been able to retain firm political control over the entire North by combined stratagems of sheer intimidation and blackmail. Since the conquest of Uthman Dan Fodio, the emergent ruling houses of the North have been able to maintain their sway over the multitude of ethnic nationalities that abound in the region, especially in the former Middle Belt. Their grip was so firm that, even as a much smaller Western Region was forced to concede its territory for the creation of the former Midwest Region, the North was able to stifle the aspirations of Northern minorities by blocking the creation of Middle Belt Region during the First Republic.

Even with the abrogation of the regions and creation of many new states, the North was still held firmly together through the machinations of the “Kaduna Mafia” which masterminded the scheme that effectively utilized military dictatorship to rule Nigeria for more than 30 years. This oligarchy, utilizing its instruments of control within the army and the secretive “mafia”, was able to project its influence throughout Nigeria. During the Civil War, the bulk of combatants were mobilized from the Northern minorities who consequently bore the brunt of that conflict. So far, the Northern minorities have been made to believe that their interests are best protected with the context of a monolithic North. Somehow the trick has worked for the oligarchs who looted Nigeria’s wealth on behalf of the North only to siphon off the bulk of it overseas while the average Northerner wallowed in illiteracy and abject poverty.

But the unease of temporary loss of power in Abuja forced the overindulged oligarchs into desperate political gambits, one of which was the attempt to accelerate the Islamization of the North through the imposition of Sharia penal code. It has suddenly dawned on the Northern minorities, most of whom are Christians and non-Moslems, that the North that they had invested all their sweat and blood to sustain all these years had little regard for their own humanity or religious preferences.

The arrogance of the oligarchs was glaringly manifest in the decision to foist Sharia of citizens of Kaduna State who are almost 50% non-Moslem or Christian. The bloodbath that resulted during the clash between agitators for Sharia and proponents of a secular Nigeria put a dagger into the charade that was the monolithic North. Northern minorities have now demonstrated their will and ability to throw off the yoke of Hausa/Fulani ruling Islamic elite under which they had sweltered for centuries. For the first time in hundreds of years, the presumed docile minorities of the North are up in arms and determined to dismantle the ruling structure that has kept them subdued for more than a thousand years.

The Kaduna conflagration has signaled the unraveling of Nigeria’s longest-surviving imperial order. The rest of Nigeria must quickly seize this golden opportunity and hasten the demise of the exploitative clique that the Hausa/Fulani oligarchs has epitomized in the eyes of fellow citizens. It is the patriotic duty of all Nigerians to close ranks with Northern minorities to subdue the forces that militate against a united secular Nigeria.

The Survival Struggle for Ndiigbo

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