Home » At home with ‘ethnic monsters–Femi Adeoti Column

At home with ‘ethnic monsters–Femi Adeoti Column

Label them whatever tag you care, we care less. That is your absolute choice. In fact, your undeniable right, and it’s given.
You call them “ethnic monsters.” We call them heroes of these perilous times. No fuss! These “ethnic monsters” are your creations by commission and/or omission.
They are our apt and direct responses to Fulani hegemony; propelled by the killer herdsmen. You asked for it. And you would continue to get it in full measure.
From all intents and purposes, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is pained and crossed. It did not fail to display its displeasure. And it was not lost on us either.
Unfortunately, the elders largely goofed last week. They came out with a lot of misconceptions, misses and mix-ups. Their positions on the issues raised received heavy knocks and kudos in that order.
We are persuaded and convinced. The elders were stunned and stunted. They were taken shocked by the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum (SNGF). That Asaba Accord forever remains their albatross. Yes, their source of frustration.
It was their vexed reference point. But they were not brave enough to say it directly and boldly. It is one chronic headache they would contend for a long time to come.
They are eternally grieved that the Asaba gathering did happen in the radical manner it happened. The reason they tagged our heroes “ethnic monsters.” No qualms.
They still pretended to be strong-willed. They could not easily come to terms with reality. A stunning mystery they would never unravel. They are jolted beyond their understanding.
We knew they would not cave in cheaply. We were not stupid not to envisage that they would want to spring a surprise. That could be deadly and devastating. We are wisely drawing from our past unpleasant experiences with them. And they are legion
The elders patiently waited in the wings. They were counting in seconds, minutes, hours, days et al. Their waiting game came to a sudden end last week.
And they hit back with all their strength, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. They were furious and angry almost at the same time. They did not care how carelessly they displayed their pent-up anger.
And they did it with reckless abandon. The heedlessness was also in abundance. They abused, cajoled, threatened, vowed, swore and later subtly appealed. See what they mischievously made out of that brilliant Asaba Declaration. Very irritating. As haughty and conceited as ever:
“Governors (South) are building ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments in a crude attempt to extract concessions is in a position to give or guarantee.”
NEF strived hard to take the South and the southerners to the cleaners. It attempted to ridicule them. The effort woefully collapsed like a house of loose cards. It claimed it was responding “to issues that threaten our collective security and the unity and integrity of the country.”
The forum was not at peace with the strong voice coming out of the South. It is perhaps the first and the strongest in recent times. These northern elders wanted none of that.
It pays them for the South to remain ever divided, docile and submissive. They want the South to always kowtow to Hausa/Fulani hegemony. The southern leaders should continue to take ridiculous instructions from them.
That dark era is over for our collective good. We are sticking to our guns; no going back. This time around no retreat, no surrender. We refuse to go back to our stinking vomit. It is meant for the dogs. We are not dogs, neither are we their cows.
Let these northern elders be told. Though you cowardly refused to name names. We are comfortably at home with these “ethnic monsters” of yours. We hope that satisfies your uncanny appetite.
They carried their gross frustration to a ridiculous level: “A plastic unity is being contrived to create the impression that the entire South is united behind shared grievances against the Presidency and Fulani herders and all northerners who are cast as fair game in responding to all of President Buhari’s multiple failures.”
What an insult! It’s borne out of sheer envy and desperation. Nobody is against Fulani herders. But all are up in arms against all killer herders, their tribe, religion and nationality do not come to play.
The forum raved on in its rage and ranting: “In the South West, elected leaders and pampered ethnic bullies are closing ranks to provide a front that apes the do-what-we-want-or-we-leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South East.”
That we are closing ranks in the South traumatised them. It threw them off balance. There is no apology for this. That is exactly what is intended.
You are not even courteous in your language. It is crude, lewd and offensive. You do not need all that. You are more guilty of what you accused others:
“A desperate attempt is being made to split the North along the lines that suit people who ignore its complicities and pluralities.” But this is clearly your stock in trade. This is what you do for a cheap living.
These elders opted not to align with the stark reality. The days of monolithic North are gone for our general comfort. Yet, they forged ahead undeterred:
“The NEF recognises that most of these provocations feed from the widespread perception of a weak national leadership and a broken political process that has become captive to narrow political interests.”
Who is actually provoking whom? One is forced to wonder aloud. Who made this so? The North and its pampered leadership, of course! They are largely responsible for the mess.
Then the elders became fierce and rapacious. They tried to spit fire: “The forum must warn those attacking and killing Fulani herders to stop. There are limits to every community’s tolerance.” They know the truth but opted not to be clever even by a half.
They are not faithful to themselves. They knew they were saying the exact opposite. Where are the killer Fulani herdsmen being slaughtered in the South? We need evidence.
The elders were not done yet: “The nation needs to know that northerners in many parts of the South now live in heightened fear as they are profiled and harassed by elements in host communities.” Ditto for southerners in the North.
They are restless: “What (NEF) will not do is to watch as the North is damaged further by cynical southern politicians and adventurers who think the North is too weak to protect its own.”
This assertion is very much far from the truth. By the actions and body language of government, the opposite is glaringly the case. These elders ought to know better. Instead, they are drifting away to the ridiculous by the second.
Can this re-think be reliable? “The forum extends its hands to groups that genuinely believe that Nigerians should demand and design the type of country we want, and should not wait for people we elected to set the boundaries and conditions of our existence.”
Kudos. Good talk. That is the only viable alternative. That is the way to go for equity, fairness and justice. We should learn to tread this path with humility and modesty. Not with disdain and pomposity.
We are beginning to see why Nigeria is negotiable. And with good reasons. Claps!

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