When foolishness is wisdom



 

At last, the loud silence broke and for the first time, the South-west governors of Nigeria got a response from one of their colleagues in the Northeastern part of the country. And as it were, the loud silence and the response were by their characteristics northern. The northern tradition is such that matters are hardly confrontationally approached, no matter how offensive or dire they maybe. Matters of serious concerns are handled soberly and with ease so that both actions and reactions can be quite strategic and therefore result oriented.  

Thus, the average northerner is hardly rebellious, divisive or in possession of some dose of superiority complex. And to the extent that they are not seen as cowards, they are patient with anyone infringing on their rights. This attitude is perceived by others as foolishness. But it is wisdom, which according to the German-Swiss poet, Hermann Hesse, cannot be imparted. For, it will sound like foolishness to others. Even at that meanwhile, they can be made to understand that this sort of foolishness is wisdom. For, throughout the history of the world, it is yet to be noted where rebellion not obedience, divisiveness not harmony and vanity not modesty have brought development to a people.  

The #EndSARS protests of last year remain a pointer to this. In the end, even though the federal government scrapped the SARS Unit of the Nigeria Police, the socio-economic pains inflicted on the country by the protests in Lagos and some other states of the wild wild west are still felt. Therefore, it would have been better had it been other means were employed in demanding for the #EndSARS. Surely, enough, there are no alternatives to peaceful ways of resolving problems or making demands. 

And it is with this principle that northern Nigeria has kept the country one since independence. Were it for the East and the West that see the North as a parasite even though their food comes from there, Nigeria would have been history. The region plays the important role of the big brother; it is a stabilizer in a nation that is obviously divided on the fault lines of ethnicity and religion. It demonstrates an appreciable level of maturity not only by refusing to be a provocateur but also by being very patient even when attempts are made to exasperate it. The North is mostly the victim, yet always blamed as the culprit.

As I write, Fulani herdsmen/northerners are being killed in cold blood in the southwest. It started with the criminalization of all Fulani, then a quit notice was issued to them, and now, a killing spree is ongoing. At first, Governors Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi state intervened. But their intervention was fruitless; or better still, it can be described as an exercise in futility. The mayhem continues and, as it appears, its perpetrators are yet to fix the date when to stop. But they will stop when the time to do so comes.  

The North as noted earlier has a way of doing things. Thus, the loud silence at the beginning of all this unfortunate incidence and the late response by some governors from the region were by their characteristics northern. The initial silence was to give the perpetrators of such crime enough rope to tie themselves. And with that there can be response but not reprisal – frank response that is bereft of ethnic profiling such as the one issued by the governor of Bauchi state, Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad. 

The governor who spoke at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council last Thursday at the Command Guest House in Bauchi, rightly and boldly shared the bitter pills of the blame among South-west governors and the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom. He frankly told the world that the whole situation was badly managed by the governors in their respective states. They profiled the entire Fulani ethnic group as criminals and then issued quit notice to them. 

But as it were, there are both good men and scoundrels in every ethnic group and religion. Likewise, in perpetuating any criminal act, the criminals hardly consider gender, religion or ethnic group. They unleash mayhem on everyone who crosses their path. With all this, it is difficult to understand the reason for all the ethnic profiling. More so, in a country where there is every tribe and religion in every community, it is also difficult to understand why quit notice should be issued to an ethnic group. Are the issuers not aware of the possibility of a return gesture? 

Mukhtar Jarmajo,

Bauchi 

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