The Oasis Reporters
March 23, 2018
By Nasiru Jagaba
This piece came up from the hopeful and provocative piece written by my good brother Simon Reef Musa.
Reef, in his piece, described the importance of economic power in determining political power, but he also took a path of departure from that belief to a brighter hue. His piece posts a challenge on us that economic power should not be an excuse for our inferior political status. He also mentioned some dissuading forces within us, going about destroying our will and spirit with economic pretexts. The logic in Reef’s piece prompts supplementary discussion and rethinking.
You know, if we must understand the intricacies of our contemporary society, then we have to trace our historical antecedents because whatsoever we see today is the consolidation of our history.
Around 1940, the endless autocratic rule of Fulani rulers characterized by oppression, extortion, social contempt, enforced religious proselytization and maladministration made the Middle Belt areas to be apprehensive about their political future within a self-governing region.
Turaki, described two types of ethnic political consciousness and aspirations among the Southern Kaduna and Middle Belt people in general.
1.The first group were advocates of ethnic integration based upon fair participation and distribution of rewards and goods. To them, let us abide and sing the praises of northern establishment and get our own share, though detrimental to the freedom of their people. The policy enunciated by this group was that of compromise, cooperation and rejection of right to self-determination.
2.The second group were advocates of ethnic separatism from the Northern system. The policy of this group was to emphasize political self-determination.
The compromising policy of the first group was a crumbling disappointment to the dreams and aspiration of the people of Middle-Belt. The anticipation for fair participation and distribution of reward and goods and political self-determination were shattered. The spirit of this compromising group is still navigating, demeaning today’s struggles for political emancipation.
The socio-political problems of Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt resulted from the colonial racial inequality and injustice, prejudice and discriminations in education, judicial and economic matters and limited opportunities in economic matters. This stratified inequality gave the Middle Belters a social and historical disadvantage and led to the institutionalization of the script of parochial leadership that is in play today. Political power is the only therapy that can correct this inherited unjust colonial structures.
The issue here is how can we grab this political power? We cannot burn-out the fact that economic power has a weighty role at influencing political power. Even where democracy first appeared in the ancient Greek city state of Athens, during the classical age, there was innumerable economic influence. In Athens all eligible citizens were allowed to speak and vote. However, Athenian citizenship excluded women, slaves, foreigners, and non-landowners. The ability of these disenfranchised group to unite themselves and defy this stratified voting inequality later widened the scope of political participation in Athens. (That is the role of unity).
Those who enjoyed and abused power in the colonial and post-colonial Nigeria, do not just have it on the basis of economic sufficiency. It begins with, their ability to organize their people towards a unified ideology and compliance to unitary principles of politics and arithmetic.
Afterwards, they manipulated the political structure to their favor and safeguarded endless status quo for their children’s children.
The fact that they own 60 percent of the national wealth is not because of their innovative or industrious energy but because they control political power as instrumental in creating space for economic flow. If we are waiting until we are economically empowered before we can take over political power then we will end up not having the two, because the two are intertwined. Without the political power we can only strive economically to remain within middle and lower class. It is easier to acquire political power than economic power, it is easier to get economic power if you control political power. Governments do build individual organization or community with soft economic policies. And they can also cripple individuals, organization or community no matter how economically viable. That is exactly what is ongoing in our communities, technically planned economic sabotage.
Yes, economic energy is key in acquiring this political power, but unity has more vital role to play. We need to agree after disagreement. We need to revolutionize our attitudes particularly that of “pull-him-down syndrome”. We need to learn new scientific methods of planning and solving political equation. We need to master and deter this injurious locomotive policy of “Divide and Rule”. We need to collapse all our petty republic interests into one viable, responsible and socio-politically and sustainable Southern Kaduna. We need a workable fiscal institution that will be saddled with responsibility to mobilize and manage resources.
To be continued… .