The Oasis Reporters
December 3, 2018
Southern Kaduna as we all know it is not exactly a geographical expression but a psychology. It involves a people with a semblance in thought processes, cultural similarities albeit diverse, and of course religious affiliations. The tragedy here is its location on the Nigerian geopolitical map. It is the largest Christian community in the whole of the North west of 7 thickly populated Muslim states. It’s like Israel in the Middle East, therefore a zone of interest. All through the years, it has suffered subjugation, neglect and rejection.
To a large extent, I am forced to understand this, because sadly it is bound to be that way. As a micro minority in a vast land full of hawks, sharks and barracudas, it is fool hardy to even expect any better. But then miracles do happen for those who believe.
While growing up in Kaduna, I watched many parents of our stock go through the pain of discrimination and rejection as they toiled and worked hard for pittance while we grew up feeling the brunt of frustration.
To make matters worse, our people who occupied many suburbs in Kaduna back in the 70s had their homes demolished in many ungwas (settlements or neighbourhoods) in Kaduna, without tangible reasons under Group Capt Usman Jibrin who eventually became the president of the JNI (yes your guess is as good as mine).
The religious riots in Kaduna subsequently where our people were always soft targets in the metropolis is not just a coincidence. At the end of the day, our people have been forced by omission or commission to leave all those “ungwas” to start living at the fringes of Kaduna.
Growing up in Kaduna, I had relations in almost all the ungwas in Kaduna. I was actually born in Ungwan Sanusi. All these areas have been colonized and annexed by non Christians and clearly a no go area. Most areas occupied by Christians in Kaduna today are new settlements as escape routes.
How long this will last, is a million dollar question, and a topic for the future.
In 1999, democracy was reintroduced in the country and the people of Southern Kaduna stood up to be counted. They made their moves in their chosen party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and recognition came to bear. They got into positions of involvement in policy making in the state. Their fortunes started to change. For arguably the first time, they made forays in owning properties and possessions which was rare in the past.
It is my personal opinion that the PDP gave hope to the people (this was my strongest consideration ab initio for sticking with the party). Besides occupying very important positions at the state level like the Deputy Gov, SSG, SSAs and Commissioners, at the national level we had ambassadors and 6 Ministers, late Isaiah Balat, late Garba Ali Madaki, Nuhu Wya, Hassan Hyet, Nenadi Usman and Lawrencia Mallam. We have had top military appointments like Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). We have even had a Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)!
Some may argue that it amounted to nothing, but it did! It gave us a sense of pride which is a confidence boosting anecdote.
I listen to arguments about people saying, is the PDP a religion?
Of course not, but it brought hope and gave our people some sense of importance in the scheme of things. While I don’t begrudge Southern Kaduna people who have pitched camp with the APC, I always expect them to push for positions that will bring them respect instead of castigating the past and casting aspersions at the slightest provocation. APC members of the SK stock are infact the true and dedicated members of that party considering the kind of verbal attacks they receive on daily basis, but they still throng on and show uncommon faith. Methinks they deserve a lot more than other members from the other zones. I guess that’s just wishful thinking considering the impression the governor has about Southern Kaduna (SK).
They argue that Plateau State has the same religious demography as Kaduna. That’s either ignorance or sheer mischief at play. The only predominant Muslim LG in Plateau State is Wase LG with small Muslim populations in the other LGs. But In Kaduna State, out of 23 LG, there are Christians in predominance in Sanga, Jama’a, Kauru, Zangon Kataf, Kaura, Kagarko, Jaba, Kachia, Kajuru and Chikun. In Lere and Kaduna South, the demographics are not clear enough. This is not the kind of spread that a governor should ignore in policy making in the state, even with the minority Christian presence in virtually all the other local governments.
While I respect his decision to pick a Muslim SK running mate, I still see it as a total disrespect for one religion over another. If truly he is not bothered about religion as his reason, why are SK Muslims getting appointments like Commissioners, Caretakers, SAs and a running mate while indigenous Northern Christians found in Wusasa, Ikara and Makarfi are pushed into oblivion? I only heard of one Saude from Wusasa appointed as an SA, and that’s it. This smacks of suspicion, and the SK people are not wrong to voice it out. This is the other tragedy we have found ourselves in.
While I wish the two foremost candidates well in the forth coming general elections, it’s my earnest prayer that the PDP wins to avert future abrasions in the state, due to the above stated reasons. The Bible says seek peace and pursue it. We want justice and that’s the only thing that brings peace. A leader must always have that in mind.
So help us God!
Written by Vincent Bodam.
(Chancellor Gurara Forum)