By Nandep Obadiah
The entire gamut of human existence is replete with annals that have risen and fallen; people that have altered the course of their history and individuals that have caused changes in social and political orders. There are well over 7 billion people living on planet earth today, and every individual has a providential agenda to fulfill.
Franz Fanon, a great thinker of the 20th century, was very correct when he said; “each generation must out of relative obscurity discover her mission, fulfill it or betray it.” From the deepest recess of my soul, I frankly, agree with him. It is one thing to know what to do and another thing to actualize it by doing it.
The vision of actualizing the creation of the Middle-Belt region of Nigeria needs the active participation of every single person from the minority tribes of the central Nigeria. There is no such thing as north central. On every standard map, there is the four-cardinal point indicating north, east, west and south. North is North, South is South, and same applicable to East and West. North cannot be Central; these are two different positions. Not even Galileo, Strauler, Goh Cheng Leong and Adeleke can prove me wrong. I am an A1 student in Geography (WAEC) and I also did an ‘A’ level Geography. I’ve never heard such a nincompoopic distortion of geographical assertion all my life. Or if they say we have north central, then there should be east central, west central, etc.
We know beyond political jingoism that Nigeria, as an independent country, is divided into: North, South, West, East and the Middle-Belt. Even the so-called six-geo-political zones are not enshrined in the constitution of our beloved country; it is a mere political division for administrative convenience. So, “you can fool some people sometime but you can’t fool all the people all the time,” said Robert Nester Marley.
I am an ardent believer in the creation of the Middle-Belt region. And I am writing this to all Nigerian youth, who belong or believe in the emancipation and the future of the Middle-Belt region; for we are not Northerners. We must get this straight, and it must sink into our sub-conscious minds. That is the inspiration. That is my clarion call. We must take up the gauntlet non-violently and possess our land or else posterity will not forgive us. It is a legitimate fight; it is a struggle to preserve our cultural heritage. It is an agitation for national recognition.
Wintely Phipps said; “we need to define ourselves from the inside out rather than from the outside in.” we will now allow anybody to define us for us. We choose to define ourselves as the Middle-Belters. Dr. Martin Luther King said; “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl. By all means keep moving.” We will keep moving; nobody’s opinion can intimidate us. Like the wounded lion, we move; we have counted our cost, it is worth the struggle; we can pay the price, even if it means fighting a touch war – win we shall.
Illustrious sons and daughters of the Middle-Belt have been very instrumental in the building of the Nigerian nation state. History is replete with our immeasurable contributions to preserve and develop Nigeria. Check the military archives, visit the hallmark of political champions; look at the academia and education, the list could go on. We, in the Middle, are holding the North and South just as the belt around a man’s waist holds his shirt and trousers intact, and it keeps him smart and active.
The Igbo are threatening secession (independence) or form government in exile, the southern minorities are clamouring for resource control; the Yorubas are yearning for sovereign national conference, the Middle-Belt minorities are striving for the creation of their own region, and the North (Hausa/Fulani) is swimming in Shariah. Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. A great thinker said; “the ultimate measure of a people is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience but where they stand at times of challenges and controversy.”
Nobody has ever been awarded a prize for what he has received; it is always for what he has given. The Middle-Belt has given unquantifiably to Nigeria; that is patriotism. It is time for rewards. We do not just deserve it, we demand for it, employing all legitimate means. Our means will justify our end: Actualizing the Middle-Belt region in Nigeria. The time? God knows; but we will never relent in our efforts to achieving our noble course. We are determined and we have a dogged faith in God that Middle-Belt is a reality.
Out infant democracy is a ray of hope; it is laying the impetus for us. Democracy has come to stay. Bye to 28 years of draconian rulership and to abrogation of the constitution. No matter how epileptic the nascent civil rule has been, it is still far better than the enslavement of military dictatorship where only a clique of persons rule with the guns over a vast country like Nigeria. Kudos to Gen. Abdusalami and co., for sacrificing self-aggrandizement on the altar of democratic rule. On these wings, the Middle-Belt soars to take her proper place. Believe it.
Culled from Our VISION, Vol.5, No.2, 2004