Prince Justice Faloye

A leadership with a vision and strategy must change the existing narrative used to suppress the people, as Confucius the Chinese philosopher stated that the rise of a people starts with the rectification of terminology used to mentally enslave them. Unfortunately, the Southern elites have been unable to change colonial terminology which is why after the pro-independence generation of Awolowo and Azikwe, there have been no notable leader that could motivate and mobilize the masses from their arrested political and economic development.

Our lack of true representative democracy is tied to the continued acceptance of the use of the term ‘North’ and its connotations that the civilization (common genetic and cultural origins and values) that it represents extends into Yorubaland and other ethnicities to the South of River Niger. The connotation of North is politically misrepresentative and debilitating to the Indigenous African civilization since a huge chunk of it called the Middlebelt is included in the term North created by the British and maintained by the Afro-Arabic civilization aka Caliphate.

Geographically, if we were to cut Nigeria into equidistant North and Southern territories, the boundary of North and South should be at around Abuja. Civilizationally, if we were to use the terms North and South, then the boundary is South Kaduna. It is obvious that what is regarded as Core North is at the extreme, instead of the center, and actually means the core, the headquarters, of the Afro-Arabic civilization – Sokoto and Daura. So, Ife should be regarded as the Core South if based on civilization, and Kaduna should be South Central as Ilorin is North Central, Central wrongly meaning the border with the next civilization. It is not what are you called, it is what you answer to, so even if the ‘North’ uses the term that unfairly awards half of the indigenous African civilization to itself, why do Southern educated elite continue to use it?

Colonists restructured our reality to fit their colonial agenda to ensure the Indigenous African civilization that accounts for 70% are never united against them. Breaking up the majority Indigenous African civilization into competing tribes was achieved with various mischievous means, like the debasing of their knowledge systems that tied them together. Unfortunately, the breaking up of indigenous African civilizational identities into competing Pan Tribalistic perspectives is favorable to some Southern psuedo elites like Emilokans that use tribe to gain power and wealth, which is why they also focus on the Fulani instead of their civilization.

Yes, the Fulani are the current leaders of the Afro-Arabic civilization and their herdsmen are its foot soldiers in Nigeria, but the Fulani didn’t start the Afro-Arabic civilization imperialism in Nigeria. The Kanuri started it with Bornu Empire, and created the recent Boko Haram that has killed the most Nigerians in recent times in the name of their civilization. The Fulani have only ruled through Shagari, Yar Adua and Buhari out of the 12 Northern leaders, but their Afro-Arabic civilization is articulated enough to use other Northerners to fulfill their civilizational agenda while Indigenous Africans focus on Pan Tribalistic perspectives.

It is sad that rather than appreciate and unite their indigenous African civilizational identity and values with those they share the same genetic and cultural origins and values, the psuedo elites use colonial and neocolonial regimes geographic and linguistic identities to selfishly advance their personal economic and political ambitions. The Euro-American educated neo-colonial elites pay lip services to indigenous polities and the forms/symbols of such polities like language and dress codes. They are only concerned with the form and not the content. They are not concerned about the indigenous tradition/civilization nor the healthy continuity of that tradition/civilization in modernity.

For example, most of them argue for the exclusion of the indigenous polities in the constitution while the Afro-Arabians push for Sharia guidelines of their civilization in the constitution. Even the seccessionist quest for tribal nations by the Southern elites is not really about their cultural identity,, but it is about creating a new political economic architecture, which, would more or less be another continuity of the colonial regime. They would be erecting European type borders that divide their civilizational economics and ties them to the apron strings of the Western civilization economics. The sad part is that some know that neither restructuring nor secession can be achieved without an Indigenous African civilizational unity of South and Middlebelt since no ethnicity has a large enough population to push it through, yet they keep barking up the Pan Tribalistic tree for relevance and probably a prebendalism payout.

When you go from tribalism to universalism in a multi-civilizational state, jumping your civilizational perspectives, you give up political and economic power. This is why 60yrs after independence we have remained trapped in colonial identities created by the Western civilization in favor of their sister Abrahamic civilization, the Afro-Arabic civilization. Without an indigenous African civilization umbrella, regional groups either become wives of the North or adopt the Abrahamic tag of Christian South, in the hope of help from the Christian colonial master, a misadventure doubling our mental chains to resist subjugation.

The decivilized Modernists and Universalist claim that the people can only understand tribal distinctions is false. Before the Europeans arrived, we civilizationally identified ourselves in simple language, we called them Mullahs or more descriptive language of their civilizational values like Imo Lele – strict learnings, while the Afro-Arabians labelled us as Keferi/Kaffirs/Unbelievers. Afro-Arabians believe in sociocultural narratives of ancient scripts while Indigenous Africans believe in a system of spiritual sciences – Ifa-Afa-Iha-Fa-Efa with Orisas/Alusi/Agbara being natural cyclic philosophical and spiritual essences. As Abrahamists their philosophy was Binary Opposition while we practiced Binary Complementarity. Unfortunately we left all these deep meanings for deceptive imperialistic geographic bearings.

We fashion our world with words. Yorubas Abrahamists say Oro lafi da Ile Aiye while Ifa traditionalists know words define Ifa. If we don’t change the British Colonists and Caliphate definitions and words, it is doubtful that we can even restructure for true representative democracy. The so called North will hide the misrepresentative geography of North and South to demand equal representation, instead of allowing every group and person to have democratic representation since Indigenous African civilization accounts for 70% of the population to Afro-Arabic civilization 30%. If we accept 50-50, it translates that 20% are represented by the wrong civilization, like in Kwara, Nassarawa where a minority Emirate rules with exclusionary politics.

The two civilizations can only coexist peacefully if we deal with each other truthfully and justly. The indigenous African civilization being Binary Complementarity philosophies accepts everyone regardless of tribe and religion, so it is the Afro-Arabic civilization that must learn to live with others without trying to exploit others. The skies are wide enough to fly all birds.

Some disingenuous Afro-Arabic imperialists are pushing for more land before accepting restructuring, using herdsmen attacks to ethnically cleanse Indigenous African villages and towns, with a subtle hint that the massacre will only stop if given land for cow colonies/RUGA which they will fill up by inviting nomadic Afro-Arabians from far and wide, who will in water down the Indigenous African civilization land and population. So, is it only when they have heavily populated Afro-Arabic cow colonies across South and Middlebelt, and can claim ethnic and civilizational democratic representation, before they can accept representative democracy being pushed by restructuring activists?

Therefore before we can move forward we must reject and discard the use of the geographic exaggeration called North, and replace it with civilizational identities. We must also stop focusing on Pan Tribalistic perspectives and identities like Fulani, which can wrongly be interpreted as tribal bashing, instead of civilizational attributes. The Fulani have various names and forms, and there can be a change of civilizational leadership, but the redemptive factor in their civilization will not change. So we must keep our eyes on the ball, not the player.

Instead of the political elites of the South and Middlebelt ethnic identities using tribes as the tool for competition for power and wealth, like Emilokans snatched Igbos turn, they must unite to form a meritocratic civilzational bloc with its own economic and political agenda. Afenifere, Ohaneaze, PANDEF and Middlebelt Forum have taket the right step by coming together in South and Middlebelt Leadership Forum to push their collective aspirations of devolution of power and representative democracy, but rather than just being another geographic representation, it must be mindful of its civilizational origins and significance.

Loyalty to collective aspirations can be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency, but civilizational origins and values, the blood linkage, which Yorubas call Alajobi, strengthens the sociopolitical bonds. The strong civilizational unity of the North makes it less susceptible to an Igbo buying Fulani votes in the core North than for the Fulani to buy Igbos votes in the Southeast. We must wake up from the universalist modernist falsehood that civilizational values are not the foundations of political systems. Secular constitution like universalism are skewed to specific civilizational values either White, Afro-Arabic, Asiatic. And the step is towards an epistemic democracy is to change the words that continue to keep us politically and economically divided and disenfranchised. Oro lafi da Ile Aiye, words shape our reality.

By Prince Justice

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