WHY WE HAVE NO EDU STATE: THE STUPIDITY OF THE BIDA MAFIA
When in 1964 Isaac Boro’s agitation for the empowerment of the Niger Delta, and particularly the Ijaw, people in the Midwestern Region, became a national issue the First Republic leaders of the Northern Region, including Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello, and many others all felt that Isaac Boro was fighting a just cause.
But these same Northern leaders could not come out to publicly support Isaac Boro’s Niger Delta Volunteer Force because they were afraid that the Nupe people will also resort to such militancy for the empowerment of the Nupe people in the Northern Region.
As a matter of fact the Nupe people started their agitation for the empowerment and emancipation of the Nupe Nation since the era of the colonial White men who deliberately subjugated the Nupe Nation under the control of erstwhile minority ethnicities that the White man have come to mischievously and vaguely referred to as the ‘Hausa’ or ‘Hausa-Fulani’ people.
Before the coming of the White man there was no any clearly defined ‘Hausa’ or ‘Hausa-Fulani’ race and in fact this rather fictitious race, was actually invented by the White man who was looking for any fictitious invention to counter the power of the ‘dangerously large’ Nupe Empire, as Frederick Lugard, the Anti-Nupe, put it. But that is not the topic of discussion here.
Immediately after the first coup in January 1966 which swept away the First Republic, Isaac Boro used the opportunity to declare his Niger Delta Republic in February 1966, that is just a month after the coup. Of course the federal forces crushed him and his petty republic in just twelve days.
Then there was the Counter-Coup against Ironsi that very year, 1966.
Because of all these coups and counter-coups and the unfortunate case of Isaac Boro’s Niger Delta Republic, the Nupe people dared not raise their voice for the empowerment or emancipation of the Nupe people from the yoke of Hausa-Fulani or Northern oppression.
A golden opportunity, however, came the Nupe people’s way in 1967 when the Gowon administration decided to create 12 states out of the former regions as a means of countering the Eastern Regions threat to secession.
In 1967 the Military Regime of General Yakubu Gowon decided to create 12 states out of the former regions of Nigeria. Three people, namely, Ambassador James Kolo, Venerable Obayan, and a third person who is also Nupe but whose name I have not been able to ascertain yet, were specifically charged with preparing a report to suggest to the Federal Government which state the Nupe people should belong to.
Venerable Obayan said their researches and findings strongly suggest that the Nupe, the Kabba, the Igbira, the Igala and the Northern Yorubas should be grouped into a state to be called Kwara or Niger State which will be a state dissected by the River Niger with the Nupes as the majority in the north of the state and the Kabbas, the Igbiras, the Igalas and the Northern Yorubas to be grouped together in the south of the State.
Venerable Obayan said the report of their three-man committee was almost completed and about to be submitted to the Federal authorities when a group of influential Nupe elders from Bida came to them and besought them to change virtually all the recommendations they’ve made based on their painstaking researches.
This Bida Mafia said that the Nupe people should be included in the proposed Northwestern State with the Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara peoples and not in the proposed Kwara State with the Yoruba people.
The argument of the Bida Mafia was that if the Nupes are merged together with the Yorubas then the Nupes will be dominated by the Yorubas who are more educated and have higher literacy levels than the Nupes.
The Bida Mafia said that they will prefer the Nupe peoples to be merged together with the Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara peoples because the Nupes are more educated and have higher literacy levels than the Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara peoples.
Venerable Obayan said they tried to remind these selfish Nupe elders from Bida that if the majority of the Nupe peoples, on the left bank of the River Niger, are merged with the Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara peoples in a Northwestern State, the remaining Nupe people on the right bank of the Niger, that is the Patigi, Lafiagi, Tsaragi and Tsonga Nupes whom the Colonial authorities have put under the Ilorin Province, will ended up in Kwara State under the domination of the highly educated Yoruba people.
But the selfish Bida Mafia didn’t care about the ominous fate that will befall their Nupe kith and kins who will be cut off and left at the mercy of the Yoruba people in a Kwara State dominated by the Yorubas.
These selfish and greedy Bida Mafia were after the things they will gain as the most educated tribe over the less educated Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara peoples in a Northwestern State.
Venerable Obayan said they tried all they could to convince these selfish Bida elders but the Bida elders used their influence at the Federal level to get what they want: a Northwestern State with the Niger Province, that is the cis-Niger or left-bank Nupes merged together with the Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara people.
The trans-Niger or right-bank Nupes of the Ilorin Province, that is the Patigi, Lafiagi, Tsaragi and Tsonga Nupes, were then callously left at the mercy of the Yoruba people of Kwara State.
Unfortunately for the selfish and greedy Nupe elders of the Bida Mafia, nemesis caught up with them in a manner they never reckoned.
The Sokoto people, though less educated, were not stupid and were no fools at all. The moment the Sokoto people saw themselves in a Northwestern State with the educated Nupe people they knew that it was due to the machination of the Bida Mafia.
The late Sultan Dasuki, then a leading civil servant, there and then told the Nupe people in the Northwestern State that they will never allow the Nupe people to ride over their less educated Sokoto people. In fact the Sokoto elders told the Nupe people that they will deal with them.
The Sokoto Mafia made true they threat by, incredibly enough, pulling strings at the state and Federal levels in a manner that led to the dethronement of the then Etsu Nupe, that is, Etsu Usman Sarki.
The sudden, unexplainable and ignominious dethronement of Etsu Usman Sarki in 1969, less than two years into the creation of the 12 states out of the former regions, was a show of might and a strong message to the Nupe people by the Sokoto clique.
Etsu Usman Sarki was the most educated and most sophisticated of all the traditional rulers in the Northern Nigeria of those days. He was one of the most enlightened emirs the Bida Emirate have had in those days.
By dethroning the Etsu Nupe whom the Nupes are proud of as the most educated emir in the whole of the North, the Sokoto circle succeeded in decisively demystifying the educational superiority of the Nupe peoples.
The Sokoto circle was well aware of the fact that a highly-educated and extremely sophisticated Etsu Nupe Usman Sarki heading a Nupe Nation that is the most educated in Nation in Northern Nigeria will be a phenomenon they the Sokoto circle cannot handle or control. So, the first step in stemming that tide was to plot to get Etsu Usman Sarki out of power.
The painful part of the whole thing is that if the Nupe people have been merged with the Yoruba people in Kwara State Etsu Usman Sarki would have been the Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers of Kwara State because the Etsu Nupe is the highest-ranking traditional ruler over those of the Kabbas, Igbira, Igala and the northern Yorubas of the Ilorin Province.
Now in the Northwestern State instead of the Etsu Nupe ruling over other traditional rulers, the Etsu Nupe was dethroned in an embarrassing manner by the same Sokoto people that the Bida Mafia greedily thought they could dominate.
Then the Sokoto coterie also made sure living in the Northwestern State was a life of hell for the Nupe civil servants and the Nupe people in general. The capital city of the Northwestern State was at Sokoto and even though the Sokoto people were less educated than the Nupe people, their elders still call the shots in the administration of Northwestern State.
The Sokoto clique terrorised the Nupe civil servants in the Northwestern State to the extent that, before long, the Nupe people started agitating and shouting for the creation of a Niger State for the Nupe people.
The selfish and greedy Bida Mafia didn’t get or gain anything worthwhile out the Northwestern State that they voraciously created. Instead they saw themselves ‘back to square one’ demanding for the creation of Niger State for the Nupe people.
But by that time everybody, including other Nupe peoples, were sick and tired of the silly machinations of the Bida Mafia. While the Bida Mafia were agitating for the creation of Niger State for the Nupe people, other Nupe elders, those not from the Bida general area, were seeing to it that the capital of the proposed Niger State is not located in Bida.
And that was how we saw that when Niger State was eventually created in 1976 for the Nupe people, the capital city of the Nupe state of Niger State was, incongruously enough, located outside Nupeland proper at Minna which was a mere village compared to the almighty city of Bida.
Minna was in those days was just a collection of Gbagyi hamlets and missionary missions clustered around a railway junction and a tiny World War II airport that was built in the 1930s. Everybody was startled that Minna, and not Bida, was chosen as the capital of the ‘Nupe’ state of Niger State.
But this rather unsavoury development was due to the historical blunder of the Bida Mafia. If the Bida Mafia had allowed an undivided Nupe Nation to be part of the Kwara State right from the beginning a Nupe State would have been easily and legitimately carved out of the Kwara State in 1976 when more states were created.
But the folly of the Bida Mafia in missing a golden opportunity in 1967 hangs over the Nupe Nation like the proverbial Sword of Damocles to this very day.
The same Bida Mafia is today crying for the creation of Edu State to include their kith and kins in Kwara State. What Ambassador James Kolo, Venerable Obayan and others offered the Bida Mafia on a platter of gold in 1967 and the Bida Mafia rejected due to selfishness and greediness, is what the Bida Mafia is today desperately begging for in the year 2012 with no prospect of getting it in the immediate future.
45 years, or almost half a century, later the Bida Mafia is back to square one as work done in the creation of a Nupe State is by and large equal to zero.
Nemesis have indeed dealt the Bida Mafia a humiliating and humbling blow!