By Pst. Sam Gar, Gboko
It is high time Nigeria finds an answer to the yearnings and aspirations of the peoples of the Middle Belt. This is indeed the time for all of Nigeria to address and settle – once and for all – the nagging issue of what name to call the peoples of North Central Nigeria. Is it what they want to be known and called or what the Northern Oligarchy wants them to be called? This has been the sticking point. Why insist on calling people by a name that they don’t want to be called? It is inhuman, an abuse of power, and an act of callous provocation to keep calling people by a name that they find offensive.
THE NIGERIA STORY
God made Nigeria One but the colonial masters divided it into two: Northern Protectorate and Southern Protectorate.
Politically, Nigeria had the Northern Region, Western Region, Eastern Region and Mid West. The Northern Region was the most incongruous and almorphous of all the regions. It evidently lacked social, religious or cultural harmony. This structure was purposely put in place to emasculate, smother, asphyxiate and then annihilate the Middle Belt psychology.
At some point, they called the Middle Belt North Central. They sandwiched and merged it with strange bed fellows. Entities that would never integrate because of diametrical social orientations.
UNIQUE MIDDLE BELT
The Middle Belt is a unique region in all respects and perspectives: social culture, political culture, religion, economy, occupation, topography, climate, etc. It is perhaps the most endowed region in Nigeria, yet the most impoverished, the most marginalized, victimized, brutalized, and plundered.
NIGERIA’S SIX GEOPOLITICAL ZONES
Nigeria currently has six geopolitical zones: North East, North West, North Central (instead of Middle Belt), South West, South East, and Niger Delta (formerly Mid -West). The naming of the Middle Belt as North Central by the Northern Oligarchy (Nigeria’s power brokers) is a deliberate attempt to submerge, swallow, and obliterate the identity, political, social, religious, and economic aspirations of the peoples of this region. This is contrary to good sense and natural justice! Sadly, this has continued to be so.
The Mid-West successfully renamed its region Niger Delta. The Middle Belt must equally ride on its current goodwill across Nigeria and muster the support of the South West, South East, and Niger Delta and be finally bequeathed with the name it was born to bear: MIDDLE BELT OF NIGERIA! This is the Time!
NIGERIA’S POWER EQUATION
The Middle Belt is deliberately denied access to political power, wealth, infrastructure, social amenities, appointments, privileges, etc through the insidious use of the monolithic North strategy.
In recent times, Nigeria’s political arithmetic has been craftily worked out in such a way that political power is to be shared between Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria. By SOUTH they mean South East, South West and Niger Delta. But by NORTH, they mean the Far North; the Islamic North. The Middle Belt is sadly not part of the calculation! This is the injustice; and this has been the trend since independence! The Middle Belt is thus consigned to the dustbin of Nigerian politics! This is what we say must end! This is what we seek to stop!! This is what the rest of Nigeria must ensure that it ends! Let the NORTH be on its own; they being relatively homogeneous in terms of culture, religion, economy, law etc. And let the MIDDLE BELT be by itself – being a homogeneous unit of its own; just as the South East, South West and Niger Delta share a common bond, common aspirations and a common history.
THE MIDDLE BELT VANGUARD
The Middle Belt Vanguard will work with our brethren in the South East, South West and Niger Delta to ensure that this political marginalization of the Middle Belt ends! The Middle Belt must no longer be hewers of wood and drawers of water in Northern Nigeria’s political life. The Middle Belt must take its rightful place in the political entity called Nigeria from now on and most especially from 2019!
Permit me to rest my case!