Home Opinion Indigineship is the bane of inclusiveness in Nigeria, by Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

Indigineship is the bane of inclusiveness in Nigeria, by Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo b. 1981 and Kemi Badenoch b. 1980 are no doubt very capable persons. Their appointments to high government positions in their respective countries of the US and the UK must have come by merit.

Optics also mattered because what we describe as the federal character is what they call diversity over there. Our point of divergence is over “Indigeneship” nonetheless racism there is ethnicity here. 

When the Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury and the British Secretary for International Trade who both left their home country as teenagers recently met officially to, “boost trade, strengthen supply chains and create jobs” in their adoptive countries Nigeria was not on the agenda.

One can only imagine what would have played out for them if they had remained back home.

Once upon a time during the First Republic, it was an entirely different ball game;

“The last British Commandant of the Nigerian Army, then referred to as General Officer Commanding (GOC) but now named as Chief of Army Staff, Major General Earle Christopher Welby Everard (1909-1996) was set for retirement in 1965, so the post of GOC was set to become vacant.

There were four candidates vying for the post. They were Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe (1924-1971) from Ago-Iwoye in Ogun state, Brigadier Zakariya Abubakar Hassan Maimalari (1930-1966), a royal Prince from Maimalari village in the present Yobe state, Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun(1923-1966) from Ondo city in Ondo state and Brigadier General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi (1924-1966) from Umuahia-Ibeku in the present Abia state.

The four Brigadiers were commissioned in 1949. Brigadier Ironsi was NA 3, Brigadier Ademulegun was NA 4, Brigadier Ogundipe was NA 6 and Brigadier Maimalari was NA 8.

In his book titled ’A RIGHT HONOURABLE GENTLEMAN’, Trevor Clarke, a British colonial administrator claimed that Major General Everard recommended Brigadier Ogundipe to succeed him while the former Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello (1909-1966), the Sardauna of Sokoto, wanted Brigadier Ademulegun.

Senior officers within the Army favored Brigadier Maimalari. In the end, the powerful Alhaji Ribadu, who was at that time, being referred to as ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ selected Brigadier Ironsi, a Congo war veteran, and was later promoted to Major General.”

See details in, Mafia of Course 3 by Eric Teniola

“Indigineship” is the bane of inclusiveness in Nigeria. I use that word advisedly because it does occur anywhere in the 1999 Constitution.

State of Origin should therefore be gradually replaced with the State of Residence. There cannot be progress without integration. It is what underpins achievement motivation as we can clearly see with Wally and Kemi.

When in a nation of 200 million there is 133 million multi-dimensionally poor based on official figures there has to be a paradigm shift in the way we relate with each other. The breakdown of the figures geopolitical zone by zone is quite frightening.

While we can’t forget our differences we can strive to properly understand and accept them. So by all means, let those in any Ruga at Abakiliki be treated no different from those rearing pigs in Katsina.

Our patriotism should go beyond Super Eagles matches.

“Does it ever worry us that history which neither personal wealth nor power can pre-empt will pass terrible judgment on us, pronounce anathema on our names when we have accomplished our betrayal and passed on?

We have lost the twentieth century; are we bent on seeing that our children also lose the twenty-first? God forbid!”

– Chinua Achebe in, The Trouble With Nigeria (1984)

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