Northern leaders have been urged to stop referring to Middle Belt people as Northerners. National Publicity Secretary, Middle Belt Leaders Forum, Dr. Dogo Isuwa who gave the warning also asked former President Obasanjo not to relent in writing letters to President Muhammadu Buhari on key national issues and other matters that affect Nigeria.
Recently, Northern Elders Forum, NEF leaders expressed some reservations about the frequent meetings and alliances between Southern Leaders and the leadership of the Middle Belt Forum. Asked what he thought about the reservations expressed by the NEF, Dr. Isuwa said:
“Yahaya Kwande and his leader, Prof. Ango Abdullahi who is the Northern Elders Forum President, are daydreaming. They are not only dreaming, they are suffering from illusion. Both men are still living in the past, and the earlier they face the reality, the better. The bitter truth which Ango Abdullahi and Kwande may find difficult to swallow is that the Middle Belt is no longer part of the North. It will be very unfortunate if both men have not come to this reality. For emphasis’ sake, and for further clarification, I’m using this medium to inform both men, and others who still reason along Ango Abdullahi and Kwande’s line that Middle Belt is not part of the North. NEF and its leaders should count the Middle Belt out of their so-called North.”
He states further, “If they are talking about the Middle Belt being located in the northern part of the country geographically, that is another thing, but aside that, we have no relationship again with the North Ango Abdullahi and Kwande are talking about. For us in the Middle Belt, we are an independent entity.”
He continues, “Even during the colonial era, and years after colonial era when we were merged with the North, that arrangement never benefited us. That arrangement was never to the best interests of the Middle Belt as the so-called North oppressed, and persecuted our people. Even up till today, that persecution has continued through killings of Middle Belt people in Zamfara, Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, and Taraba states just to mention a few, and Ango Abdullahi, the Northern Elders Forum President has never spoken out against the killings of Middle-Belt people. And now, he and his NEF members are referring to Middle Belt as being part of their North. What an illusion.”
Continuing, he declares, “The earlier Ango Abdullahi and his NEF members wake to the reality, the better, and the bitter truth I want to emphasize here again is that they should count the Mddle Belt out of their so-called North. The Middle-Belt is an entity on its own. Our link to the North was during the colonial era ,and few years after the nation’s independence. But we are no longer part of the North,we are now on our own. We don’t want any association with the North. We don’t need the North.
“I can understand Ango Abdullahi, and his NEF members, they need the Middle Belt because they are used to exploitation of our people. Northern leaders have always been depending on the Middle-Belt to achieve their selfish objectives, but we’ve now removed that yoke, and there is no going back on our decision to remain an independent entity with no link whatsoever with the North again. We don’t need the North,” he concluded.
The “Middle Belt” region of Nigeria is also known as the North Central region and is predominantly Christian. This region has been the hardest hit by the Fulani Herdsmen militia attacks which has claimed thousands of lives and led to the loss of homes, businesses, farms, and countless hectares of ancestral lands.
Since the herdsmen attacks escalated a few years ago, sociocultural and political leaders from Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt have managed to find a common ground by bridging the colonial and post colonial era divides to form an alliance against the common enemy. If this new resolve and declaration by the Middle Belt Forum leaders is everything it appears to be, the political enslavement, the economic emasculation, the wanton killings and eventual Islamization of Christians in predominantly Christian regions in Nigeria may soon be a thing of the past.
This is at best, a historic and stunning unraveling of the colonial style Amalgamated “One Nigeria.”