Middle Belt, Northern Supremacy And So-called Minority Tag



The Middle Belt, as the name implies, comprises states located on the central part of the Nigerian nation. These states include Kwara State, Kogi State, Benue State, Taraba State, Plateau State, Nasarawa State, Niger State, Adamawa State, the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), as well as the southern parts of Kaduna, Kebbi State, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno states.

In an August 2013 interview granted to Luka Binniyat, the former Bureau chief of Vanguard Nigeria; Hon. Jonathan Asake, a former Lawmaker representing Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal constituency, was quoted thus: “It is only 49% of the population of Kaduna State; the Middle Belt of southern Kaduna is 51%, according to the 2006 census. It is just 45% of Gombe State, it is not an overwhelming majority in Kebbi State. The Middle Belt is 30% of Bauchi.

The main states of strength of the Hausa/Fulani are Sokoto, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi and part of Gombe and Kaduna. So, you see, the Hausa-Fulani who, everyone has made the Lord of the North is actually a minority, unlike what you have in the South-west and South-east with the Yoruba and the Igbo. The Hausa-Fulani, though found everywhere in the 19 northern states, is really a minority ethnic group when it comes as a bloc. The so-called minorities, as an aggregate, are the majority. And that is the Middle Belt. If you doubt this, look at the 2006 census result, and the way votes in the 2011 elections were cast in our areas”.

The history of Nigeria can never be complete without mentioning the immense contributions of Middle belt. For instance during the three-year civil war of 1967 to 1970, men and officers of Middle Belt extraction were responsible for fighting to keep the unity of Nigeria. Thousands of such men lost their lives, while some lost vital organs of their bodies such as eyes, legs, arms etc. during the needless and useless war. Despite such huge sacrifices made by the people of the Middle Belt, they have always been relegated to the background whenever power and politics of Nigeria are put into consideration.

The Middle Belt, over the years, has become a ground where block votes are harvested by power brokers. Even when certain political parties zone their presidency tickets to the North, the Middle Belt is never seen to be worthy of fielding a candidate as the core Northern states usually see such zoning as their birth rights to field candidates and eventually rule

Most recently, the Middle belt has become an abattoir for human slaughter where Fulani terrorists have continued to massacre the peace-loving people of the area with impunity. The Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu, has turned deaf ears to these mindless massacres. This has also put more fuel into the fire of restructuring already burning across the Nigerian state.

The 2019 general election is an opportunity for the Middle Belt to utilize her population effectively and also field candidates on all major political parties. The Middle Belt must stop seeing herself as a second class people; they must instead tap into all zoning arrangements made by political parties, provided such zoning capture the Middle Belt as an independent geopolitical zone.

The political structure of the Nigerian state also needs to be restructured to recognize the Middle Belt as an independent geopolitical zone which is obviously larger than the South-south, North-east, North-west, South-east and South-west comparatively respectively in terms of land mass and population.

The Middle Belt must also, as a matter of urgency, begin to form political alliances with other geo-political zones across the Niger River of Nigeria. Such alliances should be made on mutual benefits and in clear terms. This will help strengthen the Middle Belt and also build a strong resistance against the Hausa/Fulani hegemony and subjugation of the Middle Belt.

Kefason, a public affairs commentator and an activist, writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He can be reached via: stevenkefas@gmail.com

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