There are somethings that struck me with this conversation.
1. The problems of Nigeria are based on deliberately-orchestrated misconceptions concretized in our minds all over Nigeria.
2. We tend to suffer from the problem of stereotypical labelling of people.
When I called for a taxi, and I heard Abdul as his name, I was a bit uneasy, thinking I would find it difficult to relate or communicate with him. In each of us, we have this attitude, and our reasoning is coloured by the past.
Abdul turned out to be very respectful and intelligent. I asked why, as a Fulani, he was hustling like any other young Nigerian at Abuja with his level of education? He told me that like every society, there is an elite class of exclusivity; if you are not part of it, you don’t get a bite from the national cake. He shocked us by the fact that even though his father is a highly-educated Fulani, he insisted that from the age of 9 years, he must earn what he would spend on himself. As an only child, the father did not spare the rod. His father was a very strong disciplinarian.
3. He informed us that not all northerners are Hausa, not all are Muslims, not all Muslims are religious fanatics.
I knew this before now. He also said that there are more than 300 different languages in Adamawa State alone.
Now check this, just before stopping at the car park at the Abuja airport, he dropped the last bomb. His mother was a Christian and his father a Muslim. His mother was not Fulani, but of another tribe in Adamawa state. If a Muslim and a Christian can marry happily, why can’t we live peacefully?
4. You might not like this especially if you did not experience the civil war that ended in 1970.
His grandfather told him that those clamouring for war have never experienced war and its devastation. I added that most of those clamouring for war really don’t have any tangible assets outside their immediate localities, and many don’t even have anything to lose.
5. The representative of the speaker of the Zamfara House of Assembly stated clearly that the investments of Southerners in the north are enormous.
He equally stated that there are some peaceful Fulanis that know no other place than where they were domiciled. I met some at Abakiliki, one whose grandfather was born there. He opined that the northern part of Nigeria needs the southern part, just as the Southern part needs the northern part of Nigeria.
There are more reasonable people in Nigeria from different tribes than the troublemakers.
Abdul is young; his ideas might be utopian to some of us, but I feel that we, who love peace and progress, should raise our voices beyond the current “tale, told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” according to Shakespeare.
Let the voices of reason, peace, and unity speak more loudly from all segments of Nigeria.
Remember Yugoslavia after Tito.
We can still salvage Nigeria.
Those who know what is right to do should please act quickly.
God Bless You.