The approach of the Buhari administration to Southern agitation reminded me of an incident in Vietnam some years ago.
In February 2016, a house in Quang Ninh, Vietnam was burnt down. Houses get burned down everyday around the world so that in itself was not striking news.
What made it newsworthy around the world was the cause of the fire. A Vietnamese man who owned a house was irritated by the presence of a rat and in his annoyance, he caught the rat, and instead of simply disposing of it and moving on with his day, he chose to set the rat on fire while it was still alive.
The problem flared up when the burning rat ran around the house and set things on fire until the entire house was engulfed in flames.
What really got that house burned down was not the rat. The real cause was the emotional incontinence of a man who chose to indulge in his base feelings instead of calmly, rationally solving his real problems.
Buhari has kept setting what he sees as rats on fire and the house that is Nigeria is burning. He gets very irritated at Southern Nigeria and responds hatefully to agitation from the region.
The EndSars protests? Young Nigerians were attacked by the State and gunned down live on Instagram.
IPOB? State-sanctioned violence in the Southeast.
Sunday Igboho reacting to Fulani attacks in Oyo State? Violence, arrests, and now attempts at extradition from the Benin Republic.
It is very easy to see that Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu were targeted because of rumors that they had pushed for military actions against the Fulani terrorists attacking the SW and SE respectively.
In attacking them with this vigour while literally releasing captured Boko Haram terrorists at the same time, Buhari has implicitly sent a message that the South is not going to have any problems deciphering.
Southern Nigeria is not going to stop defending itself from Fulani terrorists. What’s going to happen is that there will be no publicly hailed leaders for the government to attack.
And the Nigerian Army has 350,000 members and that number is not going to be enough to deal with 50 million Southerners.
So it’s a fatally flawed approach from a Buhari who is not going to present to see how Southern Nigeria is going to behave with the Fulani for the next three generations.
Buhari’s actions are going to take away the legitimacy of the Nigerian Government and harden the hearts of South Nigeria against Northern Muslims for generations to come.
And a situation where the Southeast, Southwest, and the South-South come together to face this issue will defeat anything the Fulani Feudalist establishment throws at the South.
So what are the Yoruba going to do? They dealt with similar persecution under Abacha but Bola Tinubu’s unbridled ambition made him lead the Southwest into an ill-fated alliance with Fulani Feudalists who have always despised them.
Well now the SW is going to be very open to Southern Consolidation which is the only foreseeable outcome especially after the presidential primaries take away the restraint enabled by the delusion of the Southerners who have deceived themselves into thinking that they would be given presidential tickets by the APC.
This could be a beneficial phase for the South because it can have a decent discussion about its future.
Southern Nigeria should ask itself if sharing a country with Northern Nigeria is in its interests.
Half a century of strife, violence, and economic failure as a country makes the question useful.
Southern Nigeria also has to look at the patterns of Islamic extremist violence in the Sahelian region of West Africa and ask itself if its future would be better served by focusing more on building a vision and future with the coastal nations that make up the lower region of West Africa.
Northern Nigeria’s traits are easily recognizable in the countries like Chad, Niger Republic, Mali, Mauritania, etc that lie in the largely arid Upper part of West Africa.
How the Fulani are disproportionately represented in militant Islamist groups in West Africa is going to be primarily responsible for how the group is seen by the rest of Africa and only God knows what this might bring in due time.
The GEJ administration tried to help uplift the North with schools for the Almajiri and support for its farmers. Southern Nigeria really tried to make it work.
Igbos suffered pogroms and lost millions of lives in the Civil War and some still chose to live and work in the North.
Northerners are safe everywhere else in Nigeria and don’t get attacked.
But The Fulani Feudalist establishment fought its way back into power and doubled down on things it should have worked to eradicate.
They have sown the Wind. The Fruits of their labour will not be found in the House of Strangers.