The Middle Belt Agenda


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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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The Middle Belt Agenda



Moses Dung




culled from DAILY TRUST, June 14, 2005

The Leadership newspaper of March 13, 2005 came out with the Middle Belt agenda as its lead story and John Dara as the main spokesperson and their delegate to the ongoing National Political Reform Conference (NPRC). I do not intend to delve into the rantings of John Dara many of which are contradictory and confusing. My main argument concerns the delineation of the proposed Middle Belt region as shown on the front page.

The new Middle Belt include the present north central zone, Adamawa and Taraba States and the Christian parts of Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi and Kebbi States. In case of Kaduna State it includes Southern and Central Sena-torial Districts of the state. Which means all the states in the new arrangement will collapse to form a new region with one government. Since Christianity is the criteria of being Middle Belt, the non Christians will opt out of the proposed region. For exam-ple states such as Niger, Kwara, Kogi, and Nasarawa which have large number Muslims and the central part, of Kaduna and the Muslim areas of Taraba and Adam-awa will have no reason to belong. And if for any reason the Muslim elements are forced to remain in the region they will be the majority according to 1963 census figures. So the present mino-rity will remain collectively and individually minority. In fact if the region is given to the so called bond of Chri-stian faith among the various ethnic groups will fizzle out because the bond is more of a pressure group of failed elites against their equally failed colleagues of Hausa/ Fulani extraction in the race for political relevance and economic empowerment essentially for selfish reasons. The masses of both sides are only used as fodder. No wonder in all the so-called religious conflicts no family of many Reverend, Imam, retired military or police officer or prominent politician is ever affected. As a matter of fact most of these elites of whatever background or faith have business links. They are known to be members of one family in any board they find themselves.

As an indigene of Plateau, I am not comfortable with the role John Dara is playing in view of the Yoruba agenda that tends to incorporate Yoruba speaking areas of Kogi and Kwara States into their new Oduduwa Region. Is Dara not smoothening Afenifere agenda whose main thrust is the balkanization of the north? I fear that the likes of John Dara are sowing the seeds of discord among the minorities and the rest of the people of North in order to justify their flight to Oduduwa Region.

My position is that the elites among the minority tribe of the north need a, rethink. Because the power and influ-ence they are looking for may not be in the end. For example Mr Dara proposed 16 member federal cabinet. The Middle Belt is likely to be represented by three persons out of this 16 member cabinet. Does it occur to them that, the Muslim majority and Tivs will corner all. Those of us from Plateau and Southern Kaduna; where do we place ourselves in the new arithmetic of sharing?

While in the present set up it may be permissible for leading advocates of the Middle Belt and minority emancipator like Chief Solomon Lar to corner all the political appointments for his family forgetting even his fellow Taroks, let alone the other tribes of Plateau State; and in the case of Group Capt. Dan Suleiman restricting the appointment to himself only, in the new Middle Belt region such luxury can hardly be tolerated.
Another thorny issue for the new Middle Belt is in the location of the capital. The natural choice of course is Jos. But will Mr Isaac Shaahu accept that Or in the alternative will my brother DIG Potter Dabup (rtd) accept Ilorin, Minna or even as the new capital? Even though I was a child when regional system was operated, hence I wouldn’t know how it fared. I am obviously comfortable with the present federal state structure. In this system significant percentage of our religious/ethnic divide are represented. Very much more are taken care of by the nearly 800 local govern-ment areas.

If the system is allowed to work, right leadership put in place and above all fear God enshrined as the principles of governance, all those selfish cliché about Middle Belt, Core North, Caliphate, Resource Control, Odud-uwa Region, Ethnic Nation-alities, Biafara, Sovereign National Conference, etc will all die a natural death. In its place a Nigerian citizen will be mould with common destiny. As true Nigerian first, before being anything else.

I am therefore, of the opinion that, ‘Our elites in the Middle Belt Forum, and those of the ACF should peacefully dialogue to find solution to their problems. I say theirs, because the masses no next to nothing about this senseless hatred. If you doubt me please visit the motor parks or our markets and you see our people united in pursuance of a common cause with no one bothering to look up to find what area you come from or what religion you practice. The truth is that God in His wisdom Has created us on this area called North. Any, attempt to disfigure this will be at our own peril. The” diversity of tribe and religion in the North, ditto, in Nigeria should be the source of our strength, understanding and love, rather weakness, con-flicts any hatred. Once, there was a country called Somalia. It was 100% same religion, same tribe. It destroyed itself because of bad leadership that was not only corrupt and selfish but which also introd-uces divisive and hatred. If homogeneous countries such as Somalia could failed because of bad leadership, ours will simply extirpate.


Dung wrote from Naraguta, Jos.



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