Oct 2, 2010

Ibrahim Babangida and the Blazing Jos North

Former military President General Ibrahim Babangida better known as IBB in Nigeria was supposed to appear before the Justice Bola Ajibola’s Commission of Enquiry investigating the November 2008 disturbance in Jos North, the commercial capital of Plateau State Nigeria. He was instead represented by his attorney. IBB is wanted by the commission to respond to a memorandum submitted by someone saying that the manner in which Jos North was created during his administration as President is responsible for the religious and ethnic mayhem that threatens to become the hallmark of politics in the area.

When Jos South was created out of the then Jos Local Government Area, it was many observed the weird nature of the demarcation that ensured that the northern half is unusually diminutive while the size of south is in multiples of it. The demarcation follows the Bauchi Ring Road through Tinner Junction to come out at British American Junction. It continues along Murtala Mohammed Way to Dogon Karfe passing it to Secretariat Junction. From there is goes along the road to the Federal Secretariat from where it burst into the Tudun Wada Ring Road to meet Domkat Bali Way to end at the boundary of Bassa Local Government by going along Miango Road. By the way it was created, people felt it was done to give the Hausa community an undue political influence in the area.

While the military era lasted, there was no problem in Jos North. two years into the civilian regime when real politics began however, the first consequences of what many saw as a biased creation was recorded during which close to a thousand lives where lost. Then the problem spread to rural areas with another crescendo recorded in Yelwa in May 2004. Just when people thought that piece has finally come, crisis resurfaced again in November 2008.

Creation of political administrative units is aimed at administrative convenience leading to rapid development. As it is now, the reverse is the case in Jos North. It was during the IBB administration that Nigeria witnessed the Zagon Kataf mayhem in Kaduna State over the same issue of dispute over ownership and control of a town.

Even kindergarten kids are aware that leadership is aimed at bringing about love, peace and prosperity. The temptation for prejudice and nepotism is a problem of every ordinary ignorant human being. Leaders are however expected to be the extraordinary ones from amongst us who should be able to overcome such temptations. We ought to be able to take rational steps at such an early stage in the history of our nation. Decisions that should compelled the people to integrate with another rather than one that will separate them further.

The candid opinion here is that if the creation of the local government has turned out to be retrogressive, a reverse outcome of what was intended. It that is so, the two areas could be merged again or the boundary readjusted to be fair enough.

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