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Arewa: Hausa have had only one head of state yet they don’t scream marginalisation

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Murtala Mohammed

Anthony Sani, Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, says the Hausa ethnic group has produced only one head of state in the country’s history yet it does not claim to be marginalised the way the Igbo ethnic group does.

Sani, who said this in an interview with Punch, added that there are over 371 ethnic nationalities in the country that have not enjoyed access to the federal government like the Igbo has.

He also advised the Igbo political and religious elders to rein in on Nnamdi Kanu and his secession agitation in order not to be seen as tacitly supporting hate speech, which has been the major characteristic of the recent Biafran struggle.

“I find it very difficult to share the view that the south-east is the most marginalised,” he said.

“We better note that since 1970, the Igbo have been part and parcel of the federal government, as the vice president; senate president; speaker of House of Representatives; secretary to Government of the Federation, coordinating minister, ministers, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, service chiefs and as national chairman of the ruling party.

“The south-east held sway under Jonathan for five years. For them to still play victim may be understood but not acceptable.

“Nigeria has about 371 ethnic nationalities, most of which have not enjoyed ingress to the Federal Government compared to the Igbo.

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“The Hausa, whom the Igbo malign so much, have produced only Gen. Murtala Mohammed as head of state who ruled for only six months and died in the same circumstances like the Igbo’s Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi, who also ruled for six months. Yet, the Hausa do not play the victim of marginalisation like the Igbo.”

Sani agreed that Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB have the right to “demand anything under the law”, but he warned that the demands should be devoid of hate languages.

“Hate speech is a serious issue that is capable of splitting the country through avoidable conflagration or war,” he said, “yet, Igbo leaders have tended to tacitly endorse the hate speech by the Indigenous People of Biafra through their reticence until very recently – and despite their knowledge of dire experiences of civil war,” he said.

“There are countries where agitations for the split have taken place without the resort to the use of foul language and hate speech as we have experienced with IPOB.

“We have Catalonia in Spain, Quebec in Canada, and Scotland in Britain. Why should there be hate speech that is capable of incitement?

“I believe the Igbo should note that the certain benefits of our togetherness in a big country are far more than the uncertain gains of the split.”

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