The President And His Health: Setting Up Northern Strawmen To Heat Up The Polity

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Olusegun Adeniyi, Presidential Adviser on Media, was an August visitor in my house on Sallah day. We spoke about the decision to come open about the state of President Yar’adua’s health. I thought it was the right thing to do because it lifted the pall of uncertainty and unhealthy rumor in the country. The truth is that the health of the president affects all of us and in the modern world, there can be no hiding information from citizens. For too long the minders of the president operated as if they were dealing with citizens who did not know better in such matters and in their folly, they lost opportunity to win empathy for the president. Even under Babangida, Nigerians were kept informed when he entered hospital for an operation. I wished President Yar’adua speedy recovery and parted with Segun.

On November 28th, 2009, THE PUNCH carried a report of alleged “Northern cabals” attempting to force Vice President Jonathan Goodluck to resign his position in order to ensure that if the worst happened power would somehow remain in the North! If the agenda was to deliberately heat up the polity in a moment of uncertainty, the story has succeeded beyond even the wildest imagination. Expectedly, there have been all manners of reactions across board. A Joint Revolutionary Council represented by a certain Cynthia White, threatened that the Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta Region would secede from Nigeria, if Goodluck was forced to resign.


The threats to secede are being hurled, despite denials by Goodluck himself, that there were no such threats. For those who have  made a career out of seeing “Northern cabals” behind all cloak-and-dagger conspiracies, the uncertainty emanating from Yar’adua’s ill health has become a golden opportunity to ensure that Nigeria’s relative peace in the aftermath of the Amnesty program in the Niger Delta should not last! Even the PDP’s denial is not likely to dissuade these forces. Profiling Northerners as given to reactionary conspiracies, to the detriment of the so-called “progressive” political forces of the South is an old game.


Truth is always the first casualty of war and since politics is warfare by other means, truth is permanently on the leash in the political warfront of Nigeria. Those ratcheting up a secessionist agenda found their métier in the past week and the North is the straw man set up again for flogging! Those Northerners: locked up in smoke-filled rooms and hatching evil schemes; etc. What is missing is that we do not have horns on our heads, tails in our hind places and fangs like serpents! The Northerner in this narrative does not change, not knowing good or the “progressive”! No surprise that the new anti-Northern profiling  emerged against the backdrop of the new book written by Chief Olanihun Ajayi, one of the dinosaurs of the old Action Group, whose mind is still locked in the politics of the 1950s! There are no “Northern cabals” forcing VP Jonathan to resign. Northerners are not stupid! God forbids that anything happens to Yar’adua; but if, Jonathan will become president. It is as simple as that! Northerners are not in the business of conspiracies and negatively profiling Northerners only hurts the good order of Nigeria. The press wields tremendous power and in this particular situation, THE PUNCH was irresponsible to become the platform now being exploited to heat up the polity!

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