Let all play that game!

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By Olawale Olaleye

I think I understand better now why the North is famed as the smartest, albeit politically. There’s nothing esoteric about their model. The standout, curiously, is their consistency. And until we see the sense in that nonsense model – stop being over-righteous and desist from pulling down our own, then, the north would remain a frontrunner in the annals of our body polity.

Nothing, however, makes more lucid this assertion than the Isa Pantami tragedy. The north, its leadership, opinion moulders and their ruling class didn’t just rise stoutly in defence of Pantami – a man no less their collective investment – they have been strategic, organised, determined and unbending about it. Fantastic lot!

The Yoruba have one of the richest cultures with solid and beautiful language uses, steeped in rare wisdom. But quite often, they don’t explore this advantage. Excessive emphasis on the “Omoluabi factor” has conditioned them to stray from the need to protect their own, with zero emphasis on political correctness but always doing that which is generally considered conscionable.

The Yoruba have a saying that underscores the importance of the unity of the broom sticks in any engagements. Maybe that was why the ruling APC even made broom its symbol. Sadly, apart from the North, no other ethnic nationality has deployed this agelong wisdom to effective use.

Whenever a Yoruba man or woman does any wrong, his people are the first to condemn it and ask that the individual does that which is expected by righting the wrong. The Igbo are no different, ditto many of the other ethnic groups down south. But the north is not wired that way.

Even where some inconsequential voices differ, although sometimes sponsored from other parts of the country as if they were from the north, the core of their leaders, ruling class and opinion moulders always stand by their own. This is how and why they are deemed smarter. Strangely, there’s nothing extra in the path they have chosen. They have only chosen to be more politically correct a lot of the time than reasoning dispassionately.

From how the Muhammadu Buhari administration has so far handled the matters of former SGF, Babachir Lawal; former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu; former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina and now, Pantami, among others – compared to how Kemi Adeosun’s matter was handled – there’s no debating the disparities in the collective ideals of the northern leadership and their counterparts in the South.

Did anyone notice how pained the Norther leadership was when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo exercised his powers as acting president and sacked a former DG of the DSS, Lawal Daura? The reaction was typical and unpretentious. That’s the quintessential north and its staying power, politically.

Even where they eventually pretended to be doing the right thing, it would not be after they had tried, shamelessly so, to protect their own, before putting up a volte face. That notwithstanding, how have they all ended? Where are they all today? Probably lounging somewhere as the untouchables in the real sense. Forget all the drama of prosecution. It’s all nonsense! “Ziggy” like they say in downtown Abeokuta, Ogun State.

So, what’s the summary of my epistle? Going forward, two or more can now clearly play that game. In fact, all. For me, from now on, I’ll never stand against any Southerner, even if he was an armed robber. There’s always an opening to rationalise every bad act. At least, we now know better. And where I’m seriously conflicted to defend any such act, (because I don’t know what can be worse than someone being sentimental to terrorism), I’d rather keep quiet and maintain my peace.

But to now openly disparage my southern brother in the name of seeking decent nation-building and aspiring to have a citizenry comparable to that in any sane clime around the world, that era is past. I will never ever do that again. From this moment, I pledge my loyalty 100 per cent to everything southern since we all can play that game. Let the worst of us continue to rule. Yes, this is where I stand now, for as long as he is a Southerner.

This is the new Nigeria that some are graciously sculpting and since it is directly inimical to the ideals that we have and have always proposed as a collective, I’m in for the real game, which of course, pays off for those that can play it.

From Bola Tinubu down to MC Oluomo, I’ll say no more negative things about these people (deserving or not), because they are southerners and can never do wrong again in my eyes until the day we return to the table to renegotiate this already broken down union. Let the game begin. I pretend no more!

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