Primordial sentiments are those sentiments that exist at or from the beginning of time or any event. They are behavioural tendencies that were displayed by people of the earliest time in history. Ancestral in nature and devoid of any modernisation. They are raw, unscientific and lacking in knowledge. Largely superstitious and religious. Decisions are based on subjective reasoning rather than objective deductions. Persons are more comfortable with persons they share natural and religious affiliations. The best premodial sentiments have produced for us are idiots and tribesmen. Idiots according to the Greeks are very selfish individuals while tribesmen are ethnic jingoists, who care about the interest of their ethnic nationality only.
Politically speaking, all politics is local. Primordial sentiments precede all considerations at the beginning of any political evolution. Nations were created by God and delineated by languages. Linguistic segregation becomes the earliest form of primordial sentiment. People aggregated together based on the language they speak. People are addressed as Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba because of the language they speak. At the beginning of time, every nation and community operated independently from the other until civilization started emerging with learning and education which taught the early men how to organise themselves and build nations that cut across linguistic barriers. Many communities and nations were either compelled to come together by external more powerful force for the benefit of the external force or they voluntarily came together for their own benefits.
Nigeria belongs to that nation-state which was compelled to come together by a more powerful external invader, Britain, for the benefit of Britain. The British did little to ensure the integration of Nigerians because they needed them to be divided along ethnic, linguistic and religious lines to be able to perpetually dominate them. Nigerians negotiated to live together as one country under the supervision of the British who ensured that we negotiated across ethnic, linguistic and religious lines. The British recognised three majority tribes in Nigeria then and the negotiations were made predominantly by the three tribes who were allowed to maintain their strong ethnic identities. Till date the founding fathers include Chief Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (Igbo), Sir Ahmadu Bello (Fulani), Sir Tafawa Balewa (Hausa) and Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Yoruba). The best the British made out of these men were tribesmen. Immediately the British left, Nigeria was governed along these ethnic and linguistic lines which engendered ethnic rivalry and which eventually led to the first coup of 1966, which unfortunately, led to the civil war that led to the loss of about one million lives. The bottom line of the disaster was mutual suspicion of domination among the major ethnic tribes in Nigeria. This is what premodial sentiments lead any unwary country into.
After the war, efforts were made to ensure greater integration of the different tribes in Nigeria. The military tried to compel the different tribes to work together by force. It boomeranged initially as it was initially misunderstood by the ethnic groups that were not represented in the highest echelon of the military command. The military, however, after some false starts, forcefully united the country into one central purse from where all the federating units drew from. They handed over power to the civilians in 1979 with constitutional provisions that no ethnic, linguistic or religious group should be allowed to dominate others. These provisions made it possible in 1979 to produce a Northern Muslim from the North-West as President, a Christian Vice-President from the South-East, a Christian Chairman of the National Assembly from the South-South, a Muslim Chief Justice of the Federation from the North. There was consciousness in the minds of the politicians to ensure that no part or section of the country dominated the other. Unfortunately the regime was overthrown in 1983 by the military.
Following the return to democratic rule in 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo ensured that the six Geo-Political Zones were adequately represented in the first six most powerful posts in Nigeria, despite the fact that they were all elective positions. For instance, the President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is a Christian from the South West, the Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is a Muslim from the North East, Senate President, Evan Enwerem, was a Christian from the South East, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, is a Muslim from the North West, Deputy Senate President, Haruna Abubakar, was a Muslim, from the North Central and Deputy Speaker, Chibudum Nwuche, is a Christian from the South South. Statistically, you had three Christians and three Muslims represented in the first six elective posts. You also had three Northerners and three Southerners represented in the first six elective posts. This is the modern Nigeria our Constitution envisaged. No ethnic or religious group was left behind. Every ethnic and religious group enjoyed a sense of belonging and the government of Olusegun Obasanjo commanded a sense of loyalty from all the different sectional groups which guaranteed it the support from all. We had relative peace and achieved modest results. Premodial sentiments took a back seat in our emerging democracy. In 2003, the same pattern was maintained and during the change of leadership in 2007, the sharing formula was maintained but all posts that were in the South went North and those in the North went South.
As we approached 2015 elections we saw our hard earned democracy sliding backwards as politicians started going back to premodial sentiments as basis for the election of their candidates. At the centre of this sentiment was Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a Southern Muslim, who, according to him, single-handedly brought a Northern Muslim to become the President and wanted to be his Vice in a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. He was rebuffed and the party insisted on balancing the presidential ticket between the Muslims and Christians as was the tradition. Bola Tinubu was to move forward to support the enthronement of a Muslim Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and a Muslim Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. He was rebuffed too in a political showdown that brought about a Northern Muslim Senate President, Saraki and a Northern Christian Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara. Although the government was balanced between Muslims and Christians, one can see that it was unbalanced between North and South. Because people overlooked the imbalance, Bola Tinubu, who is popularly addressed as the leader of the party, got more prepared and ensured that in 2019, he achieved his divide and rule along religious lines by ensuring that he imposed his earlier choice of two Muslims to man the two Houses of the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives. In 2019, we had a Muslim President, Muslim Senate President, Muslim Speaker of the House of Representatives and a Muslim Chief Justice of the Federation in total breach of all the constitutional provisions guarding against the marginalization and discrimination of different sectional groups in Nigeria. In 2023, Bola Tinubu wants to complete his journey towards destroying every remaining honour and self esteem of Christians in Nigeria by enthroning a Muslim President, himself, Muslim Vice President, Muslim Senate President, Muslim Speaker of the House of Representatives and Muslim Chief Justice of the Federation. In his own premodial sentiment, only Muslims are competent enough to work with him, while Christians should be competent enough to only be hewers of wood and fetchers of water in Nigeria. It is on good record that many Islamic clerics, who understand the dictates of Quran on justice, have joined the Christians in Nigeria to reject these hypocrites in politics who are using religion to divide Nigerians in order to acquire power.
One would have thought that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be better as an opposition party, but it turns out to be equally as bad. Atiku that ran on the mantra of a great unifier has turned to become the great divider. At the root of the problem is premodial sentiment and the urge to acquire power at all costs. The only reason Wike is not the presidential candidate of PDP is because he is a Southerner from Ikwerre, not a Fulani Northern Muslim. The only reason Tambuwal betrayed Wike is because he considered ethnicity and religion over every other consideration. Tambuwal and Atiku are both Fulani Northern Muslims who are seeking to take over power from Buhari, the incumbent President, who is also a Fulani Northern Muslim in contradiction to Section 7(3)(c) of its Constitution, which guarantees the zoning and rotation of all political offices among the six Geo-Political Zones. Today, PDP is more divided than APC because it gettisoned zoning and rotation. It was agreed that power will rotate to the South in 2023 and in preparation to that agreement, all posts in the South in the PDP party offices were shifted back to the North and all the posts in the North were shifted back to the South. The South gave up the post of National Chairman of PDP to the North on the understanding that the post of the President will come back to the South. The Southern Governors vowed that the President must rotate to the South. Immediately the North grabbed the post of the National Chairman, it started thwarting every understanding reached earlier and eventually destroyed the zoning arrangement which led to the North occupying simultaneously the posts of the Presidential candidate, National Chairman of the Party, Chairman of the BOT and the rest in PDP. The South-West is totally eliminated from the scheme of things, while the South-East and prominent politicians from the South-South are roundly humiliated. For daring to contest with Atiku, Wike has been called uncultured, disrespectful, insulter of everybody. He was told that Atiku can win the Presidency without him and the votes of Rivers State. Indeed, he can go to hell. When people blackmail Wike that he vowed to work for PDP whatever the outcome of the primary election, Wike should be able to remind them that he vowed first in the Governors forum that he will support the emergence of a Southern President in 2023. The truth is that the more you indulge power grabbers in their primordial sentiments, the more merciless they become. Wike has vowed not to be a slave or second class citizen in his own country. Time will tell whether he will accept to be a religious slave in APC or ethnic slave in PDP or join every other Nigerian in this revolution to bring about the emergence of a new political order free of premodial sentiments that will guarantee the peace and progress of our dear Country, Nigeria. Premordial sentiments have led us to civil war before. Nigerians must look towards the third force and make a choice that should be truly representative of the aims, dreams and aspirations of a modern Nigeria.