Just a few months ago, Sahara and Vanguard were up in arms with the Katsina Emirate over what was first called “child marriage” then forced marraige.
A southern news paper even accused the Emir of “abducting and marrying an underage christian” before unceremoniously taking down the story without so much as a retraction.
This back and forth is representative of a political class which appropriated its society’s media houses and turned journalism over its head. With the Kaduna Declaration calling for the end of the federation, the political class at Lagos are scrambling to find allies in a North that has lost patience with Abuja politicking. Where else could they find one but in the traditional institutions of the North? The Emirates in their ancient wisdom abhor the sort of radical change called for in the Kaduna declaration. The uncertainty means the tide of history can sway either way, and so when the Emir of Katsina assured the Eze Ndigbo that he will use his “last drop of blood” to protect the lives of the Igbo in his Emirate, everyone from Sowore to Guardian jumped at the news, here was an Emir willing to stand by the Nigerian Idea. In an hours worth of breaking articles, the Emir was rebranded from the conservative Northern muslim who’d forcefully taken away their women to a Nasiru Elrufai II.
But it’s actually difficult to understand where all these media shows are heading to, are they trying to inspire federal policy? do they really think that a clamp down on Northern agitation for independence will yield any fruits? The young people in the North are fed up of ethnic policies that have driven southern governments in the last four years. They watched in amazement as markets that were deemed full of “non indigenes” were torn down in Lagos, Umuahia and Onitsha. They watched in silence as southern elders called for the registration of all northerners in their cities, they watched in silence as secessionists called for “true federalism” and restructuring in order to push out northern “parasites”.
It’s easy to see why the Lagos barons will fall into this cycle, they have done so with the Babangida’s the Gowon’s and the Buhari’s. But these young people are not the old guard. They’ve never seen Nigeria in its golden age and they certainly hold little loyalty to the grandeur ideas of their parents. This time, the Barons are facing youthful rebellion free from the shackles of pan Nigerian sentiments.