I will not stop admiring the loquacious former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Rottweiler, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) for his bluntness. As I noted earlier, he has a way of revealing the truth, albeit inadvertently, and at the same time revealing his level of ignorance. Since he went into obscurity, he has been trying to regain relevance through a new pastime—criticising President Goodluck Jonathan and teaching us Nigeria’s history through voodoo articles published in friendly newspapers and online news portals.
In his most recent article, he told of how tribalism was introduced into Nigeria’s politics by the Igbo. To bolster his thesis, he quoted a statement (‘It would appear that the God of Africa has created the Igbo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondage of ages’) credited to Zik in 1949 and another (‘Igbo domination of Nigeria is only a matter of time’) credited to Charles Onyeama, an Igbo lawyer, in 1945. He noted that that was the result of his personal research as a historian.
I will not argue whether the statements in question introduced into Nigerian politics because being Igbo myself, I will be accused of bias. Therefore, everybody should interpret for himself. However, what is surprising is that FFK’s knowledge of politics in Nigeria stops at 1945. Since he claims that he is a trained historian, he would have known that there was a multi-ethnic organisation named the Lagos Youth Movement (LYM), which was formed in 1934.
The organisation in 1936 renamed to Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM). In 1937, Zik returned to Nigeria from Ghana and joined the organisation. The return of Zik and the subsequent return of HO Davis from London added zest to the organisation and it later (as a political party) won elections into the Lagos Town Council in 1938, ending the domination of Herbert Macaulay’s National Democratic Party in Lagos Politics
Tribalism rocked that group in the early 1940s and Zik left the group and joined Herbert Macaulay in 1944 to form another multi-ethnic party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), which later became the National Council of Nigerian Citizens when Southern Cameroons elected to join Cameroon through a plebiscite in 1959.
FFK should tell us about the tribalism that rocked NYM in the early 1940s and which ethnic group that caused it. These things have been chronicled in WAEC-approved O’ Level Government textbooks and I knew about them during my high school days. But a historian does not. What a shame! He is indeed a disgrace to Harrow College, SOAS and University of Cambridge.
Nnaemeka Meribe, journalist and lecturer, is a doctoral student at the La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia