Gimba Kakanda: “Who’s the North’s Equivalent of Kanu and Igboho?”

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The most disturbing views shared by some mischievous southerners on these apps are that northerners cheer the very bandits and terrorists destroying their lives and livelihoods. The agenda is an attempt to present those invidious groups as beneficiaries of the region’s emotional backing, which is ridiculous and untrue, and some have gone to the extent of promoting the much-maligned Dr. Ahmad Gumi as a mouthpiece of the North.

The Boko Haram, ISWAP and all the bandit groups scattered across the region do not attract the sympathy of the North and none of their leaders even pretends to represent Northerners or protect the interests of the region. They are indefensible criminals. Simple and short. If you have ever come across any northerner endorsing the operations of terrorist or bandit leaders, I challenge you to submit your proof—and I’m not asking for some fabricated account or screenshots of faceless accounts on social media.

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From Mohammed Marwa AKA Maitatsine of the early 1980s to Mohamed Yusuf of the late 2000s, the North has never formed a consensual bloc in defence of the operations of criminal and insurgent groups. The rebellious groups have always functioned as outcasts, and fiercely opposed. Maitatsine and Yusuf began as laughing stocks in Kano and Maiduguri, respectively, and treated as lunatic clerics and considered misled and lost, before they broke out and got out of hand. They were never ever popular leaders in the northern society.

So, whenever I read ignorant takes that northerners are obsessed with the downfall of Sunday Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu and their ilk, and yet mum about, or in support of, the late Abubakar Shekau, I smell intentionally-disseminated disinformation to demonize northerners. If the dispensers of these falsehoods have any functional brain cells left, they would’ve instantly acknowledged that northerners and Muslims are the first and worst victims of Shekau and his likes’ lunatic onslaughts on reason and lives and properties of non-members of their terrorist cult in the North.

While the bandits aren’t asking for a sovereign state to rule, the Boko Haram and ISWAP are driving an insurrection to create an Islamic state and they’ve not succeeded in doing so simply because of the North’s or, more specifically, the Muslims’ disinterest in that mockery of its doctrinal leaning. We can push this propaganda without these bigoted inclinations to lie, misinform and disinform.

It’s important that we all have a voice to speak and clarify these cheap and mischievous lies. Unfortunately, if you are seeking someone to bully into subscribing to your sectional sentiments without presenting a fact-based position, know that you have chosen a wrong target. I’m the last person to take a position to please, or for fear of, anyone.

*Kakanda is a Nigerian fiction writer, journalist and poet

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