Every now and then, “marginalisation” has been a go-to word whenever one zone loses out in power squabbles at the centre. The ubiquitousness of the word since Nigeria gained her independence from Great Britain ought to be studied by all ivory tower of knowledge across Nigeria and beyond. Government in, government out, it is the same cry of marginalisation that everyone is singing about. No section of the country has a monopoly about the cry of the word “Marginalisation”, it is all-encompassing for all tribes of Nigeria.
Since Nigeria got her independence in 1960 to this current dispensation, the country has had 16 different rulers spread across major ethnics group of the country. In his book ‘Why We Struck’, Major Ademoyega listed marginalisation among other things as the reason they have to toppled the government of Tafawa Balewa in 1966 coup which ushered in Aguinyi Irosi military regime.
Fast forward to this current Republic that started in 1999. During Chief Olusegun Obasanjo reign as president, it was the turn of the northern elites to shout marginalisation until they have the president either sides of Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Prior to Jonathan presidency, Minority elites of the Niger Delta extraction have also made compelling agitation with regards to the marginalisation of their region. During his reign, not to be left out Yoruba elites also have tears of their own about the so-called marginalisation.
There is no time in the history of Nigeria that South East have not had shout of marginalisation as championed by their elites. Theirs had even results in civil war. Now, it is turn of elites from other regions to lend their own shout of marginalisation which are self-serving.
To set the record straight, it is pertinent to understand what those elites means by marginalisation. They quite always see and solely discuss marginalisation in the framework of power squabbles and senior position sharing connections within the ruling elites. The moment elites from a certain regions feel they have lost out in the sharing of national cake and not in the interest of the common man from their respective regions, they prioritise such positions as the President, Vice President, Senate President [and the Deputy], Speaker of the House [and the Deputy], Chief Justice [and the various heads of the High Courts, and Court of appeal, etc]; the service chiefs, ministerial appointments; membership of boards of parastatals and commissions etc.
To put it plainly, they only prioritise the interest of the elites to have access to and control of state power and by extension state treasury. They only use our name to give credence to their shout of marginalisation, when what they are fighting about is their temporary absence of access to state patronage and by extension treasury looting opportunities.
The cry of marginalisation no matter how it resonates with common man on the streets, for all intents and purposes is struggle that is quite selfish, self serving and motivated by greed of the various sections of the ruling class across the regions of country. They only use it for whipping up sentiments among their kins in order to have concessions at the centre.
There is no time that ordinary people have benefited dividends of democracy from those who have gained power at the centre. There has been no real significant difference in the life of common man when those positions are held by the political elites of their region. Of what benefits has Jonathan’s presidency has benefited common man on the streets of Yenegoa?
Furthermore, with all those years dominance of Northern elites in the scheme of things at the centre, of what benefits has it been to the welfare of ordinary citizens of the region? From all indices to prove it, the North is still the poorest section of the country, with highest level of poverty, out of school children and highest level of insecurity.
In truth, the real marginalisation is of the under-privileged non-elites, whose poverty stricken dwellings are routinely demolished; who are usually evicted from city centers in the name of urbanisation; and whose living conditions have been permanently made hellish and unbearable. The unemployment level has reached high proportion. Those are the real marginalized and it is them, marginalized citizens that need to come together and disregard the state patronage dependent ruling class.