It is an undisputed fact that the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups are the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria.
It is a fact that the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages are widely spoken in Nigeria aside English language.
It is a fact that the official language of Nigeria is English and in special circumstances Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
It is a fact that Nigeria as presently constituted has 36 Federating Units divided into six geopolitical zones namely: the South-East, the South-South, the South-West, the North-Central, the North-West and the North-East plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
It is a fact that the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of the Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo State and is made up of the Indigenous peoples of Igbo.
It is a fact that the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of the Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers states and is made up of amongst others the Indigenous Peoples of Abayon, Abua (Odual), Adim, Adun, Agbo, Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk), Anang,
Andoni, Anyima, Bachere, Bahumono, Bekwarra, Bette, Bini, Boki (Nki),Kalabari,Ebana (Ebani), Ebirra (lgbirra), Ebu, Efik, Egbema, Ejagham, Ekajuk, Eket, Ekoi Engenni, Epie, Esan, Etche, Etsako, Etung, Etuno, Gokana, Ibeno, Ibibio Ikorn, Isoko, Itsekiri, lyala, lzondjo, (Ijaw) Mbembe, Mbube, Nkim, Nkum, Ododop, Ogoni, Okobo, Okpamheri, Olulumo, Opobo, Oron, Owan, Qua, Ukelle, Ukwani(Kwale),Uneme (Ineme),
Urhobo, Uyanga, Yache and Yakurr.
It is a fact that South-West geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Osun states and is made up of the Indigenous Peoples Yoruba.
It is a fact that the North-Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of Benue, Abuja, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and is made up of amongst others the Indigenous Peoples of Afizere, Afo,
Akweya-Yachi, Alago (Arago), Amo, Anaguta, Angas, Ankwei, Bada
Baruba (Barba), Bashir (Bashirawa), Bassa, Baushi, Birom, Bkkos, Boko( Bussawa, Bargawa),
( Buduma, Buji, Bunu, Burma (Burmawa), Bwall,
Challa, Chip, Chokobo, Dakarkari, Doemak (Dumuk), Egede (lgedde),
Eggon, Etolu (Etilo), Fyam, Fyer, Gade, Qanawuri, Gbedde, Geruma,
Goernai, Gurmana, Gusu, Gwandara, Gwari, Idoma, Igalla, ljumu, Irigwe,
Jere, Jidda-Abu, Jukun, Kambari, Kantana, Kenern (Koenoem), Koro
(Kwaro), Kulere (Kaler), Kurama, Kwalla, Kwanka, Kwaro, Kwato, Laaru
(Larawa), Limono, Lopa, Mabo, Mada, Mama, Memyang (Meryan), Miango,
Miligili (Migili), Montol. Munga (Mupang), Mushere, Mwahavul, Ninzam
(Ninzo), Nokere, Nunku,Nupe, Ogori, Owe, Oworo, Pai, Pongo, Pyapun
(Piapung), Reshe, Rindire, Ron, Rubu, Rukuba, Shangawa, Shan-Shan,
Sikdi, Sura, Tarok, Tiv, Yagba,Ufia, Uncinda, Ura (Ula),
Utonkong,Yalla,Yergan (Yergum), Yumu, Yuom and Zabara.
It is a fact that the North-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states and is made up of amongst others the Indigenous Peoples of Affade, Babur, Bachama, Bade, Bakulung, Bali, Bambora (Bambarawa), Bambuko, Banda (Bandawa), Banka (Bankalawa), Banso (Panso), Bara (Barawa), Barke, Batta, Baya, Bele (Buli, Belewa), Betso (Bete), Bilei, Bille, Bobua, Bole (Bolewa), Botlere, Boma (Bomawa, Burmano), Bomboro, Buli, Bura, Burak, Buru, Buta (Butawa), Bwatiye, Bwazza, Chama (ChamawaFitilai), Chamba, Chamo, Chibok (Chibbak), Chinine, Chukkol, Daba, Dadiya, Daka, Dangsa, Daza (Dere, Derewa), Deno (Denawa), Dghwede, Diba, Ouguri, Duma (Dumawa), Palli, Ga’anda, Galambi, Gamergu-Mulgwa, Gavako, Gengle, Geji, Gera (Gere, Gerawa), Geruma (Gerumawa), Gingwak, Gira, Gizigz, Gombi, Gornun,(Gmun), Gonia, Gubi (Gubawa), Gude, Gudu, Gururntum, Gwa (Gurawa),Gwamba, Gwom, Gwoza (Waha), Gyem, Higi (Hig), Holma, Hona, Ichen, Jahuna (Jahunawa), Jaku, Jara(JaarJarawaJaraw -Dutse), Jero, Jibu, Jimbin (Jimbinawa), Jirai, Jonjo (Jenjo), Kaba(Kabawa), Kadara, Kaka, Kambu,Kamo, Kanakuru (Dera),Kanembu, Karekare (Karaikarai), Karimjo, Kariya, Kenton, Kilba, Kirfi (Kirfawa), Koma, Kona, Kubi (Kubawa), Kudachano (Kudawa), Kugama, Kunini, Kurdul, Kushi, Kuteb, Kutin, Kwami (Kwom), Kwanchi, Lakka, Lala, Lama, Lamja, Lau, Ubbo, Longuda (Lunguda), Mambilla, Mandara (Wandala), Manga (Mangawa), Margi (Marghi), Matakarn, Mbol, Mbula, Mbum, Miya (Miyawa), Mobber, Muchaila, Mumuye, Mundang, Ndoro,Ngamo, Ngizim, Ngweshe (NdhangNgoshe-Ndhang), Ningi (Ningawa), Njayi, Nyandang, Pa’a (Pa’awaAfawa), Panyam, Pero, Pire, Pkanzom, Poll, PolchiHabe, Potopo, Rebina (Rebinawa), Sakbe, Sanga, Sate,Saya (SayawaZa’ar), Segidi (Sigidawa), Shomo, Shuwa, Siri (Sirawa),Sukur,Tangale, Teme,Tera (Terawa), Tigon, Tikar, Tula, Tur, Vemgo, Tikar, Tula, Tur, Vemgo, Verre, Vommi, Wagga, Waja, Waka, Warji, WulaWurbo, Wurkun, Yandang, Yott, Yungur, Zaranda, Zayam (Zeam) and Zul (Zulawa).
It is a fact that the North-West geopolitical zone of Nigeria consists of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kastina , Kebbi , Sokoto and Zamfara states and is made up of amongst others the Indigenous Peoples of Achippa, Angas, Attakar (Ataka), Auyoka (Auyokawa), Ayu, Bassa, Bina (Binawa), Dakarkari, Danda (Dandawa), Duka (Dukawa), Fulani, Gure, Hausa, Gwandara, Jaba, Kafanchan, Kagoro, Kaje (Kache), Kajuru (Kajuruwa), Kamaku (Kamukawa), Kambari, Kanikon, Kanuri,Katab, Kiballo (Kiwolo), Koro (Kwaro), Kurama, Kyenga (Kengawa), Manchok, Moruwa, Nimzam (Ninzo), Reshe, Rishuwa, Rumada, Rumaya, Shanga (Shangawa), Shira (Shirawa), Surubu, Uncinda, Warja and Zama (Zamawa).
It is a fact that the over 500 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria except the Fulani ethnic group who are settlers have existed from time immemorial predating the colonial era in Nigeria are to date in existence; and none of them has become extinct.
It is a fact that each of these ethnic nationalities have proudly retained their identities, languages, cultures, traditions, civilizations and religions which they have with pride, passed on from one generation to the other.
It is a fact that the indegenous peoples within Nigeria speak over 520 languages.
It is a fact that none of over 500 ethnic Nationalities have moved away from their homeland of inheritance or from their fore bearers/ancestral land.
It is a fact that these indigenous peoples subject to the Nigerian constitution and the Land Use Act have exercised unfettered and inalienable sovereignties over their respective homelands and own their land, their water ways and natural wealth and resources.
It is a fact that none of these ethnic nationalities have conquered the other or forced the other to assimilate the others language and culture excepts perhaps the Islamic factor in the Northern part of Nigeria
It is a fact that when Great Britain decolonized Nigeria it did not formally hand over the sovereign powers of Nigeria to any of the indegenous ethnic groups or the the one and only settlers in Nigeria, that is Fulani ethnic group.
It is a fact that none of these 500 indegenous peoples including the Fulani settlers are superior to the other before God and man.
It is a fact that by virtue of the Nigerian constitution all the over 500 indegenous peoples and the settlers within Nigeria are equal.
If all the above facts are true then why are we classifying all the over 500 ethnic nationalities under three umbrellas namely Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo ? Why are we classifying their languages into three with the popular acronym, WAZOBIA?
At this point in time , I know some of us would like to know why and how we came about this classification and the Wazobia acronym and whether is there a law backing them up ? Briefly then in 1950s, with house -to -house or rediffusion Radio speaker boxes in vogue , the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, was faced with the challenge of how to bring news to the grass root level by translating it into the several indigenous Nigerian languages. Consequently,
they decided to translate the hourly News bulletins in nine different Nigerian languages, Viz : Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Izon, Tiv, Efik, Kanuri and Fulfulde. This took a lot of time and was cumbersome to end the vernacular news broadcast and those whose languages were not included were not interested listening to the news and those whose languages are amongst the nine language refuse to listen to news after hearing the news in their language.
When the military junta’s took over power, they decided to cut the number of languages down to three, namely: Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages only and tagged it “WAZOBIA”, meaning: “Wa” (come) in Yoruba language; “Zo” (come) in the Hausa language; and, “Bia” which also meant (come) in Igbo language respectively. In other words, (come, come, come).
From there onwards Nigeria embarked on radio and television translation of news in what they called the three major languages, and relegated other languages to the background as if they have no stake in Nigeria. This is genesis and cynosure of the “Federal Character syndrome”, in Nigeria today. If you are not a WAZOBIAN you cannot be heard, recognized, employed or given reasonable political appointment on merit. WAZOBIA to a large extent encouraged and natured mediocrity, favouritism, nepotism, tribalism, corruption, godfatherism and the maginalination and oppression of the minorities in Nigeria.
I humbly submit that this classification and acronym is wrong , faulty and a fallacy of hasty generation that must be stopped forthwith for our own elightment and for the interest of our unborn generation. I am proudly an Urhobo man, but before the eyes of other Nigerians I am classified as an Igbo man whether I like it or not. It remains uncontroverted fact that many Nigerians from the Eastern, Western and Northern regions of Nigeria were killed, maimed, raped, brutalised and got their properties destroyed just for the mere fact that they were mistaken for Igbos during the 1966 and 1967 pogrom because of this fallacy.
It is this same fallacy that makes us as a country belief that the people killed in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State and Kadisau village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State are Hausas and that the North are killing themselves so what is our business in the South if they decide to finish themselves when in actual fact it a case of the Fulani settlers and their invading cousins from the Sahel that are systematically ethnically cleansing the original owners of the land in the North and dispossessing them of their ancestral homes. It is this same fallacy that is making us belief that the millions of helpless and despondent Nigerians in IDPs camp (Internally displaced persons camps ) in the North-East Zone of Nigeria and refugees scatter all over our neighboring countries are Hausas when in actual fact they are not but a clear case of the systematic invasion, dispossession and extermination of the original land owners by the Fulanis and their cousins from Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Cote d’ivoire, and Cameroon.
Enough is Enough. Let us do away with this classification and acronym. While retaining our allegiance to Nigeria let us not forget who we are and where we come from. Let us stand by our various nationalities and defend our ancestral home land, culture, language and heritage from the marauding and rampaging Fulani settlers and their cousins in the guise of farmers/herdsmen clash, Boko haram and bandits.
Let our brothers in Western Nigeria stop calling any Nigerian that is not an Hausa or Yoruba man Omo Ibo. Let our Northern brother stop calling any Nigeria that is not an Hausa or Yoruba man Iyamiri. Let us learn to know that it is diverse people that make up Nigeria and also learn to tap on the greatness and potentials of our diversity. Let us lay to rest the spirit of WAZOBIA by protesting just like, the protests that started following l the police killing of George Floyd that lead to the defacing, pulling down or out right removal of statues with racist legacies in Europe, the United States of America and world wide. The WAZOBIA syndrome and the fallacy of classifying , Nigerians as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo is cancerous to the unity, peace and posterity of our dear country Nigeria and must be excised from our polity like the status of Christopher Columbus, Wilson Churchill, Edward Colston, Belgian King Léopold. Adolf Hitler etc.
After reading this article and you disagree with me, I implore you to imagine having one representative each of the various over 500 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria in a hall and try to communicate with them in only Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo and see if you will not get the Tower of Babel situation in your hands.
Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo