Last night Femi Fani-Kayode wrote a
piece about US secretary of state John Kerry and Facebook founder
Mark Zuckerbergâ€™s visit to Nigeria & how it
has something to do with the Hausas. He wrote;
â€œKerry comes to the north and sees the Sultan
of Sokoto, northern governors and Buhari. One week later Facebook
founder comes to Nigeria and says Hausa is a
â€œunique languageâ€ which he has
included on Facebook. Think Nigerians thinkâ€.
Hours later, former presidential aide Reno Omokri reacted to
FFKâ€™s comment. He wrote;
FFK responded to Reno Omokri
â€œNice to hear from u. Permit me to begin by
saying that I never miss ur write-ups and I thank God that we still
have people as discerning and as bold as u in our country. Pls keep
it up. Now to the business of the day.
Thanks for taking your time to respond to my post. Perrmit me to
respond to you very briefly. What Mark Zuckerberg said about the
Hausa language being â€œuniqueâ€ is not
a fact but an opinion. And it is an opinion which, in fairness to
him, may well be honestly held. It is also an opinion which you
evidently share and which both u and he u are perfectly entitled
to. I am, however, entitled to disagree with u on that opinion
especially where I have good reason to do so. You see unlike most I
do not post, speak or write lightly. I take my time, I do my
research and I am very precise. That is my style and nature. The
choice of hausa being put on Facebook is not just a matter if
â€œlinguistic uniquenessâ€ I assure u.
And to honestly believe that it does borders on pure naivety. There
is nothing unique about the number of coutries in west Africa that
speak Hausa and I do not believe that Hausa is the most widely
spoken language in west Africa though many often say it is. It is
rather like the common refrain that the hausas number more than any
other nationality in Nigeria when we all know how and when that
particular dirty lie came about and how the British constructed it
by counting the cows of the north and adding them to the number of
northerners that they counted in the first census. If the truth be
told even then and up until now the Igbo and the Yoruba are more
than the Fulani and the Hausa. If u doubt my assertion about the
lack of uniqueness of the Hausa language, please do the research
and find out how many countries that Yoruba, for example, is spoken
in both in West Africa and outside of the African continent in
South America and the Carribean. Also read up on the history of the
BBC and VOA Hausa Service and why they were set up by their
respective governments. Ditto the German hausa radio service and
others. It made perfect sense because most hausa men carried radios
around with them everywhere they went whilst their southern
compatriots, being far more advanced and educated, prefered reading
newspapers and watching television. It is not just a matter if
linguistic uniqueness I assure u but evidence of the fact that the
British particularly always had, and still do have, a strong
partiality for the Hausa Fulani compared to any other nationality
in Nigeria. The reasons for that are legion so I
wonâ€™t go into them here. Needless to say though,
the history on this matter is very clear and I suggest you read up
on it. It appears that the American authorities, at least the
Obama/Kerry/Clinton brigade, are following in the footsteps of the
British colonial masters in terms of their preferred friends in
Nigeria and indeed American private companies like Facebook, just
like British private companies did in the former British colonies
before them, are towing the line of their governments. It is not
too difficult to work that one out for the intelligent. I guess
only time will tell if I am right but these are my views. In any
case I wonder how many hausa-speaking people are on Facebook when
compared to Yoruba and Igbo. I read far more into this matter than
u do because I am not just a politician but a historian. I also
have my views about the social media generally, its link to the top
western intelligence agencies and what its ultimate objective is. I
have been proved right in the end on most of my assertions about
unfolding events in this country and indeed world affairs as u may
or may not know. I doubt that this will be any different. Unlike
most people I do not let my friendship or personal-liking or
disliking of an individual becloud my judgement. My reasons for
believing what I believe will be made manifest at the appropiate
time. If u are really interested in knowing what those reasons are
I suggest you exercise a little patience and u will find out. U may
even learn something from it. By the way unlike u I think it would
be an excellent innovation if Facebook introduced other Nigerian
languages like Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw etc.. As far as I am concerened
the more inclusive it is the better. I wish u well and please keep
writing those excellent essays on the situation in our country.
Omokri responds to FFK
Dear Olufemi Olu-Kayode
Thank you for your kind rejoinder to my response to your take
on Mark Zuckerbergâ€™s comment on the Hausa
language. Here is my response.
That Mark Zuckerberg called Hausa a unique language is not
born out of any conspiracy against the Yoruba, Igbo or any Southern
Nigerian ethnic nationality. The Hausa language is not an invention
of the Hausa people. The language was invented by God and so
whenever anyone praises it, they are not praising the Hausa people,
they are praising God.
You say I am naive for accepting, as Zuckerberg does, that the
Hausa language is unique. Really? Hausa language is the only
indigenous African language that is officially spoken in five
African nations including Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Cameroun and
Sudan. If your argument is true and I am indeed naive then you
would have to agree with me that BBC News, Radio France
Internationale, Voice of America â€“ VOA, DW
Deutsche Welle, China Radio International and Voice of Russia are
equally naive, because, like Facebook, they all have a Hausa
You may be right about the British/American conspiracy. I
never delved into that and I defer to your superior knowledge of
history and statecraft. Your father, Remilekun Fani-Kayode, QC, was
a first class statesman and the apple did not fall far from the
tree. My point of departure from you was strictly and solely as
touching your insinuation against Mark Zuckerberg.
By including Hausa as an official Facebook language,
Zuckerberg recognizes the fact that while there are literally tens
of millions of Yoruba, Igbo and other indigenous Nigerian language
speakers who can communicate in both their native language and
English, the same cannot be said about Hausa speakers. In Benin,
Togo, Brazil and other nations where you have a large concentration
of Yoruba speakers, these omo oduduwas can express themselves in
English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.
There are literally tens of millions of Hausa speakers who can
only communicate in Hausa. This does not make them illiterate.
Indeed, long before we in the South could read and write, these
Hausa speakers have been reading and writing Hausa in the centuries
old Ajami script.
It is to accommodate these particular class of Hausa speakers
that, in my opinion, Facebook added Hausa as an official language,
and not as part of some conspiracy of Britain and America to
undermine the Southern parts of Nigeria. You may recall that
Zuckerberg and his wife recently invested $25 million in Andela.
That would be a most strange way to undermine the South given that
all of Andelaâ€™s founders and most of their
fellows are from the South. Talk is cheap but money makes things
happen. Zuckerberg talked about Hausa, but he put his money in a
Lagos tech hub. Does that not say something to you?
The mistake we in the South often make is to see ordinary
Hausas as our enemies. Not true. The Hausas as a people are some of
the most decent Nigerians and are to be differentiated from the
feudalists who have retarded their progress as an ethnic
nationality. What they need from progressive and freedom loving
Nigerians Â is solidarity not hostility. This was the
point of view that the late Aminu Kano tried to pass across to us
What Facebook has done deserves commendation and not
condemnation. Again, having said this, I must maintain that I have
a high regard for your intellect and this intervention should not
be interpreted as a confrontation.
God bless you.
Â Reno Omokri
FFK to Reno
now I am beginning Â to get a little irritated by you. Is
there anywhere that I condemned you, Zuckerberg or Facebook for
having your/their views?
If so please point it out. Perhaps you
donâ€™t know the meaning of the word
â€œcondemnedâ€ yet you seem so eager to
If I wanted to condemn you, him or anyone else I would do so
loudly, openly, clearly and gladly but I havnâ€™t
done that: I simply disagreed with you and I was very civil about
it which I really didnt have to be because you
donâ€™t deserve it.
Â In any case are you the spokesman of Mark
Zuckerberg and Facebook or indeed that of the hausa people of
Is that your new job since you stopped working under my friend
and brother Reuben Abati at the Villa and managing social media for
the Jonathan administration?
Can those you want to defend today not explain and defend
themselves adequately? Do they need you? Could they not have found
someone more qualified? Are you really the best they have
And if you insist on being their defender-in-chief when were
you appointed? Honestly Reno my dear little
brother you need to have your little bottom spanked for being so
cheeky and naughty.
I have known the north and interacted with northerners far
more than you and for far longer so I donâ€™t need
lessons from you or anyone else about Â who or what they
are, either for good or for bad.
And neither do I need to say only things that are politically
correct about them.or anyone else because, unlike you, I have paid
my dues politically and in terms of public commentry for over a
period of 27 years.
Â I worked in the Presidency as President
Obasanjoâ€™s spokeman as far back as 13 years ago.
I donâ€™t know where you were then.
I ran, not one, but two Federal ministries as the Hon.
Minister over 10 years ago and since then I have been in the thick
of the political fray and drama.
I know who I am and I donâ€™t need to please
anyone with what I say. I was in NADECO risking my life fighting
against military rule and for the late Chief MKO
12th mandate when you were probably still wearing
I know the north and indeed this whole country far better than
you ever possibly could and over the years I have gained and
gathered a lot of experience.
I have also suffered for Nigeria far more than you have. I say
this all with the greatest humility knowing that it is only God
that made it so and that enabled me to survive it. The result of
all that is this: I do not suffer fools gladly and I say things as
I have no apology to you or anyone else for that. If others
had cultivated the courage to be as bold and forthright as I have
been on national issues over the Â years we would not be
in the mess that we are in this country.
You dare to lecture me about northerners and I wonder how many
you actually know? I wonder how many you have ever fought for or
defended in the past?
I also wonder how many you have stood up against when they
crossed the line? I have done both over a period of 27 years and it
cost me dearly but I have never shied away from it, whichever way,
and I will continue to do so. I have also lived in the north for
the last 13 years.
Our mutual friend Nasir El Rufai often warned me about you but
I never listened to him. Now you have proved him right and all
because you want to please your foreign and new-found northern
Sadly your gospel of appeasement at all costs is shared by
many naive souls who come from the same village as you but that
does not mean that we should allow you to infect the rest of the
south with it.
That slavish mindset and shameless sentiment has brought much
suffering to the people of the south-west and south-south and it is
one of the reasons why we made the wrong choice about which side to
fight on during the civil war.
We will never make that mistake again if it ever comes to it
no matter how hard fence-sitters and appeasers like you try.
The more our people are killed and our churches are burnt in
the noth the more we will protest and speak out. And the more we
will resist it and warn the radical islamists of the core muslim
north together with the Fulani herdsmem from hell to desist from
their murderous and genocidal ways.
Not even 100 million Reno
Omokiriâ€™s can stop us from doing that and
neither can they make us love those that commit these heinous
You are spouting the sort of drivel that you are throwing up
here about how wonderful the core north is even though thousands of
southerners, Middle Belters and christians Â are
slaughtered at the drop of a hat in Â that same core
north for no just cause on a daily basis. They even come down to
the south in their thousands with their cows to do it these
Maybe you should come home and see what is really going on
here rather than writing those great anti-government articles from
the relative safety of Califiornia.
If you can muster the courage to do that you will discover
that political correctness is a very expensive luxury which we
simply cannot afford.
Some of us are right here and we have refused to run away from
the evil that has gripped the land even when we had every
opportunity to do so.
Please endeavour to do the same then perhaps we may take you
more seriously. Hundreds of your fellow Niger Deltans
Â and southerners are languishing in jails all over the
country today simply because they supported a southern Christian
called President Jonathan during the election yet you hsve not even
cared to visit any of them.
Â Have you ever reached out to their families or
tried to bail them out? Have you been to the jails and cells to
offer them care or words of comfort and encouragement?
Have you even gone there to pray for them and express
solidarity with them? Warimpa Dudafa your former colleague at the
Villa has been there for over 150 days now.
Have you gone to see him? Â What about Ikime and
Robert when they were there? What about all the others? The answer
is no because I have asked.
Yet you were in the last government with them and many others
but you couldnâ€™t even stand in solidarity with
them when they needed you the most. Â And if you did you
insisted on doing so from a safe distance. It is a shame.
Then you have the nerve to talk about
â€œsouthernersâ€ making a mistake about
northerners in a disparaging and condescending way. What a nerve
you have got!
Your sarcastic assertion about the BBC and the other
international radio stations being â€œnaive as
wellâ€ is nothing less than asinine.
The truth is that you are the naive one. You alone and not
them. If you really believe the garbage that you wrote here then
you are not just naive but dangerously naive and far dumber than I
I say this because the governments that own and control the
BBC, the Voice of America and the others know exactly what they are
If only you knew the history of imperialism in Africa and
indeed the Third World and how it evolved and if only you were
capable of appreciating the reality of neo-colonialism and history
of the African people you would be in a better position to
comprehend and understand what I am saying.
If only you knew what we as a people in Nigeria and Africa
suffered in the hands of the western imperialists over the last 100
years you would appreciate this intervention instead of attempting
to treat it with contempt just to impress your friends at Facebook
and in California.
It is the naivity and ignorance of people like you that has
put us in the mess we are in today and that has placed us firmlyl
under the yoke of our intetnal colonial masters.
I urge you to continue to attempt to appease those that see
you and those that think like you as nothing more than glorified
monkeys and see Â how far it gets you.
As for Mark Zuckerberg Â he may do whatever he
pleases with Facebook because he owns it. In the final analysis it
means nothing to me.
Like I said earlier, he is entitled to his views. I have no
problem with that and neither should you or him have any problem
It is only in your strange Warri vocabulary that disagreeing
with someone or not sharing that personâ€™s
opinion is tantamount to â€œcondemningâ€
I am sure that he is very happy with you for attempting to
defend him here but surely you could have done a far better job
than you did.
Keep writing critical essays against the government from
California or wherever you are because it is far easier for you to
do so from there.
Those of us that are here and that are not just arm chair
critics and political commentators but that are actually in the
fray of politics will continue this fight right here in the theater
of war: and unlike others we wonâ€™t run and hide
in Mark Zuckerbergâ€™s California.
My regards to your family.
Omokri responds to FFK
Dear Olufemi Olu-Kayode
Thank you for your last response.
Since it has reached the stage where you are irritated with
me, I think it is best to leave well enough alone. Let us agree to
disagree without being irritated by each other. I have said all I
need to say on the matter of Mark Zuckerbergâ€™s
description of the Hausa language as being unique. and I have heard
all you have to say. Thank God we are both professing Christ
followers and are thus familiar with the advise of Saint Paul in 2
â€œthe servant of the Lord must not strive; but be
gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.â€
I believe that affection is better than perfection. I choose
to maintain my brotherly affection for you at the expense of
perfection in my argument.
By the way, I was in Nigeria two weeks ago. I preached at
Holyhill Church, Abuja. The pastor SundayOgidigbo publicized my visit. If I was a
coward as you claim and was speaking from the safety of California,
why would I visit Nigeria after my strong and very public criticism
of the current administration?
Let me drop my pen here. God bless you and yours.