In My North, Poverty Is Neither Shi’ites Nor Sunni
“When a people have suffered for too long, they will drink fairytales on fairylands with insatiable gullibility.” (Hamilton Ayuk)
So my admonition this week dwells with a section of Nigeria–the North and it is a do-no-favors essay, call it the truth, or falsehood, call it nonsense, be bitter or be complimentary about it, I really do not care–or better still I care enough to tell us the way I see it.
The words of Malcolm X sum up my next few paragraphs. “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.”
Religion remains the opium of not only the mind, but also the poor, not by choice but by the way it holds people bondage, leaving them devoid of common sense.
The myth–Aboki is supposedly an Hausa term that is used to describe the man up North, he may be hausa, nupe, berom, fulani, shua, but largely he is ignorantly Hausa to all and poor, he is either mai-guard (gateman), mai-ruwa (water), mai shai (tea), mai-doya (yam), mai-reke (sugarcane), mai-miaa (blackmarket fuel); whatever he is, he just has to be mai-something or mai-everything. He is a symbolism today to other Nigerians of violence and false face of Islam. He is ‘misunderstandingly’ understood.
Then we have the Alhaji, he is everything above ‘cept that he is presumed rich, and in recent times dangerous too, he could be a sponsor of Boko Haram too, but for a ‘typical’ southerner, there is the allure of his riches whether via politics, oil, or ‘voodoo’ who cares. He is there in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos. He really doesn’t care about his North; he is a hypocrite to the core without his knowledge.
Now to more of those mythical realities and issues, that has left a region on her knees, no other time than now has the North faced an identity crisis and fight within herself. Who are the Hausas, who are the Fulanis, and how about the Hausa- Fulanis, what really is the place of the Islam in the North, is it real, a media creation, and how about the Christians in the North?
Is the North still united, as was the case, what about her oligarchy and a few leftist socialist activists that set the talakawa agenda, what happened?
What is it that needs to be understood about the alamajiri system and institutional begging in the North?
The North and the agitating Middle Belt is an emotional wreck, a perfect picture of an abused bride that today is even afraid of a hug of reconciliation, with rehabilitation and reconstruction a far cry.
If the North decides to go away from Nigeria, will the other component part fight to keep it and would it be really 19 states, is Plateau North, when there’s no love lost between the Plateau people and the North, does Taraba believe in North, Southern Kaduna, parts of Nassarawa, Benue, Kogi etc?
People still believe that up North we are all empty land mass and goats, unproductive, and leeching termites stuck on Nigeria because of the oil, if not, why the hue and cry of PIB when Zamfara’s mines are gold for the asking and we could develop a self-sufficient and exportable agrarian community?
We don't share Boko Haram's ideologies, according to Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, but really who believes him or us. What is the Arewa ideology?
So much is wrong with the North–I challenge my brothers from Katsina/Jigawa/Kebbi/Zamfara etc to tell me two companies that make 30 million naira a month after salaries are paid and utilities are sorted.
The huge army of unemployed youths in the North points to the fact that there is urgent need for the revival of the Northern economy and job creation.
How many Ashaka/Larfarge cement companies do we have in the North, NASCO in Jos is dead, funeral rites only being delayed baring a miracle, and same for the Kaduna textiles industry.
What and where have the billions of 14years gone to in the North? Universities out of private initiative litter the South and up here what are we doing, arguing who has suffered more casualties between Christians/Muslims. Debating whether the army or Shi’ites are at fault.
Okay it has to be poverty, that’s one ideological school of thought for the bloodbath and mayhem, even America’s Obama thinks so, however, I agree only to the extent that really … “countries are not delivering for their people and there are sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with”. In this case, the North has failed herself.
The North has equally failed…“to give her people opportunity, education and resolve conflicts through regular democratic processes,”.
…“In terms of human capital and young people, I think the greatest investment any country can make, not just an African country, is educating its youth and providing them with the skill to compete in a highly technological, advanced world economy”.
Nigeria has failed in this regard and the North has woefully crashed in same vein.
The Southwest is chasing a semblance of regional integration; the South East and South-South are not left out. States have even gone ahead to show/use their emblem/insignia and are creating identities. We are still seen as Fulani herdsmen asking for reserves on other peoples’ lands, blamed for every farmer's clash and seeking nomadic education because we can’t do regular school.
We need to bash ourselves, the North, Arewa if indeed it still exists, needs to stop lying to itself and her people, there are current realities, where do we fit into it?
We need top realize that our leaders have failed us, the North is not working, yes, whether believed, debated or not, we are on the throne via Buhari, whether he is for anybody, somebody or all body, we need to reinvent the North, we need to tackle poverty, lack of infrastructure, lack of security and peace, for these elements are neither Shi’ites or Sunnis, Tijaniyya nor Wahhabism and Salafiyya…
I will end this admonition in the words of one of the problem sons of the North, Bro. TY Danjuma, “We need to think more, pray more, plan more, work harder, RELATE BETTER, and talk less. Battles are better fought and won through wisdom and strategy than through inflammable pronouncements and political tantrums.” The current hate quotient in the land is high–for how long, only time will tell.
Written by Prince Charles Dickson, a freelance journalist.