Northern Nigeria; are we the curse or cursed?
Only in August 2020, as we grappled with COVID19, not knowing that there was #endSARS and palliative stealing in the horizon, I had written under the title Crocodile Tears And The Prodigal Leaders Of Northern Nigeria, and seven years earlier I had written on Northern Nigeria And Her Mythical Realities, I repeated the same essay only three years ago.
So let me start in this manner, everywhere in Nigeria is unsafe, or put mildly "relatively safe" that is if you get my drift, like for example we have over 200 illegal routes in Ogun state, did you follow the killings in Rivers State in that Igbo dominated area and the whole Biafran narrative that followed suite, in Benin, Edo state and environs the rate of robbery "no be here" or was it that attack on a bullion van in Lagos state that was recorded. While I gathered my thoughts on this a traditional ruler was murdered or assassinated in Ondo state.
Tell me the state I will tell you the level of insecurity is high, or the level of peace is low, that we are the third most terrorized nation in the global terror index is not exactly news.
However Northern Nigeria is the "ish", is it the Kaduna-Abuja highway, or the Jos-Abuja road or the death roads of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states or need I remind us how parts of Zamfara state is suddenly now like Somalia with gun wielding marauders. How about Niger state, or Zaria, or the mess in Taraba, and parts of Benue. Specifically, a party chair was killed in Nassarawa, gunmen killed 5, abducted Imam, and 30 others in a Mosque in Zamfara state, or that also was not news.
Did you hear the Sultan say the picture is gloomy with banditry and insecurity, he said bandits parading with AK47, he stated, “NORTHERN NIGERIA is the WORST PLACE TO BE!
The Sultan made the startling revelation at the 4th Quarter 2020 meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja. He said insecurity in the North had become so intense that people were afraid to travel short distances. He also revealed that the criminals visited houses to kidnap people.
The above claims are beginning to sound like old news, old stories as no one cares to do anything or much at best. So, indulge me; Not many of us want to take responsibility for anything, from personal, to family or national life. The blame is on the system. We do not need to create demons out of our leaders because they are specimens of demons, so we hang our sins on them appropriately and inappropriately too. And unfortunately, their behavior has made it easy for the critic to descend on them. We at most, talk, write and discuss the Nigerian myth, one of which is leadership, with a sense of fatalism.
If everyone thought as much as I did about justice and fairness, life would be better. I am a critic, but I am also the critics’ critic, the unrepentant believer that the best way to keep government on its toes is to keep harping on their flaws so they can improve.
Often I say I believe the things I write on, are important for our nation as they are for other nations, but when it appears to me Nigerians especially those in authority do not react to these issues as people in other lands do, I repeat them in new essays to remind old readers and recruit new ones to participate in the continuing dialogue.
As a critic, even my bitterest opponents, AGIP apologists, politicians from all sides; North, South, Middle Belts, and all other belts have to read me personally or have someone read me and tell them what I said and did not say, so that their anger can be kept burning hot.
So in sharing thoughts and admonishing the North, 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.”
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 almajiri system and institutional begging in the North? Whether Abacha, Shagari, IBB or Buhari, the fact is that Katsina has become a kidnap and killing field even with her son at the helm, something is not, just right?
What do Northern Nigeria governors do to bring hospitals and good roads and schools even in their villages, how about our Ministers, all those Abuja bureaucracy top shots, is it that we are cursed, or the people are the curse?
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 as destruction continues. If the North decides to go away from Nigeria, will the other component part fight to keep it and would it really be 19 states?
People still believe that up North we are all empty landmass and goats, unproductive, and leeching termites stuck on Nigeria because of the oil. Zamfara’s mines are gold for the asking and we could develop a self-sufficient and exportable agrarian community in the entire North but not with this unbelievable level of insecurity.
What is the Arewa ideology? Everyone is on a blame ride, the bulk stops at Mr. Buhari’s table, but as ‘Northerners’ have we blamed him enough, tasked him enough, the TY Danjumas, or alfa IBB, Mallam Audu Ogbeh, Sir El-Rufai or Rev. Lalong, Ministers, legislators, and their ilk from the North, what examples have they set?
The economy of the North has crumbled due to insecurity unleashed on the region by terrorists, bandits, the political elite and class, and a huge army of unemployed youths. All our very hardworking governors, political class and elite do not think they can muster enough political power and purpose with the traditional and religious institutions, to put an end to all the killings south of Kaduna, Taraba, Benue, Katsina, Adamawa, Yobe, and the epicenter Borno? We ranted that power must come back to the north, we took it from GEJ, with our usual it’s our birthright mentality. What have we done with it?
How many Ashaka/Larfarge cement companies do we have in the North, NASCO in Jos has since functioned in a state of coma, Kaduna textiles industry, since dead, buried and forgotten, and many industries in Kano have since conducted funeral rites
Leadership in the North has not delivered for our people and these are sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately addressed. We have failed ourselves as a component part of Nigeria. With power, we have failed to give our people opportunity, education and resolve conflicts through regular democratic processes.
The human capital and young people lie waste, we are not educating our youth and providing them with the skill to compete in a highly technological, advanced world economy, while Nigeria has failed in this regard and the North has woefully crashed in the same vein.
The North is seen as a Fulani herdsman asking for reserves on other peoples’ lands and seeking nomadic education because we can’t do regular school. We need to bash ourselves, the North, Arewa needs to stop lying to herself and her people, as the current realities are grim.
We need to pray small, to think more, plan more, work harder, RELATE BETTER, and talk less. This is to the North but it does apply to Nigeria, the current insecurity quotient is high, to what end—only time will tell.