Recent developments in the north, have painted a gloomy future of the North politically and economically, as Northern Elders watch helplessly, reports Ifeanyi Chukwu Nwannah
Successive Northern elders have deviated from the path of its founding fathers. It is glaring that since the exit of the founding fathers like late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, the leadership crisis and the present insecurity situation in the north have remained a permanent feature in the Northern region. The demise of Sardauna of Sokoto no doubt threw clogs into the wheel of the north.
During the reign of Ahmadu Bello as the premier of the region, the north was a reference point in terms of progress and development in all human endeavors and the present insecurity situation shrouding the region today was virtually nonexistent. What is obtainable today in the north cannot in any way be equated with the north well ordered by Sardauna of Sokoto because the political and security calculations and equations of the present Northern leaders have failed to justify the reality of everything. All the parameters of the evaluation are in reversion of Sardauna era.
In the north today, a new culture which could not be traced to the Sardauna are the religion’s intolerance which has taken the centre stage and has brought about a sharp dichotomy dividing the Muslim family and its Christian brothers. That has gone further to establish a religious sect called Boko Haram today that has created unrest to the North East like Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. This development has fractured the face of the north in the world which many people have seen as the weakness of the Northern elders of today and as the betrayal of trust. The whole crisis that engulfed the north such as the security problem like the Boko Haram insurgence, armed robbery, merciless killing etc was alleged to have been sponsored.
Opinions are divided on the issue of Boko Haram insurgence, some schools of thoughts are of the view that the federal government has hand in the crisis. They submit that in spite of the state of emergency declared on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the rate of killings on daily basis is beyond the control of the security operatives. If the Boko Haram could be allowed to penetrate these three states in spite of the state of emergency, then the federal government has a lot of questions to answer from Nigerians who are eager to know why the federal government is not capable of overcoming the insecurity in the region.
Another School of thought have it that even though the federal government has hands in the Boko Haram insecurity situation, they backed their claim with the CIA’s prediction sometimes ago, that in 2015 there will be no more one Nigeria. This school of thought submits that the Americans are working round the clock to see that the prediction come to light in 2015. This, they claim, are the financial powers of the Boko Haram.
Some schools of thought still believe that the Boko Haram issue cannot come to an end because the northern elders are not willing to cry out to stop the dreaded Boko Haram as they are federal government stooges who are alleged to have collected contracts and cash to remain silent on the Boko Haram agenda.
According to one Alhaji Ahmad Bakare, who faulted the northern leaders for not addressing sensitive issues that involve the destruction of lives and property, said the rate of killing has gone up beyond imagination. He noted that though there are cases of armed robbery, kidnappings in the south but the south enjoys peace, senseless killings are out of the story.
He explained that the representatives or the followers of the parasitic of the past strived to invoke the Sarduana’s agenda of representing the interest of the ordinary people and a new social equation and class structure were introduced. That was the period the northerners were favoured which helped the north to have total control of the power structure.
Bakare noted that another group of eligible people were picked like the present Governor of Jigawa State. Alhaji Sule Lamido, Musa Gwadabe, Lawal Batagarawa, Damishi Sango, Adamu Ciroma, Muktari Shagari, Garba Ali and many others. He said that there was fallout of contest that there were sudden cry of marginalization even within the north, especially by the proponents of the parasitic past. He said that gave birth to Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). This group during the reign of President Olusegun Obasanjo came out with a dynamic format to fight the Obasanjo regime.
Continuing, Alhaji Bakare maintained that the group was originally made up of retired Generals, who were sponsoring various clandestine meetings against Obasanjo. He said that the group was using half truth to fight Obasanjo. All these tension embroiled the government of Obasanjo.
Alhaji Ahmad Bakare noted that the quest for leadership relevance in the north was responsible for the production of fifth columnists that operated in a Mafia form, though the struggles produced northern president in person of former president Musa Yar’Adua. The logic of this group was however, questioned by some northerners, as it was claimed that also the leaders of group promoted the down fall of Obasanjo, Alhaji Bakare said.
To Alhaji Bakare, during the struggle to return power to the north, a few northerners especially, members of the previous administration represented a faultless example of loyalty. He explained that during the struggle, it was a heinous crime to give Obasanjo’s government credit in the north no matter how he tried. They see Obasanjo as a personification of evil who should be dethroned by the northerners if the north is to take its place of glory.
According to Bakare, the present Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamodo, who was then the Foreign Affairs Minister under Obasanjo, challenged the former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, for his role in championing the northern interest against a democratically elected government of Obasanjo. Sule Lamodo and those in the same school of thought with him stood their ground in Jigawa State to support Obasanjo to the fullest. The struggle was carried to kano State by Sule Lamido to ensure Obasanjo’s return to Aso Rock which later resulted to fierce verbal attacks. The likes of Alhaji Aminu Dabo, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Abbas Gana, Professor Ibrahim Ayagi, Garba Madaki, Gen. Salisu, Dr. Umaru Dikko, Alahji Gambo Jemeta, Alhaji Lawal Kaita and Alhaji Musa Rabi’u Kwankwaso were all solidly behind General Obasanjo in the north even though the General could not secure 25 percent of the total votes in the north including Kano and Jigawa States but the efforts and contribution of the above leaders were very much appreciated.
But the scornful question which everybody is asking is why the northern elders like Sule Lamodo and hundreds of other prominent northern leaders were able to come out en-mass and spoke with one voice in the north to ensure the return of former president Obasanjo to Aso Rock and they were appreciated and the credit were given to them. But they could not come together and speak with one voice concerning the insurgency of Boko Haram that hundreds of people including the youth that are suppose to uphold the integrity of the region are being killed every day. It has now become subject of public discussion and a household regular topic.
The point should be made that the turning point in all these insecurity situations is unraveling on commerce in the north. This insecurity has promoted chaos within the democratic cord of the north. There are massacre of innocent lives under the pseudonym of Boko Haram.
The quest for even development in the North is not obtainable in the present insecurity situation which is being attributed to have been as a result of the failure of Ahmad Bello Sardauna’s legacy that was sabotaged. With this unfortunate development, the recurring question that the northern youth of today ask is that of their future in the present status in the socio-political dispensation.
Rather than bridging the gap between the so-called progressive and conservatives for a reliable northern plan of action for general development, the northern elders are seen folding their hands blaming everybody for Boko Haram insurgency. This is inherent and invested problem of the north which deserves not only seminars and symposia. These problems of the north have gone far beyond mere rhetoric but no determination by the northern elders to rid the north of the current problems of insecurity. The north has totally been destroyed by bombings, killings and more northerners are now running away from the north for the fear of their lives.
It was expected that the northern elders should have introduced emergency program of action to ameliorate the alarming rising insecurity situation in the region, encroaching on every segment of its very existence.
According to Ahmed Bakare, the problem of insecurity is more pertinent which he said was hitherto virtually nonexistent in the region. Another problem he pointed out is the unemployment of the youth as well as social insecurity and also the problem of widening educational gap between the south and the north. He said that the killings of hundreds of people in the north is enough reason to boycott the national confab, pointing out that if the northern elders of today had followed the footsteps of Ahmadu Bello and protected his legacy, these inherent and invested problems of the north would not have come into existence in the first place and if at all they do, the northern leaders can speak with one voice to reject the national dialogue.
Senator Mohammmad Ibrahim Dudu from Jigawa State submitted that the north suffer from neglects because they have no single voice to represent them, saying that a single voice is very important. He said that the northern elders have a role to play in the scheme of things and should eschew the differences between them and put in mind the people especially the youth in their minds. The issue is not to put selfish interest before the regional interest.
All the people interviewed by this medium who are of northern origin faulted the northern elders for their inability to address this sensitive issue at the early stage before it now escalated to a point of no return. The Bokon Haram was alleged to have been formed by some elder politicians in the north to protect their political interests which have now developed to the extent that security operatives cannot contain the sect. There is a problem somewhere; it has degenerated to a stage where armed bandits will just enter an area and open fire killing hundreds of people. One cannot notice the presence of the security operatives until after the operation. The security agents would then come there to arrest or kill innocent people.
Recently, armed bandits entered some communities in Faskari, Katsina State and opened fire on the people, killing over 100 people. Eye witness account had it that there was no presence of any security operatives until the armed bandits finished the operation that lasted several hours. The source said the armed bandits did not go away with anybody’s money or property which indicated that they were not armed robbers but were on assassination mission.
In Zamfara State, for instance, people sleep with one eye close because there is no security anywhere. People rely on God for their security. One relevant question that concerned citizens are asking and demanding answers for from the northern elders is why the lingering insurgency, merciless killings and maiming centered only in the north and not in other parts of the countr? From the look of things, the Northern elders owe the northerners some explanations. The failure of the elders to salvage the situation has turned to public discussion.
Recently, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) accused President Jonathan, the northern elders, the religious leaders and northern Governors for politicizing the issue of Boko Haram insurgency in the north. Rising from a meeting of the Arewa Youth Forum, the leader of the group, Alhaji Gambo Gunjugu, insisted that on the northern elders to find a lasting solution to the problems of a mass killing in the north, saying that the northern leaders instead of concentrating on the heinous problems of the north are very more concerned in their electoral fortunes against 2015 general election.
The forum is holding the northern leaders responsible for not curbing the lingering insurgency, adding that they are aware that they are much more concentrating on their 2015 elections, pointing out that if nothing is done immediately, they will be forced to mobilize the youth across the country to demand for justice in the north. The group also said that what their leaders have done is only to condemn the actions of the dreaded Boko Haram without coming out for a proper solution for the salvation of the region, noting that they are running out of patience which they said they can revolt against their leaders if they fail to address the issue within a short time.
According to the leader of the forum, Alhaji Gambo Gujunga, the time limit is enough for the northern leaders to come together and free the northerners. He said everybody believed the northern elders are 100 percent not ready to solve the lingering problems in the region.