By IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH
The northern agenda of late Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, seems to have been drifting away, thus making the poor northerners pathetic victims of circumstances. But the basic realty is that about 52 years of Nigeria’s independent as a state, there is still very little to be proud of in terms of general development, considering the enormous potentialities nature endows the region with. Judging by some indices and traits of development nationwide, the northern part of the country is still groping in the wilderness for reliable formula for a more coherent and consistent socio-economic and political growth.
The only period which witnessed the desired effects of democracy and good leadership was the period between 1960 and 1966 when Sir Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello, Saduana Sokoto, were the prime minister and premier respectively.
However, the reoccurring question that the northern youths of today ask is that of their future in the present status in this social and political dispensation. The youths are now more than ever before more concerned about the actual role they play in the scheme of things. The northern youths forum was established to primarily establish a good link between the northern elders and the youths on one hand, as well as to bridge the gap between the so called conservatives and the progressives for a reliable northern plan of action for general development on the other.
But as the quest for even development in the north rages on, the concerned northerners are trying to invoke the northernization agenda of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, which have been sabotaged.
A renown journalist, Alhaji Ahmad Bakare, said that in the previous years historically, the current political metamorphosis which began in 1902, be it parliamentary, presidential or military dictatorship, are embedded in the British political system which he said the north had dominated most of the period but yet development is questionable in the north.
However, the inherent and invested problems of the north deserve not only seminars and symposiums. The numerous problems of the north have gone far beyond mere rhetoric.
It was this conviction and unalloyed determination to rid the north of the problems of under development that made Ahmadu Bello, the then northern region premier, to introduce emergency program of action to ameliorate the alarmingly problems of the north encroaching on every segment of its very existence.
As the situation remains so, the youth and concerned northerners have these days begun to ask for the solution to the multiple problems of the north. Right now three major problems seem to be more pertinent in this regard .These are the problems of insecurity that was hitherto virtually non existence in the northern territories , the problem of unemployment of the youths as well as social insecurity, and thirdly the problem of widening educational gap between the South and the north.
The late General Hassan Usman Katsina, a committed disciple of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, once said in 1993 that in the old set up, there was a security system and various committees at various levels which he said that a monthly report was being made under general situation, economy politics ,security etc and the report was being assessed and sent to Kaduna from where it was sent to Lagos thus people knew what was happening. “Everybody was involved in the organizational and managerial programs of the government ,” he stressed.
But when Maitatsine uprising came up in 1981, the security arrangement was put to question, and since then it looks as if a systematic reign of terror is daily unleashing on the people. With the coming of Boko Haram, sara suka etc, it looks as if blood bath is now gaining control of public life. Analysts said that all these began as political thugs later metamorphosed into full time criminals committing all sorts of crimes like robbery and killings. The democratic feeling in the society which was mistaken a license for mischief and indiscipline gradually culminated into reign of terror perpetrated by the unemployed youths who for several years had been without any means of livelihood. BY 1981 TO1984, the cases of yan dabain kano and other northern cities became so disturbing that the whole security network was put to task.
Desert Herald sources said the problem of yan daba had magnified to such alarming point that even the leaders in the northern part of the country are not safe because of the acts of such civil officers e lawless groups. The leaders obviously political, religious, traditional or civil officers who control votes in various places.
It is now agreed that we are living in a season of fear. The cases of killings have become so rampant that even the combined operations of the police and the civil Defense corps are futile. It is only under calm political atmospheres can human beings thrive, can economic and material progress be ensured and human beings even seek to rule fellow human beings. Yet no one should pretend not to know the order of violent crisis looming in the environmental horizon, and our habitation with which the incessant of boko haram in almost every part of the northern states. In the whole of the states of the north there is no formidable security network capable of quelling the menace of boko haram that torment the innocent citizens for a long time now because of active existence of the deadly groups.
The area boys in Zamfara have been mercilessly unleashing reign of terror for several times now. But we seem to be pretending as if nothing is wrong. But pretence is ideal not suppose to be the way of human beings, the most relative and assertive creatures of the Almighty. Pretence is certainly resorted by man when he decides to be rugged, rouph and crooked rather than treading the ordained straight path. The late General Hassan Usman Katsina was born into a wealthy splendor, but he choose till his death, a life of humility and simplicity. This is another example of a leader of merit whom the north lacks glaringly today which is direly needed. The northern elders forum should addressed the issue of insecurity in the north, as well as coordinate and monitor the progress being recorded in terms of security as well as decisively make the northern government to meet up to expectations.
A divisional crime officer that claimed anonymity said that lack of adequate modern weapons, coupled with weak staff strength is what is mating the police less active. According to him, he has spent over 25 years in the police service, saying that the period between 1994 to 1999 is the most volatile in terms of security problems in the north.
The rate at which crime of this magnitude are being committed is so alarming that even war gods seem to have been over whelmed says Alhaji Ahmad Bakare a concerned citizen.
In the north Eastern states, day light robbery perpetrated by the boko haram men of which more often than not the victims loss their lives or at least their properties looted while many more permanently maimed. Desert Herald thus consulted a psychologist, mallam mohammed yahaya on the causes of such deviant behavior that is becoming so alarmingly high these days. He said that the problem of poverty and despair form the basic reasons for such unwanted acts.But another reason is lack of education and poor religious orientation. His assertion may be true because in Zamfara State for instance Governor Yari said that the establishment of the state university is not necessary as of now because the State is yet to feel its quarters in the Usman Dan Fodio University and the Ahmadu Bello Universities. Yes Governor Yari may be correct in this case because in 2008, Governor Shinkafi put in 26percent of that year budget into education and in 2011 Governor Yari did all he could to uplift the standard of education but all are not respondening positively. In this case the Zamfara elders and, traditional leaders and the religious leaders and of cause the stakeholders in the educational sector have to sit down on a round table and find a lasting solution to that problem otherwise the state of education in the state , otherwise education will continue to be in shamble.
The northern leaders gathered at the Arewa house in Kaduna on the 29th of January 2000 to arrest educational retardation where they agreed to put hands on deck to salvage the unfortunate trend. It was a gathering organized by Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in collaboration with Arewa house because education in the north has been neglected. But the gravity of the offence lays drastically and terrifying in the north. School enrolment continue to fall so low that number of pupils and students in the northern schools is negligible considering its size.
In a nerve cracking speech delivered by Alhaji sule Katagun who lamented the deplorable condition in which education generally found itself in the north. According to him the late Ahmadu Bello, Sarduana Sokoto had laid a very concrete and scientific foundation towards enhancing educational growth in the north. He also pointed out that it is very unfortunate that since the death of late Sarduana,no meaningful educational action plan was fashioned out and pursued vigorously thus gradual deterioration of the system and consequently the continued widening gap between the north and the south .Alhaji Sule Katagun therefore challenged the nineteen northern Governors to as a matter of necessity emulate the good educational policies of the late Sarduana
According to him as politicians, the governors must have promises to the people . And the people need water, electricity and roads but the best thing they want most is education because without education no society can progressed. He said that health, food, and all lively ingredients revolve around sound education.
A constructive thinker, Alhaji Ahmed Bakari said that economic factor and the feeling of dissatisfaction with life can be the nucleus of these sordid events. He went on to say that poverty and abject want will forever be a source of dissent that can be expressed in lawless behaviors in the society. But here in the north, it looks like the industries are coming to a halt taking into consideration their capacity utilization, level of production, employment, local sourcing of raw materials, and the cost trend, most of the youths in the north are unemployed and where employed the gains are very minimal putting in mind that basically the future of the northern youths who would be its leaders tomorrow.
Democracy and politics are twin sisters that must be viewed with good vision. He likened politics to jihad and criticized disposition on their part as role models. He opined that preaching, economic arrangements e.g. Zakkat, family organ and security are linked to genuine democracy. The great thinker suggested that predicaments are most compounded in the north because of the low level of consciousness of the majority, lack of jihad spirit and centrally recognized leaders. He stated that the northern elders must understand themselves very well as well as speak with one single voice in any circumstances without which the issue of security, peace, and progressed will continue to elude the north. He concluded that the northern elders have a great task of mending their fences.