BY IFEAYICHUKWU NWANNAH
The wobbling in the present Northern Nigeria political arena has promoted dichotomy within the democratic, economic and social cord of the region. The severe problems have put the north into total darkness even as the quest for even development rages on in this age. The political, economic and social aspects of the north have been put into total darkness, insecurity including the educational gap between the south and the north have been pin-pointed.
All these factors put together have made the future of the region to remain bleak as the northern leaders sabotaged the Sardauna’s Northernnization agenda. The basic truth remains that over fifty years of Nigeria’s Independence, the north has occupied a larger number of the country’s leadership yet there is still little to be proud of in terms of general development considering the enormous potential endowed to the country.
Judging by the indices and traits of development, the north is still groping in the wilderness for a reliable and consistent socio economic and political growth. The only period the region has witnessed desired effect of politics and leadership was the period of Sir Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto respectively.
However, the re-occurring question that some reasonable northerners ask is the role of the so called Northern leaders especially in this insecurity season of this dispensation.
The Northern youth forum which was established as a good link between the elders and the youth on one hand as well as bridging the gap between the so called progressive and the conservatives for more reliable northern plan for general development but nothing is working out as the situation remains today. The inherent and invested problems have become so numerous that even the security of the region is open to many questions.
All efforts by meaningful northerners and their unalloyed determination are fruitless because of inability of the northern leaders to rid the region of its numerous problems. The northern leaders cannot ameliorate the alarming and rising problems encroaching on every segment of its existence. They wait for the Federal Government to do everything, even as the problems have encroached the political, economical and social existence of the region.
Actually, there are problems which are more pitiable which and virtually nonexistent in the north during the days of the founding fathers. These are mainly the problem of insecurity that has betrayed the political, social and economic growth of the region.
The Boko Haram uprising has made the security to be put to question and since then the systematic reign of terror is on daily basis unleashing on the people especially in Borno and Yobe States where the Boko Haram sect has got upper hand; Kano, the northern centre of commerce, inclusive. Though, Kano is now relatively calm and peaceful even though commerce has gone down drastically as investors are leaving the region due to insecurity situation.
It looks as if blood bath is now gaining ground of public life. The bandits have metamorphosed into full time criminals committing robbery and murder everywhere. The domestic feeling in the north, which is mistaken for license for mischief and indiscipline, gradually culminating into the reign of terror perpetrated by the unemployed youth who have no means of livelihood.
However, Boko Haram is not the first of its kind in the north. We had witnessed the Kwanta-Kwanta in Kano, Sara Sura in Zaria etc. Again soon after the inauguration of the second Republic, the killings became worst. In 1981-1984 the case of Yan Daba in Kano and other Northern cities became more disturbing that the security network was put to task. Now, it is generally agreed that we are all living in season of fear in the north. The case has become so rampant that the security operatives are helpless and futile.
For quite a long time, the men of the underworld have been casting deadly spells on the innocent citizens. The problem has become so severe that the rate of killings and mercilessness with which the armed bandits kill, maim and loot properties of the citizens is so much that the army Barracks and other security outfits are the targets. A situation where army barracks are attacked and army battalions are sacked. The Boko Haram has got upper hand in deed as many villages and towns fall into their hands.
Some security operatives interviewed by this medium who don’t want their names in print said the Boko Haram has sophisticated weapons which is not found in the Nigerian security set up. They said the federal government refused to buy such sophisticated weapons but insists that the security agents face the Boko Haram with outdated weapons. Yet it is on record that billions are being stolen from the national treasury on daily basis. In fact the whole situation has made the northern citizens become pathetic victims of circumstance.
In fact, this has become a permanent feature in the northern political landscape which has made it to backslide in every facet of its existence. Before 1966 and a little after, the north was a reference point in terms of economic and political development even in other human endeavoures because of the role of the founding fathers played in the development of the north. These have made them heroes and placed them on record as sincere leaders.
But today, the northern Nigeria is witnessing a culture of religious intolerance bringing about sharp dichotomy with sectarian religious riots and public disturbance. the current crises in the north is glaringly manifested in political and religious areas rather than following the path of the founding fathers when the north was rated high in terms of unity, vision and courageous disposition to confront its adversities and uphold its values within a strong unified North.
Then the civil war broke out, the same northerners were in the main stream of power until 1999 when General Olusegun Obasanjo came to power on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). For several years it was clear that the north has consciously dominated power in the country. The north has elites who can use their wealth and positions to sponsor the young northerners in term of developing the region but they are waiting for the government to do every thing for them. The role of regional and individual development should not be left on the shoulders of the government alone. There must be individual and community efforts to develop the region like the Eastern Nigeria where nobody can witness the effect of civil war.
Majority of northern elites today were children of nobody but were made what they are today by Sardauna, given them sound education and other human developments so that they can continue from where he stopped. But they are busy filling their pockets with public funds without caring for the majority but allow them to languish in abject poverty turning the youths to alamajeris while the children of the elites attend the best schools leaving the poor masses to remain in despair.
It is clear to everybody that before 1999, the north was in clear leadership of the country but the dividends of leadership did not show any impact in the region as the leaders only cared for their cronies. Hence the leaders of the north both military and civilians become derided as failures which is dragging the whole region to a hot spot today. their roles in public offices are blamed because they larvish money and are still larvishing the national wealth. They abuse their chances because the north still remains the most backward region in the whole country.
The favoured class abused the chances of the north. They in the year gone did not utilize the opportunity to favour majority. They controlled the power structure even in the political dispensation, the north are considered to fill the quota as part of new government. During Obasanjo tenure, the Sule Lamidos, Musa Gwadabes, Adamu Ciroma and many of them but all these years were wasted.
But today they went to blame everything on marginalization sponsored by the northern elders who do not want the youth to see their faults. They hide under the cloak of religion to instigate the youth. Even those who smiled in the open with the military and Obasanjo from 1999 till they left power did not do anything to develop the region now formed what they called Arewa Consultative Forum to confuse the youth.
When Obasanjo left power, they began to attack him. Now they are using religion to attack the government of Jonathan. There is no government in this country that people like Adamu Ciroma did not participate in with good position. What has he done to develop the youth and the region?
Even those who smiled and dined with President Obasanjo are now fifth columnists; they are seeing nothing wrong with the President Jonathan government but when he leaves office, they will preach against him and personified him as evil. they shower praises where they eat and smile but when the gain stop to come they turn against the leaders. their actions an in actions will continue to bring serious repercussion on the physical, economical and social happenings in the region now and for many years to come unless a spiritual calls for spiritual rebirth to save the north from political, economic and social disaster.