The events of the past few weeks in especially my North are really very disturbing and also call for serious concerns. I need not remind us about the details but for the sake of understanding my writeup let me just refresh our brains on the current ongoing debate about what HRH Sunusi Lamido Sunusi said at KADINVEST some days ago about his region, The North. What he said was given so many interpretations by different analysts and opinion leaders, in fact to date the debate is still on. What really hot up the debate was the Emir calling the North, the Poorer compared to the South, and also to some extent The Lazier among the two divides of the country called Nigeria.
This of course provoked a very heated debate and angered many northern elites. Apart from that, it also gave the needed opening for mischief makers to fit in and do what they know best. As disturbing as the insinuations and the debate are, one cannot ignore also that it is really a wakeup call for the Northern people to really retrace and reassess ourselves. We must tell ourselves the home truth that something is fundamentally wrong with us and our region.
We must have a broader look of the whole thing. Before it was other people that were telling us what the emir have just told us, even though I do not completely agree with the medium and the tone that my emir used in sending his message but his call must not be ignored. We must ask ourselves some obvious questions. Questions like;
- Is the North really poor and it’s people lazy?
- If Yes, why and what is the remedy?
- If No, then what is going wrong within the elites of the region?
- Are the policies of government deliberately fashioned out to exclude the North from benefiting?
- If yes, why and what is the remedy?
- If no, then what is going wrong in the region?
And most importantly
- Can the North really boast of having a leader like say that of the Southwest?
Unless may be we find the answers to the above questions and act appropriately we may continue to delude ourselves and deceive ourselves, and also continue debating and pointing accusing fingers and casting blames to one another, which will obviously not take us anywhere.
In all honesty, in terms of humans and natural resources, the North is not poor, and it is not anywhere near that. The Northern people are also not lazy people, majority of us are very industrious and very hardworking and we are immensely contributing to the national development.
This means that the answer to question 1 is No, which will then make us to fall on to Q.1b, but you will agree with me if I say Q.1b. 2a & b cannot comfortably be answered without getting the answer of Question 3, that is
DOES THE NORTH REALLY HAS A LEADER?
This is indeed the one million Naira question and the SHOCKING ANSWER IS NO!
And obviously this is collectively our greatest predicament as a region. This is also the result of the failure of our elites to put their heads together and find a common front to spearhead charting a new course for the collective benefits of all, rather they are engaged mostly on individual self serving missions that are only beneficial to them and their immediate family members. I don’t need to elaborate on this as it is very glaring to all of us.
No gain saying this lack of leadership in the region is the greatest setback of my dear North. And that is why any new policy enacted by the government if it will not benefit them or their bank accounts they will never care to scrutinize or make any input that may benefi their region.
Take example people like Alh Atiku Abubakar, Sen Rabiu Kwankwaso, Gov Nasiru Rufai, Gov Ganduje and senate president Bukola Saraki who belong to the same party which also happens to be the ruling party, but instead of putting their heads together to make a bigger and more beneficial bargain to the region, the North, they are rather fighting themselves and strategizing for who will be the presidential nominee of the party for 2019, very sad indeed.
When you look at the PDP also you can see how Ali Modu Shariff, Sen Makarfi and co are busy fighting for leadership instead for the North common goal. That is the sorry state our elites, because of their selfserving interests, put us into. They are busy fighting for largesse instead of putting the region’s interest as their main concern.
Let me take Educational policy as an example.
For donkey years we have been hearing that the North is far behind the South in terms of Education, but anybody who is abreast with the national policies of education will agree with me that most of the today’s policies are rather creating more gap between the North and the South, and a very negative one, and all these thanks to the carelessness and selfishness of our credits
I could remember during our university time there used to be a program called Remedial science which was meant for those science students who could not get the requirements of the Jamb and with may be 3 – 4 credits, even if you don’t have credit in English, there was a remedial English which was used to bridge the deficiency in English and from that rigorous remedial science program so many medical doctors, Engineers, Biochemists and many single honors scientists were produced, most of the students then do not have to buy their ways to get English and Maths, they do not also have to cut corners to pass their Jamb examination. But that program was forcefully and purposefully influenced to be stopped by mostly our people from the South, and our elites could not see the reasons to fight for it’s retention. The damage that single cancelation caused is better imagined. We are seeing wonder examination centers within our midst now. The students nowadays do not care to even sit for the exams, they just price it and pay. Very terribly sad development.
Another terrible policy is also the requirements for MScs and PhDs still in our universities, now if you want go back for MSc of PhD program instead of considering your first degree, it is your SSCE or NECO that will determine your admission. They will have to see if you have passed English and Maths at your secondary level before you are given Masters or PhD program in our own Universities, your first degree no mater the class is immaterial and inconsequential, and our elites do not see anything wrong with that. And do you know the irony of it all if you go to abroad to do masters or PhD they consider your 1st or 2nd degree respectively only as the requirements for admission, and also that is where our university lecturers went for their postgraduate programs. Our elites as usual look the other ways and the damages are daily multiplying and will continue to if things are left the way they are.
No nation or region can achieve any development without a sound education and ALSO NO SOCIETY CAN ACHIEVE IT’S GOALS WITHOUT FOCUSED LEADERSHIP.
In conclusion I can rightly declare that the North as a region is NOT POOR AND THE PEOPLE OF NORTH ARE NOT LAZY BUT ON THE CONTRARY VERY INDUSTRIOUS, HARDWORKING, ACCOMADATING, AND MOSTLY SELF RELIANT. WHAT THE NORTH DON’T HAVE IS LEADERSHIP IN ALL STRATA AND WITHOUT LEADERSHIP NOTHING CAN BE ACHIEVED.
We are busy envying the Southwest and it’s people but we failed and are still failing to do what the Southwest is doing to achieve what they are achieving. Leadership is the only avenue for us to talk and approach thing with one voice and achieve great things. We must accept that our elites have failed us, but there is still room for corrections, and is never too late to make amends.
It is about time the North wakes up to make an amend and set our priority right. It is time our elites set aside their differences and agree to have a leadership that will be talking with one voice and will also chart a new course for our region.
It is never too late to rethink.
Longlive the North!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
Kabir Dalha Kabir
A concern Northerner.