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Northern problems and the price of indifference


Most people believe that the northern part of the country has the most fawning admirers of President Muhammadu Buhari. They base their argument on the fanfare and celebration haze that greeted Buhari’s election victories among his kinsmen from that region. Also the arrogance that was associated with the Sai baba, Sai baba ranting at the inception of Buhari administration. Aside such sentiments, President Buhari became an apple of everyone’s eyes because of his political repertory, which consists of stories he gladly tells over and over again whenever the opportunity arises, perhaps to cow the opposition parties or win the heart of the international community, about his uprightness. It has been noted that he is exceedingly clean and he maintains an incorruptible lifestyle, that involves only in ennobling deeds which many politicians in Nigeria do not envy or wish to emulate because they preferred to remain on the fence.

Not surprisingly, in recent time, the honeymoon and support from that region and by extension the entire country on Buhari government seem to be waning with the current poor economy, increasing unemployment rate, daunting security challenges among other ills that have befallen the nation. As it were, a noisy yet to be productive outcry has been brewing among critics and notable elite in the country for Buhari’s government to shape up or ship out the Service Chiefs for their inability to contain the Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in the country.


Indeed, it is astonishing to hear stunning revelations about the problems confronting the north from Sanusi. The other day, at the 60th birthday of governor el-Rufia in Kaduna, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi said, “…no leaders of the north could be happy in the face of the multifarious challenges confronting the region…there is drug problem, Almajiri problem and Boko Haram problem in the North”. Having been largely ignored and neglected by the political leaders thus for far too long, majority of the northern youth have potentially graduated into a damaging attention. In trying to find a solution to banditry, the Almajiri and indeed insecurity in the north, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state noted that the issue has kindled a big flame and can only be extinguished with sound education. Therefore, he said that: “…the only enduring remedy to banditry was provision of education…and education would continue to be a priority of my government”. It is impossible not to wince when you hear political leaders or elite from the north speak in that manner. This is because, one wonders how the north became so awful that the people are no longer comfortable. On every occasion irrespective of the agenda, the elite and political leaders seize the platform to adjudicate and express concern on the obvious, flourishing illiteracy, extreme poverty and intense insecurity in the region. Of course, the deplorable situation reveal the extent to which the moral integrity of the northern political leaders, past and present about their attitude towards education and women. In many ways, political leaders have led Nigerians into miserable situation and it would take some time to reverse the troubling issues because they have germinated and taken root.


Indeed, it is shocking but not surprising to hear all these revelation from elite and political leaders because it seems more like self confession. The north could be this livid because of poor leadership and years of neglect. Therefore, poor living condition and illiteracy of majority of people make them easy recruits for Boko Haram as well as indulge in other extremities. It is also not surprising to see a lot of critics, many of whom before now were bootlickers as they hold harsh view about the ruling government and blame it loudly for virtually everything. Perhaps sensing danger if they remained complacent, hence, they quickly transform from being a hawk, who betrayed the people and enjoyed fame and unlimited advantages from government to become saintly as a dove and speak about insecurity, poverty and poor education among others, demanding government to stop the crisis overnight. It is important to stand firmly by Sanusi’s postulations about the reality on ground. And that the north is destroying itself as insecurity has not just grown overweight, its damaging impact on the economy and society is beyond imagination. Nevertheless, it is not an overstatement to say that the problem of the north is its elite which Sanusi is a part of. A friend of mine once said that the problem bedeviling the north is a retribution project from its leaders. It is indeed a rather sad spectacle, the political leaders and eminent personalities from that region should quickly find solution to the bitter successes Almajiri, banditry, Boko Haram and illiteracy have achieved in the region.

The argument that fathers of the vulnerable ones should be arrested for allowing their wards to wonder and roam the streets is a good development. But the right things should be put in place first. According to Sanusi, “…it is only the governors who can pass the laws to say that when a man divorces his wife, it is his responsibilities to provide for the children, it is only the courts and security system that will enforce”. What then is holding back the political leaders from enacting laws that will protect women and children in the north? This is a question that reveals the northern government’s triumphant failure and lack of political will to use the law in directing society on the right path. Indeed, this is not the northern Nigeria that we know and hear of in the times of Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello who worked tirelessly for the progress of all and showed perfect example of servant leadership. It is shameful that those who benefitted from our founding fathers free education programme do not desire to provide a tuition free education for younger generation. It is indeed disheartening to see the north consume itself with indifference as people no longer accept their responsibilities. Yes, even the Emir, Sanusi confirmed this when he said that: “… wives were complaining about their husbands who claimed their rights but abandoned their responsibilities of marriage”. If one may ask, what does such irresponsible attitude suggest for the future of children from such marriages? The answer to this question should not blow in the wind.


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