The geographic zone known as the north in Nigeria remains the most heterogeneous by all standard. It is the most altruistic geo-political region and the most friendly economic atmosphere. But a region grappling with how to utilise these positive attributes to its advantage. A region that is being strangled and group-raped due to lack of focus and selfless leadership.
Yes, the region has the majority of leader-ship in the whole country. The Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Ministers of Defence, Education, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Information, Water Resources among others. The most Senior military (Air Force and Navy) and Police Officers are all northerners.
58 of the 109 of the Senators (that is more than half) are northerners. Same with the lower chamber of the House of Representatives. 19 of the 36 State Governors are Northerners. And the man who lord it over the poor masses in the Federal Capital Territory is also a northerner.
In-fact the heads of Custom, Immigration, Prison, National Security Adviser (NSA) are all northerners.
The President of the Federal Republic is not a Northerner but he is being pull, rope-in-the-nose by northerners. His Aid-De-Camp (ADC), his Principal Private Secretary (PPS), his head of protocol are all northerners.
It may also interest you to know that there are more northerners out there trying to out do each other in scampering for who occupies what political office in the land today.
With all this caliber of individuals and groups, you would think the region would have an edge up and above others in all facets of life. No, it is not. The only edge it has today, is its altruism. It remains the region that is fast becoming a no man’s land. Anybody from anywhere at anytime can come, settle, make a living and even establish conglomerates irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
It is one of the things that make the north thick. It is the reason why you can have a Folasade and Bayero from Adamawa, an Ngozi and Kauna from Bauchi, Adebayo and Kurfi from Katsina, Uduak and Yadomah from Borno, Ekanem and Geidam from Yobe, Sola and Bulus from Kaduna and all sorts of names from Federal Capital Territory (FCT) all indigenes with almost full benefits that any indigene enjoys.
It is a region where land and property ownership is like walking into a supermarket to pick any item of choice; if you have the means, the item is yours for take and keep. It is the region whose academic campuses are peopled by students and staff from all over the nation. It is the region where even its civil service plays host to “strangers”. It is the reason why an anomie in the north gets national consequence.
But today the streets of the region are watered by the blood of the innocent and the poor. The people of the north wake up daily and see every second that passes as a borrowed item that can be snatched away the next second by marauding blood thirsty hounds. They exist on borrowed time. They have been reduced to second class citizens in their own country.
Today and gradually, they are being turned into refugees; driven out of their homes, shot at, burnt alive and dispossessed of their properties. Women turn into widows, children turn into orphans and even men turn into widowers. They are being dispossessed of their heritage.
Most never wanted to have anything to do with the cities because from shelter, security, food, health, education to even fresh air, they cannot afford what the government cannot even provide in the urban areas. So they make do with their rural life: sharing virtually everything with animals that seem more caring about them that those entrusted by God to do so. They allow nature to tend to them just as they embrace nature for a peaceful, quiet life of toil and toss. They demand not and get nothing from the authorities.
Yet, what many around the globe take for granted; security of lives and property, is a priced service to them and is being denied them even in their interior of all settlements. The war is taken to their thatched-mud-huts with life snuff out of them cruelly at will. Yet the leaders meant to protect them sometime even blame them for their own death.
Today, the leaders from this region who are supposed to protect the lives and property of the people are even accused of taking some. The people don’t ask for more than just protection of lives and their hard earned property. They have stopped asking for good roads even as they die daily on what is left of the old ones provided by leaders past.
They have stopped asking for good hospitals because all they get even at the worst of conditions is consulting rooms and mortuary. In fact, even the dead often are hurried into mother earth as most mortuary are not even “livable” for the dead. The people have stopped asking for power for all they get for asking and paying through their noses is perpetual darkness.
The people have stopped asking for anything because anytime they ask, they are rewarded with nothing that often worsen their plight. They have learn to live with their hunch-back even when they are not camels. They have learn to dig deep into the earth in their various compounds to have access to potable water even though they live not in the deserts. Never mind that the water source may be sinkhole of cesspit.
They have learn not to ask for quality education for anytime they ask, they are rewarded with tuition fees far out of their reach and recipe for ignorance. They have stopped demanding for accountability from their elected, selected and appointed representatives, for any time they ask, they are tagged opposition. In fact, these representatives of theirs often abandon the people in kauyuka and move to birni only to return to seek the people’s hands at auspicious period.
They often try and often succeed in dividing the people using the differences in their faith, their tongue and even their associations. Their religious leaders have turned political rulers and preach politics where they are supposed to preach religion. Their political leaders have turned religious preachers and they preach the faith upside down. Their economic leaders have turned mercenaries and they give the people out to the highest bidders.
The dearth of northern leadership has thrown up all sorts of people who wear the toga of leadership. As a result, northerners today in their millions still mourn Sir Ahmadu Bello 38 years after his demise. They mourn Generals Murtala Muhammed, Hassan Usman Katsina, Shehu Musa Yar’adua. They mourn Yahaya Gusau, Abdulrahman Okene, Sunday Awoniyi, Tahir Ibrahim among other notables.
They mourn leaders past who stood and fought for them. Leaders who were not rulers. Leaders who did not stand and watch while their people were being alienated. Leaders who did not feast on the graves of their people. Leaders who led and stayed with their people.
Today, the few among them who cares and voice out their concern for the people are call names, profiled and branded all sorts. And some who cares, concern and could speak out in the interest of the people are afraid to speak out to retain their integrity and for the fear of being pilloried by the undesirable in their midst.
Today, what Gideon Orkar and his co-conspirators could not achieve through the use of barrel of guns while legally in uniform is at the verge of reality by rampaging ragtag insurgents and their co-conspirators through the same barrel of the gun in illegal uniform. A part of Nigeria and a chunk of the north is being excised and so called northern leaders feast on.
A time shall come when the story of the north for the north and by the north shall be told and it would be said that at a critical period in the history of the region, it was abandoned to flounder by those who should hold the rein. It would be said that they feast as their people smoulder to cinder right under their noses. It shall be said that the north was fatally dearth of leadership.
Northerners are in leadership positions everywhere, yet the ship of the north has headed toward wreckage for they lack a compass. The north is in turmoil, the waters are turbulent and the captains are jumping ship abandoning the people to their fate.
God save northerners, the north from northerners and their co-conspirators. God save Nigeria.
Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir