July 19, 2013
The Northern Youths Network (NYN) unambiguously dissociates itself from the selfish and sentimental campaign being peddled by our supposed elders on the platforms of the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum respectively as led by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, which seeks only to return power at the centre to Northern Nigeria in 2015.
As a budding organization, whose cardinal objective is to raise the level of consciousness of the average northerner, in a bid to compel a paradigm shift in the socio-economic and political affairs of northern Nigeria in particular and the nation in general, we wish to state very clearly that ethnicity, religion and all the other primordial sentiments which our elders have whipped up in the past to sway the choice of the people during election times must be hurriedly discarded as we prepare for the 2015 general elections, so that credible and competent leaders will rule the nation and advance our democracy.
We consider it very inappropriate for a man of Prof. Ango’s intellectual standing to describe the South-South region as a tiny enclave of a few people, not bigger than Kaduna State! This is a man who would pose tomorrow as a nationalist, an elder statesman! Yet he cannot even try to conceal his regional bias. It is ludicrous to hear him boast of the demography of Nigeria as bequeathing the North with the potential to keep power indefinitely, on the basis of one-man-one-vote! May we humbly ask which age group constitutes the virile population of northern electorate? It is undoubtedly the youths! But have the elders considered it imperative to consult the youths with a view to harmonizing positions in this pointless crave to return power to the north in 2015? No! They just assume that as usual, they can set their selfish agendas and the youths, most of whom they have deliberately left impoverished, will fall in line automatically! But this time, they are in for a big surprise.
Experience has shown us that politics is not really a game of sentiments, but of interest! Therefore any leader who is capable of protecting and advancing the interest of the North would enjoy the support of the northern youths; it does not matter to us if that leader is from a relative minority group in the south-south region!
We should take a moment to ponder that in the 52 years of Nigeria’s independence, power at the centre has resided in the north for much longer than it has been in the south. But what do we have to show for it in the north? It is pervasive poverty, insecurity, hunger, disease, illiteracy and underdevelopment! The egocentric and recycled politicians of northern Nigeria, who have over the years used poverty and illiteracy as instruments of oppression to subject the majority of their fellow northerners to be at their beck and call and hence to do their dirty biddings, do not really wish well for their people. They do not have any genuine desire to develop the northern region and its people.
Today, the average Northern youth is being regarded as a terrorist, a sad situation which is far from the truth! This is because our elders have not shown any tangible commitment towards checkmating the Boko Haram upsurge and other hostilities in the north. Instead the northern elders prefer to leave the youths perpetually impoverished, so that they can hardly see beyond their noses! Our northern leaders do not really believe in leadership succession, that is why they do not care to empower the youths.
We are fully aware that some of the northern elders are some of the richest persons in Nigeria. They hold a good number of the oil wells in the south-south region of the country. But what do they do with their stupendous wealth? They only entice the people with peanuts and alms, to keep them begging and looking up to them forever, while their own children are exposed to the highest standards of education abroad. That is really not fair. We recall that Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi was personally able to place several indigent students from the North on scholarship! How many northern elders can boast of similar feats? It is high time the youths opened their eyes to the antics of these disgruntled politicians.
In conclusion therefore, we the members of this organization, on behalf of the teeming youths of northern Nigeria, are very willing to negotiate with His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR to see how he can intensify his current efforts to salvage northern Nigeria from underdevelopment and backwardness. We appreciate Mr. President’s commitment to educational development in the north, as evident in the Almajiri Schools Project he had embarked upon. We shall see how he can intensify this effort beyond 2015, if he eventually decides to contest again for the exalted office of President. We know that education is capable of liberating the north, ending insecurity and terrorism, as well as all the other malaises confronting the north.
Mallam Ali Kano, Auwalu Mahamud Suleiman
National Coordinator Secretary