Northern Nigeria: A Case Of Greedy Leaders, Fractured Elites

By Sanusi Muhammad
The large piece of land referred to as Northern Nigeria occupies about 2/3 of the entire land space of Nigeria and despite all distortions houses over 60 percent of the entire population of the country, Nigeria.
At the inception of colonial domination, ‘the British adventurers found already in place similar or even more sophisticated culture of learning, government, administration and flourishing commerce in Northern Nigeria. It was therefore, not difficult after the conquest with the defeat of His Eminence Sultan Attahiru of Sokoto Caliphate in the early 1960s that a system of indirect rule was foisted over the region. The level of sophistication of instruments of administration immediately provided the needed framework and network for the institutionalization of the apparatuses of colonial government and state.
The same methodology was adopted in the Southwestern flank of the country with relative ease than the political disarray met in the Eastern region. The North was therefore more organized and provided the necessary motion required by the British colonial expansionism in the drive to exploitation of resources and peoples of the region and the country as a whole.
The amalgamation of 1914 was not par say an accidental reality. It was deliberate for very many reasons among which were the need for a harmonious exploration of the natural resources of the expansive colony, and the exploitation of the administrative and political advantages of the North in the institutionalization of colonial hegemony over the entire country.
The spirit of the amalgamation has been interpreted in a number of ways by intellectuals at home and away. The dominant belief among the elite of the south is that northern population superiority was merely a figment of the imagination of the colonial overloads. This explains the contentions in previous head counts. The north is almost double the size of the south as far as land area is concerned this is acceptable with ease as against the superiority in number.
The essence of this piece is a brief anatomy of the big brother in the Nigerian Alliance and the efficacy or otherwise of its leaders and elites, a privileged group of people who grew from state of relative obscurity to national and international economic and political fame while the majority of their kith and kin are abandoned in abject poverty, starvation, ignorance, degradation, want and misery with few domesticated as slaves.
The protocol of the learned leaders of Zion was a master-piece put in place with the view to rejuvenating the Jewish race especially after the devastating genocide precipitated and in the hands of Adolf Hitler soon after the imperialist World War II of 1940s. The protocol strive and enshrined in it a methodology of not only ensuring the rise of the Jewish race back to the centre stage of global society, politics and economics, but also its protection, sustenance and reproduction as well as dominance in all spheres of human endeavors. Where are we? They are already there, and we are still here, the Jews are in the control of every aspect of human society on the globe.
Few years ago, precisely in 1999, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (deposed Emir of Kano), wrote a typical and very interesting piece on the ‘Yoruba syllabus of error’ the thesis of Sanusi’s article was centred on the continued self isolation of the Yoruba race in matters of national politics. They are always standing on their own. Every Nigerian was playing his own game and not them playing any other’. This position I strongly believe has changed a bit now that they are seen to be major players in the democratic process and senior stakeholders in major political parties.
What interested me in Sanusi’s thesis was the fact that despite the apparent rigidity and lack of compromise which characterized Yoruba politics in Nigeria, one factor which stands to their advantage always is the dogma of solidarity. No other Nigerian group is as solid when it comes to matters of national dimension, not even the minority ethnic groups that are fewer in number and whose unity is expected not to be hindered by the question of number. Whether the Yoruba race’s irredentism tendencies pose any danger or threat to the existence and survival of the Nigerian project is a different ball game all together. As crude as their methodologies remain, their solidarity as an ethnic race under the direction of its elite corps and sometimes carpenters (as in the case of ‘Chief Ganiu Adams, Are Ona Kakanfo), has remained a source of inspiration to the younger Yoruba elements and the intelligentsia. They have role models no matter the nature of the role those models play.
The North as a whole does not have such models that have the capacity of championing the course of the people and interest if there is anything called as such. Those expected to be role models have allegedly transformed into ethno-religious jingoists sponsoring violence and ethno-religious upheavals for myopic interest.
In the beginning, soon before and after independence, the Northern ‘ideology’ under the banner of the aristocracy despite its pitfalls had created an inspirational strategy of massive education for the region as the only way to have a place in Nigerian entity. The leaders realized that correcting an anomaly is never achieved via cheap lamentation and complaint. The first Northern medical doctor, Dr. Rabi’u (Russel) Barau Dikko came on stream in the early 1950s, when there was already hundreds of his kind in the South of the Niger.
The earlier elders of the North saw the need to massively embrace education despite the Christian scare which kept the dominant Muslim intelligentsia skeptical of the motives behind the new educational system that had the capacity to tilt their faith from the Islamic horizon which had been in the area for hundreds of years before the advent of colonialism which saw the propagation of the Christian faith as either complimentary or composite.
The elders had done so well within a short period of time to an extent that the best bureaucracy amongst all British colonial territories was found in Northern Nigeria.
Education, health services and development of infrastructures became the attention of government. The priority of those leaders was service and not to be served. They did not consider the looting of public treasuries as a luxury to safe guard the future of their children. They emphasized on community and societal values not pursuit of contracts for ostentatious living style. They were role models as they had been responsible for the advancement of the Northern society at that time.
In Kaduna (seat of Northern Nigerian Government) as in many other Northern cities and towns, there are still visible infrastructures that were provided by the colonial state and early Northern leaders. These structures are still standing solid than a lot of the current structures that are erected by the leaders of these days. I do not intend to overlabor the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Bauchi Meat Company, Kainji dam, Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), later Radio Television Kaduna (RTK), Hamdala Hotal, Bank of the North (Unity Bank), Yankari Games Reserve, Sokoto Cement of Northern Nigeria as examples among several others, but the fact is that most of us in late fifties did not meet the first generation of Northern leadership, but the physical and structural legacies they left had impacted positively and negatively on our lives.
In the positive, ABU among other numerous institutional builders and supporters of life are there, and hardly maintained by the present breed of leaders. Negatively, the leaders of today were the children of those days, who instead of plundering of the resources or better put, took selfless path of educating the children of the poor en masse, who have by that virtue taken over the reign of leadership and are busy siphoning all the national and collective resources of the people to themselves and for the benefits of their immediate families and cronies. They have woefully failed to do unto others what others had done unto them. The situation has been tolerated for long. It may be changed by force in due course.
The result of which is the total collapse of the educational system, health services, decay of infrastructure, total lack of concern for the environment and aggressive and cut throat competition in the struggle and pursuit of political power, resulting in thuggery, sponsored ethnic and religious conflicts and confrontation among numerous other national calamities. They have run down the public school system while their children school in foreign land. The leaders are so unconcerned that they have lost sight of the fact that their children will have to come back home no matter how long it takes, otherwise, despite the level of economic prosperity, they shall continue to remain second class citizens in other people’s lands.
Whenever they come home they shall be faced with the ugly realities of the actions of their parents. They shall be confronted by the visible hunger and desperation suffered by their relations and other innocent citizens. They shall have no peace due to the poor foresights of their parents, thieving leaders and greedy elders. The society continues in that vicious circle with no end in sight.
The Northern elder, leader and elite of today stand as pariahs in their immediate communities and in the comity of Nigerian elders, leaders and elites. They have stolen and stashed so much public money that they are the most uncomfortable creatures today but living in pretence under heavy security protection. Two houses away in the neighborhood, there is hunger, children can’t go to school because their parents cannot afford paying the exorbitant fees artificially fixed to discourage. Children go to bed with tears because they had no food. Over 75 percent of the beggars on Nigerian streets are Northerners without a promising future. Over 65 percent of Northerners are unemployed or underemployed. Yet, the few elite with the opportunity to proffer solution to the problems pretend to be comfortable and not ashamed of the sad scenario but prefer to domesticate four women as wives, concubines and girl friends, buy traditional titles, build fanciful Churches and Mosques to swell the number of worshippers for praises.
It is easier to spark religious or ethnic riots in the North than in any part of the country because of the failure, of the system.
The volume of school dropouts is more in the North compared to other regions, the level of unemployment and poverty is more glaring in the North. Younger elements are left on their own, with no role models. They are simply reduced to the level of negative tools for deadly jobs.
Northern elders, leaders and elites from indices are not interested in government scholarship; they are not bothered about health in local communities. They are to themselves and God for all. They are the same people that resort to instigating their respective restive youths into destruction whenever they lose or perceive any lost in the aggressive pursuit of political or economic benefits within the state or the federation.
The Zangon Kataf, Kafanchan, Tafawa Balewa, Plateau, Kano, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and several other riots that disfigured the unity of the North are typical cases in point. The contemporary Northern elder, leader and elites are to say the least, very heartless and myopic. They have no meaning in history and are a bunch of failure and clowns.
Unlike the first Premier of Northern Region and President-General of Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Sir Ahmadu Bello Rabah, who was a passionate leader that stood against failure, loved eulogizing socio-political and economic benefit. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, first Prime Minister of Independent Nigeria, Yusuf Aminu Kano, founder of the radical Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), Joseph Tarka, founder of the United Middle-Belt Congress (UMBC), Sa’ad Zungur, Raji Abdallah, Gambo Sawaba, Shetima Ali Munguno, Patrick Dokotri, Maitama Sule, Muhammadu Ribadu Yola, Gambo Hawaja, Solomon Lar, Sani Minista, Micheal Audu Buba, Salihu Gonto Wase, Sunday Awoniyi, Yeriyep Lot, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Hassan Kosasshe Ahmed, Abdurrahaman Okene just to mention a few, the elders and leaders of today have failed in their mission of leadership and have since left the teeming youth without history.
History of a decent evolution, and, I am sure, they are ashamed and regretting their acts of malfeasance and, corruption.
When one takes a critical look on how Bills are initiated and sponsored in the National Assembly of today, the difference between legislators from the North and those from other regions is glaring. Some legislators of Northern extraction are better at home than in the National Assembly. The only chance left for now within the North to normalize the sorry state, is for an effective revolution of pushing away the present crop of leaders in circulation.
The people must realize that those people called leaders have since been on their own. They have no ‘us’ in their agenda unless in need of egocentric support from the wretched on earth.
They have stolen and stashed all the money in their personal vaults and foreign accounts, we are left with nothing. They grow fat cheeks with protruding bellies while we grow lean and miserable. This is not the case with leaders in other regions that loot public treasuries, and invest same in the economy. In the case of Northerners, the treasuries are looted with impunity, the loot channeled to brothels and ostentatious living styles in palatial palaces, stock piling of exotic automobiles and purchase of irrelevant traditional titles for show-off.
We see how looters of other regions are responsive to their communities. We see their roles in industrialization, education, health and even physical infrastructure. In our case, it is a sad situation with only a bloodless revolution is left as solution.
On a final note, Northern Nigeria is today, under siege by bandits, terrorists and kidnappers for ransom while the region prides the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Inspector-General of Police, Director-General of State Security Service, Director-General National Intelligence Agency, National Security Advisor, Director-General Defence Intelligence Agency, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Minister for Defence, Senate President and other security chiefs. The North has the richest man in Africa and blessed with abundant arable land for agriculture and mineral resources untapped. Yet, the region is at the brink of collapse. What a pity!
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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