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North, The ‘Spoilt’ Child!

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Can We Have 'No Victor, No Vanquished'?

The Insight by Lateef Adewole

One of the most difficult job of parents and or guardian is raising children. By nature, children are born ‘innocent’. As they grow up, they continue to adapt to their environment, which begins to shape their characters. On their own, without proper guide, they choose to do as they wish, with no consideration for what is right or wrong. In fact, it takes the society to define what rights and wrongs are, for the child to know.

Even at that, despite knowing this distinction, they have tendency to care less beyond self indulgence and self-satisfaction, whether good or bad, mindless of the wider implications of their actions. A child left to grow up in such manner, unchecked, is likely to get ‘damaged’. They could become reckless, irresponsible and a threat to the society. This is undesirable.

There are instances where some children still turn out like described above, despite having people who are responsible for them, whether as parents or guardian. What then could cause such children to become irresponsible? In that case, the blame goes to the parents or guardian. It is an indication of failure on their part. When I was young, if I committed an offence, my mother used to say: “eniyan ko le ke omo kan ko di meji” (that a child cannot be so pampered that he will become two children). Such admonition usually preceded or succeeded serious punishment.

What that meant, in essence, was that parents should never, out of love for their kids or for whatever reason, pamper them to the extent of damaging them. Such children are usually referred to as ‘spoilt’ children, who eventually bring shame to the parents themselves and the family, by the time they misbehave outside. To avoid this, a measure of discipline of children must be maintained. This is not necessarily about spanking all the time but more of strictness in dealing with them. Children want everything everytime. Should they get it? A parent must know when to say ‘no’ and ‘enough’ to their children. There must be boundaries as to “do’s and don’t’s”, beyond which there should be consequences. Sadly, some parents are so weak to do this and they live to regret such in future. “Agba ti ko kehun soro, a ketan sare.”

I gave this background with regards to what has been observed from the northern part of Nigeria, not just now, but like forever. Some recent incidents and reactions to them from some quarters in the north brought this to the fore once again.

Some days ago, there were decisions taken by few agencies of government, specifically, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, under which the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is. As an administrative decision, which actually was not new, the governor of the CBN, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, announced the movement of a departments to Lagos. This department is Bank Supervision, whose major responsibilities involve overseeing the activities of banks’ operations.

The staff of this department spend most of their time working with banks at their head offices in particular. Given that majority of these banks are headquartered in Lagos, it is only reasonable and logical that the staff are closer to the clients they deal with. This was said to have been planned many years ago, according to the former CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who said he wanted to do so had he stayed longer than he did. His removal truncated that plan.

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The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), also annouced the ‘return’ of FAAN back to Lagos where it has always been, for similar reasons of being closer to the hub of aviation business, which is Lagos. It was reported that the last Minister, Hadi Sirika, was actually the person who moved them to Abuja, for reasons best known to him.

After these decisions were announced, the north has been reacting in disappointing manners. Or should I say ‘some leaders of some sections’ of the north. This is because, those who reacted or are reacting don’t seem to represent the whole north. They are interpreting it as being done against the north. As Yorubas would say “abeni lori, ki fe ki won mu ida ko ja lori oun.” Since that looks like what the north usually do whenever someone from that region is in power, they assume it is what others should be doing too.

By the way, where is the “one north” that these people claimed to be speaking on behalf? I hope they are not including the middle belt states whose people have been at the receiving end of every calamity that befell the north in largest proportion, inflicted by people, similarly considered northerners like them too, while these ’emergency champions’ of northern interests looked away and kept quiet. The genocide going on in Plateau State, Kaduna South, Taraba, and other middle belt states, committed by bandits, won’t make such people feel included and protected in this north they are talking about.

Some of the most absurd reaction came from Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), through its National Publicity Secretary, Prof Tukur Muhammad Baba, who claimed that the actions of CBN and FAAN were targeted at ‘underdeveloping’ the north. I couldn’t wrap my head around that. How have these department and agency been developing the north before now, such that their relocation will now do otherwise? All these years, how much developments have their presence in Abuja brought to the north? Well, except they are referring to the illegal recruitment to these agencies over the years, which usually favoured people from that region, irrespective of whether they are most qualified or not.

It is also of concern that the north has appropriated Abuja, to themselves, contrary to the law that established that location as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Section 297 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This could have also informed the uprising against a southerner becoming the FCT Minister when Barr. Nyesom Wike was appointed by President Tinubu. That was how ‘some’ northerners started grumbling and criticising that appointment. In the 32 years since the nation’s capital was moved to Abuja, no single southerner has been appointed as the substantive minister of FCT, until now. Can you imagine that?

Personally, I took the comments from various groups like a ranting of a ‘spoilt child’, whose excess candy was taken away from him. However, the one that shocked me was that of the distingush Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume. Listening to him speak on a national television as he did on Channels Television on Tuesday was disheartening. Senator Ndume is one of the most ranking lawmakers in Nigeria today, having being in National Assembly since 2003 as a member of the house of representatives, from where he got ‘promoted’ to the upper chamber, the senate, since 2011.

He said: “I’m very sure and confident that Mr. President will look at this situation because he is a nationalist and not just a Lagos man. Those political cartels that are in the corridors of power are trying to misinform the president and we will tell the president. The president will take action. They are not doing any favour to my president because this will have political consequences.” This was threatening a sitting president for decisions taken by few MDAs. That was a low for Ndume. I was disappointed.

Another senator from the north, the Senator representing Kogi-West, Karimi Sunday, faulted Ndume’s comments on the planned relocation. He said that statement was personal to Ndume and does not represent the position of the senate and that it was unnecessary for Ndume to ethnicise or attach sentiments to the relocation which was done for “cohesion and better delivery of services.” This was what I highlighted earlier about ‘one north’.

As the Yorubas would say: “ajogun ewu etu, ko moyi agabada nla” (he who inherits undeserved wealth, would never know the value of hard work). Historically, the north had gotten almost everything on the platter. This has made the region have a ‘sense of entitlement’ to anything that belongs to Nigeria as a country. They feel it is their ‘right’ to take and take and take, until overfed, even if others have not gotten any. “Bamu bamu ni mo yo, emi o mo bi ebi n pa omo enikankan.”

Ironically, with all these ‘take and take’ for years, at the detriment of the other parts of the country, the north has remained worse for it. This is the consequence of indulging a ‘spoilt’ child. In all human and developmental indices, the north remained far behind the south, despite the endless undue advantages they have enjoyed over the years, since Nigeria came to existence. Why is this so? It is because of insincerity on the part of leaders of the north, both now and in time past. They have been wicked to their people who put their trusts in their leadership as their representatives.

The noise that followed the said relocations emanated from the same elites, who are only after their interest, not the ordinary people of the region. Of what benefit is the presence of FAAN or CBN bank supervison department to the masses in Borno, Ndume’s home state, where indigenes’ lives have been hellish for over a decade caused by terrorism brought by boko haram? Or to Plateau people, who were regularly massacred in their hundreds or masses in Zamfara, Niger, Katsina states where bandits rule, kidnap, maim, rape, and kill on daily basis? “Won fi epa sile, won n pa lapalapa.”

This has been buttressed by a tweet I read yesterday. It was by someone called Adamu Hayatu (@AHayatu), who tweeted: “Senator Ndume is angry because his daughter is in Consumer Protection Department, is moving to Lagos. Her husband and another guy who is also married to his second daughter are all working in CBN. So much for fighting for the North!” I need say no more, if this is true.

This anomaly started long before independence. This must have been a deliberate policy of the colonial masters to divide and capture the country at the time. While there were northern and southern protectorates which were later amalgamated to what we have as Nigeria since 1914, the colonial rulers at that period adopted different approaches to ruling different parts of the country. In the north, indirect rule was adopted, where the chiefs and the emirs were allowed to continue to exercise their power over their constituencies, so long it served their own selfish exploitative colonial agenda.

While in the south, a direct rule was adopted where local administrative officers were appointed to rule over the protectorate. They found the southerners more enlightened, posed more resistance and more difficult to rule. Force was deployed where and when necessary to whip any uprising into line. Such a dichotomy was enough to give the leaders of the north then, some sense of superiority over others, which has since cascaded down to this day.

In the first place, what did Ndume mean by “political consequences”? That by the next round of elections in 2027, the north wouldn’t vote for Tinubu or what? That’s not for him to decide. There are 19 states in the north. The more powerful political office holders are the governors, who are yet to complain. Ndume is representing a third of one state. Can he even dictate what happens in his own state where the Vice President Kashim Shettima comes from?

The north often banked on the ‘rigged’ population which favours them to claim higher political strength. I have questioned that population figures for years, as a Geography student, it’s only in Nigeria that you have greater population in desert area than rich forest area. This is not so even in countries in the north of Africa like Niger, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, etc, just above our northern Nigeria. That fraud started with Britain that shared the landmass of the country into three regions but one region called north was almost two-third of the entire country, like twice the size of other two regions put together.

In the process, many communities that naturally belonged to the south were forced to be called northerners, thereby separating them from their ancestral linkages. Such examples abound in present Kwara, Kogi, Niger, and Benue states. This is one obvious abnormality that could not be rectified for many decades because it benefitted the elites of the region, which happen to have held power for so long, especially under the military. It gave them the opportunity of stranglehold on the country.

It was similar indulgence that birthed federal character and educationally disadvantaged jargons. All human beings are created with natural abilities. It is their environment that determines what becomes of such. This has been the case of the north. Why should any human being be called ‘disadvantaged’ without any physical disability? The leaders of the north used that to perpetuate their interest. They deliberately constrict the people from developing by depriving them of critical education and skills needed for such. This has kept majority in the dark and be enslaved by the elites for their selfish socio-political and economic interests.

We have seen what equal opportunities afforded many extraordinarily brilliant people from the north like Engr. Jelani Aliyu, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Professor Ali Pate, and too numerous others to mention. When WAEC stated that they want to introduce Computer-Based Test (CBT) into their examinations, same retrogressive elements were quick to condemn it as a target against the north. When admission is being offered into Unity Secondary Schools and Federal Government Colleges, the north is given an abysmally low cut off marks while the southern candidates face herculean task to be admitted. Same happens in tertiary institutions.

And we have been doing this for over six decades. When will the north be weaned of such indulgence? This is what has kept the region backward as the indigenes are not allowed to go and compete with Nigerians from other regions, fair and square, but to be spoon-fed. This continued to be engendered, even after school, by arrangement like Federal Character. What nonsense!

In my opinion, government must continue to do whatever it feels is the best for the country. Serious governance is not a popularity contest but hard and unemotional job. Were there wars when all the major military infrastructures were situated across northern Nigeria? Same alarmists or their forefathers were cool with it. Did that help the ravaging insecurities across the north? So, effective deployment of resources and infrastructure use is beyond where they reside.

The government should move more MDAs to regions or states where they are best suited, where it will improve their effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, religion or social status. Why should any naval infrastructure be in any northern state without water? The Nigeria has not worked with the current unwieldy system we operated since 1966. It needs to be dismantled. This does not necessarily mean separation but to decentralise many powers and responsibilities concentrated at the center. We can’t be doing the same thing over and over but expect different results. That’s insanity. Something needs to be done differently. And no better time than now. Enough is enough!

May God continue to protect us and guide us aright.

God Bless Nigeria.

You can follow me on:
Twitter: @lateef_adewole
Facebook: Lateef Adewole
Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp: +2348036034685

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January 27, 2024.

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