The issue of stereotype has been a damning factor in human interaction for as long humans exist and every ethnicity, race and culture have had their fair share. In as much as some of the stereotypes are laughable and easily shrugged off, the bigger chunk of it is used to promote prejudice and sometimes, derogation.
Being a Nigerian northerner automatically comes with the high tendency of being the butt of culturally demeaning jokes and it has lingered for decades. These stereotypes and negative perceptions ranges from attaching the northern identity with illiteracy, violence, under development and more. At some point, it was even normalized as northern migrants outside the north have to accept these terms. The media has a part to play in this misinformation just like the African identity is misrepresented outside Africa. In this vain, it is left to us with platforms and reach, to demystify these perceptions.
Northern Nigeria, like any other region thrives and progresses alongside contemporary innovation and global growth, while being in complete cognizance of the societal ills and where we fall short. The diversity of the Northern entity is barely communicated in terms of sub ethnicities from Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Nupe, Gbagyi and a whole lot more that varies in cultural values, language and norms. Realizing the size of this diverse web of cultural differences while sharing a geographical settlement is one of the north’s unsung gifts.
Education: One of the biggest misinformation about the north is our laxity with learning. Formal education have had its blow back from ‘factions’ and conspiracy theorists but the resolve to educate the northern child never waivers. This is evident in all the major pioneer educational institutions on all levels. Kaduna/Zaria alone accounts for a chunk of it ranging from Queen Amina College, Command Secondary school, Barewa College, Alhudahuda, Government commercial college, Kufena on the secondary level in which all these schools are over 5 decades and many of them precede our independence as country. Which also cites evidence of educational acceptance on a large scale many decades ago. On the tertiary part, Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna State University, Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, College of Aviation, FCE, College of health and science and more. The combined influential Alumni list of these institutions is beyond remarkable as they have produced head of states, Premiers, Prime Ministers, Military rulers, Traditional rulers, Governors, Senators, Journalists, Judges, Medical experts, Scholars and more. And this is just one state. Without these insights, one wouldn’t know the extent of educational growth and impact the region has on the country.
Business: Now, aside the renowned northern Forbes listers like Dangote, Abdul Samad Rabi’u, Muhammed Indimi, Dantata and their likes, there’s an overwhelming amount of northerners that have been bred with an entrepreneurial mindset and have infused their exploits into various industries from import and export, trading, farming, Jewelries, real estate, textile, fashion, food, media, publications, aluminum and steel, automobiles and a whole lot more. Every northern state, regardless of the economic downturn is a business hub and it is evident with growing number of young entrepreneurs on a daily. The IGR of states like Kano is evident to these claims.
Tech and Media: Tech and Media have been identified as the pilot industries for other ventures right now and it has been recognized in the north. There’s media and tech summits organized on a regular by private groups/organizations and even Kaduna State government where investment and prospects are discussed. There are wide range of northern publications both online and offline. Social media platforms that are influential and portals to keeping up to date with happenings in the north.
Politics: Politics has always been a tricky venture and route on a general as our cultural differences takes a big part in where our allegiances lie but the north has contributed a whole lot to the steering of our political range as a country. This involves policy makers, technocrats, industry experts and more.
This is my reality as a northerner who’s running a media platform, contributing my quota to societal literacy, entertainment, entrepreneurship and social awareness. I am one of millions and this is our reality. We don’t discard the fact that we have a long way to go as a region which we are working towards fixing but it doesn’t do any good to fix me into a box of that stereotype regardless of what I do as a thriving Nigerian.
At the end of day, we yearn for unity and to operate as an entity void of the derogation. Let’s thrive on unity and quit the stereotype.
Muhammed Auwal Muazu is the Founder of Hausaa Bulanii Blog