Northern Elders are Our Problem By Abdulbaqi Jari
Northern Nigeria (Arewa) is the largest region in Nigeria. It has 19 states including the Federal Capital Territories (FCT). The region has the population of over 100 million people. There are over 200 tribes in Northern Nigeria. Hausa, Nupe, fulani, Yoruba, Igala and Kanuri to mention a few. Out of the 774 local governments in Nigeria, the Northern region has the majority. In the National Assembly, the Northern region has the majority. In the Senate for example, out of 109 Senators that Nigeria is having, 57 are Northerners from the North. So is it in the civil service, in the armed forces, Para Military services like Custom, Immigration, and Prisons services etc.
Northerners are the majority and always have been. There are many other leaders in the North. The traditional leaders are the majority. There are over 100 first class Emirs in Northern Nigeria. In Bauchi state, there are 6 first class Emirs. In Kebbi also, there are 4 first class Emirs etc. There are many religious leaders. The Sultan of Sokoto, the Izala leaders, the Darika leaders, the Shia leaders etc. Also the Christian leaders, the Dioceses of Sokoto, Kaduna, Abuja, and Jos. There are also the traditionalist etc.
I tend to wonder why Northerners are blaming other regions and people as the reasons for their backwardness. There are still 5 living head of states alive in/from the Northern Nigeria. There are still many other important dignitaries. There are still the former Vice Presidents, Chiefs of Army, Navy, Air force staff, Former Chief Justices, Head of services, and hundreds of Ministers etc. Even if somebody is planning a conspiracy against the North, why would those important personalities from the North counter and repel it? Is it that they don’t care? Out of the 54 years of Nigeria’s independence, about 37 years was under the leadership of the North. Still the Minister of Defense, Chief or Defense staff, the former and the acting Inspector General of police, Custom Chief, Head of Service, National Security adviser among many other are from the North. Then what is the problem with the North?
I understand that the North is partially divided along many lines. The North central region has significant population of Christians – who unfortunately are misinformed that the Muslim majority is not with them. There are still tribal conflicts between Fulani’s and Hausa’s in Zamfara states. Also Fulani’s and Jukons, Hausa – Fulani and Beroms etc. Many states in the North are under violent conflicts. States like Kaduna, Jos, Borno, Taraba are often boiling points of conflict.
There are many problems facing the Northern Nigeria. The current conflict in North eastern region, poverty, unemployment, disease like Cholera, Polio, etc. The various states governments in the region are not trying their best to solve our regions problems. Even the well known Northern textiles, Bank of the North, News Nigerian Newspaper etc are among the long establishments the North is prodding with. Now they do not exist. What was he reason for that? Carelessness?
There are many known rich businessmen, entrepreneurs and industrialist in the North. They can build industries that the North can depend on. Unfortunately, the North is not benefiting from their wealth. They went somewhere far away to build industries, thus the North is not benefiting from their riches.
There are many Pan-Northern groups like the Arewa Consultative Forum, they are supposed to be uniting the North and protecting our interest. They are supposed to ensure that the North is not marginalised. The killing in the North is dividing our people. The Jama’atus nasirul Islam (JNI), ACF Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) and all other Northern associations, groups, tribes and regions should unite to save the North and ensure the progress of the region.
Comrade Abdulbaqi Aliyu Jari
Usmanu Danfodiyo University
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