Northern Nigeria and All These Talk of Morality By Abubakar Evuti
Too many times the humanity, level of civilization and the claim (or is it the assumption?) that the North is a morally sound region are always drawn into contention. The most recent provocation for the trial of the North is the rejection of the stationing of a film academy in Kano.
Many who kicked against it did so because, according to them, it would corrupt the morality of the youths. And as expected, this incurred the wrath of compatriots from the south. With a condescending attitude, many have said that that is not a sound reason because Kano is already a morally corrupt society. Others even added that Kano is far more corrupt than the societies down south. And there were those who pointed out that it is hypocritical of the people of Kano to have rejected the film academy on such a basis, when they, the people, already engage in many vices. Thus the North was brought to trial, where her inbabitats were reminded of their many sins.
My annoyance with these compatriots is that they cite especially the abduction and marriage of an underage Bayelsan girl as an indication to the moral bankruptcy of the entire population of North! It bugles the mind how people who claim intellectual superiority deem it proper to use the action of Mr. Yunusa, even if he were backed by his friends and kin, as an indication of the moral standards of the entire an entire people.
When recently a 34 years old man in Enugu married a 12 years old girl, there was no outrage, even from our self-righteous compatriots who care too much about the rights of the girl-child. Also, when a father, a pastor, chained his son inside a church for several weeks, here too there was scarcely any outrage. And those who condemned the act did so without inviting Christians or Nigerians from the south to explain or apologize for these crimes. But why is this never the case when a Northern Muslim is the criminal? Why are Northerns, all of them, placed on trial, tried and sentenced over a matter they all had no say in?
Although I personally would have loved for the film academy to be built in Kano, I do not wish to address the rightness or wrongness of the people’s rejection of the academy, at least not in this article. What I am most concerned with is the talk of lack of morality of the Kano society. If, like the people of Kano, other Nigerians too agree that a film academy will introduce some kind of immorality to the society, then the argument about Kano already being corrupt holds no water. It is like this: if man’s house is afire and someone brings petrol, will the man say, “Oh the house is afire, go ahead”? Certainly no.
But there is nothing deep or discombobulating about this. And even the self-appointed gaugers of the morality of the people of Kano can see this clearly. We know that the thing that pushes them to lash out at the morality of the people of Kano, and the entire North by extension, goes beyond the mere talk of the film academy.
Let us close the argument for good by saying the thing we all already know: Northern Nigeria is a region with high moral standards. The many immoralities—like the drug addiction, rape and what have you—does not change the fact that in many homes, even in Christian homes, alcohol, indecent dressing, fornication, disrespect etc are all considered vices. No decent man will hand you his daughter if you’re a drinker of alcohol, a rapist or a drug addict. No mother will bless your marriage to her son if she sees you wearing skimpy dresses, and knows you sleep about.
Now this is not to suggest that these vices are not being practiced. But whether these are practiced in the open or behind closed doors, by a few or by many, doesn’t change the fact that the Northern society, and its religions, frown upon them. And the people are not being hypocritical when they say, “This is not who we are!”
(Please plant a tree today.)
The writer is on Twitter @ngugievuti