Last week, I had written about my beloved Arewa and the dire situation that she finds herself. I ended the admonition by saying that; “Battles are better fought and won through wisdom and strategy than through inflammable pronouncements and political tantrums.” This is to the North but it also applies to Nigeria, the current hate quotient is high-for how long? Only time will tell.
The clouds are dark, if it is not Zamfara, it is Sokoto, or Katsina, the killings, abductions, kidnapings are happening; leave my house, get out of my home, I give you 30 days and all such rhetorics…a child is not told fire will burn your fingers, he is allowed to experience it.
Let me continue the same essay this week, by saying the North and the agitating Middle Belt is an emotional wreck, a perfect picture of an abused bride, which today is even afraid of a hug of reconciliation, with rehabilitation and reconstruction a far cry. Now kindly replace the North, or rather add to the North; the South, the West, the East, the South-south, Muslims and then Christians.
We are chasing Igbo out because they demand secession, restructuring, fiscal federalism, etc. If the North decides to exit Nigeria, will the other component parts fight to keep it and would it be really19 states, is Plateau North, when there’s no love lost between the Plateau people and the North, does Taraba believe in North, Southern Kaduna, parts of Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, etc?
People still believe that up North we are all empty landmass and goats, unproductive, and leeching termites stuck on Nigeria because of oil. If not, why the hue and cry of an erratic, false Jewish Messiah called Kanu? When Zamfara’s mines are gold for the asking and we could develop a self-sufficient and exportable agrarian community? Stories of precious stones litter Plateau, Nasarawa or the rich Mambila Plateau. What is the Arewa ideology? What do Ango, Buhari, IBB, Atiku and the rest stand for?
Everyone is on a blame ride, but as ‘Northerners’ have we blamed brother TY Danjuma, or alfa IBB, Mallam Lamido, Dr. Babangida Aliyu or Rev Yuguda and ministers, legislators, and their ilk, what examples have they set? Dangote is the richest, and we boast of the poorest communities, how has my friend Rufai handled the Southern Kaduna conflict and foreclosed it?
So much is wrong with the North–I challenge my brothers from Katsina/Jigawa/Kebbi/Zamfara, etc to tell me two companies that make N30 million a month after salaries are paid and utilities are sorted.
A huge army of unemployed youths in the North ready and willing to be used, points to the fact that there is urgent need for the revival of the northern economy and job creation. But how are we doing that, other than power flexing our birthright mentality?
What and where have the billions of 17 years gone to in the North? Universities out of private initiative litter the South and up here what are we doing, joining issues with Biafra, and ranting while we should do the needful?
The South-west despite Tinubu’s crookedness is chasing a semblance of regional integration; the South-east and South-south are not left out. States have even gone ahead to show/use their emblem/insignia and are creating identities. We are still seen as Fulani herdsmen asking for reserves on other people’s lands and seeking nomadic education because we can’t do regular school.
Now to the Southern Nigeria, as a whole, this is it; it is impossible to deny the reality of poverty in our world. Studies of the data on income and wealth routinely show that billions of people on the planet live with minimal access to resources. These studies demonstrate that merely the financial resources that are not available cannot measure poverty; they demonstrate how billions of people have no access to electricity, safe drinking water, education, or health care. In 1978, the United Nations International Labour Organisation proposed the concept of ‘basic needs’ as a way to enhance our understanding of the poverty line. The poverty line had to be defined in such a way as to take into consideration a wide range of basic human needs that are a right of every human being. It is not enough to measure poverty based on caloric intake. Calories are not a sufficient indicator of wealth – they are not even a good measure of nutrition, because they do not measure intake of fats and proteins.
Over the course of the past decades, international organisations and scholars have tried to sharpen our understanding of poverty. A better understanding of poverty certainly contributes to the creation of better policies for the eradication of this inhumane blight. In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative put together a Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). The MPI went beyond the income-based measurement of poverty to include the way that billions of people are deprived of education, health care, and living standards. Ten important factors are looked at to develop the indicator: Child mortality, nutrition, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, electricity, drinking water, sanitation, housing, assets.
If a person is deprived of at least a third of these factors, then they are considered to be poor. In the South of Nigeria, despite the glitz and glamour of presumed development and a-better-than-the-North mentality there is still POVERTY.
Nigeria as a whole and as a people is at the 11:59 border, we have gotten to that point on several occasions, we were there and the civil war broke out, our several ethnographic-ethnoreligious conflicts have taken us there, the menace of herdsmen and farmers, bandits and politicians keep taking us closer to a sub second of the 12:00 mark.
The powerful not only control social wealth; they also control the public policy discussion — and what counts as intellectually correct. Good ideas are never sufficient. They are not believed or enacted simply because they are right. They become the ideas of our time only when those who come to believe in their own power, which use this power to struggle through institutions and advance their ideas wield them.
The North of Nigeria is under siege, Nigeria as a whole is at another 11:59 moment, will men of good conscience, patriots stand up to be counted? I will end this admonition in this manner, I recall when we were kids, suicide bombings, and conflict were largely on the screen, and it was either Lebanon, or Pakistan/India, Iraq and Iran, and pockets of violence around the gulf with Israel and Palestine at the heart…we would say this can never happen to us, we are resilient, we are this, we are that! Truth be told, no matter how elastic the rubber band is, it does cut with time, and between 11:59 and 12:00 only time will tell.