Category Archives: Politics

“Aboki” vs. Leviathan: Nigeria Standing on Quicksand of Despotism

By Ahmed Garba

On February, 20, 2014, Nigerians woke up to learn that their stealth dictator, Emperor Ebele has suspended the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a manner consistent with hypocrisy, the emperor waited for Sanusi to be out of the country before carrying out his despicable (some might say calculated humiliation) act. Weren’t we here before, in 1976, when Yakubu Gowon was attending OAU meeting in Kampala, Uganda, only to be told that there had been a coup against his government; again in August of 1985, when Gen. Buhari was away in Saudi Arabia, and evil man Babangida staged a coup? No wonder Ebele once said that Babangida is “like a father to me”. Like father like son? It is important to point out that the first two cases involved military coups, where the coup plotters had to try to minimize insurrection or loss of lives. So, what is the Emperor’s excuse?

Alas, the Ebele that Nigerians thought they knew is not the Ebele there is.

Consider the facts revealed in a recent report that, a few days before the announcement of the CBN governor’s suspension, when Ebele sat down with his Kitchen cabinet, several options were tabled as to how the matter should be handled. The options ranged from the sensible, that is, let the governor run out his course peacefully, to the thuggish/ruffian let’s disgrace him out of office. Needless to say, we have seen which option Ebele found more acceptable. So, we are dealing with someone who truly believes in his own statement: “I don’t give a damn” about Nigeria and Nigerians.

Lest we forget, we have previously seen this display of flight of reason from our closet tyrant. Recall the way he handled the case of former President of Court of Appeals, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. We saw how the emperor pressed the panic button, when he thought that Justice Salami was going to “throw sand in his gari”. In a previous article, written two years ago, I chronicled Ebele’s tyrannical tendencies. It is worth revisiting.

GARRISON POLITICS: BRIGANDS in ABUJA

As noted by Daily Independent in this article, the term “Garrison Politics” was first introduced into Nigeria’s political lexicon by none other than PDP’s own former Senator, and retired Col. Ahmadu Ali. He chose it as a better replacement for the term “amala politics” that was being used to describe the rough and tumble style of politics practiced by Lamidi Adedibu in Oyo state. One now wonders if Senator/Col. Ali was consciously or subconsciously describing the true ideology of his own party–PDP, for, as we have been witnessing, PDP is quite at home in this bare knuckle, “do or die” politics, and they do it with all manners of malevolence. In addition to what Nigerians witnessed under Obasanjo (e.g. the unexplained murder of Bola Ige), current examples include the following:

  • Let us go back to the case of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, which represents the first ‘in your face’ frontal assault against what should have remained a respected Nigerian institution—The Nigerian Court of Appeals. Here was the head of Nigeria’s Court of Appeals being maltreated, disgraced, and unceremoniously removed from office by ballot thieves, who engaged the tools of garrison politics to soil the man, solely because Ebele’s political ambition supersedes justice and fairness in Nigeria. The saddest part of that event was that the National Judicial Council—a body that should have fought tooth and nail to uphold the dignity of the judiciary—shamefully allowed itself to become a willing accomplice against one of its own. And when they “came to their senses”, reversed themselves, and requested that Ebele reinstates the Justice, he “gave them the finger”, because, they had already sold their soul.
  • Then there was the murky case of Gen. Azazi. It had been rumored that, as a cabinet member, he sometimes ran out of patience with Ebele’s indolence, and he made it known at times. But when he left the cabinet, and dared to go out and announce that there is a link between Boko Haram and PDP, his goose was cooked. Without warning and under mysterious circumstances, Azazi had to settle with the lord, in a flaming helicopter above the sky in the creek. This, despite the gun running contribution that he had made to the militants in the creek–an act for which he was retired from the military.
  • When on independence day 2010, bombs went off in Abuja, Ebele wasted no time to exonerate “my people” (MEND). However, Henry Okah, a member of MEND, who confessed to the 2010 bombing was for some mysterious reason tried and convicted not in Nigeria where he committed the crime against Nigerians, but in South Africa. The accused, in his defence stated that he, together with the other perpetrators were instructed to blame the attack on Ebele’s opponents, ahead of the 2011 elections. Do we “know why the caged bird” didn’t sing otherwise? More importantly, do we know why an accused who committed a crime in Nigeria against Nigerians will not be extradited to face charges in Nigeria?
  • How about that veil threat against the governor of Barno state during the recent so-called presidential chat, in which Ebele threatened to withdraw soldiers from the state? Not only was that statement a clear betrayal of Ebele’s mentality, but somehow, it was followed by a barrage of bullets against the governor’s convoy, in less than 48 hours! Furthermore, there are new reports indicating that the wanton killing of students in Yobe state a couple of days earlier, was preceded by the mysterious withdrawal of soldiers manning a checkpoint around the school. The perpetrators also had good four hours to operate, despite the whole state being under “emergency rule”.
  • Nuhu Ribadu, who had previously been chased out of Nigeria by bullet, thanks to ‘vested interests, came back and made the mistake of thinking that when your country calls, you are duty-bound to respond. At least, this was his reason for accepting to chair the committee on subsidy removal crisis. What he didn’t count on was that Ebele never meant well for Nigeria. Soon as he submitted his report, not only was it thrown in the dumpster, but to the chagrin of Nigerians, his name and reputation were smeared by Ebele’s spokesman, Reuben Abati—the man who looks more like a Southern Sudanese than a Nigerian. Where are those people who took care of Shugaba Darma when you need them?
  • Now, it is Sanusi’s turn. That Emperor Ebele woke up one morning and suspended the Central Bank Governor was not unexpected–even Sanusi himself will say that it had been “telegraphed” from afar. But it is unprecedented. But then again, a lot is unprecedented where Ebele is concerned, starting with excruciating poverty in the country, extreme unemployment, never-before-seen level of ethno-religious division, and above all, unfathomable CORRUPTION!

    It is that last part, corruption that the “Aboki”, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi chose to take on, and do so damming Ebele’s commitment to brigandage. It is hardly any secrete within and outside Nigeria that Ebele is a man for whom any fight against corruption is an anathema. In fact, if you ask him, he will tell you that corruption is a “benediction”; and if he didn’t have that inferiority complex before white people, he would have stated this fact in Davos, Switzerland. Trouble is, Sanusi did not “get the memo/email”, that Ebele expects corruption to be photo-phobic; that it must remain allergic to sunlight or light from any source.

  • If Gen. Buhari had WAI (War Against Indiscipline), Ebele has WAT (War Against Transparency)!

    Since this event started unraveling, a lot has been said about the various “sins” of Sanusi, ranging from he talked too much, he was too brazen, he was not apolitical, etc., but I will submit that as far as Ebele is concerned, Sanusi’s cardinal sin is that, the audacious Aboki had trouble accepting that Ebele’s philosophy/ideology is: “It is our oyel”.

    The most surprising public evidence of this bare knuckle fist fight, or the rofo rofo fight as the Yorubas will put it, was the typical crude and crass manner in which the CBN governor was suspended while on official business trip, coupled with the litany of justifications publicly narrated in the letter of suspension. Even for brigands, such display of inelegance and doltish behavior is a new low. But then again, that is right Ebele’s alley. It had been reported that Sanusi was asked to resign but he refused. While confirming the story, Sanusi clarified that the reason given for the request was that, he had leaked his letter of September 2013 to Obasanjo and Amechi, an allegation that he denied. Question: If there was this mountain of evidence against Sanusi, wouldn’t it have been more legitimate to present these facts as concrete evidence for requesting his resignation? I would think that a more dignified way to effectuate the request for resignation will be to present the damning evidence of violations, along with the provisions of the law supporting the request for his resignation. So, most likely, the talk of asking Sanusi to resign must have been the first salvo of the garrison politics that is now unfolding.

    In fact, in all of the sundry list of justifications for suspending Sanusi, our aberrant tyrant–whose style falls way out in the tail end of outliers even for Nigeria, with all of her history of military rulership–did not border to provide Nigerians with the legal basis that informed his “rush to judgment”. Instead, what we got was endless list of allegations, laden with vile summation coming from that obscure Financial Reporting Council—an agency whose intended purpose is to set standards for how audit reports should be prepared. An agency whose own CEO (Jim Obazee) is himself mired in sexual harassment case. In addition, given the tone and style of the FRC report, it begs the question, can an organization that produces such a report, peppered with prejudice be trusted with the responsibility of setting audit reporting standards. Certainly, no Accounting/Auditing company will consider it professional to produce report using such language. In Sanusi’s suspension, as in the case of Justice Ayo Salami, the emperor resorted to the “recommendation” of a council to do his hatchet job, but the emperor did not accord the same value to the 2011 KPMG report on NNPC, or the Ribadu Committee Report on subsidy removal.

    Ebele may very well be showing his tendency towards vindictiveness. In a recent interview, Sanusi mentioned that, as far back as 2011, he had told Ebele that he has no interest in staying on as CBN governor after the end of his current contract. He also added that, Ebele was somewhat taken aback by that statement. Also, right around the 2011 presidential election, Sanusi wrote an article, I believe it was titled: “Why I will vote for Buhari”, in which he praised Buhari’s economic policy dubbed “Buharism”, which might be construed as a slight against Ebele and/or Ngozi. Taking these two events, coupled with Ebele’s established propensity for vindictiveness, one can see that Sanusi has been in Ebele’s cross hair for a long time. Therefore, his whistle blowing about NNPC’s shady activities is tantamount to the case of a chicken that is about to be roasted which then doused itself with cooking oil.

    Furthermore, when Sanusi spoke at a recent TEDx event, where he introduced Nigerian youths to the well entrenched claws of ‘vested interests’ in the country, and the deep-seated concept of rentier state, who would have failed to notice that he was alerting Nigerians that fighting corruption comes with a price?

    Interestingly enough, we have not heard from our northern political champions (NEF, ACF, etc.) on this matter. Even the former Kaduna Mafia (now Northern Cabal) have been uncharacteristically silent. I wonder if the barrage of SCUD missiles that Sanusi has been launching was about to claim them as collateral damage along the way. If so, then you can almost hear them saying, serves him right. Let him roast, after all, he knows enough ‘turanci’ to untangle himself.

    They say there is no honor among thieves, and they are right, whoever they are. As the heat intensifies on this matter, especially in the foreign press, Ngozi may very well have decided that it is time to throw Ebele under the bus. In this article, hear Ngozi trying to sanitize her image by sacrificing Ebele:

    “My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned………I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor-General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”

    Is that the Accountant-General that is also involved in 3.5 billion naira scandal?

    In order to help us understand this sudden sense of duty that has overtaken Ngozi, the BBC reporter, Robert Peston added this:

    “On the face of it, this looks like a declaration of at least semi independence by the finance minister from Nigeria’s president, who has been accused of punishing the central bank governor for raising concerns about the allegedly missing oil billions…..The reason I say that is because – I am reliably led to believe – the finance minister is concerned that Goodluck Jonathan, if left to his own devices, would not have initiated an independent probe of the allegedly missing billions.”

    Isn’t Ngozi the so-called “Coordinating Minister of Economy”? The one given carte blanch authority over Nigeria’s economy, but who never bothered to raise alarm when billions of dollars went missing? Also, isn’t it amazing? when Sanusi raised alarm in his letter of September 2013, both Ebele and Ngozi could not be bothered. Now Ngozi is telling a BBC reporter that she wants investigation because Ebele will not initiate any probe on his own. Why didn’t she second Sanusi when he raised the issue initially? If you ask me, I’d say that somebody (hint, hint, Ngozi)–right before our wide-open, God-blessed eyes–wants to take the high moral ground and extricate herself from the pilfering quagmire that she helped create or sustain.

    Finally, let us not fool ourselves, every time Dokubo Asari threatens Nigeria and Nigerians, he is speaking with his own tongue, but form deep inside the mind of Ebele; and from the preceding instances of plundering banditry, it appears we are witnessing the evolution of an irascible Ebele into an unconscionable Leviathan. Therefore, while in 2011 Ebele’s political mantra was “Fresh Air”, come 2015, his new mantra may very well be “Burn baby Burn!”.

    Mega Stores, Foreign Investors, the Nigerian Retailer, and the Reign of Compradors

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Recently, in a conversation with a friend, it downed on us that slowly but surely, the Nigerian ruling class is definitely hammering the nails on the coffin of what used to be a proud Nigerian class—The Small Business Owners or Retailers.  Once upon a time, the bulk of Nigerian “middle class” was essentially comprised of people/families engaged in the business of buying and selling–from small scale retailer, to some sort of pseudo wholesaler.  The economies of cities such as Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, etc., were heavily propelled and kept alive by the activities of Mom and Pop businesses, where services as little as hawking food on the streets, local eatery/bakery, roadside vulcanizing were legitimate, albeit, marginally sufficient income earning businesses.  It used to be that you could find that street-corner Carpenter to build your furniture from scratch.

    But alas, we are beginning to see the death of this hope! 

    Let us forget for the moment, the widely known perversion of the oil sector.   That is, the decimation of the refineries in preference for the importation of refined petrol–an objective nurtured and sustained by our very own abominable “leisure class”, to borrow from Thorstein Veblen.  Let’s not even talk about the absurdity called “privatization”, where we have seen all sorts of permutations of “investors” consisting of our very own embezzling compradors, and all manners of shady characters from foreign lands.  No, let’s look at more banal, mundane economic life.   If you canvass cities such as Kaduna, Kano, etc., you will find out that, with respect to the business of bakery alone, local bakers have lost out to the Chinese.  The reign of Idris Moro in Kaduna has come to an end.  In places such as Kano, certain markets that used to be populated by “Kanawa” (e.g. Kanti Kwari) have been taken over by the Chinese as well, who now sell to us, things that they were never known to consume or produce until recently (e.g. printed fabric such as, batik, “atamfa”).  Our fishermen are also fast losing out to the Chinese, as even the tilapia that we eat now come from China.  The cabinet makers who used to produce locally made furniture from our local trees (e.g. mahogany) have been usurped by the Chinese, who now sell us substandard products, imported from China.  Even our cobblers/shoemakers have lost out to the Chinese.  The same Chinese people that were never known to be the first name in shoemaking; not even in the business of leather goods. All these while our callous elite class ‘grin’ all the way to the bank.

    Our compradors, from national “leadership” to lowly pen-pushers have sold us out and they continue to do so, without batting an eyelid.  They now serve as “fronts” or “facilitators” to both large and small foreign investors such as Shoprite, Walmart, or what have you, who somehow manage to secure visa and enter Nigeria to conduct business at the drop of a hat.  In fact, in the case of entities such as Shoprite, they simply annihilate/obliterate our small scale retailers and not to the chagrin of our “leaders”. Unfortunately, our somewhat educated but unenlightened city dwellers have been sold the idea that mega stores, such as Shoprite, Walmart are indicators of progress.

    The poor Nigerian retailer has been so beaten down that he/she has had to engage in his/her own little paradigm shift—if you cannot beat them; cannot join them, then crawl over there and take some crumbs off their table.  Now we have our retailers “sub-wholesaling” from the Chinese or from those serving as fronts for the Chinese.  Look around, you will find that whatever is left of your local shop is full of Chinese substandard goods; notice the goods being hawked by those kids who put their lives on the line at various traffic intersections and you will find that they are all made in China or India.  In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that pretty soon, the old lady frying ‘Kosai/akara’ by the roadside, as well as the old ‘Buka’ owner, aka “Mama Put” will soon be overtaken by Chinese, who will set up a Kiosk with Chinese-made gas stove and shoddy plastic benches to impress poor Nigerians, who will be oblivious to the fact that their mothers/grandmothers have just been trampeled! If you are in doubt, observe the sudden proliferation of Chinese eateries in the country.

    Already, the business of bore hole drilling has been taken over by those teaming Indians, who now enter Nigeria in droves.  This, in spite of the fact that one will be hard pressed to find Nigerians doing business in India with the assistance of Indian governments at any level.  One has to wonder how it is possible for Indians in faraway India to be able to figure out that there is money to be made, by going to Nigeria to dig holes all over the place in search of water, while throngs of Nigerian college graduates are roaming the streets unemployed.  Nigeria’s “patriotic” leadership never thought it fit to divert the opportunity granted these Indians to helping Nigerians for the sake of Nigeria.  An example here might be, granting loans to the unemployed graduates who are willing to take on bore hole drilling business.  After all, the Indians trooping into Nigeria might have taken loans from their own governments or family members, with the guaranteed hope of repatriating handsome remuneration right before the eyes of Nigeria’s heartless elite.

    Even Ethiopian Airlines has edged out whatever Nigeria/Nigerians can boast of in the airline industry, thanks to the grand gamin from Otta, Obasanjo, who supervised the shredding auctioning of our erstwhile Nigerian Airways.  Not to be left behind, the Nigerian Police is already being “rented” out to serve the Chinese; even protect Chinese laborers.  I suppose this is what happens when reprobates are at the helms of affairs.

    While Nigerians may have been sold a dummy—that mega stores are good things, let us remember that, even in mega wealthy America, with its diversified economy, local communities often shiver, and rise up against intrusion from large corporations such as Walmart, due to the ‘Pac-man’-like mentality of these mega corporations.  It has never been lost on their small business owners that mega stores mean the death of their own future or the future of their community as they know it. In fact, even American large corporations enjoy government protection against foreign competition!

    Love him or hate him, one of the things General Buhari did as chairman of PTF was to enforce a policy that PTF contractors MUST patronize Nigerian businesses and manufacturers. Call it import-substitution, with a little dose of mercantilism.  However, since that agency was sent to the “defunct pile”, none of the subsequent governments since 1999 has thought it necessary to continue such sensible policy.  One wonders why our “economic policy experts” never bother to fashion a development strategy based on one of the two prominent competing choices available to developing countries.  That is, import-substitution or export-led growth.  For, as we have been witnessing, “consumption” whether conspicuous or not, is a dead end for Nigeria. Remember the countries formerly known as (NICs) Newly Industrializing Countries (e.g. Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil)? They are light years ahead of Nigeria now, thanks to good governance and commitment to sound economic policies. Not the policy of “its own turn to chop”. Instead of fashioning sensible economic policy, we are being led down the path of stupendous borrowing (in billions, trillions, centillions of Naira). All these, in the midst of plenty–Nigeria’s oil revenue has never been quite as high as it has been in recent years.

    We recently read that the Carpet Crosser of Bauchi, Governor Isa Yuguda has committed the lives of the people of Bauchi state, for 25 years, into the hands of some Chinese investors, to the tune of $201 million dollars (320 billion Naira), in order to provide the state with 140 mega watts of electricity. Since no plebiscite was ever approved by the poor people of Bauchi state, who, by the way, are still reeling from the devastating menace of Boko Haram, one wonders why this moral hypocrite of the Northern Governors Forum, did not invite his mother-in-law, Turai ‘Yar Adua, the one time cabal comandante and a master pilferer in her own right, to step forward and join in this “sensible” venture. After all, coughing up some ill-gotten wealth may expiate some sins.

    All these events, coupled with the seemingly endless insecurity; unabated vertical and horizontal corruption; and unbearable hardships make one wonders if Nigeria is not fast becoming a form of dystopia, managed by anti-human compradors.  Unfortunately, such is the Cul de Sac that we have found ourselves. We can only hope that the country’s rulership will one day ‘find religion’, and realize the value of good governance.
     

    Orrery of Misplaced Arguments: Yarima, the Constitution, and the Child-Bride

    By
    Ahmed Garba

    Once again our “hero” is in the news. You know him, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, the self-appointed champion of Islam in Nigeria. That is, champion only with respect to matters relating to the general vicinity of the vulvar of young girls. The man is full of steam this time, even threatening that he will “slap the jinn” out of anyone who dares to curtail his right to marry young girls. But, trouble is, this time around, both Yarima and his antagonists over-shot their respective arguments. The matter at hand was the review of section 29-4b of the Nigerian constitution. More precisely, the issue of a person’s right to keep or denounce their citizenship. Succinctly put, the relevant section says, among other things, two categories of people can renounce their citizenship:

    1. A person who has attained the age of 18 years or above.
    2. A married woman (presumably of any age).

    It is that second provision that set off the sparks. I suppose, the constitution review committee wanted to eliminate this second provision, and that threatens Yarima’s connubial interest. So, the “brother” came out swinging, arguing that such elimination then deprives a married woman under the age of 18, the right to denounce her citizenship. However, Yarima over-extended his point when he front-loaded his argument with all manners of rational from God, to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), to all that is Islam, which consequently gave his ardent antagonists something to bite on. This is the long and short of the issue: The section is not about setting an age limit for marrying or marrying off young girls!

    Then why are they all up in arms? how did the country become engulfed in debate, argument, and fight over Islam, child-bride, pedophilia, right to marry a 13 year-old, etc.? The reason is the culmination of several factors, including: (a) Yarima, the lightening-rod is in the center of the debate; (b) the country has been witnessing pent-up resentment against anything with the word Islam, Muslims, or northern Nigeria in it.

    Some of the series of salvos fired by the so-called social service organizations and other cadre of activists were blindingly off the mark, because they were engendered by hate, and therefore, laced with venomous utterances that ended up framing the debate off-kilter. Anybody who has taken the time to read the section of the constitution in question will quickly realize that there is no mention of under-age marriage or marrying off a 13 year-old. Consequently, we simply ended up with an orrery of unwarranted, and misplaced arguments/debates. Yerima’s antagonists were incensed that the likes of him will even rise on the senate floor to argue a position that they consider as backward and ancient as Babylonia. How dare he, of all people?

    For his part, Yarima bungled things when he chose to couch his argument in terms of his right as a Muslim to marry young girls or marry them off. Here is how the man allegedly made his case on the floor of the senate:

    “In Islam, a girl can be given out in marriage as early as 6 years old, but consummation of the marriage can only be done when the girl becomes physically mature,” I live in a city where young girls at the age of 12 have already became serial fornicators and cannot count the number of man they’ve Were Intimate with…. I live in a City where primary school children disvirgin themselves behind toilets on Valentine day. ….I live in a city where young girls flood the street at night looking for men that would give them N500 to be intimate with them …..I live in a city where parents send their daughters out overseas to prostitute and send dollars down. ……I live in a City where Government officials pick undergraduates from University car parks with Coastal Buses to wild sex parties.….. I live in a city where abortion is so common that even a Chemist shop owner can perform abortion with just N2,500……..These are your daughters, and this should worry you and not Yerima’s private matters. So ask me again why I support early marriage and I will slap the Jinn out of your head.”

    Source: https://www.passnownow.com/?p=posts&id=3324

    Sadly, as he was venting, nobody on the senate floor, not his Political Assistant (assuming he has one, if he has not squandered the money earmarked for that position on another 13 year-old), not even the Senate President, (what a wish) had the common sense to “redirect” the man. At least somebody should have pointed the man to the main issue at hand and confine him to it. To borrow from an American political strategist, James Carville, it is “citizenship” stupid. I suppose this odious failure is what happens when people are consumed by the tyranny of small-mindedness.

    To be fair to Yarima, the section of the constitution being debated was inserted by those who crafted the 1999 constitution–a time when Yarima could not have been anywhere near our hallow hollow chambers–and it is hard to believe that the authors were some sort of “obnoxious Salafis”, nor did they ever expect the likes of Yarima to come along and upturn their intent, and use the provision as a launch pad for some debate on what, and what not Islam allows. Let us also remember that, whenever the subject of child-bride comes up, Yarima has no choice but enter “survival mode”, because the issue is close to home and God knows, the man does not want to be criminalized.

    There is nothing wrong with Yarima wanting to do his part for Islam but, he doesn’t have to expend his energy only on matters revolving around the genitalia of young girls. As a senator representing one of the poorest states in the nation, who also proudly cloak himself in the garb of Islam, you’d think that foremost in Yarima’s agenda would be the upliftment of his people, a much more relevant duty for a so-called champion of Islam. Young kids, mostly boys are dying of poisoning in his Zamfara state and the man is totally unperturbed by that. High level of illiteracy, unemployment, lack of industrial development, etc. are all ravaging his constituency, and ‘brother man’ is throwing down the gauntlet on the issue of child-bride. Here is a man who ever since he entered the senate has been dead-silent, and when he finally emerged, he came out like a cross between a gargoyle and a gremlin.

    The quote above, which Yarima used to buttress his argument actually speaks to his failing as a senator, and the failure of the entire Nigerian legislature. When a country is faced with such series of scourge as he had listed, aren’t the people’s representatives supposed to address the problem? In fact, it can be argued that if Yerima, himself, despite being a Muslim rose to fight the bane that he had identified and enumerated, Allah could very well reward him, even if the beneficiaries are not Muslims. Rather than spending his energy berating those “in the life”, would he not have been a better Muslim if he had chosen to work with other “legislatooters” to change the lives of those unfortunate enough to be bedeviled by such misfortune? Having described Abuja as if it were Rome under Caligula, what solution did Yerima propose?

    Now that we know that Libidinous Yarima can fight to the death to preserve his right to chase the ‘patari’ (undergarment) of young girls, it is pertinent to ask: What has Yarima done for 13 year-old boys, or their mothers, for the sake of Islam? Scandalous, scandalous man.

    Agusta A109E: Kabu-Kabu In the Creek?

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Death, they say awaits everyone.  And for us Muslims, it is unthinkable to question the event itself or its timing.  We generally don’t engage in that ‘jibby-jabber’ nonsense about why? why now? Why this person or that person? etc.  We humbly accept death as an unavoidable finality.  However, the sad crash of Nigerian Navy’s Helicopter, Agusta A109E that occurred on Saturday, December 15, 2012 yields itself to a lot of questions.

    Crash Site

    Crash Site

    According to the reports, and perhaps for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are to learn that our so-called democratically ‘s’elected president had commandeered for his own personal use, in his own village, a $4 million helicopter purchased with public funds, and intended for

    the use of the Nigerian Navy!  Furthermore, as a mark of his I-don’t-give-a-damn generosity, he also thought it appropriate, to permit the use of this helicopter by his advisers.  This is how we now have on our hands, deaths at a funeral.

    Nigerian_Navy_A109

    Nigerian Navy’s $4,000,000 Agusta A109E

    Now, these facts compel one to wonder how appropriate this conduct is to the practice of presidential system of government.  Since Nigeria’s constitution was fashioned after the United States’, it is imperative to compare what obtains in the U.S. with respect to how a U.S. President uses public/military resources with how it is done in blundering Nigeria.  It turns out that an American President has no right to arrogate to himself a military helicopter for use other than official purposes.  In fact, an American president is required to pay part of the cost of running Air Force One–the president’s official jet, if the aircraft is used for non-official reasons, such as, campaign travels:

    “When Air Force One is used for political purposes, the president often reimburses the government for the cost of food, lodging and travel. The president or his election campaign pays back an amount that is “equivalent of the airfare that they would have paid had they used a commercial airline”, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

    Source: http://uspolitics.about.com/od/CampaignsElections/a/Air-Force-One-Cost.htm

    Yet, in our vulgar imitation of the American system, we have found ourselves burdened by an absolute Emperor instead of a President.  We appear to have a ruler, whose sense of impudence is crass beyond believe.  Let us go back and see if we can find any precedent where Nigeria has ever witnessed this churlish, inelegant conduct by previous heads of state.  We never heard of Gowon parking a military helicopter in Wusasa or his village in Plateau.  There was never any evidence of Babangida, despite his evilness, housing a military helicopter in Minna; we have no such proof for Abdulsalam either; nor do we have any proof that Buhari ever stored a military helicopter in Daura.  Now Obasanjo may be a different case, we may have to continue looking all over that expansive farm in Otta, but my guess is that we may still come up empty, because incestuous and crass as he may be, he still knows better than to be so overtly crude.  You’d think that these people, given their military background, and the absolute nature of their reign of power would have resorted to such boorishness, but no, it has to happen when we discovered ‘garrison democracy’ under Ebele.

    Young Commander Daba

    Young Commander Daba

    Six people perished in the crash of Agusta A109E but, two of these people–Commander Murtala Muhammed Daba, and Lt. David Adeyemi Sowole did not have to be there, if we had a president and a system that respected law, order, and human life.  These officers were supposed to be doing true and honest “Navy” work, not taxiing civilians all over the creek, like cab drivers.   I don’t know much about the man, Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas but, so far, I have not been able to come across any evidence that suggests that the man had contributed so much to Nigeria, that his burial commanded the sacrifice of highly trained officers of the Nigerian military, and the use of military resources.  It is therefore, an insult to the Nigerian military personnel to be used in this manner.

    Some people have been eager to justify the use of this helicopter and the young officers because they were transporting a retired General.  This is hogwash, utter and complete rubbish.  We have General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s ruler for 9 years; General Babangida, Nigeria’s ruler and destroyer for 8 years; General Abdulsalami, Nigeria’s ruler for 1 year; General Buhari, Nigeria’s Head of State for about 2 years; Shehu Shagari Nigeria’s President for 4 years; General Obasanjo, Nigeria’s military ruler for 3 1/2 years and civilian president for 8 years!  Now, when did we see any of these people accorded the luxury of flying a Navy helicopter for personal trips after they had left office?  In fact, any of these people will be considered more qualified for such honor than Azazi, a man whose checkered record includes association with the shady characters of MEND.  Furthermore, we have been told that the helicopter made anywhere from 10 to 15 trips on that fateful day, are we to believe that Azazi enjoyed flying in the helicopter so much that he was going back and forth those many times?

    Since Ebele came along, we have been hearing all sorts of noise about the Ijaw nation and their (Oyel) oil.  Everything about Nigeria is predicated on ‘our oyel’.  I have to ask, since they love their creek, their ‘oyel’ and their general so much why didn’t they supply their ‘boys’ to fly their general?  After all, some of their MEND boys have been sent out for flight training at Nigeria’s expense.  Besides, using ‘their boys’ and leaving ‘our boys’ alone would have eliminated the insinuation of foul play, and conspiracy theories that are now beginning to occupy idle minds.

    As for Saucepan, I mean Suswan, who has been trying to capitalize on this incident to whip up ethno-religious conflict, let us recognize his hollering as an indication that, perhaps the deal he signed with the Oracle that got him into the governor’s mansion is coming due.  Consequently he is jumping ahead to pin his imminent demise on someone else.  It wouldn’t work.

    The unfortunate deaths of these young officers should be enough to motivate any well-meaning members of the legislature to sit up, confront and curtail the excesses of the despot that Nigeria calls president.  I would also hope that when Azazi’s funeral rolls around, the people of Ijaw nation do not expect to have another Navy helicopter ferrying them around in the Creek, since Pa Douglas already took down one, along with two non-Ijaw young officers.  Only Yakowa’s people should now be allowed to requisition for one.  May God forgive the dead,  Ameen.

    “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” a Clodpate?

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    I know this title is the most absurd violation of English grammar.  You might say an in-your-face assault on the English language.  But, it had to be done, even if for poetic license.  It is actually a modification of the dialectal title of a popular 1944 Rhythm and Blues song–“Is you Is or Is you Ain’t My Baby”, by Louis Jordan, which has now become a popular Jazz standard, ‘straight up jazz’, that is.

    Now, why did I choose it for a title?  As you will see later, this rather tongue-twisting vernacular expression–common among pre-1960s uneducated Black Americans–accurately captures the addled, befuddled, dodo-like  nature of the main character of this article.  It depicts the fuzzy, gauzy, crepuscular mind of the man.

    Whenever Nigerians discuss the current crop of politicians in the country, you hear them express some sense of resignation that they have been saddled with ‘clueless’ politicians, who, though quite adept at stealing, are alarmingly daft, and unthinking especially, with respect to growth, development, peace and security, etc.  One little demonstration of this lack of perception was the event that recently unfolded at the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna.

    In turns out that Namadi Sambo, Nigeria’s Vice President actually has daughters of marriageable age.  For whatever reason–considering how much money has been flowing around the man–this ‘proud’ father decided to have a ‘2-fa’ (two-for-one) wedding.  That is, two daughters were to have their wedding on the same day, at the same location.  In his not so infinite wisdom, the father of six decided to bring two warring Islamic sects (Ahlus Sunnah, and Tareeqa/Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya) to grace his daughters’ wedding!  As would have been expected, things went hay-wire.  According to the report:

    Trouble started at the famous Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna venue of the event when after conducting all the formalities for a wedding fatiha, two respected Islamic clerics, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi and Dr. Ahmed Gumi were asked to offer a special prayer for the couples…….Sheik Dahiru Bauchi started by reciting ‘Salatil Fati’ and ended it with the same ‘Salatil Fati’ according to his belief……When Dr. Gumi took the microphone, he said “Malam Dahiru Bauchi ought not to recited Salatil Fati in this Sultan Bello Mosque, since we have different views and understanding on the supplication.”……His statement stirred a row between their followers, a development that made the guests including the vice president to immediately rush out to their vehicles and leave the venue”.

    Source: http://leadership.ng/nga/articles/42077/2012/12/09/vp_leaves_daughters_wedding_abruptly.html

    So, members of SSS spirited away Sambo, the dodo, who setup the dumb scenario in the first place.  I tell you, people who live in billion naira houses should not have a ‘2-fa’ wedding.  They also should not take to their heels when their ill-conceived ideas bear fruits.

    What Caused the Raucous?

    For those who may not know what is at stake here, the contention was between the “Originalist” Muslims, some might say Orthodox (aka Ahlus Sunnah–Ahmed Gumi) and the “Innovator”, more like the “Adulterator” Muslims (aka Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya/Tareeqa–Dahiru Bauchi).  One of the gripes between the two is the value placed on a supplication called “Salatul Fatih” by the Tijjaniyya sect.  Salatul Fatih is a little supplication that is said to have originated from an 18th century Sheik by the name of Mustafa Kamal al-din al-Bakri, who claimed that he retreated into solitude for 40 years, besieging Allah with prayers to bestow on him or grant him a special supplication.  In the end, he miraculously found salatul fatih written down for him.  Ever since, those who subscribe to the Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya creed have assimilated this supplication into their own version of Islam, and made it a central element, as if to say, it is an addendum that, somehow Allah forgot to hand over to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) while he was alive.

    Trouble is, Islam is a religion that has always been jealously guarded.  Meaning, anything that was never part of the revelation of the Qur’an, and is not found in ahadith (sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad) is not welcome in the practice of the religion, particularly by the Originalists.  Therefore, salatul fatih, given its origin in the 18th/19th century, roughly 1200 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), is an unwelcome innovation/addition that true originalist Muslims denounce.  Of course, this is perhaps the least of the issues of contention between  Tareeqa/Tijjaniyya/Qadiriyya and Ahlus Sunnah.

    To compound matters, the Tareeqa cleric, Dahiru Bauchi was being hosted in a mosque belonging to Ahlus Sunnah, and he had the audacity to come in and recite a supplication that violates the creed (aqeeda) of Ahlus Sunnah.  To analogize with the Christian religion, this is like inviting a Mormon ‘Priest’ to a Catholic Church and listen to him recites a prayer from the Book of Mormons!  I doubt if the Cardinal(?) will not be incensed.  So, that is why, as they say,  ‘shit hit the fan’, at this wedding ceremony.

    What the Incident Revealed

    Respective followers of each sect may have resorted to a shameful display, but if you ask me, blame goes to the host, the dullard vice president.  To say that Sambo is oblivious of the possibility, or is incapable of anticipating this raucous  outcome is worse than an understatement.  You will be hard pressed to find a Muslim Northerner who is not aware of the long running feud between the Tareeqa followers and Ahlus Sunnah.  Regardless of the propriety of their disagreement, it is what it is.

    I don’t know how deeply steeped in ignorance, denseness, opacity, nescience one has to be to even entertain the idea of bringing Dahiru Bauchi and Ahmed Gumi under the same roof, to perform ceremony; no less the wedding ceremony of one’s own daughters.  Even an unborn child, still wallowing in the womb, in Muslim north, is aware of the fact that the Tareeqa and the Ahluls Sunnah sects don’t mix.  They are like oil and water.  What sort of dimwitted dodo will do such a thing except someone who typifies the current crop of northern Nigerian ‘leadership’.  I wonder why the dolt didn’t invite Shiite Zakzaki as well, and really get his hands full.

    As I was writing this article, several questions came to mind: What will possess this man (Sambo)to show this murkiness of judgment?  Is it possible that the two newly-forming families belong to each of these different sects, hence the need to try to accommodate both?  If so,  which sect does Sambo himself belong to?  If he belongs to one and not the other, why would he allow one child to end up in a creed contrary to his that is, in light of the responsibility placed on a parent by Islamic religion? Could it be that Nnamdi Sambo was trying to hedge his own belief/creed?  It was also said that one of the daughters was married off for 50,000 naira, while the other went for 250,000 naira.  I wonder what ‘sliding scale’ was used.  Anyway, I decided not to expend too much energy on these questions because, after all, these matters are best left to Allah.  Instead, I chose to see this man’s fuliginous mind as a loud and clear indictment of his defective sense of perception.  In this man I definitely smell MEDIOCRITY!

    So, inherent in this analysis/observation is the point that I had tried to make in this article, with respect to how the North should try to avoid as ‘leaders’, people with opaque minds that are pregnant with ill-judgment.   I see this whole drama not as a fight between Islamic sects, rather as a question of Sambo’s inability to perceive, even the smallest of things.  It demonstrates his lack of good judgment, pure and simple!  Add to this, the man’s glaring, under-achieving records both as Governor and Vice President.  That is why the question ought to be asked:  Sambo,”Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” a Clodpate?

    Deleterious, Vacuous Imps And The Plight of ‘One North’

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    “Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religions who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…” – Sir Ahmadu Bello source:http://www.arewaonline-ng.com/sardauna/legacy.html

    When I came upon the quote above, it compelled me to start ruminating about the current state of affairs in northern Nigeria. A region once known to be united in creed, color, religion etc., but is now widely known, and sometimes mockingly referred to as another one of those far-off places with ‘stan’ in their names, as in ‘Arewastan’. A place where bombs and insecurity reign

    Those who are old enough to remember Sir Ahmadu Bello often reminisce about a northern Nigeria that was cohesive; headed by a Premier known to even chide his christian friends if he found out that they had missed church services on Sundays, despite being a muslim himself. A Premier who was astute enough to realize that ‘Sultanate power’ was not all there was; broader, more inclusive strategy had better pay off. People often recall a Sardauna who did his best to nurture, promote and groom an all-inclusive cadre of educated people, military officers, public servants, and intelligentsia that would soon be dubbed, ‘the new north’. A Premier who strived to create a northern Nigeria where a Buba and a Michael got along fairly well.

    Then what went wrong? How did the North become “Arewastan”?

    To find out, we’d have to review the unfolding of Nigeria’s 4th republic and the role played by the baleful ogres that the ‘cat dragged in’; those who foisted themselves and their infernal, nefarious ideas on the nation or their respective communities. The adage ‘politics is a dirty game’ is more than axiomatic in Nigeria. In fact, ‘dirty’ doesn’t even begin to cover it, as that diabolical president once called it ‘do or die’. The wave of obtuse, dismal politicians who came in with the boat starting in 1999 also brought with them some calamitous ideas.

    In order to demonstrate this submission, I will focus on two states where certain beggared individuals (former governor of Zamfara state, Ahmad Sani Yerima, and Governor of Plateau sate, Jona Jang) whose sense of politics is laden with cyanide got accepted. These individuals, who, no doubt constitute pernicious polar opposites may very well depict the affliction facing northern Nigeria today.

    Shari’ah or Dirty Politics?

    Let us not dwell too much on that little matter of Ahmad Sani Yerima’s inferiority complex, which possessed him to go clear across the continent to purchase, ehm, marry a 13-year old girl from Egypt for a goodly amount of $100, 000 as ‘dowry’; a sum that Yerima wouldn’t have paid to marry any of his undergraduate or graduate classmates at Ahmadu Bello University, or any other 13-year girl old from Zamfara. Why should he? They are not arabs, and they are not light-skinned enough or ‘muslim’ enough.

    The Ahmad Sani Yerima that we need to talk about is the one who ran his governorship campaign not on the promises of growth and development, but on the platform of making Zamfara a shari’ah state. After taking the mindlessness temperature of the people, and their deceivability quotient, the man chose to give them shari’ah, as his main agenda. “Have shari’ah, will develop…Not!” should have been his campaign slogan. Ordinarily, shari’ah as a tool for development could work, except that it depends on the sincerity of the actors. After all, it may be synonymous with what secularists call ‘good governance‘.

    Most people, especially southern Nigerians tend to believe that the shari’ah hullabaloo of 1999-2003 was the first time shari’ah will enter into political life in northern Nigeria. Far from it, shari’ah has been in existence in northern Nigeria as far back as the jihad of Usman dan Fodio, through the colonial era, and till date. In fact, Sardauna is said to be one of the architects of the shari’ah penal code, used during the rule of the ‘Native Authority’. The system had defined structure which even included an appellate court. However, the role of shari’ah was limited to ‘civil’ matters (e.g. marriage, divorce, debt, inheritance etc.); it never ventured into criminal law, and was never allowed to interfere, at least, egregiously with the life of non-Muslims. It was said that even when he found himself tempted or fidgeting with the idea of broadening the scope of shari’ah penal code, Sardauna maintained a keen awareness of the problem that might result. Consequently, he threaded wisely and carefully.

    The care/caution that informed Sardauna’s politics was the same care/caution that Yerima threw to the wind, when he, along with a new wave of ‘questionable Salafis’ (Nigeria’s version of the ‘Tea Party’–Muslim faction) agitated for, and established broader shari’ah penal code in states where, though predominantly muslim, also tend to have non-Muslim populations. Granted, the proponents of shari’ah made some glib attempt to give their demand a somewhat innocuous coloration, by emphasizing that the whole matter was intended for muslims only. I wonder, wasn’t that how it had always been as far back as the colonial era and the time of Sardauna’s premiership? Oh, I forget, they needed to add that bit about severing the hands of thieves and stoning adulterers to death, especially, if they are from a lower station in life, or what the Americans call, “the other side of the railroad track”.

    As the shari’ah debate became heated, those so-called intelligentsia that Sardauna had been grooming (some of whom were in their various state assemblies), along with those that can be described as ‘intellectual Salafis’, who could have been an effective counter-weight, in the true tradition of ijma (consensus) allowed the inane, zealot Salafis to ‘out-shout’ and overrun them. The result was the ‘mushrooming’ of ‘shari’ah states’ in the north; actually, a mockery, if not a caricature of shari’ah. In fact, judgement under shari’ah seems to vary with the madhab (school of religious law) that the judge subscribes to.

    For example, both Hanafi and Shafii madhabs have more ‘liberal’ stance on homosexuality, but the Maliki madhab which is prevalent in sunni northern Nigeria recommends identical punishment for adultery and homosexuality (married or unmarried culprit), that is, death by stoning. However, in a recent case (http://zamfaraonline.net/go/zamfara/shariah-in-zamfara/113-shariah-one-person-sentenced-for-homosextuality) involving one Ahmad Muhammad charged with homosexual rape, in the state of Zamfara, the culprit was only sentenced to 1-year imprisonment and 100 lashes. This, in spite of the fact that most shari’ah proponents will agree that homosexuality is the most abominable form of ‘zina’; not to mention that this homosexual rapist is now housed in confinement along with other men, some of them young! Some shari’ah. Apparently, this case was not handled by a ‘Maliki’ judge.

    One would think that even heterosexual rape should bag a culprit more than 1 year in prison, how much more if we add the despicable homosexual dimension. Yet, this is the same state that wanted to stone a woman to death for adultery; the state that cut off the hand of a lowly thief. If this is not a capricious practice of shari’ah, and therefore, a mockery of it, then it sure makes shari’ah look like a crapshoot. All that trouble heating up the polity only to settle for what appears to be varying, ‘whimsical’, arbitrary practice of shari’ah? Doesn’t this sound like an expedient use of shari’ah for political gain by deceitful, treacherous politicians?

    The various adornments used to dress up shari’ah implementation and give it an appearance of full legitimacy (e.g. Council of Ullama, Hisbah Commission, Zakkat and Endowment Board, Sharia Research and Development Board, and the Preaching Commission) are just that, adornments, for we all know that corruption flows in the blood of many opportunistic public servants, including Islamic scholars/jurists, who sit in judgement!. As one muslim preacher once remarked, there is a distinction between ‘Malamfada‘ and ‘Malamin fada’. The former is a palace/royal courtier, an outright sycophant, looking out for his self-interest, but fronting as an Islamic cleric/scholar; while the latter is a spiritual adviser, willing and able to offer sincere advise, between man and God. Unfortunately, in the current state of muslim north, there are more of the former than the latter. I would imagine the same is true of christian north as well.

    All through the furore over shari’ah, there was, if not an almost deafening silence of voice of reason, then a vacuum that should have been filled by those who should have vehemently called for the pre-conditions necessitated by shari‘ah law–even in an absolute muslim community–before its implementation. How about first creating a safe, productive, enabling, and nurturing environment for the people? Allah himself did not drop shari’ah in whole, and in one fell swoop on early muslims. Let’s recall also that, Sardauna, Tafawa Balewa, et al, navigated a similar scenario on behalf of the north when the ‘unprepared northern region’ was being dragged along during Nigeria’s independence struggle. They negotiated ‘soft landing’ for the north. Had they not taken into consideration, the prevailing realities of northern Nigeria, how would things have turned out, even for these zealot Salafis or their fore bearers?

    So, “intellectual Salafis” should have demanded good governance first. For example, provide sufficient employment opportunities before cutting off the hand of a thief; or make sure that the punishment for fornication/adultery should not be rushed, or even entertained, especially when the knowledge of the offense is brought to light by an instigator–a fact that even shari’ah will frown upon. Lord knows that the couple of adulterers who suffered death by stoning during the life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) were people who, not only self-reported and confessed profusely to the offense, but they also doggedly sought the judgement/punishment. It was reported that the Prophet dispensed the judgement reluctantly, with excruciating agony, since the loss of human life was involved. At least, this is what we know from various ahadith (sayings and practices of prophet Muhammad). To think that this hurried, inchoate, ‘half-assed’ implementation of shari’ah was carried out in a state as poor as Zamfara; a Zamfara where there was record unemployment; a Zamfara where, like the rest of Nigeria, corrupt elites go unpunished, is beyond mind-boggling.

    It is hardly incontrovertible to say that the push for incipient, haphazard shari’ah implementation–ignoring its broader consequences–by Yerima and company, together with its concomitant tumult, may very well be the one thing that started sounding the death knell of ‘one north’. One thing is also certain, when Yerima left the governor’s office, and moved up to become a senator, he left the state of Zamfara, not a whole lot better than he found it–still under-developed, poorly educated, and lacking in industrialization; all against what shari’ah would have wanted. And this fact is true to some extent with respect to other “shari’ah states”. Quite noticeable too, we have not heard much, not even a ‘pip-squeak’ from fraudster, Yeriama, since he became a Senator. Unfortunately, however, as long as governor Yerima is biding his time in the senate (despite knowing fully well that there is no immunity clause in shari’ah), we can only wait to see which of his appurtenances, the EFCC (assuming they sincerely do their job) may soon recommend to be severed.

    In fact, it may not be out of place to suggest here that, the Nigerian judiciary should have the option/discretion to prosecute and punish any public official on the basis of shari’ah law, if such culprit is from a shari’ah state, and is a muslim, especially, if the individual also voted in favor of shari’ah. After all, you would think that such individual should have the courage of their conviction; stand up and be counted; take one for ‘team shari’ah’. Interestingly enough, one hardly sees ‘aggrieved’ politicians from shari’ah states demanding to challenge their disputed election results in a shari’ah court, even for local elections in their own states. That should be enough to shed more light on the cruel and calculated hoax that they had rendered on the north.

    Indegene vs. Settler: Politics of Division

    If Yerima and his band of ‘zealot Salafis’ constitute one side of a coin, Jonah Jang (governor of Plateau state, a.k.a Czar Jang, the Tiny) is the flip side of the same coin. Here is a man who barely escapes the classification of a dwarf, but appears to be packing full venom, for a politician. That is, a politician who revels in fomenting trouble; a man who appears to take delight in ethnic division and destruction; a man known to whip up tension surreptitiously and provoke mayhem with reckless abandon. This is the miasmic man, who ran his campaign almost entirely on hate for Muslims as well as hate for Christians from tribes other than his. It appears he is determined to leave a legacy that says, “Berom ruled!”, as opposed to “I moved Plateau forward and made it better”.

    Plateau state is a multi-ethnic place having perhaps, more than 30 ethnic groups, with a rather large muslim population. In fact, some reports indicate that the city of Jos alone has up to 40% or so of Hausa-Fulani/Muslims as its population. The table below shows a much more detailed picture:

    Muslims by ethnic group in Plateau State’s LGA

    LGA Muslims by ethnic group
    Bassa Majority of Muslims are Fulani with some indigenes and few Hausa.
    Jos North Majority of Muslims are Hausa/Fulani followed by Yoruba and few others.
    Jos South Majority of Muslims are Hausa/Fulani with some few indigenes.
    Jos East Majority of Muslims are Fulani with some indigenes and few Hausa.
    Riyom Majority of Muslims are Fulani. Very very few Muslim indigenes.
    Barikin-Ladi Majority of Muslims are Fulani and few Hausa and Kanuri. Very few indigenes.
    Bokkos Majority of Muslims are Fulani. Few Hausa and indigenes.
    Mangu Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Pankshin Very very few indigenes are Muslims and followed by few Fulani.
    Kanke Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by few Hausa /Fulani.
    Kanam Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Qampan Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Hausa and Fulani.
    Shandam Majority of Muslims are indigenes followed by Fulani and Hausa.
    Mikang Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Lantang North Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Lantang South Majority of Muslims are Fulani with very very few indigenes.
    Wase Majority of Muslims are Fulani or Hausa/Fulani now counted as indigenes in Wase LGA, and few others.

    Source: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/nrn/BP4Modibbo.pdf

    The glaring spread of muslim populations across the state shown in the table above, does not stop Jang the Tiny from running an exclusively Christian-dominated government, with special preference for his own tribe of Berom. Depending on who you want to believe, anywhere from one-third or more of the 28 permanent secretaries in the state are from the Berom tribe alone! But more importantly, what is shown by the table above only scratches the surface of the reality of things in Plateau state. As they say, the ‘devil is in the details’. The bulleted points below amplify the reason Plateau state is perennially consumed by ethno-religious conflicts; why it is the epicenter of ethnic and religious conflicts in the country:

    “• The incumbent Governor and his Deputy are Christians. 

    • The House of Assembly which consists of 21 elected members has only 4 Muslim 

    representatives. 

    • Of the 17 elected Local Government Chairmen two are Muslim. 

    • The Executive Council which consists of 18 commissioners has two Muslims only 

    while the rest are Christians. 

    • Out of 28 Permanent Secretaries in the various Ministries and Parastatals, only two 

    are Muslim. 

    • All three of Plateau’s senators are Christians, as are six out of eight of its 

    Representatives. “

    Source: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/nrn/BP4Modibbo.pdf

    Can we say stupendous marginalization? Yes, we can.

    In volume 14, July 2011 of Africa Security Brief, entitled “Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflicts”, Chris Kwaja, Lecturer and Researcher in the Center for Conflict Management, University of Jos, makes some interesting observations:

    “The Nigerian constitution, adopted in 1999, and the Federal Character Commission, a statutory body established to ensure equality in the distribution of resources and political power in the country recognize the validity of indigene certificate. These bodies also accept the authorities of local officials to issue the certificates to constituents whom officials deem qualified–a practice that first originated in the 1960s……Defining indigeneship is extraordinarily arbitrary. For instance, a Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba–groups that tend not to be from Jos–could legally be termed settler and denied a certificate, even though this family has lived in Jos for generations….In 1990, several local jurisdictions, in Plateau, including Jos began to restrict the distribution of indigene certificates”.

    So, the ‘teeny-weeny ‘indigeneship’ provision intended to be a side note of the 1999 constitution; a provision meant to rectify the consequences of numerical disadvantages for minority tribes, was pushed front and center by Czar Jang especially, and used for full frontal assault against the populations that he arbitrarily considers as ‘settlers’. As the report notes, indigeneship classification “..has often been used to determine who “belongs” to a particular locality, which in turn determines whether citizens can participate in politics, own land, obtain a job or attend school….”. It is this fact that enables Jang to disenfranchise people who, on ‘any given Sunday’ can be classified as ‘settlers’. Never mind that he himself might have benefitted from the all-inclusive policies of the likes of Sardauna. Now he makes it tenable for any divisive, daft, obtuse, corrigible urchin pretending to be a politician to start throwing up the claim of indigeneship, in order to justify some senseless, ill-advised, alienating agenda. As Kwaja highlights:

    Nigeria’s statutory framework grants local officials authority to extend or deny basic rights to citizens in their jurisdictions, thereby creating incentives for the politicization of ethnicity and escalating intercommunal violence”.

    One glaring evidence of such violence was that under the watch and/or command of Czar Jang the Tiny, Nigeria witnessed, in plain sight, an unbelievable act of real, unadulterated cannibalism. The event of 2011 Eid’ul Fitr, where Muslims conducting prayers, were attacked, killed, roasted, and eaten was beyond belief. Religion historians have told us much about the Christian Crusaders (1095 to 1291 C.E.), who attacked and sacked Jerusalem; piled up the dead bodies of Jerusalem’s Muslims and a few Jews, and ate some of these bodies right under the watchful eyes of the Knight Templars. This seemingly mythical story unraveled right before our eyes on the day of Eid’ul Fitr, 2011, in the city of Jos, under the watchful eyes of JTF, STF, as the Knight Templars; Jonah Jang as Pope Urban II; and some of the ‘indigenes’ of Plateau state collectively as Emperor Alexus!

    Who would have thought that, while the Fang people of Equatorial Guinea, known for their cannibalism are giving up the practice in the 21st century, there will be Berom people in Nigeria who will take delight in reviving it? Worse still, the absentee governments–state and federal have not been willing or able to redress this atrocious matter, despite the copious amount of available video evidence of the incident. Thanks to ‘indigene rights’, I suppose. Again, the Africa Security Brief report notes:

    ”….the ethnic or religious dimensions of the conflict have subsequently been misconstrued as the primary drivers of violence when, in fact, disenfranchisement, inequality, and other practical fears are the root causes. Capitalizing on such conditions, many political rivals have instrumentalized the ethnic and religious diversity of Jos to manipulate and mobilize support”.

    It is indeed a shame that masters of perfidy, such as, Ahmad Sani Yerima (mijin balarabiya) and Czar Jang the Tiny have been riding their dark horses into the governor’s mansion, tearing up the northern region along the way. Intentionally, or inadvertently, they may have put the nail on the coffin of ‘one north’, or, at the very least, they may have handed over the mantle to Boko Haram–the Muslim and Christian chapters. Now, who is the Hercules that will clean the ‘Augean stables’? And can the Hercules find his own Alpheus and Peneus rivers? In order words, can the north pick up the pieces and clean up this blight? That is the question.

    Nigerian Rulers and Their Unabashed Filial Cannibalism

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    Hausa people have an idiomatic expression along the lines of, when a bastard  is also mentally deranged, then things are really too much (Abun yayi yawa, shege da hauka)Such is the case of Nigeria, northern Nigeria.  Things are really too much.

    In the animal kingdom, there are, particularly carnivorous animals that engage in filial cannibalism—the act of eating their own young, if need be (e.g. Chimpanzees).  Often times they do this for dominance or out of sheer survival instincts.   Since they are “lower animals”, they lack the sense and rule of self-restraint that we humans (higher animals) claim to have.  We pride ourselves as creatures that have cultivated both rules and cultures of coexistence, and even a supposedly more refined tradition of nurturing our young.  So we claim.  But is it so?

    Upon a long and hard reflection, one finds that despite our claim, in some human communities, there are painful examples of what arguably constitute evidence of filial cannibalism, though not as literal and glaring as what we see among animals, but the effects and consequences are somewhat similar—the guaranteed demise of the younger generation.  This situation is more apparent when one examines the relationship between the ruler and the ruled in a place such as Nigeria.  I chose the word ‘ruler’ as opposed to ‘leader’ for accuracy; Rulers don’t believe in accountability. The system of rulership in Nigeria can generally be divided into two main rubrics or classifications—traditional, and the so-called modern, meaning any form of the Greco/Roman (particularly borne out of Plato’s work) political system that has been adopted as the face of the government.  And as we shall see, in the case of Nigeria, the expression of any of these ‘modern’ systems is usually a bastardization of what it is supposed to represent.  In fact, even the ‘traditional’ system, as currently practiced has been whittled down to an embarrassing example of its real self.

    THE MANIFESTATION OF ‘MODERN’ POLITICAL SYSTEM

    Nigeria actually has the word ‘Republic’ in its name, as in “The Federal Republic of Nigeria”.  This is why it is tempting to examine its government(s) in terms of what Plato, and in fact, Socrates expect a ‘Republic’ to be like. For Socrates and Plato, a ‘Republic’ is a government where the entire country is considered a  ‘public matter’, not the private preserve of rulers.  Since his works borrowed heavily from Socratic thoughts, Plato places a greater emphasis on the concept of “justice” in his discussion of what a true “Republic” ought to be.  As Socrates himself maintained, it is ‘justice’ that can bring about a harmonious society, under the leadership of conscientious men, that is,  Philosopher-Kings.  [see “The Republic” by Plato].

    Certainly, one does not expect to find that “Philosopher-king” in real life, and definitely not in the case of Nigeria, but that greater emphasis on ‘justice’ and  ‘just-man’ cannot be ignored, and this is the glaring failing of the ‘contrivance’ called Nigeria.  Heck, if you ask Nigerians, they will tell you, forget about a Philosopher-king, just plain old true “Patriots or Nationalists” with sense of justice and fairness will suffice.  Indeed, it is this lack of ‘justice’ and ‘just-men’ that has plagued the country, and the north in particular, so much that it has led all well-meaning observers to lament the state of the nation and the northern region.  It is also why I intend to posit here that in Nigeria as a whole, and the north in particular, there are those who engage in the equivalent of filial cannibalism, and they do so with impunity.

    In its current form of government, Nigeria, in a very nominal sense will be described as a presidential system of government, not unlike the United States, but yet, quite different.  There are semblances of the three arms of government—Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary, as well as the bi-cameral representation in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end.  Whereas in the United States, the Legislature and the Executive frequently ‘checkmate’ each other in order to, at least, maintain the appearance of a working system, while the judiciary remains independent and plays enforcement role as much as possible.  No such luck in Nigeria’s so-called presidential system of government.

    For example, after being ‘s’elected, the current Emperor, Ruler, President–take your pick–Ebele Jonathan (Jonah), actually thought it wise, no, imperative to sit down and consult with the Senate President (the alpha and the beta thieves) on the list of candidates that he, Jonah had drawn up for his own cabinet positions, so that once “things have been negotiated”, the so-called confirmation hearings–that would have provided opportunity for thorough scrutiny–will be nothing but a charade.  It didn’t matter that it was the country that will be the worse for it, as these confirmed candidates were hardly the best qualified for the jobs.  In other words, cronyism and patronage trump merit.  Such apparent subversion of the system and a clear demonstration of tremendous trust deficit did not face Jonah or the peoples’ representatives.  Therefore, the beginning of injustice conducted by unjust-men behind the curtain, under the guise of representation is the evaporation of “Republic” from the Republic of Nigeria.  Welcome to presidential democracy, Nigerian style!

    Once these cabinet appointees ‘rubber stamps’ have themselves been rubber stamped, the country was doomed.  As usual, they have sworn to follow their patrons to the core of hell, and this marks the beginning of the demise of the polity and the prevalence of filial cannibalism.  From this point on, the plight of the current and future generation is sealed.  The marching orders are, if you have to take candy from a baby, do so, because the ‘sponsors’ have to be ‘settled’.  We also saw how parts of the country were sold off, lock, stock and barrel, as ‘delegates’ sacrificed their regions and people once they have collected that ‘betrayal allowance’.

    In Nigerian ‘democracy’, it is an open secret that just as elections are routinely rigged/purchased, cabinet appointments are also bought and paid for, sometimes through an elaborate system of patronage.  Let’s recall the case of Nasir El-Rufai, the former Minister for Federal Capital Territory.  The story goes, when he was selected for this cabinet position, he was “advised” to pay homage to one senator before the confirmation hearings began.  After the typical Nigerian discourteous, ill-mannered, insalubrious reception at the senator’s house, El-Rufai was put through the widely known and often expected ‘shake-down’.  He was asked to come up with funds to the tune of 55 million naira, as a condition for his smooth sailing at the confirmation hearings.  Since he was too poor at the time to come up with such ungodly amount, he “put the word out” about his encounter with the senator.  Needless to say, he was ‘somehow’ eventually confirmed for the position.

    HOW THEY EAT THEIR YOUNG

    When I talk about ‘filial cannibalism’, I am not referring to the actual act of devouring the flesh of the young (though, we have seen this practice among those who believe in certain types of ‘money rituals’).  In the context of Nigeria, this act takes several forms.

    We have seen rapacious elites/rulers, who, out of sheer extreme selfishness are willing to rob their community blind, even if doing so will render not just the adults, but the youngest members of the community, hungry, helpless, and even destitute.  There have been occasions where traditional rulers, governors, local government council chairmen etc., will commandeer for themselves moneys and other means of development, including foreign aids intended for their own communities’ growth and development.  It was recently rumored that, the WAEC results for Sokoto state was being withheld, due to the state/governor’s failure to pay some money that was due.  If true, is this not tantamount to ruining the future of the younger generation, without a care in the world?  We are all familiar with the cases of ‘rulers’ who pay and receive ‘betrayal allowance’ in order to sacrifice their respective communities!   Unfortunately,  nowhere is this practice more prevalent and damaging than in the north, where the ‘Northern Establishment’–the group formerly known as the Kaduna Mafia, consisting of traditional rulers, some former military officers, and some so-called intelligentsia–which has now been honorarily admitted into the larger den of thieves  called ‘the cabal’,  continues to extinguish its own young through unimaginable act of brutality and neglect.

    One will have to search far and wide to find a group of people more guilty of unenlightened self interest than the ‘Northern Elites’.  As wealthy as these people are, individually and collectively, and for as long, it is quite bewildering to realize that virtually none of them has been known for any form of ‘productive philanthropy’.  One will be hard pressed to find a ‘Northern cabal member’ who provides education, employment, training, etc. assistance on a large scale in his or her own community, if only to uplift the standard of living for a few.  It never bothered the likes  of Mai Daribe, his family, and friends, that while they luxuriate in palatial mansions, bedecked with unfathomably expensive furniture, stepping over gold-threaded rugs, only a stone’s throw away are children ravaged by hunger, begging in the streets instead of being in schools.  It is beyond comprehension to imagine that the Mai Daribe(s) of northern Nigeria never thought of setting up foundations, even if only to provide funding up to secondary school for perhaps a couple of hundred kids.  By the way, don’t nobody tell me that these selfish, heartless creatures often finance hajj pilgrimage for hundreds of people, or that they feed hundreds of people in the month of Ramadan.  That is not where it’s at, at all.  In fact, for all I care, they can shove those acts of ‘generosities’ where the sun doesn’t shine.

    As northern Nigeria and its people continues to suffer from massive under-development, we saw the certified, bona fide myopic ‘Northern Establishment’ wasting no time to deepen the regions poverty.  Who can forget the roles played by the likes of Ibrahim Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma, Aliyu Gusau, etc., who had no qualm gathering Olusegun Obasanjo in tatters from prison and lobbed him over the fence into Aso Rock, against all hues and cries.  And true to the saying that ‘there is no honour among thieves’, we saw how Obasanjo repaid his sponsors.  First, there was that vengeful, pin-pointed focus on the Abacha family, which entailed bringing down some of the economy of Kano city at all cost.  Why?  Because, it was Kano’s adopted son, Sani Abacha who dared to imprison the incestuous cretin from Otta.  Hence, the people of Kano must pay for it.  Then we saw Obasanjo moved to privatize publicly held establishments that used to provide the limited employment the north ever had.  To add insult to injury, it was some of these ‘Northern Rulers’ who stepped forward to take private ownership, and gladly, true to form, ran down the establishments, to the detriment of the region and its people.  For example, where is Kaduna Textile today?  Even the Kaduna refinery was reported to have been put on the auction block, with the likes of Atiku Abubakar offering to purchase it, until Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, despite being ‘a dead man walking’ had the presence of mind  to put a stop to the silly shenanigan.

    Another heart-wrenching example of eating their young, was the story of Pfizer’s damaging experiment with the children of Kano state.  In a report published by the newspaper,  234Next, we learned:

    “As the opportunity for the victims of the 1996 Pfizer clinical trial in Kano of getting satisfactorily compensated continues to hang in the balance, a NEXT investigation has uncovered the despicable conduct of prominent Nigerians who sold their conscience to partake in what the late President Musa Yar’Adua described as “Pfizer’s blood money”. ……..As part of Pfizer’s “lobbying tactics”, it secured the services of a former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, and the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero (represented by a senior traditional ruler), amongst other unnamed political elites especially in the North who, NEXT discovered, were instrumental to influencing the Kano State government to significantly reduce its claim…….. The significance of the influence exerted by Mr. Gowon, the representative of the Emir of Kano, and the other influential Nigerians employed by Pfizer as lobbyists, is better appreciated when one considers the fact that the Kano State claim, which was initially $2 billion dollars, was drastically reduced to $150 million, and finally to $75 million.”

    Source:  “Gowon and Bayero Secretly Worked for Pfizer”, Published on Sunday, 09 January 2011 17:38

    I will hazard a guess that most of the victims of Pfizer’s deadly experiment probably did not receive much from that measly settlement, assuming they are even aware that there had been a settlement.

    We also have the unabashed, unapologetic, unrepentant, parasitic characters such as, octogenarian cougar,  Lawal Kaita.  A man who was once attached to the coattail of Yar’Adua and has now latched on to Atiku Abubakar, like the leech that he is.  Here is a man, who by all accounts had been in ‘politics’ for longer than most can remember, and therefore had the chance to leave some enviable legacy.   But alas, the man’s proudest accomplishment was that in the second republic (1979-83), he, along with the rest of the vultures in NPN grounded Kaduna state to a standstill, mainly because, the then governor, Mallam Balarabe Musa (a more conscientious public servant) refused to let the vultures have their way with public funds. This orchestrated stalemate eventually led to the impeachment of Balarabe Musa, with Kaduna state losing an opportunity for what might have been good governance.

    Following the impeachment of Balarabe Musa, old cannibal Kaita assumed office as the governor of Kaduna state in October 1983.  But, as luck would have it, Kaita couldn’t settle into his intended blood sucking orgy, as General Muhammadu Buhari was on time to rest Kaduna, and Nigeria off the hands of vampires like him.  Is it any wonder that ever since his premature ejaculation, not only has this old geezer been harboring hate against the likes of Buhari, but has also been spewing out all sorts of rubbish, supposedly in defense of the ‘North’.  His unsolicited verbiage, jostling, and antics would have made more sense had he any antecedence to back his ‘northern patriotism’.  Other than maneuvering to place his own children in well-cushioned jobs, can Lawal Kaita point to any of his accomplishments that benefits the  ‘talakawas’?

    Lest we forget, Kaita has a southern counterpart named Pa Edwin Clark, another historic underachiever with ‘basket mouth’.  The harbinger of hate against Northerners, and the self-appointed King of the Ijaw Nation.  Ever since the Ijaw people started smelling the possibility of residing in Aso Rock, Pa Clark has been vociferous in his tribal/sectional attack against the North.  Yet, this is the same Edwin Clark who was first given a break as Commissioner for Information under a government headed by a Northerner–Yakubu Gowon, and he did not register a single exemplary accomplishment, that one can hinge on his ‘Ijawness’, for the youths of his community.  If Pa Clark had done much for his people, perhaps Nigeria would have been spared the emergence of MEND or an embarrassing PhD holder.   Now, this vermin from the creek cannot contain himself.  To hear Pa Clark talk, you’d think that he was never guilty of partaking in any of the corrupt governments that Nigeria has been having.

    No doubt, one common thread between people like Kaita and Clark is unmitigated, filthy self-interest.  They have no care for the consequences of their words/actions.  They will consume their young for their own malevolent, selfish benefits.

    Without ever justifying, not even explaining away, the senseless murderous conducts of Boko Haram, one cannot escape the logic that has been expounded that, this pathetic menace has been partly engendered by utter youth neglect.  That is, the horrendous malfeasant conduct of ‘northern rulers/elites’ who, in their classic short-sightedness, saw no reason to develop the region’s youths, except for their own family members, who, by the way, are sometimes lacking in cerebral capability to justify the resources expended on them.  These are the rulers who unflinchingly devour their own young, and do it proudly!

    On a side note, was it me or did anybody else notice that when Boko Haram announced a proposed list of acceptable negotiators, they somehow failed to include a single, well-known/respected Islamic Cleric?  So much for their claim of Islamic jihad.

    NORTHERN PROGRESSIVES’ TO DO LIST

    From the foregoing, it is no wonder that, thirteen years into ‘democracy’,  the north has  been witnessing a dearth of ‘performing’ governors, local council chairmen or what have you.  It is therefore, necessary to wrench the region from the clenches of these cannibalistic derelicts, parading as ‘Northern Leaders’.

    It is also beyond apparent, that the likes of Ibrahim Babangida (one of the senior architects of the demise of Nigeria as a country); Atiku Abubakar (the weasel of Adamawa, and the megalomaniac head of PDP renegade faction);  Jerry Gana (a man who, despite being a Christian, is known to have posted bail for Muhammad Yusuf–head of Boko Haram, but who himself has never been held to account);  Bamanga Tukur (Nigeria’s master of ‘pay-day’ loan; a man gladly poised to sell off the north for sufficient ‘betrayal allowance’);  Adamu Ciroma (a PDP henchman who has demonstrated a glaring deficit of political acumen, re: PDP zoning debacle),  and all the unaccomplished representatives of the north are bad news for the region.  In fact, they are the cancer of the region, and like cancer, they have been eating away at the few functioning organs of the region, namely, determined public servants such as General Buhari.  These people, who apparently suffer from munchausen by proxy (they suffer their own young and then cry about it) should no longer be allowed to chart the course for the north.  It is high time the north and its people became enlightened enough to not only recognize these blood suckers for what they are, and replace them with more well-meaning public servants, but also jettison that servile mentality; that undue deference to someone simply because of seniority in linear age, possession of wealth, or family lineage.

    For the north to reel out of its squalor, there is definitely a need for major re-thinking, an inside-out revolution of mindset, a paradigm shift of sort.  A region and its people cannot develop when a handful of its population can ‘live high on the hog’ almost for eternity.  Witness how many traditional rulers, ‘first class’ Emirs and Chiefs especially, sit on their thrones for decades with nothing to show for it, while at the same time, they and their relatives live in luxury.  Some of them (especially the so-called first class  Chiefs and Emirs) are so egocentric that they don’t even respond when spoken to by ‘lay persons’.  This is supposed to be chucked to some ridiculous tradition.  Never mind that Allah himself spoke directly to Musa (Moses).  What was he thinking, with his whole benevolent and merciful self?  I bet if these same ‘lords’ want to ‘pin down’ a ‘Kuyanga’ (handmaiden) in a dark corridor, they do wag their tongues.  Just saying.  These rulers expend so much energy to ensure that only those who will protect their own self interests get to be presented as ‘Northern Leaders’, and the symbiotic relationship is also reflected in how some traditional rulers serve the interests of governors.  Recall how the Emirs of Lafia and Nassarawa vamoosed–with their tails tucked between their legs–from their respective palaces, on the orders of Governor Aliyu Doma, when General Buhari came calling during the 2011 presidential campaign.  And these Emirs were supposed to be serving ‘their people’?

    I am yet to see sufficient evidence of the public good that had been done by these traditional rulers, especially, the long serving ones among them.  It used to be the case that they employed the services of the so-called ‘native authority’–a bunch of pathetic characters dressed in clownish outfits, running around hounding and harassing the populace, especially under the guise of tax collection.  The saving grace for the ‘masses’ was probably the emergence of military governments, who put an end to the terror conducts of these minions often unleashed by the Chiefs and Emirs.

    In fact, one can now argue that the conduct of Boko Haram, and the inability of the traditional rulers to respond clearly demonstrates their illegitimacy as rulers.  Don’t they constitute the ‘local’ in local government?  Or are they only effective as ‘government’ through the use of uncultured ‘Dogarai’?  The manner in which Boko Haram has emasculated the Emirs and Chiefs is too revealing to ignore.  These were the same rulers who were able to whisper into the ears of the likes of Ibrahim Babangida to get him to overthrow Buhari’s regime, partly due to Buhari’s willingness to put them in check, and now they failed woefully to rise to the challenge posed by a bunch of marauding bandits in their very own localities.  Whatever happened to their supposed ‘influence’?  Should anyone venture to retort that they possess no armed forces or security capability, then the question ought to be asked, of what good are they?  and more importantly, why is their existence so heavily subsidized, often times, at the expense of the future generation?  After all, it is not that they ever served the interest of the ordinary citizen anyway.  Right before our very own eyes, these rulers, their ‘Dogarai’  and their other sycophants have devolved into nothingness.  They have always legitimized their value on the basis of influence pedaling, but now that they have been unable to ‘influence’ Boko Haram, state government, or federal government, even to save their own lives, then the ‘jig is up’. The ruse has been uncovered; ‘Game over’.

    So, while the constitution review committee is still siting, perhaps, it should be proposed that non-performing traditional rulers stand to be replaced by their respective ‘performing’ local government council.  Alternatively, the entire institution of traditional government can be eliminated, and any loud-mouthed uncooperative members can be embalmed and hanged for display in the department of antiquities for posterity.  After all, with the existence of local government council, isn’t the whole idea of traditional rulers a form of ‘parallel government’, albeit a non-performing one at that?  1976 economics nobel laureate, Milton Freidman once said something to the effect that, if you want to know the value of an employee, fire him and see what happens to his job.  If the job suffers then that employee was important, else he was not. With the seeming free reign of Boko Haram, we may have already, inadvertently conducted  the ‘Freidman experiment’ and the result is out in the open.  If the elimination idea is too harsh or unwise, how about making these roles wide open for public elections with term limit?  After all, nowhere was it ever ‘written by the fingers of God, on the hearts of men’ that certain individuals, just by virtue of, or by accident of birth should ‘lord it’ over the rest, forever.  In fact, I will submit that the concept of rulership/leadership by inheritance should be alien to sunni muslim north in particular.  After all, the Exemplar of muslim conducts and traditions (Prophet Muhammad) never practiced leadership/rulership by inheritance.

    The northern re-engineering and re-orientation campaign should also emphasize the need to seek out, identify, and present educated, enlightened, committed individuals, regardless of family background.  In some sense, this is actually a clarion call for a return to late Aminu Kano’s philosophy/principle, whereby, the children of ‘talakawas’ share in the opportunity for development and leadership.  Though it must be noted that some of the current crop of ‘Northern Elites’ were once ‘talakawas’ themselves or are children of ‘talakawas’ whose loyalty to self and kin has now gone awry.  After Amimu Kano rescued them and their parents/children from the shackles of parasitic, avaricious, ‘Sarakunas’, they have now become the predators (Witness the Labaran Maku(s) of our time).  Furthermore, it is arguable that Buhari actually represents the Aminu Kano of this generation, and like the Aminu Kano of the past, his beliefs, philosophy, agenda, and popularity among the dispossessed has remained a disturbing threat to the bourgeois/ruling class.  Hence, their unrelenting determination to scuttle his chances as they did Aminu Kano before him.

    However, in this second time around, the population of the north needs to remain vigilant, so as not to be hoodwinked by the hypocrites within.  Yes, it is not always easy to tell the hypocrites from the sincere, but, it is worth the effort, for what is at stake now is the survival of an entire region!  Whenever anyone starts babbling about their intention to lead any community, let’s subject them to scrutiny, publicly!  The questions should be asked: What is your antecedent, either in privately or publicly held position(s)?  Will you declare your asset now?  What do you intend to do for the community?  How do you intend to fund these agenda items?  How should your performance be tracked and verified?  Compare and contrast yourself with your opponent, how do you differ?  What similarities do you share?  I mean, seek out  think-on-your-feet, speak-intelligently, sharp-sharp kind of people.  None of that letting a village vagabond become a senator overnight, only to see him multiply his number of wives, houses, cars in jiffy, while doing nothing for his constituency.

    The north needs to stop electing people who go around in their warped mind saying, “this here politics is my life, my day job, my everything. (Kunga, mu fa siyasar nan ita akasa a gaba)”.    Politics is never anyone’s whole life or profession, it is a temporal public service.  Play your part and vacate the stage.  Let’s use thorough investigative accounting to promote spirited competition among candidates.   One thing about human nature is that, liars in particular, resent scrutiny, that is, determined, sustained scrutiny.  They will soon wither and die.  Let’s put an end to the practice of hanging ourselves and auctioning the future of younger generation, by the shackles of our own present state of poverty.  In other words, choosing candidates based on one’s own pressing economic existentialism is bad for your kids’ future.

    Hopefully, by the time this sort of scrutiny becomes routine, we would have mastered the art of weeding out the unqualified, the illiterates, the unlettered, the uncultured, the uncommitted, the undeserving–bourgeoisie or not.  May be then we can put an end to filial cannibalism.

     

    The North Is Not Poor

    By

    Aliyu Bala Aliyu

    “Some people see things that are, and ask why? But I dream things as they never were, and I ask “Why Not? —- George Bernard Shaw

    An interesting article made the rounds in various newspapers and blogs some weeks ago titled ‘’ Derivation and Deprivation: Why The North Is Poor’’. Written by a certain Ross Alabo-George, the article has generated a cacophony of record breaking on-line responses, reactions and rejoinders. A corollary to the ‘‘disquisition’’, as its author christened it, is the number of articles that have come to life with the theme of the north’s usurpation of the Niger Delta’s oil.

    Two dominant categories of responses have emerged on account of the principal theme of Ross’s thesis and both betray the sombreness of our fusion or confusion as a nation state.  The elections of 2011 brought to the fore in unprecedented measures the ethnic and religious cleavages evident in our existence. The boko haram menace has further compounded our national woes and like old times everything is being viewed through the Muslim/ Christian and / the Hausa, Ibo or Yoruba prism. The torrential reactions / responses from the Lagos –Ibadan axis; and of the south –south, south- east axis see Ross’s piece as a liberating one; a long awaited elixir to damn the north (both its elite and commoners).

    To the Kaduna-Abuja press and its fans north of the Niger, the piece simply exposes a man devoid of objectivity, thoroughness and balance; with a premeditated agenda of painting the northern oligarchy as the major if not sole architect of Nigeria’s perdition. The northern oligarchy, in this view, is seen as being deliberately portrayed as villains by Ross as the region benefitting from the oil flowing beneath the soles of the Niger Deltans. This disposition suggests that the few northern barons listed in his article do not of course possess the monopoly of the oil blocs in the Niger Delta and he should have gone the whole nine yards to list the names of south southerners and south easterners who own oil blocs too.  In between these two camps are those who were boldly objective and a number of those who towed the path of frivolous technicalities. Of the latter are those who spent time debating whether Mai Deribe, Nasiru Ado Bayero, Atiku Abubakar or Rilwanu Lukman are Hausa, Kanuri, Bachama, or Fulani  men; and whether Kano, Borno or Niger  is of the north-east, or north-west or north-central.

    The strain of comments suggest that for every Mai Deribe, Nasiru Ado Bayero, T.Y Danjuma, and co mentioned, a James Ibori, Dipreye Alamesiagha, Peter Odili or Lucky Igbinedion etc exist who have fleeced the monies of the Niger Deltans  in unimaginable proportions. The question for me of course is not about whose loot is most mind-boggling or which region parade’s the bigger or more ruthless thief; or that with 13% derivation and the NDDC, the Niger Delta has not become the Dubai of Africa no, but that if the north cries ‘’we are poor’’, ‘’we are poor’’, who impoverished us? James Ibori, Dipreye Alamesiagha, Peter Odili or Lucky Igbinedion? The northern intelligentsia and its political leadership must deconstruct this hoax of inflicted poverty by others either by the perceived disadvantageous revenue allocation formula or the imagined  sabotage of the oil drilling prospects  in the upper north basin  for we held the reigns of power more than any other region in this country. On the contrary the north is in such pitiable and unacceptable state of poverty because of the actions and inactions of our leaders who have helped themselves, members of their immediate families, friends and cronies generously with the public resources put in their trust. While it is true that at no time did the north go it alone- for where a northerner was the number one man, a different region produced the number two man; the Supreme Military Councils and the Armed Forces Ruling Council of the military governments past, the ministers of both military and democratic governments of the past were representative of all of Nigeria with their varied inputs to the development or underdevelopment of Nigeria; but my focus here is on the north.

    While I do not in any way hold brief for Ross, I must say that his disquisition is a powerfully engaging and thought provoking piece which places a giant mirror in front of the north.. Of a surety it would have better if he had gone ahead to name the oil block barons from other regions, but then context within which the article was written should be appreciated.

    Flashback:

    Sanusi Lamido Sanusi [London]: – On the 27th of January 2012, Sanusi while granting an interview to the Financial Times of London alleged that the revenue allocation  formula skewed in favour of the south-south as it  were is unfavourable to the north, and by extension engenders poverty which in turn is fuelling Boko Haram and sundry violence in the north.

    Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu [Minna]: Taking a cue from the Central Bank Governor, the Chief Talker of Niger state (a tittle I think fits him much more than his current one) and chairman of the northern governors’ forum, Muazu Babangida Aliyu called for the re- evaluation of the revenue allocation formula that gives a ‘’whopping’’ 13% to the south south and creates two Nigerias- A prosperous south and an impoverished north. But aside his loquacity how has he changed the lives of Nigerlites with the ‘’little’’ he gets from Abuja every month?

    Sanusi Lamido Sanusi [Kano]: On the 10th of January, Sanusi  Lamido Sanusi made a most morally ambiguous, and professionally controversial donation of a hundred million naira (N100,000,000) to victims of Kano state’s  boko haram bomb blast. Kano is Sanusi’s home state of which he is a prince and nurses an open ambition of becoming its emir.

    Let it be stated that throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria, the political class has been a disappointment having failed to chart a course of foresighted prosperity and to guarantee the people a descent life. The power they wielded and still do never bore and still does not bear the flames of altruism, patriotism and love. It was and still remains power merely for power’s sake. They succeeded and are still enriching themselves beyond comprehension and accountability – at least here on earth- and entrenching corruption along the way a la carte.

    Beyond all of this however, we the people of the north must re- examine our socio-economic, socio-political and socio- cultural fundamentals with a view to understanding why we are where we are as the dregs of Nigeria’s socio-economic disaster. We must, in all honesty, equally re-visit the misinterpretation or misapplication of our religious fundamentals – be it Christianity or Islam. Isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with a system that perpetuates and nearly glorifies and encourages endemic poverty?

    Away from the political leadership and its statutory obligation to the people lies the question of individual/ private and group intervention in the north and that shall be the thrust of my own disquisition; approaching it from neither of two major paradigms of criticisms mentioned above.  Why are the billionaires in the north not the type that give back to society? Why is that the northern billionaires are not getting busy in touching lives? Does it not shame us and challenge them that the Bill and Mellinda Gates foundation is so passionate about combating the malaria and polio blight  in our country. I cannot help but ask myself what goes on in the minds of our cash Alhajis and retired Generals. How about the Mac Arthur foundation, Carnegie, Rockefeller,etc and their interventions all around us? Would building a dozen world class primary and secondary schools in Dangote’s ward or local government with the best of teachers and facilities be such a reprehensible act? Ironically it had to take Rochas Okorocha miles away, in Imo state, to build a befitting school in Kano and another one in Jos (which by the way is tuition free in addition to free lunch given to the students). How many Kanawa has Dangote sponsored to Harvard to go and study contemporary entrepreneurship or to Princeton; George Washington?

    The same applies to Alhaji Dantata the construction mogul (now of blessed memory). How many people from his local government did he sponsor to go and study civil engineering in Paris, Germany or Italy? How many people did Rilwanu Lukman sponsor to go and study petroleum engineering or renewable / alternative/ clean energy having been in the petroleum industry both on the national and international scenes for aeons? How many young men and women do these people mentor to follow in their footsteps? Who for the love of God inspires and influences their thought processes? How about the Abachas, the IBBs the Abdusalams, the Atiku’s, the TY Danjumas, the  David Marks, the Bamanga Tukurs etc.

    Is it not only logical and self evident that a mass literacy revolution was and is still the way to go? Is the south west today not reaping the massive literacy investment of Awolowo? What then exactly do our leaders discuss at their AC F meetings? What exactly do the nineteen northern governors discuss when they meet? Political power?  To zone or not to zone? The perpetuation of PDP till eternity ? The turbaning of dubious individuals and those of questionable characters with traditional titles (ably rubber-stamped by colluding emirs)? The marriage of Generals’ daughters’ to Ministers’ sons? Well here is the got news – the continued oppression, deprivation and neglect is sadly responsible for the menace of book haram and as it were it shows no signs of abating. The thinking that the elite could amass wealth and unabashedly live in opulence next door to life snatching penury; send only their kids off to London, France and Dubai to come back as the new breed of oppressors to continue from where their parents stopped oppressing our parents and live in privileged exclusivity is being threatened.  Now that we all cannot sleep with our eyes closed because we don’t know where the next bombs will go off, the north should as a matter of sincere urgency go back to the drawing board and seek redemption from itself. Time is not on our side.

    As the north battles with its grip on political power, it would be great to take a close look at every other aspect of the Nigerian project where it trails behind the south and east. The following are my observations.

    Media:

    The north’s lamentation over the years of a south-western dominated press and biased media coverage and /reportage of events concerning the region  has not birthed  world class media options- the type Al Jazeera unleashed upon the world to the consternation and humbled admiration of CNN, BBC and others in the league. Knowing full well the role of the media in shaping public opinion and setting the news agenda, one of the pillars of politics in the south west and perhaps its greatest political figure alive established the Nation Newspapers, and the duo of TV and radio continental. Another political figure from Ogun state founded the Compass Newspapers; and yet another undying flame from the south east established the Sun Newspapers. From Ovation to Genevieve, True Love, Complete Fashion, Arise, City People, Four- Four –Two, Researchgate, where are we taking the lead? . In which of these sectors do our magazines flourish?  Aviation ,Agriculture, Automotive and Parts Construction, Consumer Goods, Business, Banking,Finance, Education, Environmental Issues, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Information Technology, Tourism, Logistics, Real Estate, Security, Telecommunications or Transportation? The north is left out of these niches.

    How many TV and radio stations exist in Lagos s alone? As at the last count I had listed a dozen TV stations and 28 radio stations. How many are there in the entire 19 northern states?  Where are the north’s media moguls both serving and retired who worked both on the national and international scenes? Are they not inspired and equally challenged by Ben Murray Bruce’s accomplishments with the Silverbird Group

    Out of the ’’ blues’’ came Jimoh Ibrahim’s National Mirror like a thunderbolt. In no time National Mirror has carved a niche for itself on newsstands despite their perceived saturation. Every day I stop by to take a glance at the headlines at the vendor’s, the one question I ask myself is where the north’s voice is in the newspaper and magazine industry. Not a single magazine exists that celebrates northern excellence and showcases the few success stories of the region. The only semblance to that came by way of the stint of the novel publication Sardauna Magazine which started out as a student’s Union magazine in ABU. But it should interest you dear reader that Sardauna Magazine’s success had to take Rilwan Hassan, a Yoruba boy (though he calls Zaria home which is beautiful) to birth. Since 1962 when ABU was established nobody thought of the idea till Rilwan came by. Daily Trust, Leadership, People’s Daily and now Blueprint cannot do it alone for the north both as a voice and as a platform. The TV stations here in Lagos consciously avoid them during their headline reviews.

    Academics

    The north no doubt has men of great intellectual alertness and sound disposition of mind and judgement but is it not laid bare for all to see that the ratio of scholarship in the north pales to near insignificance when compared with the south west? How many northerners are actually pursuing second degrees or PhDs? How many of our professors and Drs are lecturing outside northern universities like Ife, Nsukka, Unilag, Ibadan etc? How many of our professors and Drs are lecturing in foreign Universities? I know quite a number of Nigerians who are lecturing in Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, School of African and Oriental studies and a host of others and you can guess dear reader where they are from. How many private Universities are there in the north? Ogun state alone has 10. How many private schools (primary and secondary) are in the north and of those that do exist aren’t they established and run most competently by non- northerners?

    From ABU to UDUS to Maiduguri to UNN, UniPort, Unical, Abraka etc you find south westerners and south easterners in search of education and not just that they are excelling in academics in all of these institutions and beyond. But how many of our Modibbos, Faizals, Jatuas, Ishayas, Mainasaras, Asabes, Rakiyas, Altines or Asmaus are in other institutions of higher learning outside the north?

    Who else other than Prof Ayodele Awojobi would have challenged the department of engineering in ABU to finish a four year degree course in three and go on to become the first African to be awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) at the Imperial College London, a degree which Wikipedia says is ‘’only exceptionally and rarely awarded to a scholar under the age of forty’’. He remained ‘’the youngest professor ever in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, and the first ever to be expressly promoted from associate to full professorship within a week’’

    Who else other than Dr Chike Obi would have been the first Nigerian to earn a PhD in mathematics? Who else other than Prof Teslim Elias would have become Governor of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London? Which other woman would bag a PhD at twenty six years of age other than Dr Tope Adeyemi or rival Miss Adejoke Ogunlana as the youngest lecturer in Nigeria at 22yrs of age? Would it ever have happened in ABU? BUK? UDUS? And even if it did happen would it still not be them? Who else other than Peter and Paul Imafidon (the wonder twins) would have made history in far away Britain becoming the youngest ever mortals to pass A level maths at age seven (7)?

    Since the establishment of WAEC in 1952 and JAMB in1977, who have been the top 10 students’ years in year out? Northerners? Certainly not! Is the north comfortable that in 2011 only 17, out of the 18,000 secondary school students who sat for the National Examination Council examinations in Gombe State, made five credits? What is the SSCE enrolment ratio that exists between say Yobe and Bauchi state on the one hand and Imo and Ekiti state on the other?

    Permit me dear reader to ask: Which primary school did Dangote, Dantata, IBB and co attend? And what is the state of those primary schools today? Has Adamu Ciroma, who has been in government since independence; and so remained until he got tired and made way for his wife to carry on the baton served as a catalyst to remodelling his primary school to be one of the best in his state?

    Is it any wonder that the reference bookshops from Zaria, to Kano, Minna, Kaduna, Sokoto Maiduguri etc are not owned by northerner? We aren’t even among the big players in the books and stationeries arena yet year in year out thousands of students go to ABU, FCE Nuhu Bamali Polythecnic, FUT Minna, UDUS etc to get an education.

    Private Enterprise and Professionalism

    Last year I started to write a number of articles which I later abandoned among which are: ‘’ Entrepreneurship and the Northern abyss‘’, ‘’Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia and the rest of the north’’ and  ‘’Before Dangote’s Exit’’ among others. While a great number of the articles did not develop beyond their proposed titles, the inspiration behind their themes remains the same till this moment. Is it not worth asking today as ever before how many northern business enterprises dot the northern landscape? How many northern concerns provide consultancy services for services ranging from the establishment of new businesses to accelerated performance, growth or evaluation of existing ones?

    How many retired policemen and women, personnel of the state security services (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) or the Armed Forces have gone the way of private security consulting? Need I say of course their inputs would have contributed significantly in the fight against the book haram’s wave of terror?

    Just the other days I watched a documentary on the power sector reforms and as expected not a single consultant from the mass of consultants spoken with were northerners. Not a single energy consultant, analyst or expert of northern extraction. The only northerner I saw throughout the duration of the documentary was as expected in the government cadre! Yet from ABU to BUK, UJ, UDUS et al our universities have departments of electrical engineering. To what use have our northern scholars put their Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Oxford and RGU trainings among others? Where are the gurus and thinkers of the region?

    How many northerners have pursued ICT know-how to compelling levels of expertise? Of all the Microsoft certified Web developers, Microsoft this- Microsoft that; Oracle this- Oracle that; and the Java masters among other ICT levels of excellence I read about, northerners aren’t usually on the list. Who are the custodians of ICT expertise in Nigeria: its mastery, deployment and maintenance? Who are the pioneers and trailblazers of enterprise solutions?

    The bulk of the legal luminaries and chattered accountants in this country come from a particular section of this country and the north doesn’t belong in the league. Any need to lose sleep over that?

    Who are the country managers, the trail blazing figures, of Nokia, Samsung , Standard Chattered Bank ,Citi group, Ericsson, Siemens,Huawei, HP, Baker Hughes, Saipem, Coberon Chronos, Toshiba, Accenture, Google, Ernst and Young , Price Water Coopers (PWC), DFID , World Bank, UNICEF, UNIDO etc? They certainly are not northerners.

    Do we constitute the majority of   pilots or aeronautic engineers in Nigeria even when NCAT is in the heart of Zaria? Who else but Imoleayo Adebule, 23, would be Nigeria’s youngest pilot? Do we run the most outstanding agencies in the heart of the north providing a one stop shop for human resources solutions from recruitment to training; and outsourcing etc? .

    Is it a case of a lack of platforms to showcase our achievements or the deliberate neglect or downplay by the media (dominated by the south west) that has consigned us to the back seat and to so remain or both and even more? Do names like those of FRA Williams, Afe Babalola, Diya Fatimehim, Jide Taiwo & co, Osas & Oseji Challenge the north?

    Dear reader, how many northern owned franchises do you know? Shagalinku? Yahuza? And then… Well I’m scratching my head in case you aren’t. I could bet on both my eyes that if either or both businesses belonged to a Yoruba or Igbo man, Shagalinku would have been serving hot tuwon shinkafa  and man shanu in London and America in the least; and Yahuza would have been selling his suya on the streets of LA, Dubai and Malaysia (lest I forget, Toks Odebunmi is already doing so in London and Kehinde Olajide has taken Zobo to the next level in the US). Interestingly, very recently I met a young and sharp boy in Unilag who had put arrangements in place to buy Yahuza’s franchise and spin money for himself in Lagos. No dulling. QED.

    Sports:

    In which aspect of sports do we excel? Is it Football? Basketball? Track and field events? Gymnastics? Combat sports? Oh! I forgot Polo- the sport of the princes and royalties of the north. While they play polo with aristocratic gusto shouldn’t we wonder how many names it has put on the world‘s sporting map and how many jobs it has created? How many of our potentials are playing the world’s greatest game in England, Italy, Spain and others either in professional leagues or junior /feeder teams awaiting discovery and making money along the way? Need we ask how many lives the western union transfers of Mikel Obi touches or those of Osaze Odemwingie? Or the impact of   Kanu‘s Heart foundation on kids who would have long died unsung? Recall names  like Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael OlowoKandi, Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Segun Toriola, Bash Ali, Uche Chukwumerije etc ?Do they sound northern?

    Literature, Arts, and Music:

    Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe exist in a class of their own In tota fine erga omnes et omnia. (for all purposes, in regards to all and everything). Whether loathed, genuinely or enviously admired, the duo have occupied their places on the throne of Nigeria’s literary scene and the global honours list. With them as pioneers, there can be no other firsts. Other torch bearers include, without diminishing the status of those unmentioned here, Cyprian Ekwensi, Ola Rotimi, Niyi Osundare (whose poem) is going to be read at the London Olympics. Of the latter generation, who else would have won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Orange Prize for fiction other than Chimamanda Adichie ? Who else would have won the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize (2008) and  the Arts & Culture Award [CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards (2009)] other than Tolu Ogunlesi? Who else would have won the Young Global Leader (YGL) 2012 other than Simon Kolawole? Nigerian writer and blogger, Teju Cole, has recently won this year’s Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a ‘distinguished’ first book of fiction in far away London and the list goes on and on. Who wins the NLNG prize for science and literature yearly? When these awards take place, where are the northerners?

    Which songs do the DJs and Radio presenters across the north play? Seal, Light house family, Dr Alban, Sade Adu; P- square, Whiz Kid, Davido, Wande Coal, T Y Bello, Mo Cheddah, 9ice, Asa, Brymo? When the likes of Femi Anikulapo Kuti set the target of a Grammy for himself where are the northern artistes and performers?

    Do names like Bruce Onobrakpeya; Fred Okon Archibong; Muraina Oyelami; Yusuf GrilloYinka, Bridget Nwanze, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy; Bisi Fakeye; Yinka Shonibare; (Arts ); Sunmi Smart Cole, George Osodi; Emeka Okereke, Jide Alakija,Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko (Photography); Chinwetel Ejiofor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje; Sophie Okonedo , Rick Famuyiwa (Hollywood) ring silent bells in the ears of the north?

    Even the popular Argungu festival, the endless Durbars, the countless investitures are photographed, exhibited and promoted by non- northerners!

    Advertising:

    Who handles the advert portfolios of  the blue chip companies  or better still the “fortune 100” companies in  Nigeria ?Whether through mainstream advertising channels or social media platforms? The advertising moguls are certainly not northerners yet MTN, Airtel, Glo, Etisalat, Nokia, Samsung, Indomie, Coca-cola, have their products on gigantic bill boards across the length and breadth of Nigeria yet no northerner thinks it is a worthy niche. The billboards are even now going digital and perhaps in no time to touch screens and the north will most certainly not be there.

    Who else would have established the Orange Academy (touted as Nigeria’s first and perhaps only school of practical brand advertising) other Kenny Badmus; and of course how many northerners are students of the academy?

    Health Care:

    I am yet to see that world class hospital in every sense of that word world class in northern Nigeria. With common cold or slight back aches, our elite can afford to dash to Egypt, Europe and America , yet no single money bag has had the initiative or patriotic zeal to build  any kind of world class hospital specialising in at least one area of medicine whether Ophthalmology; Cardiology, Nephrology, Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. It could even be a hospital specially dedicated to women or children attracting the best doctors from all over the world; and over a period of time they would have trained our indigenous doctors on the job. By so doing, they would not have to fly their kids to France to treat common cold.

    Why has the Yar’Adua family not established a pericadiatis centre in Katsina, or of such heart related diseases? Why has IBB not established a cancer research centre in Minna or Asaba? Perchance alternative therapy could hold the key to unlocking the cure to the disease where orthodox medicine has so far not. If our elite and nouveau riche are not establishing such hospitals, why are they then  not sponsoring students and giving out research grants to crush the frontiers of knowledge ‘beyond the utmost bound of human thought’?

    Motherless Babies Homes/ Hospices/ Special needs schools:

    I know not a world class motherless babies home, a horspice or special needs school in the north.  How are such children brought up and catered for? Does anybody ask these questions among our elite? Do they care? Do they, while feasting on their assorted cuisines during Christmas, and Eid (sallah) banquets give a damn about the welfare of these categories of people in the north?

    Almajirici as a way of life

    The likes of Dr Aliyu Tilde, Dr Galadanchi and a number of northern intellectuals have done varying degrees of work on the almajiri phenomenon. The blue prints and commentaries are all out there but I cannot help but be amazed at the sustenance and perpetuation of the system in its medieval state. The failure of successive governments of the north to see the existence of the tsangaya system as needful of integrative reforms with mainstream western education as is obtainable in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar etc. is completely incomprehensible. How could they not see the impending disaster?

    How could such a system exist till this day that disconnects a child from his parents at such a critical stage of his formative years and expect him to come out whole? Like I pointed out to Dr Galadanchi during one of his visiting lectures in ABU, a child who has not been shown parental love and nested in the warmth of a home cannot give it. I am a very strong believer in the psycho-emotional and psycho-social workings of human beings as it affects their personality traits and social interactions.

    Of Beggars, the Physical challenged and bequeathing a legacy of poverty:

    Is the north the only region that has physically challenged people? Obviously not! But how is that it is northerners that are begging their lives away from Sokoto to Lagos; from Maiduguri to Ikom; from Zamfara to Aba etc? Is it any wonder that the almajiri system offers   an elementary apprenticeship in begging for alms? With no formal education or life skills, employability is very limited for this category of people.  Coming out of such a system, a pyramidal structure of the northerners outside the region presents the first-tier level base of the north’s blighted exports who end up in places like Lagos, Port- Harcourt, Aba, Onitsha etc as cobblers (shoe shiners) manicurists and pedicurists, water vendors [(mai ruwa), porters (mai kaya / dan dauko)], in the markets and motor parks, garbage collectors (mai shara); or as hawkers of sugarcane, carrots, tiger nuts (aya) and other such things.  The second tier levels who earn a more decent income than the first are the categories that end up as gatemen (maigadi), unpertubed by the sweeping wave of the private security industry.  Since his occupation is more of a sedantry one, he is more often than not permitted -implicitly or explicitly- to run a makeshift kiosk to sell trifles ranging from tom-tom, cigarettes , sugar , to kolanuts and bitter kolas. Others in this category include suya and kilishi merchants, okada riders, tanker drivers, cattle and sheep barons, tailors and embroiders (I have deliberately avoided the use of the expression “fashion designer” to qualify them which I shall explain later on.)

    The third tier levels are the few men and women working in essentially government establishments like Nigerian ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration (NIMASA), Military formations, Police and other security establishments, Customs, Immigrations, NDLEA, NTA, EFCC, VON, FAAN, CBN, SEC, NSPMC, NNPC, DPR, ECOWAS, and the like. Then those that work in the blue chip companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell, MTN, Ericsson, Chevron, Saipem, Sahara, Halliburton, Dangote, BUA, MRS and the likes. The informal cadre in this tier are the bureau the change Alhajis, and the few auto dealers.

    I met a physically challenged fellow who came to study law in ABU a couple of years ago. Although wheel chair bound, he had the heart and spirit of a long distance runner. I taught another in one of the primary schools in Bida and was impressed and encouraged by his determination and dream. But the question is how many northerners who are physically challenged have not resigned to a life of begging?  As I write this, there is in UNILAG a visually impaired man pursuing a Master’s degree in law (LLM). With two degrees in his kitty (a B.A in English and an LLB) he is a sound lawyer that knows his onions and quite an engaging speaker. Another interesting thing about this lawyer is that he has another friend who is his computer programmer who is equally visually impaired; who installs softwares on his computer and update programmes. In 2010, Ayoola Efunkoya, a virtually impaired student graduated as the best student in the Department of Mass Communication, Unilag. Ever head of Dr Ife Akintunde, J.D Matthew Olaiya? How about Cobhams Asuquo (award-winning musician, producer, and songwriter), Cosmas Okoli, a wheel chair bound motivational speaker?. In LASU is a wheel chair bound surgeon. Sheikh Abdullah ibn Abdulazeez ibn baz was blind yet rose to become the first Vice Chancellor of the Islamic University of Medinah and later Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. So how is it that the entire army of persons with disability (and sadly even able bodied men and women) should, as a career, take begging to such obnoxious and incomprehensible levels even when Islam, the religion of the majority of most of them frowns at it?  Where in God’s name are the world class schools in the north to cater for kids with disabilities? Where are the special programmes directed at them?

    Contemporary and Futuristic Engagements:

    Who else would have championed the cause of climate change and desertification if not Newton Jibunoh. Newton Jibunoh it was who in 1965 at the age of 27 crossed the world’s largest desert (via the Sahara desert) alone.  He has had expeditions from London to Lagos and Lagos to London; all by road in a passionate attempt to create awareness on the issue of desertification. His ‘’Desert Warriors’’ reality TV was initiated to stimulate youth participation and bequeath an enduring legacy to fight desertification. He has carried out sensitization and tree planting tours in Kano and other places. These were not established by the region’s cash Alhaji’s and retired Generals or even its professionals even when we are the ones most threatened by the impact of the raging desertification. It was Newton’s idea; solely his. In furtherance of this paradox, the 2010 third edition of the conference on climate change in Lagos had desertification as one of its themes. It did not hold  in Yobe, Borno or Sokoto, it held in Lagos and the last time I checked Lagos was not in remote or immediate threat of desertification yet she attracted professionals and experts from all over the world to come and brainstorm on the issue. How many northern Governors were there? Where are the SL Edus of the north, the Nnimmo Basseys, the Desmond Majekodunmis, and the Tunde Akingbades?

    In other parts of the country, all sorts of groups are formed to draw government and even international attention to the groups interest, hence it is not unusual to hear of Albino groups coming together to protest against discrimination (and their agitation has recently made JAMB consider giving them extra time during its exams), market women associations, Landlord associations, etc where issues of common interest can be discussed and which in real terms is able to draw significant attention than they would as individuals. These associations are also political rallying blocs. Who says the Iyalaje’s in Lagos don’t have a say in the ACN government?

    Despite the age long dominance of northerners in the cattle business, no animal rights’ activist has come out of the region to fight for the rights of animals that are most often than not cruelly transported throughout the length and breadth of this country; and tormented before their eventual slaughter in the most furred and undignifying abattoirs our local governments parade everywhere.

    The Diasporan Alliance

    All sorts of Nigerians in the diaspora associations exist all over the world; from US to Britain to Germany etc. Some of them have even established NGOs in Londonlike Shola Lana of Nexgen. Northerners are neither the brains behind the formation of such groups nor the forces that propel them. Why bother?

    Miscellaneous

    Who are the dealers of electronics, phones, computers, milling machines, generators, and boutiques even in the heart of Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano? Who are the imports and exports barons, spare part dealers, building materials merchants, Pharmacists and drug merchants? Who are those that dominate the printing industry from Kaduna to Zaria thorough Sokoto to Bauchi, Zamfara etc?

    Do northerners parade the best of machinists, technicians, radio and TV technicians, auto mechanics, master welders, carpenters and exquisite furniture makers? Is dry-cleaning, fumigation, industrial / large scale cleaning our turf? In the fashion arena, the most innovations, the daring designs, the creative and contemporary designs in the fashion industry are not from the north. How on earth could they be? Our Tailors and dressmakers have remained tailors nothing more. Not a single one of them has taken his / her expertise to the next redefining level and become fashion designers with brand identities both at home and abroad. Not like those of Dakova; Frank Oshodi; Tiffany Amber; Deola Sagoe ; Tsemaye Binitie; Mike Asikolaye, Mudi (Fashion Design) Adebayo Jones, etc and hence my initial avoidance of the usage of the term. Not even our famous Bukar zanna Kubecaps nor the Muhadu a banki or Marufiya versions can be pinned to a designer north of the Niger.

    Are our caterers and event managers in the north the pace setters in the field? Are we the most sought after chefs in Sheraton, Transcorp, Le Meridian, Oriental or Protea hotels? Do we run the most successful hotels in any part of the country?

    On a tragic note dear reader you may remember the heart-rending story of Readers would remember the pathetic story of little Pwashikai Nideno, the 5year old miracle baby who’s vagina and rectum  were mutilated and left to die in a pool of her blood in Dong Village, Adamawa state… on the . Hospitalised at the Yola Specialist Hospital, all she needed was five million naira for a vaginoplasty operation in Egypt – a procedure to reconstruct her private part and rectum. Pwashikai’s case put Adamawa state government to shame; put the entirety of its political gods to shame; its women folk without exception and by the same stretch of culpability the entire northern region. But the gold medal should go to the first ladies of Adamawa state (all four of them) and the deputy governor’s wife. In this regard, the newspapers reported: ‘’ …the wife of the Adamawa State governor, Binta Nyako, was one of the contributors. She donated the sum of N50, 000 when she visited Pwashikai at the hospital… in company of the association of international female lawyers. The wife of the Adamawa State deputy governor, Bala Ngillari, also made a cash donation of N50, 000 when she went to see the little girl.’’ If Pwashika was the biological daughter of the first and second ladies of Adamawa state would a paltry N50, 000 (which may does not even equate the worth of their jewellery) be the best they would do for her? If they could not go the whole hog to give N5, 000,000 to a dying baby, could they not use their clout and ’’political goodwill’’ to marshal the millionaires’ wives of Adamawa and women of goodwill there to save a life? Was it not a motherly call? Ironically, the largest donation came from an individual in Lagos who insisted on remaining anonymous!!!

    Recognitions and Awards:

    Since its inception in 2005, the future awards has drawn the world’s attention to a crop of emerging youngsters in Nigeria but then how many northerners make the cut year in year out? How many of our people make the cut at the Thisday awards, Silverbird, The Sun, Media Trust, Leadership etc?

    In Conclusion

    Viewed from this prism, shan’t it be safe to safely conclude that poor may after all be a euphemism to describe the parlous state of our calamity? Is this how Allah destined it? Or to my Christian brethren north of the Niger, is this how Jehovah, Elohim, or Yesu Almasihu decreed it? Between 1931 and 1945, Japan occupied China and humbled them as a result. In 1945, Japan was brought to its knees by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; yet from these ominous recesses these countries rose to become global powers today. Were countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the likes not written off as having the remotest prospects of gargantuan rise as evident today? Despite all of the bleak and gloomy prophecies, they rose to become great nations the world admires and doffs its hat to today. The north and indeed Nigeria can learn a lesson or two there from. I am not a self loathing individual; and my disquisition doesn’t in any way attempt to promote sectionalism nor regionalism, far from it, I only wish to draw the attention of a slumbering people to the ‘’very minute’’ details that actually make the whole worth calling whole after all.

    What is it exactly that drives the peoples of the south east, and south west to dare and to achieve? Are they wired differently? So why do we settle for less? Shall we turn to science, eugenics, religion or even superstition for answers? But while we are at it, the fundamental questions still stare us in the face:

    -Who made the north poor? James Ibori, Peter Odili, Dipreye Alamesiagha,or Lucky Igbinedion?

    -What strategies are being put in place to get the north out of this poverty trap both at the level of governance and at the individual/group intervention levels?

    We can choose to remain in the back seat or choose to move ourselves by the bootstraps. We can begin the redemption now or wait till some distant future to earn for ourselves a place of respect- a place where we are not viewed as savages and with this much disdain- a place where we can compete and contribute to the sustenance, peaceful co-existence and prosperity of the one and only country we have and truly love– Nigeria.

    Aliyu Bala Aliyu,

    Masters Student of Public and International Affairs,

    University of  Lagos.

    aliyubala.aliyu@gmail.com

    April 2012

    Northerners’ Born-to-Rule Manifesto: ‘Them Are Fighting Words’

    By

    Ahmed Garba

    I deliberately chose an American informal/colloquial expression in the title of this article to demonstrate from the outset, how ridiculous it sounds to hear people, that is, some Southern Nigerians make the comment that Northerners believe that they are ‘born to rule Nigeria’.

    In the last couple of years in particular, a lot of us Northerners have become quite familiar with this remark that, especially the so-called Hausa/Fulani have arrogated to themselves, the right to rule Nigeria.  You could just see how the neck vein of the proponents of this belief swells to the size of a goiter as they launch into some eye-popping tirade when this subject comes up.

    The issue was once again brought to my attention recently, via an email that has been making the rounds, which contained an article entitled “[ICAN-NG] THE NORTH AND THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NIGERIA—A MUST READ! “.  The article—which the author doesn’t seem too proud to claim by refusing to state his/her name upfront—made references to some comments purportedly made by Sir Ahamadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, in which he supposedly declared/revealed the “Northerners’ born to rule” manifesto.  The evidentiary proof, according to the nameless author is the following:

    “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate from our great-grand father Othoman Dan Fodio. We  must RUTHLESSLY prevent a change of power. We must use the minorities of the North as willing tools, and the South as conquered territories and never allow them to have control of their future”

     This ‘fatwa-like’ remark was said to have been made by Sardauna on October 12, 1960, and the author claimed that the quote came out of a magazine called PARROT (what an apt name for a source of information of this nature) issued on the same day.  As Nigerians will say, this is ‘arrant nonsense’!

    In this article, I will engage in both qualitative (i.e. narrative) and quantitative (i.e. statistical) analyses of this alleged northern arrogation of power, in order to properly address this prevailing anti-Northerners, anti-Muslims, and anti-Hausa/Fulani acrimony pervading the country.

    QUALITATIVE (Narrative) ANALYSIS

    Sardauna was well known for speaking his mind, but even then, it is doubtful, if not inconceivable that he could have uttered the quote above.  Apart from the fact that the remark lacks the kind of political sophistication that one would expect from the caliber of Sardauna, when put in the context of early 1960s Nigeria, this quote screams ‘utter insidious fabrication’ from someone too crude and inept, trying to sow mischief.  I would say, this is a case of sending a boy to do a man’s job.  Now I have to spend precious time poking holes in the shoddy job done by this dullard, while at the same time correcting the misinformation aimed at his/her intended audience.

    First, let’s begin with the spelling ‘Othoman Dan Fodio’.  Anyone familiar enough with Nigerian political history will know that the correct spelling should take one of these forms: Usman Dan Fodio (correct Hausa spelling); or Uthman Dan Fodio; or Usman Dan Fuduye (Francophone African spelling); or Usman ibn Fodio (Afro-Arabic spelling).  So, where did this author get ‘Othoman’?  From an Orientalist?

    Secondly, when Sardauna made this remark, what were the responses of his southern counterparts after reading such inflammatory comment at this time of Nigeria’s formative period?  Let’s keep in mind that even now, in the year 2012, some Southerners never fail to denigrate Northerners as illiterate, backward, unsophisticated, nothing but ‘cattle herders’, how much more in the early 1960s, when Sardauna supposedly made this comment?  Wouldn’t the Southern Premiers have come out in full swing with their Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard education to ‘put our Mallam in his place’?  But the author somehow failed to come up with any appropriate retort or fiery response from the “highly educated”, and “more sophisticated” Premiers of Western and Eastern regions. Not even belligerent Awolowo or the erudite Azikiwe came up with an equally apt  response?  How could they have let this ‘Cattle Herder” get away with such derogatory, and provocative comment?   The nameless author went on to add:

    “Note that the ‘do or die’ election of 1959 did not give the North the required majority to form Government until Eastern Nigeria (Today’s South-East and South-South) came to the rescue.”

    So, here we have the author telling us that one year before Sardauna made the previous condescending remark; the Southerners had generously subjugated themselves to his northern party, by literally handing the party the votes needed to form majority government.   What were they thinking, with all that advanced education?  Were these Southerners just too magnanimous, and for what reason?  The author of this diatribe apparently does not understand the concept of parliamentary system and coalition government.  An agreement between two political parties (NPC and NCNC) to form a majority government in a parliamentary system was hardly a generous sacrifice on the part of the Eastern Nigerians.

    The usual argument in support of this anti-North campaign is that for 37+ years, Northerners were at the helm of affairs in Nigeria.  But, for the bulk of those years, Nigeria was ruled by the military–an organization that had members from both the North and the South.  In fact, the very first military coup in Nigeria (January 1966) was carried out by Southerners (Ibos), who pointedly massacred polticians and military officers who were not from their own part of the country.  Strangely enough, Nzeogwu, the cold-blooded murderous mastermind of the coup, was not only reported to be the protégé of Sardauna, but, even he never mentioned that he was motivated by Sardauna’s ‘born to rule’ manifesto.  In addition, the brutal killing of Sardauna was gallantly avenged partly by those “minority Northerners” that he supposedly had blatantly described with the condescending words “willing tools”.  Furthermore, I am yet to find any citation, where even Ojukwu, in all his struggles for the state of Biafra, ever mentioned this purported remark by Sardauna.

    Another point worth noting is that, since most of the 37+ years of rule by Northerners was achieved through military coups, what prevented the southern military officers from staging their own coup in the intevening years?  Was it that the spirit of ‘born to rule’ was so much in favour of the Hausa/Fulani officers that their coup could never fail? Or were they just brazen, and brave enough to put their lives on the line, and bear the consequences, only to have their southern counterparts and their descendants come out whining and distorting history years later?

    If indeed there was anything resembling Northerners’ ”born to rule” manifesto put together by Sardauna, and expected to be maintained by “Northerners”, particularly, Hausa/Fulani, then they must have failed woefully, or they never believed in it.  Here is why:

    ALONG CAME YAKUBU GOWON (1966)

    Throughout the unfolding events of the July 1966 counter coup, Murtala Muhammed, a Hausa/Fulani man was one of the, if not ‘the central figure’ in this event.  He was in the thick and thin of it all, barking orders and following his own game plan.  However, despite reports of some heated exchanges between him and Yakubu Gowon, when the dust finally settled, it was Yakubu Gowon, a member of the minority tribe that was chosen as the head of state.  Could these brave Hausa/Fulani soldiers who put their lives on the line, quickly forget the ‘born to rule’ injunction from Sardauna?  They will just hand over the rulership to a non-Hausa/Fulani, when barely 6 years earlier; they supposedly have been instructed to arrogate power to themselves, ‘RUTHLESSLY’.   Recall also that not only did these northern military officers fail to maintain that ‘born to rule’ agenda, but they also went to war under the command and leadership of a non-Hausa/Fulani head of state.  Could the claim of northerners or Hausa/Fulani arrogation of power be anymore illogical?

    ALONG CAME OBASANJO (1976)

    In the 1976 failed Dimka coup, when Murtala Muhammed was laying in the pool of his own blood, and Shehu Yar’Adua and T.Y. Danjuma were busy putting down the coup, Murtala’s own second in command, Obasanjo was hiding under a rock somwehere (as he remained incommunicado for some crtitical hours).  It would have been easy for the Northerners to excercise their ‘born to rule’ agenda, by simply handing the mantle of leaderhip to, say, Shehu Yar’Adua, or T.Y. Danjuma (who was actually urged to take over, but he declined, preferring to follow order of seniority).  Instead, they waited for frazzled Obasanjo to crawl out of his hiding place, and appointed him as the new head of state.  Not only that, they stood by him to steady his shaky hands and build his confidence. I wonder why the  Northerners or the Hausa/Fulani did not dig up that ‘PARROT’ magazine to remind themselves of what Sardauna had instructed them?

    ALONG CAME MKO ABIOLA (1993)

    In the 1993 presidential primaries for Socical Democratic Party, M.K.O. Abiola, a Southerner defeated two Northerners (Baba Kingibe, and Atiku Abubakar) to secure the nomination for his party.  He then went on to defeat yet another Hausa/Fulani, Bashir Tofa in the June 12, 1993 presidential elections.  According to some accounts, Abiola was even well voted for in Tofa’s home state of Kano.  I wonder what happened to that Northerners’ born to rule agenda?

    ALONG CAME OBASANJO AGAIN (1999)

    Let us remember that in 1998, a handful of Northerners (Rtd. Generals Babangida, Danjuma, Yahya Gusau, etc.), Muslims and Christians went clear across Nigeria, to a filthy prison in the dark crevices of the city of Yola to scrape up from the floor, a decaying convict of southern origin, and a Christian (Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo).  Against everything that was right and just, they gazetted a pardon for him, and resuscitated his malnourished body with better than prison food; they made him shed that striped prison uniform and provided him with an assortment of quality clothing; they gave him seed money from their own ill-gotten wealth in order for him to run for election in 1999.  They didn’t stop there, they made sure that this southern Christian was successfully foisted on Nigeria, even against the will of his own southern people.  And we know how he rewarded these Northerners with generous amount of mischief and machinations.

    Now, query: What happened to that purported ‘born to rule’ manifesto that Sardauna left behind for these Northerners?

    THEN CAME JONAH (2010)

    In 2010, when Goodluck Jonathan vacated his sense of honor, if he ever had any, and decided that his own party’s zoning arrangement did not apply to him, despite records proving that he was signatory number 32, Nigeria was suddenly informed that there had been a long standing Northern ‘born to rule’ mentality.  We saw manipulative, passive-aggressive, callous serpent—Jonah played victim and dragged Nigeria into his own party’s zoning brouhaha, and the NPLF (Northern People Leadership Forum), under the leadership of Adamu Ciroma, stupidly helped him foul up the air with their PDP in-fighting, with the result that the phrase ‘born to rule’ entered the Nigerian political lexicon.  No doubt, the war of words between the two cretins–Ciroma vs. Jonah, was the one factor that brought these fighting words to the forefront.

    In spite of Jonah’s willingness to wink at his people of Ijaw ‘nation’, and other Southerners, egging them on as they  yelp ‘Northern born to rule’, the same two-faced, diabolic man was enlisting the help of Northerners to help him secure a win in the presidential election.  And some of them obliged! With the tacit agreement, in fact, blatant acquiescense of some Northerners, Emirs included–some of whom could even trace their family lineage to Sardauna himself.   We saw Northerners served as foot soldiers for the serpent from the South-South (By the way South-South is not a geographic point, it doesn’t exist even on a 16-point compass).  The Northerners, including the likes of Haliru Bello, a Hausa/Fulani man from Sarduana’s own place of origin, who were supposed to have that ‘born to rule’ mentality engrained in them, became Jonah’s errand boys.  They were frequently dispatched with “gifts/messages” to shameless northern traditional rulers, politicians, and other chief ballot riggers, so much so that when the elections were held, Jonah claimed that he secured close to 500,000 votes in the home state of Sardauna himself! .

    These same ‘born to rule’ Northerners, worked fervently against one of their very own–Muhammadu Buhari, in favour of a southern Christian–Jonah.  The level of acrimony the Northern elites displayed against Buhari was more than palpable.  In fact, one of his most brutal antagonist was that self-loathing Sule Lamido, governor of Jigawa state, and a fellow Fulani!  He even went as far as to declare that if Jonah was not elected president, Nigeria will break up!  I wonder what the Southerners think of this remark, especially since they had tried to blame the post-election riots on Buhari.  Better yet, what does the SSS think of it?

    Again, query: What happened to that purported ‘born to rule’ manifesto that Sardauna left behind for these Northerners?

    If we were to believe that the 2011 presidential election was fair, then we will recall that Jonah claimed that he was able to get the required 25% of votes from many of the 19 northern states.  Yet, not even one of the three Northern candidates was able to secure a win in southern states, except for Ribadu, who managed to win one state in the South West.  Ironically, even Nuhu Ribadu, who was the flag-bearer for the ACN party could not secure a win in the southern state of Lagos, where his own party was head-quartered!  It is therefore, amusing to note that despite the foregoing narration showing how the Northerners or Hausa/Fulani have collaborated with Southerners or the so-called “northern minority tribes”, some people are still ranting about Northern/Hausa/Fulani domination.

    QUANTITATIVE (Statistical) ANALYSIS

    As I stated earlier, I intend to augment my narrative analysis with cold, hard statistics.  My approach to the quantitative analyses is therefore done in two parts.  The first is a summary of the data, while the second part goes deeper into inferential statistical analysis.

    DATA SUMMARY

    Looking at tables (1-7) in the Appendix section, in the 50 years or so since Nigeria attained independence, there has been a total of 14 heads of state, as shown in table 1, with varying lengths of service, and from diverse background.  The military accounts for 37 of the years of service.  As table 2 shows, people of northern origin account for 37.17 years of service, however, this figure includes 12 years of on-again, off-again civilian administrations.  Southerners, as shown in table 3 so far, have 14.27 years, with 10.25 years represented by civilian administrations.  It should be noted here that I left out Nnamdi Azikiwe from the sample for Southerners because he was a president in a parliamentary system of government, where the prime minister was more of the substantive head of government.  Besides, it will be ridiculous to show two heads of state at the same time, for the same country.  Furthermore, since the allegation is that Northerners have dominated the scene, it will look like cheating in their favor to substitute Azikiwe for Balewa.

    Table 4 shows that Muslims account for about 28 years of service, while Christians (table 5) have about 23 years of service.  Interestingly enough, while Christians are represented from both the north and south, there has never been a Muslim from the south.  The often vilified Hausa/Fulani account for mere 14 years, as shown in table 6, while Non-Hausa/Fulani (table 7) have served for a whopping 37 years, almost three times as long as the much maligned Hausa/Fulani.  In fact, four Non-Hausa/Fulani heads of state (Abacha*, Babangida, Gowon and Obasanjo) have a combined total of over 33 years, and more than 20 of those years belong to the last two, who also happen to be Christians.  Furthermore, one Southern, Christian head of state (Obasanjo), accounts for more than two-thirds of the total years of service for all Hausa/Fulani heads of state combined (11 ½ vs. 14 ¼  years).

    * I know that identifying Abacha as Non-Hausa/Fulani may be controversial, especially since some Southerners will rather lump him together with Hausa/Fulani, but I have a feeling that, if he were alive, he will prefer to self-identify as a Kanuri.  In fact, it is possible that his military enlistment records may reflect this classification.

     STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

    As mentioned earlier, I intend to subject these widely-held and evidently erroneous beliefs to statistical analysis in order to ascertain/dispute the veracity of this anti-north propaganda.  As noted above, Nigeria has only been independent for about 50 years, and has been ruled by 14 heads of state.  Therefore, I decided to use a non-parametric test for this analysis.  I have therefore chosen two-sample t-test which helps to address the issue of non-normal (abnormal) distribution of the samples, as well as their small sizes.   The standard two-sample t-test formula is expressed as:

    t = [(x1 - x2) - d] / SE

    Where t is the returned/calculated value; x-sub1 is the mean for sample 1; x-sub2 is the mean for sample 2; d is the hypothesized difference, in this case we are saying that the difference between the means of any of the two sets is zero; SE is the standard error, calculated as (SE = sqrt[(s12/n1) + (s22/n2)] ); n1 (e.g. Northerners), n2 (e.g. Southerners) are the sample sizes. The model is repeatedly tested for each of the 3 pairs of samples—Northerners vs. Southerners; Muslims vs. Christians; and Hausa/Fulani vs. Non-Hausa/Fulani.  In order to remain faithful to the technical requirements of the t-test model, I used the mean rank values derived from the ranking by years of service (tables 1-7, in the appendix).  Also, in all of the following analyses, if the calculated t-value is greater than the critical t score and the associated p value based on the degrees of freedom (calculated as DF = (s12/n1 + s22/n2)2 / { [ (s12 / n1)2 / (n1 - 1) ] + [ (s22 / n2)2 / (n2 - 1) ] }) is less than 0.05–the expect value for alpha (α)–then the null hypothesis will be rejected.

     The preceding descriptive/summary analysis is obviously based on cursory observation, and, though it sheds some light on the matter, it still hides some salient facts.  So, in the following inferential statistical analyses, I will peel off some of the ‘layers of this onion’.  Let me re-iterate one critical proviso: The sample sizes (9 and 5 or 8 and 6) are not exactly large enough for robust analysis, but the data sets cannot be substituted with anything else.  They are what they are.

     Northerners vs. Southerners

    Null hypothesis (1) H0: μ1 = μ2): There is no statistically significant difference in the average years of service between Northern and Southern heads of state.  That is, the hypothesized mean difference is 0.

    t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances
      Northerners Southerners
    Mean Rank 6.889 5
    Variance 10.611 13.5
    Sample Size 9 5
    Pooled Variance 11.574
    Hypothesized Mean Difference 0
    df 12
    Calculated t Stat 0.9954
    P(T<=t) one-tail 0.1696
    t Critical one-tail 1.7823
    P(T<=t) two-tail 0.3392
    t Critical two-tail 2.1788

    Figure 1

    As figure 1 above shows, there have been 9 Northern heads of state and 5 from the south.  Their mean ranks, based on years of service are 6.89 and 5 respectively, with variance of 10.6 for the north and 13.5 for the south.  The calculated t value of 0.9954 is far less than the critical t of 2.1788 (two-tail).  The p-value of 0.3392, for 12 degrees of freedom is far greater than the chosen p = 0.05.  Therefore, even though there are almost twice as many heads of state of northern origin, there is no statistically significant difference in their length of service compared to the southern heads of state.

    Muslims vs. Christians

    Null hypothesis (2) H0: μ1 = μ2): There is no statistically significant difference in the average years of service between Muslim and Christian heads of state.   That is, the hypothesized mean difference is 0.

    t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances
      Muslims Christians
    Mean Rank 6.375 6
    Variance 9.4107 16.8
    Sample Size 8.0 6
    Pooled Variance 12.4896
    Hypothesized Mean Difference 0
    df 12.0000
    Calculated t Stat 0.1965
    P(T<=t) one-tail 0.4238
    t Critical one-tail 1.7823
    P(T<=t) two-tail 0.8475
    t Critical two-tail 2.1788

    Figure 2

    In figure 2 above, we have 8 Muslim heads of state and 6 Christians.  Their mean ranks, based on years of service are 6.4 and 6 respectively, with variance of 9.4107 for the Muslims and 16.8 for the Christians.  This shows that even though their respective means are close, there is a lot of variation among the Christians.  We can even tell by looking at the spread, Shonekan’s ¼ year of service to Obasanjo’s one-time 8 years or his total of 11 ½ years. The calculated t value of 0.1965 is far less than the critical t of 2.1788 (two-tail).  The p-value of 0.8475, for 12 degrees of freedom is far greater than the chosen p = 0.05.  Therefore, there is no statistically significant difference between Muslim and Christian heads of state.

    Null hypothesis (3) H0: μ1 = μ2): There is no statistically significant difference in the average years of service between Hausa/Fulani and Non-Hausa/Fulani heads of state.   That is, the hypothesized mean difference is 0.

    Hausa/Fulani vs. Non-Hausa/Fulani

    t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances
      Hausa/Fulani Non-Hausa/Fulani
    Mean Rank 5.8 6.44
    Variance 8.2 14.53
    Sample Size 5 9
    Pooled Variance 12.4185
    Hypothesized Mean Difference 0
    df 12
    Calculated  t Stat -0.3279
    P(T<=t) one-tail 0.3743
    t Critical one-tail 1.7823
    P(T<=t) two-tail 0.7487
    t Critical two-tail 2.1788

    Figure 3

    Figure 3 shows; there have been 5 Hausa/Fulani heads of state and 9 Non-Hausa/Fulani.  Their mean ranks, based on years of service are 5.8 and 6.4 respectively, with variance of 8.2 for the Hausa/Fulani and 14.53 for the Non-Hausa/Fulani.  This shows that even though their respective means are close, there is a lot of variation among the Non-Hausa/Fulani.  We can even tell by looking at the spread, Shonekan’s ¼ year of service to Gowon’s 9 years, for instance. The Hausa/Fulani tend to have a series of “shorter” lengths of service.  The calculated t value of -0.3279 is far less than the critical t of 2.1788 (two-tail).  The p-value of 0.7487, for 12 degrees of freedom is far greater than the chosen p = 0.05.  Therefore, even though there are almost half as many Hausa/Fulani heads of state compared to Non-Hausa/Fulani, there is no statistically significant difference in their length of service.

    What has become clear from the foregoing is that all these heads of state have come about as a result of random chance.

    CONCLUSION

    When northern military officers worked together during the July 1966 counter coup, and eventually chose a non Hausa/Fulani–Yakubu Gowon, to become the head of state, we didn’t hear anything about Hausa/Fulani ‘born to rule’ agenda; when, after the assassination of Murtala, northern military officers waited respectfully for Obasanjo to crawl out of hiding, and collectively chose him to lead the country, we didn’t hear anything about “Northerners’ born to rule” agenda; when Northerners voted in droves in 1993 and handed Abiola victory, even in the home state of his Hausa/Fulani opponent, we didn’t hear anything about Hausa/Fulani born to rule mentality; when Northerners foisted once, and rigged twice for Obasanjo to become civillian president, there was no hula baloo about  “Northerners’ born to rule” manifesto.  However, when Nigeria got Jonah, the president who has been leading Nigeria to that road to division, Northerners collectively, or Hausa/Fulani in particular, are now being accused of a long-standing belief in arrogation of power.  Fortunately, the issue of Northern, Muslim, or Hausa/Fulani dominance of leadership in Nigeria is not, to borrow a word from Tam David-West, ‘photophobic’.  It can be put under the light and subjected to thorough scrutiny, as I have done here.  In all of this north-south mudslinging, the one thing that has remained incomprehensible to me is this:

    On the one hand, Northerners have been portrayed as backward, illiterates, ‘Almajirai’—Sons and Daughters of beggars, and on the other, they have arrogated to themselves the right, and the ability to rule Nigeria.  How do the educated, enlightened Southerners reconcile these apparently conflicting portrayals of the Northerners?  If the arguments are true, how could backward ‘cattle herders’ rule erudite, sophisticated Southerners for so long, even if achieved by the barrel of the gun?

    APPENDIX

    Table 1: Nigerian Heads of State Since Independence
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Svc. Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Military/Civilian Note Svc. Start Year
    Tafawa Balewa 5 9 North Muslim Yes Civilian 1960
    Yakubu Gowon 9 11 North Christian No Military 1966
    Aguyi Ironsi 0.5 2 South Christian No Military 1966
    Murtala Muhammed 0.5 2 North Muslim Yes Military 1975
    Olusegun Obasanjo 3.5 7 South Christian No Military 1976
    Shehu Shagari 4 8 North Muslim Yes Civilian 1979
    Muhammadu Buhari 1.67 4 North Muslim Yes Military 1984
    Ibrahim Babangida 8 10 North Muslim No Military Gwari 1985
    Ernest Shonekan 0.25 1 South Christian No Civilian 1993
    Sani Abacha 5 9 North Muslim No Military Kanuri 1993
    Abdulsalam Abubakar 1 3 North Muslim No Military Gwari 1998
    Olusegun Obasanjo 8 10 South Christian No Civilian 1999
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 3 6 North Muslim Yes Civilian 2007
    Goodluck Jonathan 2 5 South Christian No Civilian 2010
    Total Years of Svc.    51.42
    Table 2: Northerners
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Murtala Muhammed 0.5 2 North Muslim Yes
    Abdulsalam Abubakar 1 3 North Muslim No Gwari
    Muhammadu Buhari 1.67 4 North Muslim Yes
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 3 6 North Muslim Yes
    Shehu Shagari 4 8 North Muslim Yes
    Tafawa Balewa 5 9 North Muslim Yes
    Sani Abacha 5 9 North Muslim No
    Ibrahim Babangida 8 10 North Muslim No Gwari
    Yakubu Gowon 9 11 North Christian No Gwari
    Total Years of Service 37.17
    Table 3:Southerners
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Ernest Shonekan 0.25 1 South Christian No
    Aguyi Ironsi 0.5 2 South Christian No
    Goodluck Jonathan 2 5 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 3.5 7 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 8 10 South Christian No
    Total Years of Service  14.25
    Table 4: Muslims
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Murtala Muhammed 0.5 2 North Muslim Yes
    Abdulsalam Abubakar 1 3 North Muslim No Gwari
    Muhammadu Buhari 1.67 4 North Muslim Yes
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 3 6 North Muslim Yes
    Shehu Shagari 4 8 North Muslim Yes
    Tafawa Balewa 5 9 North Muslim Yes
    Sani Abacha 5 9 North Muslim No
    Ibrahim Babangida 8 10 North Muslim No Gwari
    Total Years of Service 28.17
    Table 5: Christians
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Yakubu Gowon 9 11 North Christian No Gwari
    Ernest Shonekan 0.25 1 South Christian No
    Aguyi Ironsi 0.5 2 South Christian No
    Goodluck Jonathan 2 5 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 3.5 7 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 8 10 South Christian No
    Total Years of Service 23.25
    Table 6: Hausa-Fulani
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Murtala Muhammed 0.5 2 North Muslim Yes
    Muhammadu Buhari 1.67 4 North Muslim Yes
    Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 3 6 North Muslim Yes
    Shehu Shagari 4 8 North Muslim Yes
    Tafawa Balewa 5 9 North Muslim Yes
    Total Years of Svc. 14.17
    Table 7: Non Hausa-Fulani
    Head of State Years of Svc. Ranking by Yrs. Of Service Region Religion Hausa/Fulani Note
    Abdulsalam Abubakar 1 3 North Muslim No Gwari
    Sani Abacha 5 9 North Muslim No Kanuri
    Ibrahim Babangida 8 10 North Muslim No Gwari
    Yakubu Gowon 9 11 North Christian No Gwari
    Ernest Shonekan 0.25 1 South Christian No
    Aguyi Ironsi 0.5 2 South Christian No
    Goodluck Jonathan 2 5 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 3.5 7 South Christian No
    Olusegun Obasanjo 8 10 South Christian No
    Total Years of Service  37.25