The North is now leaderless because almost all the projected problems are now at the doorsteps of Northerners. There was a time when the late Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello, kept the region united and came with an Industrial revolution in 1962 that would have made the region the major producer and exporter of crops to the world. He planted the economic trees that should have been the pillars for employing all our restive youths who now the foot-soldiers, terrorising us despite the presence of the high and mighty. The reputation of the North is fading away gradually. The situation is also taking us closer to our graves on a daily basis because of insecurity, unemployment and poverty.
Leadership in Nigeria has become a parrot cry as most of the elected politicians most especially the members of the National Assembly are sighted once after four years which has continued to discourage many Nigerians especially the voting population on democratic institutions. Nigerians are left with no choice but to believe that the North is leaderless as the political office holders seem helpless and powerless considering the turn of events in the region.
If Northerners would look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges confronting us and our generation, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care without regard to the ethnic coloration that has divided us and is almost at the verge of collapsing the mighty North. I had the fortune to interact with few prominent politicians in the North and what I understand is that there is no leadership filters that can take the country out of the current happenings.
According to the greatest Northern orator and one of finest sons of the North Alh.Yusuf Maitama Sule (Dan Masanin Kano); the purpose of history is to correct the past ills, adjust the present and plan for the future. Many people come from this school of thought with a renowned history but with less concern for the present neither giving any priority to the future. It is only a few that decide for the majority with no workable plans at the detriment of millions. This has been the case in the North for quite some-time and it is becoming a humanitarian issue where abject poverty, high rate of unemployment, kidnapping, banditry, rape, drug abuse and illiteracy has become an order of the day.
This has been the questions average Nigerians from the North have asked without a single answer nor an attempt to solve what has been foreseen to be a problem in the region if not the country as a whole. It has now reached a peak where these questions raised without an answer neither solutions being proffered is throwing the Northern region into an increasing risk of insecurity, unemployment and poverty. The lack of commitment of those in the position of authority to govern according to the principles laid remains a serious concern to the growth and development of the North and the country at large. The lack of good and desirable leadership has been our concern in the North despite it being the region with the highest number of heads of state and elected presidents recorded.
The region is said to have the highest number of serving and retired top military officers, the police, top political office holders, permanent secretaries at the Federal and State levels, high profile traditional rulers, the richest business moguls in oils and gas and ICT among others. The Irony still remains that the North has always been the least developed region compared to the South. This is nothing worth arguing over, but only a Northern hypocrite can stand with the North in 2023 to produce yet another President after President Muhammadu Buhari completes his eight-year tenure. The region has had every opportunity to set itself on the pedestrian bridge of economic prosperity but to no avail. We don’t have leaders in the North who see opportunities even in the midst of a pandemic, we only have rulers who priorities the service of their families against their country.
The lack of commitment of leadership and political will to invest in the high population expansion of the North is a time bomb waiting to explode and is fingered as one of the reasons for our regional undertones. The lack of reoriented followership in the Northern region has been another serious concern because it has been said that people follow only the person they trust, but in our case we follow both because of ethnic and religion coloration even if such person is responsible for our current challenges.
The North is blessed with rulers who have so much value for power even when most of them lack the knowledge to play with the power as a tool to make the life of their followers better. The hoodlums we call leaders have turned most of us to mere errand and social media boys to keep defending lies, deceits and illusions at the detriment of the truth that is visible even to some of us the defendants. This attitude of ours has reduced our capacity to challenge those in the position of power and demand for better explanation of their stewardship, rather we have become complementary and life support jackets to failed politicians.
They have failed to secure profitable jobs and empower us like they are up and doing for their children who are paid with lucrative business empires from funds siphoned from our common treasury. The youths have been reduced to SSA social media and handbag carrying machines to the wives of these shoeless elites who have traded our future with their corrupt tendencies of governance. They come and go at the end of their tenure without executing a single project that is beneficial to all. Our lawmakers who should have made sound laws have failed to do that but have chosen to come with policies and programs of mostly car gifts to their closest friends and political allies at the detriment of millions of voters. The irony is that the children of these elites are not seen in rallies campaigning for their parents while you are left exchanging blows for people that are responsible to our ills.
The northern elites have succeeded in chasing away the real followers that have the true spirit of patriotism, passion and commitment for the realization of the goals of late Premier of Northern Nigeria Sir. Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto of blessed memory. He united the entire region as a single entity, a legacy that that 19 Northern elected Governors failed to do simply due to lack of capacity and credibility to govern. The youths with the true spirit of patriotism have been replaced with none patriotic Northern elites who do everything for their personal interest and selfish minds.
One of the major challenges confronting the north is the way and manner politicians have succeeded in recruiting followers as either political thugs or aides on social media to destroy the hard-earned images of their fellows using abusive language on those perceived to be their political enemies of their pay masters. It is only in the North that youths at their productive ages are used as guard men of campaign billboards and posters while the children of these politicians live flamboyant lives and drive exotic cars at the expense of these helpless young Northerners.
It is only in the North that gallant youths are given a token to sweep or wash streets after campaign rallies of a political party.
It is only in the North that you see giant youths being used as errand boys of our political class instead of occupying well strategic positions in government. One disheartening problem in the north is we don’t have an issue-based campaign where politicians engage their followers on what they have done and what they will do if elected but all we see or hear is PDP and APC and their slogans. We all know how Dauda Kahutu (Rara) a Hausa singer was valued as the sound and vibrant economist who kept predicting our current situation. In 2015 and 2019 ,many elected officials scaled through because of the SAK syndrome and Chanji Slogan without paying emphasis to their blueprints which we are all paying for.
It has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that most of us in the North are greatly affected by the level of our understanding of issues and the continued misconception especially by those in power and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate our enemies from our friends. This is quite challenging because an ideology has been infused in us that a political party that has been in power is the only problem facing Nigeria, particularly the North that has suffered the insurgency anemia. The performance of the arrogant Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Bauchi counterpart Senator Bala Mohammed as well as the Magician of Ebonyi State Engineer David Umahi FNSE will be an eye-opener for us come 2023.
We are in an era of confusion that has denied us access to membership of a Nigerian political party. How can we move on with these gimmick called leadership and followership in the North?. They have short changed our thinking, making the ill-informed among us to believe that religion is the problem. We must not always believe what we read on the internet as it has done more harm than good to the entire country causing commotion and division.
The religious leaders have turned into campaign managers and marketers of politicians and their so-called political parties instead of marketers of their ideology. These Imams and Pastors drives exotic cars at the expense of their poor listeners, though the scenario is gradually changing by 2023 Political endorsement will not be entertained during Friday sermons and Sunday services. It is true because those religious leaders who campaigned tooth and nail for the APC government are nowhere to be found when those exposed for corruption are been mishandled in Katsina State and when bandits are killings dozens of farmers and innocent Nigerians in Katsina, Zanfara, Sokoto and Kaduna States.
What is surprising is that these major faiths (Islam and Christianity) have assumed full duty of media men and mouth piece of both the government and the opposition, at the time one of them is defending government performance the other is ridiculing the government all because of leadership. The Northerners are gradually coming to terms with each other irrespective of their tribe, religion and political identities being that only serious leadership can restore the lost glory of the North. The North must come together during this trying moment to find the direction of the region as it is in self-destruction because all the perpetrators of the violence in North West, North East and North Central are Northerners.
It left to us to decide how best we can help our region, find its course and start a journey of new beginnings by nurturing the region on the principles of justice, fairness and equity left by the Sardauna of Sokoto who died building only the bridges of peace and unity of the Northern region as the first prime Minister. We must know that history doesn’t just happen to us but we make history happen and we must stand up to write our history well, so that posterity will judge us well. The leaders must know that the children they abandon today will be the one to chase them tomorrow and if you don’t provide for the poor then conflict between the have and have nots will continue to widen.
Sani Danaudi Mohammed is the National President, Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative.