- Where is Professor Ango Abudullahi?
• Where is the Northern Elders Forum?
• Where are the Governors of the 19 Northern States?
Look at the table below.
It shows the latest ranking of the 36 states and Abuja in terms of WAEC performance. See the positions of the Northern states on the table. No Northern state made the top 10 performers. Meanwhile the bottom 10 or the laggards is a roll call of Northern states, except for Osun State.
Year in, year out, for decades, this has been the position with the northern states. A sore indicator of the decrepit state of education in the North.
Do the governors of the Northern states not collect federal allocations? If yes, do they provide for education in their budgets? If they do, why does the North perform so poorly at WAEC?
Should the North not declare a state of emergency on education? Do Northern elites give a damn about their states’ sordid education performance? I doubt.
The North has very vocal elite persons and groups, including Professor Ango Abudullahi, 78, former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University and the spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, a “think-tank” of the North. Add the boisterous group, The Governors of the 19 Northern States.
Do these elites and their groups worry about deplorable development, particularly of education, in their states? Do they discuss the education of their people? Do they strategise on how to get their swelling millions of children out of school educated? Again I doubt.
They focus on elite concerns: the personal business of oil and money sharing along with political power dominance. So issues of Niger Delta oil, prospecting the Chad area for oil, sustaining a federal system skewed in favour of Northern elites, threatening groups like IPOB and Niger Delta militants, declaring that their personal herdsmen have the right to any part of the country, ensuring their personal safety under the general banner of national security, are among selfish concerns they raise hell over.
They tend not to hold summits or discuss or have opinion on the huge poverty, mushrooming almajiri system, horribly low education standards, avoidable diseases, growing ignorance and acute lack of jobs afflicting the greater majority or the masses of their peoples. For them, these are non-issues because they do not generate business, money and control for the Northern elites. So they don’t matter.
So be not surprised if, again, this year as in the past decades, you hear nothing from Professor Ango Abudullahi, Northern Elders Forum and Governors of the 19 Northern States on the WAEC states ranking and its indication of the alarmingly poor state of education in their domain. That is not a priority. What is top most priority is that the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to the North (please read as northern elites). Just the oil, not the massive pollution of the Niger Delta ecosystem and marginalisation of its indigenous peoples. Those Niger Delta peoples, like the masses of the poor up North, do not matter. They are worth no considerations.
Professor Samuel Zalanga of Bethel University, Minnesota, in a 2014 paper titled, “Northern Nigerian Elites and National Power Struggle in Nigeria”, wrote:
“The great majority of the Northern elites defended their interests and the interests of those whose services enhanced the elites’ capacity to continue controlling the lives of the ordinary masses and what was then known as the “national cake.”
The story remains the same. For how long will this charade continue?
WAEC Ranking of the States
Mr Tadaferua is a media and marketing communications consultant. Twitter: @ktadaferua