Zamfara killings, leadership failure and the lethargy of northern elites, by Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice

Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice
Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice

That the north has not gone the way of Somalia is to give glory to God for his mercy, ordinarily, northern Nigeria is meant to be the capital convergence of the absurd where the bad, the smelly and ugly occurrences of the world abound. How on earth do you have peace in a region bedevilled by illiteracy, poverty, and obstinate extremism? The only region where you have more kids abandoned on the streets in the name of quest for Arabic education, where a man with barely a means of livelihood bear children from 4 wives, where injustice poke you in the eyes, a region where the hail of rankadede fill the air than the hail of hard work, a region where you have few extremely wealthy people in the midst of overwhelmingly very poor people. You certainly don’t expect anything other than the lamentable harvest of diseases, poverty, insecurity and death.

While other regions are in the intimate race for self-development, the north is riddled with an unmitigated grip of under-development. Years of unplanned births, gross mismanagement of resources and violent extremism has rendered a beautiful region in the doldrums of miseries and deaths. From the senseless sharia riots to needless political unrest to the pogrom of Boko Haram, it has been tales of an ugly narrative. Education in the north has been an eyesore same way economic activities have been in shambles, in all of these, its birth rates have been shooting up exponentially. What do you get from a society that doesn’t plan her births? Of course, it is unending records of diseases, insecurity and deaths, and the north has these frightening indices in great reference.

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Only in the north, you find no trace of mentoring dispositions, the elites are widely disconnected from the poor. People would rather host lavished weddings than spend on education, decayed health system and empowerment initiatives. Never seen anywhere in the north where young people are gathered and mentored. Individualism has taken over the old culture of communalism that existed in this once beautiful region. No present northern elite can confidently boast of late Sardauna’s legacy of scouting for young people from homes of northern Nigeria. It was the late premier of northern Nigeria’s mentoring dexterity that produced leaders like General Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Joe Garba, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Sani Abacha. They became who they were and are today because of the sacrifice of one man. Were the late Sardauna to be selfish like today’s leaders in the north, the north would have become a mere regional reference.

As it is, Zamfara state is at the verge of extreme extermination, people died in scores and are buried amidst temporary tears as the sojourners dispersed to reconvene again for another round of burial. There is a total system failure in the arid land of Zamfara like there is no government in place. This doesn’t make sense, this is needless, this is appalling. As Kabiru Mohammed Lawanti opined, ‘Zamfara banditry and kidnappings remained a sad reflection of the warped moral mirror of our time’.

The absence of sincere leadership is the reality that greets this once peaceful farming state. Instead of the harvest of food, we now harvest bodies hacked down by marauding killers whose motivation we do not know. Helplessly, the people live at the mercy of nature as they await another circle of killings. Government at all levels have failed the people of Zamfara and there is no mincing word on this. The cardinal reason for life is to be free from any shadow of fear, where citizens live in perpetual fear under a legitimate government, and then we cannot say there is a state but a failed government. Nothing excites or equals happiness than the safety of citizens. The long years of injustice, primitive accumulation, widening gulf between the rich and the poor and docile security plans has rendered the state weak and open to an internal security threat. This may continue unless the critical stakeholders come together and genuinely do the needful by addressing the choking imbalance in the state.

As usual, the everyday security concerns in the northern region of Nigeria are not unconnected to the lethargy of the northern elites and failure of leadership. This can be halted and reversed when everyone retraces back to the drawing board and begin to live the life of inclusiveness, communalism and natural justice that was once the lots of the north during the glorious era of late Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto.