Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promises, it costs nothing” – Edmund Burke
After going round the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as a professional in company of politicians in electioneering during thelastnational campaigns, I drew up some observations about this country that I intend to share with the reading public.
In my over three decades of active political reporting in four different media houses, Triumph Newspaper, located in Kano and owned by Kano State government, Champion Newspapers located in Lagos but privately owned by an Igbo business mogul, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, THISDAY Newspaper, located in Lagos and privately owned by versatile international journalist and media entrepreneur, Prince Nduka Obaigbena and New Telegraph Newspaper also located in Lagos and owned by international business magnate and politician, Senator-elect Orji Uzor Kalu, all strategically identifiable and different in ownership and content, I have been privileged to know a little of this country and its potentialities.
Going round this country in January and February this year has further opened my eyes to the emerging prospects that if not nipped in the bud might be a huge danger looking ahead. In sharing some of these experiences I would try to be brutally frank as my own way of underscoring the importance of the points being made.
This week in this musing therefore I intend to address the potential peril I picked in Northern Nigeria which if all hands are not urgently put on deck is capable of being an intending hazard in the society. It’s all about the Northern youths.
What I saw in Northern Nigeria among the youth of the region is a time bomb awaiting detonation and whose time of explosion is not too far away from now.
What I saw also made me conclude without any fear of contradiction that Northern elites are the worst political hypocrites. Nothing explains the frightening level of poverty in Northern Nigeria with all the potentials and their noticeable political and economic influence in the country since independence. I find it indefensible and hypocritical the fact thatpoliticalleaderswouldhidebehindreligion, ethnic and geopolitical cover and hold down a region for long with nothing concrete to show for it.
As I watched millions of Northern youths troop out during the electioneering, my heart bled because I saw huge wastages due to the presence of leaders that do not appreciate human capital and as such did not find it important to develop them. Northern elites just concentrate on their immediate family and do nothing tangible to concretely touch the lives of the other large vast number who are also critical members of the society.
The hard truth we cannot shy away from is that Northern economy can never blossom not until they find a way of harnessing its huge human capital potentials not just for political gains but more for self-development and enhancement. It’s selfish to find the army of hopeless youths always handy for political engineering to help the elites get to power and after that abandonsthemtillanotherelectioneering.
Theyouth exploitation in Nigeria by politicians is a wellknown malady but it appears more wickedly and inconsiderately done in the North. Except perhaps for very insignificant few, there are no deliberate efforts from Northern elites to invest in education or human capital development.
Any investment in Northern Nigeria today that is not tied towards human capital development is clearly misplaced and cannot be result oriented. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this development is that significant number of these youth population in the North are already drug addicts and may be untrainable and that is the real danger.
A lot of them have been abandoned to waste in their addiction by a selfish elite club that thinks more of their children and less of others thinking they can run away from its fallouts. Recently the amiable Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari announced her plans to establish a university to be named after her husband. The hint from the First Lady may not be unconnected with the hullabaloo over the husband’s educational qualification. This First Lady’s dream project to me is yet another misplaced elite driven programme.
Given the mass following enjoyed by her husband in the Northern Nigeria especially among the downtrodden, the First Lady should have considered such projects that would be of vital importance and use to these group. How many of these near hopeless youths who die shouting sai baba, for instance, have access to basic education before thinking of the university?
What Northern leaders should do to help themselves and their people is to invest heavily in education of these youths. I understand as a student of history that the feudal system in the North does not encourage opening up the potential space to all but they need to understand what it entails realistically, looking ahead. In a decades time if not before, no Northern rich man or woman will be able to enjoy his or her wealth in the region.
The danger is real and here already. As I develop this article on Wednesday, online news just came into my phone that the Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar who was abducted along with his daughter, Yesmin, by gunmen along the infamous Kaduna-Abuja road has regained freedom. He is lucky, but many like his driver were never lucky to be alive. For over four years now Abuja-Kaduna road a distance of just two hours’ drive has remained impassable due to the activities of gunmen.
That is notwithstanding that Abuja and Kaduna are easily the most militarized and secured cities in the country yet movement from one point to the other has remained a nightmare. Yet this is not sending any chancy message to the leaders. Northern leaders both in public and private service should urgently do the needful, invest lavishly in education and engage their youths in self-development. Abandoning them to their fate is just setting up danger like Boko Haram in the society.
All these Northern so-called philanthropists should refocus their charity to something that will last on the youth than just Friday feeding or sponsoring of an illiterate and helpless Muslim poor to Saudi Arabia for Hajj without any noticeable effort to develop their potentials.
If religion prohibits Northern leaders from carrying out family planning education on their people, the same religion should also direct them to invest in the meaningful development of these youths most of who are fathered by the poor. No religion loathes human capital development.
I find it the height of double stands for some Northern Muslim elites to agree that Islam abhors family planning yet the elites try to have sizable children they can give adequate and enduring education. Since Islam encourages charity, such voluntary show of kindness and help rendering should be development driven not just as a stomach infrastructure.
Few years ago the ubiquitous Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi cried out that over three million jobless youths roam the streets of Kano. Is that not dangerous enough? In February, PDP leaders who went on campaign to Kano were unable to come down from the caravan that took them to the campaign ground because of the crowd of their supporters who were also clutching dangerous weapons.
If Nigeria even with the best military hardware is really interested in eliminating or reducing banditry, kidnapping and any other forms of violent crimes in our clime now, it must pragmatically address the issue of youth developments especially in the North-West and North-East regions and eschew any form of hypocrisy.
This is because hypocrisy is detriment to progress and as Larry Flynt argues there’s always a hidden agenda to it. Northern elites both politicians and technocrats go about in this country wearing the apparel of fighting for the interest of Northerners while in truth they are lining up their pockets for themselves and their children.
If they were really fighting for the people, the level of poverty and abandonment in the region would not have been with the intensity after such long dominance in the country’s political space. There is only one quick means of averting the developing Armageddon in the North first and later the entire country, to invest heavily in education especially the far North of the country.
When the time comes and it would soon arrive when we will reap the effect of bringing up children to this world and abandoning them to rot, nobody would be exempted in the attendant consequences, not even the so-called friends of the poor and the Northern crusaders. God bless Nigeria.
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