Motivation Power: Where The North Got It Wrong – By Ladi Ayodeji

Northern Governors in this dispensation always promote interests that are opposed to those of the larger Nigerian state. Take a look at their position on contentious national issues: open grazing, VAT, sharia, restructuring, rotation of the presidency, etc.; it’s always diametrically opposed to that of the other zones in the country.

Before we proceed further, it’s necessary to make this important distinction. When we talk of northern governors, it refers to the Muslim majority North West and North East zones. The Middle Belt often do not share the extremist views of their two zonal counterparts, but being northerners by geographical location, they are grouped along whatever resolutions agreed at meetings of all Northern governors fora.

The north is not as homogenous as people think; at least not like the South West. In essence, the concept of the Grand old north is dead and buried. Therefore, the promotion of a unified northern agenda, as being done by the governors of the zone is an idea that cannot stand on all occasions.

Nigeria has come to a juncture where every zone would have to define its interest and how to promote it within the context of one Nigeria. Simply put, there are distinct differences that separate us, which cannot be wished away. These differences linger and we need to manage them effectively as we strive to build a strong, united Nigeria.

The powerful northern political leaders, and the governors of the north-west/north east have always wanted the presidency to remain in the north. And they go about this campaign with a feeling of entitlement. Even if it is conceded that the zone is the largest voting bloc in the country, it cannot produce the president without the votes of the other four zones. Any presidential candidate needs four out of the six zones, to win the presidency.

It’s clear that we need each other, regardless of the numerical strength of each voting bloc; the supposedly weak zones still have a say on who becomes president. I am sure everyone knows this, so we do not need to belabor them point.

That said, where the president comes from has little or no impact on the development of his zone. Presidents of northern origin have ruled Nigeria for more than 40 years out of the 61 years of the nation’s independence, yet the north remains the poverty capital of the nation. Largely because of its poor development, that region is now the hot bed of terrorism, banditry, and Fulani herdsmen violence, etc. What the north needs is not the presidency but meaningful partnership with the more developed south in investment, to lift the zone out of poverty.

The north desperately needs infrastructure as much as the south; it needs quality education, healthcare, technology, massive investments in new business, electricity, alternative energy, mining, etc. If the north wants to catch up with the south in the area of development, it should shift its emphasis from Islamic education to western education. They need scientists, not mullahs.

Northern Governors should stop funding Quranic schools. These schools are often used by some crazy Muslim extremists to train Islamic militants, who become jihadist fighters like the Boko Haram terrorist. Gradual indoctrination of young Arabic school students begin at this early stage; and when they grow up, their jihadist mentality is already formed and nothing could stop them from believing that non-Muslims deserve to live.

The teeming youth population of the north should be mobilized and encouraged to get quality education. The promotion of sharia or Islamic education cannot drive development. Leaders in the Arab world, the birth place of Islam know this fact. Religion never develops a nation; it rather creates division, strife and instability. True Islam is not averse to western education. That’s why all the Arabs and Muslim majority nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, which embrace western technology, are developing at an amazing rate, while countries like Afghanistan, which have taken the sharia/jihadist route, are torn apart by violence.

Governors in the north who are building mosques instead of schools and infrastructure, are doing a great harm to their own people. Religious projects should be left to religious leaders. It’s very wrong to use state funds to sponsor the hajj, and propagate, Islam under any guise, just to buy votes or promote hegemony.

The north should begin to look at how to develop education, such that its students should be able to communicate in English, our lingua franca, instead of Hausa as is presently the case in many northern schools. In several schools in the north, teachers communicate with pupils and students in Hausa. This is abnormal in a country where English is the official language of instruction. It is only in the north that the local language is used as medium of instruction in schools. That doesn’t happen anywhere outside the north!

For far too long, students in the north enjoy lower cut-off marks in admission to universities because they can’t complete with their counterparts from the south. Lower cut-off marks, like Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State recently admitted, has only encouraged mental laziness in the Northern academic community; it has never promoted competition or seriousness. The damage this unfortunate preferential treatment has done to the north is better imagined.

Weekend Spice: Our faults travel faster than our good deeds.

Ok folks, let’s do it again next Friday. Stay motivated. Covid-19 is still here, protect yourself.

Ayodeji is an author, pastor and speaker. He can be reach at 09059243004 (SMS, email & whatSapp only)

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