Is Northern Nigeria A Failed Region?

Adeola Aderounmu.

There have been reported clashes in Bauchi State in Northern Nigeria. A non-conformist Islamic group had been on the rampage and clashed with security agents.

No doubts there have been ominous signs from Northern Nigeria since Mr. Obasanjo allowed the creation of Sharia States in Nigeria. Nigeria is a secular country and the emergence of Sharia in Northern Nigeria is a confirmation that there had been plans in the past to make Nigeria an Islamic country. Tyrants and dictators like (late Murtala Mohammed) and Mohammudu Buhari have been alleged in the past to have tried to make Nigeria a muslim country. How true are those stories?

The presently sick illegal president Umaru Yar Adua was one of those who instituted Sharia in Northern Nigeria. He was then the governor of Katsina State.

They may want to convince us that Sharia State has nothing to do with the constant violence in the North but that will be hard to prove as well. The fact that they allowed religion to blur their sense of reasoning is a catalyst to the emergence and spread of extremism in Northern Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is like a failed region in Nigeria. However that does not also take away the fact that the Nigeria’s central government is a total failure in itself. Saddled with extreme corruption and ineptitude the various governments since independence have failed to tackle infrastructure and social well being of the populace. Look around you, almost everything is bad and rotten.

Government officials have stolen and looted while neglecting the ideals of real democratic governance. The Military regimes in Nigeria added to the woes of a country that should have been the giant of Africa but which instead have become a global laughing stock. Countries like Togo, Benin and Ghana are doing much better than Nigeria in terms of infrastructure and social welfare. Nigeria is rich but the people are living in extreme poverty because a few people continue to steal and make themselves richer and richer.

Northern Nigeria where most of the rulers come from is by far the worst hit. They lack basic education and family planning is not in their dictionary. Many children are un-catered for, and they are ready tools in the hands of the fanatics. A people without education surely are destined to perish and this is what has been happening when security agents confront the religious fanatics in Northern Nigeria.

My major concern has always been for the Christians or atheists in Northern Nigeria. They are usually brutally murdered or executed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Seriously I don’t know how southerners live in the north when they could be killed at any time!

I am not implying that southerners should vacate northern Nigeria. My emphasis rather is on addressing the roots of the matter. First is, if Nigeria wants to continue as one nation, then the abrogation or abolition of sharia is non-negotiable. We cannot live in a country with two laws, it will not work. Never!

Secondly is the fact that policy makers or administrators in Northern Nigeria needs to wake up to answer their call duty. They are there to educate and emancipate the people but over the centuries the privileged people in the north have ensured that opportunities for education are limited and restricted. Even if I am wrong still there is something in the north that makes education non-attractive. Many of the people are not only poor but they are also ignorant. This is probably a political device to ensure that the general population can be manipulated especially during national elections. So far this has worked.

Therefore if anyone thinks that the end has been heard of religious uprisings in northern Nigeria, he/she should get his head checked. There are fundamental issues that if not address the problems will pass on from one generation to another and forever more.

The whole of Nigeria must revert back to secularity and there must be one law, one constitution. The persistence of sharia is an aid to extremism and double standards. The absence of education or the restriction of it especially in the north is a chronic disease that will continue to push this nation to the precipice. The ineptitude of Nigerian politicians is a colossal cankerworm that may ultimately lead to disintegration. Making it non-violent will be an uphill task.

Meanwhile isn’t it time for the people of Nigeria to wake up, ask for political justice, social justice, equality, freedom of speech and expression and the dividends of true democracy? It’s been 10 years of maladministration by seriously incompetent men and women. Change must come, but we must demand it and take necessary actions to see that it happens.

Nigeria is now labelled a potentially terrorist nation and here we are battling religious violence, again in Northern Nigeria. I’m getting tired. Where do we go from here?

The Jos Massacre: When Religion and Politics Blend

By Adeola Aderounmu

ONE of the most disturbing issues in the unification of Nigeria is religion. The North of Nigeria is dominated by Muslims and the south by Christians. But Muslims and Christians spread considerably well across the length and breadth of Nigeria. In my own family for instance we have both Christians and Muslims. My family is well educated and there is no doubts that we know what religion is and how to tolerate one another.

But how does one deal with thugs and illiterates who do not understand the views of other people on religious matters? It is a difficult situation indeed and in Nigeria the politicians over the years have continued to blend politics and religion. For instance, the constitution of Nigeria does not apply in every state in Nigeria. Yet some people are saying that Nigeria is one country. That is far from the truth, the only thing that is keeping Nigeria as one country is the crude oil from the Niger Delta.

In Northern Nigeria, the sharia law has been imposed on the population during the disastrous regime of Obasanjo. So depending on where you are in that geographical entities, different laws apply and your life style can change considerably. The ugly truth though is that the politicians have instituted the law for their own selfish gains.

In Jos-Nigeria, hundreds of people may have lost their lives because of an election that took the dimension of religious inclination. You can imagine that ignorance remains a weapon that has been used to send innocent people to their early graves. The perpetrators of these evil acts will never be found. They will never be brought to book. In Nigeria, this type of killing usually comes with the backings of some wicked politicians. The perpetrators enjoy privileged protection or anonymity and they will be unleashed again to do the same harm in the future. This is why religious riots or political riots associated with religion remains recurring incidents in Nigeria.

One of the reasons why this type of nonsense happens in Nigeria is because the politicians are thieves. Who would fight or kill in the name of service to the people? Politics in Nigeria is a winner takes all game. The winner steals and loots the treasury while the losers lick their wounds. If someone or a politician would pay or go to jail for stealing or for looting, I do not think there will be this mad rush to government houses across Nigeria. It is not an easy thing to serve. You need skills, you need knowledge and you need to be tolerant to a lot of things. You will persevere.

This is not the case in Plateau State where some idiots and fools have been killing other people because of election results. This is in fact not the case anywhere in Nigeria where the reason for politics is to steal and oppress the people.

In 2007, Yar Adua was forcefully imposed on Nigerians in what has been adjudged as the worst election in human history. If the president is occupying a position illegally, what do we expect from the other subordinate positions across the country? If the head is rotten, what part of the body can be whole? Nigerians are shying away from the truth and the consequences and repercussions will continue to be grave.

If the anomaly of April 2007 and the anomalies since 1914 and 1960 are not rectified, Nigeria will not make progress and these types of pockets of violence will continue to make the citizens to live in panic and fear.

More and more Nigerians are sliding below the poverty level while only a privileged few continue to enjoy abundant wealth. Corruption continues to eat deep into the fabrics of governance. The present illegal government continues to shade the likes of Ibori who used the stolen wealth of Delta State to bundle Yar Adua to Aso rock. This type of obvious evil acts will continue to deny this country of progress and the insincere search for prosperity will continue to be abstract-resulting in self-enrichment of the politicians and a few selected people. Nigeria today is definitely not for all Nigerians.

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Eye witness account: On BBC Africa