Saturday, March 17, 2012

The North And The Rest Of Us (2)

To answer the question of how the North inheritated such an inimical image, is a landmine on it's own. Despite having the bulk of the nation's population, the North have tussled with a plethora of anomalies. Crass illetracy continues to spread across the region like wild fire and infrastructual delapitation is a pathetic reality. Without mincing words, the Northern elites have not also helped the course of the region. Rather, they have continued to expliot the ignorance of their people, and like parasites, they have used the creed of religon and the song of ethnicity to keep their people in captivity. However, it is time to redeem the North beyond lip service and prejudice. History suggests that they have dominated the ruling echelon of Nigerian politics, and this hindsight cannot be treated with kid gloves. Contrary to the perception of many, the people of the North are not savages. While it is true that Boko Haram and it's kingpins have their foothold in the North, their intents and scheme are entirely alien, and should not be associated with the innocent majority of it's citizenry. The search for a united Nigeria is one that should be devoid of unfounded criticisms and misconcieved perceptions. The North are a part of Nigeria, they are needed to make the Nigeria project work, and that is a truth that the rest of us must accept.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The North And The Rest Of Us (1)

On June 1978, the famous historian, Chinweizu wrote what was to be a best-seller and a book for all seasons, 'The West And The Rest Of Us.' However, while this article draws inspiration for it's title from the book's own title, it does not share any resemblance to the work. It was the mandatory pandora's box (NYSC), that thrust me upon the Seat of the Caliphate, Sokoto. Unspeakable fears and petrifying doubts gripped my heart. A sojourn to the North, was an adventure I'd never embarked on, yet, for factual and ficticious reasons, I concluded it was a poisoned chalice. Having stayed at Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, Enugu and Ogun states, to mention a few, Sokoto was one region I dreaded. However, as I was later to find out, my fears weren't just borne out of the alarming rate of insecurity in the North, it was a perception that has been moulded by ignorance, forged by hear-says, and propagated by the media. The Northern image has been battered prior to the advent of Boko Haram. Perhaps, the first myth that has to be demystified is the notion that the North refers to one people. There is obviously a malady in regarding nineteen states as being equally babaric, nasty and bruitish. Pathetically, this is what many of us do, unconsciously. Coming to Sokoto, I saw how severe and deep rooted this damage has gone. Almost every of my fellow Corps members came to camp with that preconcieved mindset. In fact, many went as far as to blame their 'misfortune' of being posted to Sokoto on the gods and some form of supernatural forces from 'home'. While I cannot deny that I didn't actually feel good about coming to serve in Sokoto, I strongly believe that the flurry of hatred for the North, is a threat to the Nigerian project. It is a truism that some states in the North are very volatile and relatively insecure, but hatred for the region, will not resolve the menace. Perhaps, it will be apt to first ask the question: How and why did the North inherit such a soiled image over the years?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nigeria: To Divide Or Not To Divide?

The Nigerian news media have recently, witnessed a flurry of advocacies for the country to go the way of secession. This call is not a novel one in our nation. However, the harsh realities of the times, the plague that is Boko Haram and perhaps, the death of the Dim (Ojukwu), have renewed the conviction for many to be divided. Having listened to the 'pros' and the 'cons' of the debate, it dosen't require a clairvoyant to see that the both sides have got plausible points. Having said that, our democracy hinges on fragility and in a nation where primordial and ethnic sentiments still holds sway, one cannot afford to treat this subject with kid gloves. The call for a Soverign National Conference, also constitue a condurum of some sorts. While the idea to concieve this conference seems noble, the motive is to be scrutinized. Also, on what basis will representation be sent to such conference. It will not be cynical to suggest that a Soverign National Conference might merely succeed in fanning the embers of hostilities in our country. Morever, it has been said and not without reason, that such a conference could end up being a 'talk-shop' or at best, 'a rallying point'. One cannot also deny the fact that either way the country goes, some 'few' are bound to get the spoils. It is these 'few' that are the real enemies of the state. Suffice it to say, it is salient to dismiss the perception that secession will ultimately be the albatross of the North. It is simply myopic and unfair to sit here and conclude the fate of the North in the eventuality of Nigeria's division. Conclusively, rather than keep advocating for the division of the country, both leadership and followers must give their all in solving the plethora of anomalies confronting us. Division might appear to be the answer, but the consequences are certainly going to be severe!