By Dele Sobowale
Out-of-school children constitute security risk in Nigeria.” – Senator Lawan, Senate President, Vanguard newspaper, March 11, p 44.
I did not know whether to laugh or cry about that news report. Lawan, Ph.D, well-educated in any country on earth, and a leader in the North for some time, is suddenly discovering, like other Northerners, what ordinary commonsense should have told all of them more than half a century ago. A society cannot go about multiplying the number of people with nothing to lose indefinitely without reaching a breaking point.
Readings in Sociology and Criminology have already established that those with nothing to lose, e.g almajiris, always account for most of the crimes in society and they never quit. Northern leaders had been contented to breed them, exploit them during elections and then discard them after the dubious votes were counted. We watched under-age children on television voting for President, Governors, Senators etc – people who did not give a damn about them before and after the elections. Nobody thought very much about the long-term consequences or the possibility that a judgment day will come.
In a manner of speaking, the judgment day is here for the North. Unfortunately, it is wealth created in the South that will be used to pay for the rehabilitation of those kids fathered by lunatic parents — if the South is stupid enough to continue in this untenable federation. There must be an expiry date to this economic rape.
If Nigeria ranks as the poverty capital of the world today, the North makes it so. Draw a straight line across the North and South and computation of per capita income of the Southern States will never place them among the poorest in the world. More likely they will rank among the top half. Southerners are now treated with the contempt visited on poor people universally and at all times on account of our association with the North. It would have been bad enough if this is a temporary discomfort. One can counsel patience and prayer. But, the truth, which sends the chills down the spine, is more terrifying.
All the indices, which generally account for positive and sustainable economic growth and social progress, and which can reverse the headlong dive into deeper poverty point to a bleak future for the North. The best estimate for Northern recovery is twenty or more years as a matter of fact. Given the precarious situation at the moment, that is also sufficient time to turn the region literally into a desert. The deeper it sinks the more of the wealth generated by the South will be siphoned to help save a place, which is now almost beyond redemption.
“If gold rusts, what then will iron do?” Geoffrey Chaucer, 1342-1400. Vanguard book of Quotations, VBQ, p 78.
Federal and State governments as well as traditional and religious leaders in the region had been slow, they are always very slow, to understand the inevitable impact of the globalisation of information and the consequences for social transformation. The recent muddle concerning the dethronement of the Emir of Kano is symptomatic of the barbarism, covered by immaculate babanrigas still lurking in the hearts and mind of the leaders in the new millennium. The main author of the Kano atrocity also holds a Ph.D – or so we were told.
The ex-Governor of Zamfara State virtually abandoned his state to bandits. He spent more time out than in Zamfara. Nobody called him to account. He returned to arm-wrestle the rubber stamp State House of Assembly to sign a bill granting him a stupendous pension package for a “job well done.” The money for that monkey business will come mostly from the South. Zamfara has nothing and can never pay the pension without oil and VAT money.
“You cannot stop terror with appeasement. You fight terror with terror.” Adolf Hitler, 1899-1945.
Hitler, one of the greatest terrorists of the last century had a word of advice for Nigerians – especially Southerners. This is very important because this is our destination with this article. Let us examine what appeasement had purchased.
Kaduna offers a perfect and last example; among several ways the North had annihilated itself and wasted money. Regarded as one of the most intelligent Northerners, very erudite El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State will qualify as somebody to be described as “intelligent but not wise.” When bandits commingled with Fulani herdsmen first invaded mostly Christian communities in Zonkwa and Kafanchan area of the state and the people abandoned to self-help managed to kill some of the invaders and destroyed their cattle, Rufai, by his own admission compensated the herdsmen but not the people in the Christian communities. I was in Zonkwa area after one of those attacks. That is the same Rufai that is nursing the ambition to become Nigeria’s president – someday?
If you ask El-Rufai why, he would probably justify the one-sided payout by asserting that it was done with good intentions. He must have forgotten what he learnt in Barewa College, Zaria. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It was akin to feeding a dragon with goats in the vain hope that it would become as docile as your house pet. In reality, appetite grows with eating good food. The bandits received the hand-outs and learnt only one lesson. There is more where that came from. They went hunting on their own when the free issue from Rufai stopped. Kaduna is now a No-Go area for those who want to see tomorrow. Appeasement failed. Kaduna, which should have been the flagship state for Northern recovery is now leading the region back into the dark ages.
The reason for pessimism about any Northern recovery in the next twenty years is not hard to discover. There is no leader to bring it about. Cast a glance across the Northern landscape and tears of despair must come to your eyes. I don’t want to publish the names of individuals known to us only to demolish them. Better to make a blanket condemnation and challenge whoever thinks he has an answer to the region’s myriad challenges to step forward.
“Nothing in this world is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo, 1802-1885, Vanguard Book of Quotations, VBQ p 96.
The most important thing is for all Southerners to boldly confront the questions, which lurks in all our hearts. One, should we continue in this broken “shot-gun marriage,” which Lugard forced on us in 1914? If not, what should we do as the South about it? Who will lead the effort to re-write our history? When do we start the irreversible movement leading to a new political and social contract? These are difficult issues to determine; but not impossible to achieve. We can all hang together or die separately.
The Northern knives are already held at our necks. As you are reading this, there is no single Southern terrorists operating anywhere in the North. There are several groups of terrorist herdsmen occupying large areas of land in several Southern States — kidnapping, raping, robbing with impunity – with the nearest Army Garrison Commander, state’s Commissioner of Police and the Directorate of State Services, DSS, apparently unconcerned or helpless because one of the Life Patrons of the terrorists is in Abuja sending condolence messages to relatives of victims.
Obviously, only a bloody fool Southerner or a slave to the Northern power bloc can deny that the Federal Government, is either incapable or unwilling to help us. More likely, elements at the top level of the FG are not only impotent, or unwilling to stop the carnage in the South, they are accomplices. Some are collaborators because the flocks of cattle being used to seize our ancestral lands in the South belong to them. Shocking as most of us might find it, one of the Life Presidents of the mass murderers of our people is ex-Emir of Kano. I rose to Sanusi’s defence last week because of Christian charity (“Do good to those that persecute you”). Three things the south must do to save itself from annihilation.
“Any man who wants to be a cowardly slave can have no honour.” Adolf Hitler, 1899-1945, VBQ p 95.
Southerners are allowing themselves to be treated as slaves by some of the Northerners. Only a slave can have his wife and daughter raped, his farm destroyed, his land occupied, and his farm produce eaten and rendered unfit for human consumption without being able to lift a finger. Our British overlords, being more civilised than the barbarians who have invaded our region did nothing as horrible as these. Yet, our founding fathers confronted them asking: “Let my people go.” A new generation of Southern fathers must now summon the courage to tell our Northern brothers and sisters, who have become parasites in this Federation the same thing. “Let my people go.”
“The man who eats in idleness, what he does not produc,e is a thief.” Jean Jacques Rousseau, VBQ p 97.
Engineer Galadima, former close associate of Buhari, last year disclosed that a lot of new palatial mansions have sprung up in Daura in the last five years by people with no visible means of income. Meanwhile millions of Southerners are working themselves to death and still cannot eat two meals a day. Southerners account for almost seventy per cent of the revenue derived from Value Added Tax, VAT, on alcohol. Several Northern states discourage alcohol consumption and even destroy them eg Kano’s Hisbah. Yet, the hypocritical North collects the lion’s share of all VAT – including those on alcohol, which they claim to abhor. We drink; they collect the proceeds of VAT and share them.
There is no need to list seriatim all the ways by which Southerners have made themselves indentured slaves to Northerners. We were in many respects our own worst enemies. As Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of late US President, once said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” We partly allowed inferiority complex to creep into our relationships. Already, we notice how those infected with “2023 Virus” worship their god in Abuja. Those who, for years, espoused True Federalism are now asking us to define it.
Those who wrote restructuring into their manifesto in 2013 are now suffering from amnesia. They cannot remember discussing it. We the people of the South are now on our own. In our march to freedom, we must leave the North with its mental slaves – those who are scheming to be President in 2023 in a Nigeria just as it is at the moment. We know some of them. They remind me of a small boy, years ago in the U.S., who after being rescued from fire ran back inside the inferno. He wanted his favourite toy. There are political leaders who will be nothing without politics in Nigeria as it is. We must discard them and march to our destiny as free people. That still leaves the question: what is to be done? The answer remains the same for all time.
“Hereditary bondsmen, know ye not who would be free must strike the first blow?” Lord Byron, 1788-1824, VBQ p 67.
Most of the South missed the first boat. We did not act fast enough. We failed to notice when Fulani herdsmen moved to the Next Level. They have had three things since 2015 – a strategy to invade the South, lots of weapons to actualise the plan and a commander in chief all their own. For its survival the South needs its own response. Amotekun is only a rehearsal of the real response we must urgently develop. Next in the series: revenge and self-defense are legitimate responses. If an armed robber enters your house and you can kill him, you don’t call the DPO for permission first. Do you?