Northern Nigeria is battling multi-dimensional problems that it can’t control, manage and solve because of the interior motives generating from different sections. The North is no more an entity, the centre is loosed and uncontrollable from all parts. To say it point blank; Northern Nigeria is divided in religion, ethnicity and the bonded unity is shattered by the venom of primordial sentiments.
The predicaments boiling the North are fueled by the fusion of egocentrism that destroyed the sacrifices made by Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, Sir Tabawa Balewa and the nationalist military president, General Yakubu Gowon. These people ruled without bias but with the concern to sow peace, unity and harmony among Nigerians. Unfortunately, in just 60 years, almost all the efforts made had effectively aggregated on the northern part.
Among Muslims, there is no unity because of religious sectarianism. Religious sectarian has divided the people and made others to pray for doom and mayhem to befall their perceived sectional rivals. Some even invoke hellfire on others for no tangible evidence. This issue is the lizard that has penetrated the North’s walls.
The insecurity bedeviling the North is a romance by the people of the North. Many are benefiting from the warfare. Military officers, traditional leaders, government officials and even the natives have been arrested as part and parcel of the North’s security problems, yet nothing has changed.
The North keeps mum over the killing of innocent people by military officers during raids in the name of mistake. Mistakes have been committed many times, yet they continue to happen. No fewer than 50 people lost their lives and several others injured following a bomb mistakenly dropped by troops of the Nigerian Army on a group of religious adherents during a Maulud celebration at Tudun Biri, a community in Igabi local government area of Kaduna state. Yet, the military termed it as a mistake. And because the North is divided religiously, the pain will only be on the affected people and sect.
May be other sects will come out expressing happiness on this tragedy and may even tag the incident as the invocation of God. There were many bomb mistakes in Katsina and Niger states by the Nigerian Air Force. The North is so divided that the leaders rule with ease. The North has been torn into pieces in the hands of the gluttons of power players, leadership brokers, money mongers and religious fanatics. Only a few northerners do good for the reward of God exist to save the people.
The question is, why has the North for over 15 years been on fire of Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and eight years of kidnapping? Former governor of Niger state governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, stated that corruption is the mainframe that eroded Northern Nigeria’s values and continue to fuel insecurity in the North.
Aliyu stated this in Kaduna while speaking as a guest lecturer at the annual lecture and General Meeting of the Kaduna State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) on December 2, 2023. He explained how he used his capacity as the governor of Niger state to prevent Boko Haram from building camps in the state. And Nigerians can testify to the efforts of Governor Umaru Zulum of Borno state in fighting insurgency in his state.
The North is the enemy of its own media, despite the fact that the Nigerian media is faced with challenges but the most deteriorating place in Nigeria is the Northern part of the country and the problems are created by the people. The North hates itself, it fights itself and draws itself back for others to move forward. The North thinks nothing good can come out from it and that is why it never cares to patronise its own.
In films, the Northern people insult the producers, the artists and never promote their cause even though the people sacrifice their money, time and endowed talents to promote the culture, values and nurture the heritage of the region. Instead, northerners appreciate Indian and Chinese films more than theirs, even though they do not understand those languages. With local language translations of the foreign films now, Nigerian movies are diminishing and the country is losing.
In other countries, a producer can be famous, rich and gets honours for producing less than 10 films. But in Nigeria, one can produce more than 50 films yet continues to struggle to feed himself. This is why the industry is comatose and the film makers have become beggers even-though their films penetrate outside the country.
Something could be done to allow Nigerians promote their values. Foreign films should not be allowed to take the place of Nigerians’ opportunities. The film industry contributes greatly to Nigeria’s GDP, provides employment and is used as instructional materials for teaching in schools. There is the dire need for government to do something about our Northern films because they are important to the growth of the country.
Our print media are going extinct because they lack patronage and subscriptions. The newspapers are the voices and identities of the North, they are the cannon of information and the power of the people and when they are allowed to die it is like the North dies.
The North’s population is a blessing while many see it as disaster. Countries like Sweden, Austria, Bulgaria, Italy and Germany are paying their citizens to reproduce more children to sustain their workforce. Politicians in the North are the beneficiaries of the North’s huge population mostly during political campaigns and elections. If the people are equipped with skills the region will be very productive.
The North is suffering and needs help from all quarters. Politicians must adjust and fight the worm that eats the integrity of the region for peace, harmony and progress to reign once again. Religious, traditional and community leaders should have the people at heart and put themselves in the shoes of the people as the riches of this world will not last forever.
Ibrahim, a lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Kaduna Polytechnic, writes via [email protected]