The North is not helping the North, despite Buhari

July 18, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters



Prince Charles Dickson

Let me start this week’s admonition in this manner.

If everyone thought as much as I did about justice and fairness, life would be better. I am a critic, but I am also the critics’ critic, the unrepentant believer that the best way to keep the government on its toes is to keep harping on their flaws so they can improve.

Often I say I believe the things I write on are important for our nation as they are for other nations, but when it appears to me Nigerians, especially those in authority, do not react to these issues as people in other lands do, I repeat them in new essays to remind old readers and recruit new ones to participate in the continuing dialogue.

In my take for this essay I look at Northern Nigeria and what it stands for and represents…however before my few paragraphs I have a gist for us.

A young chap went to a soothsayer to inquire about his future. Right before his eyes, the soothsayer drew two circles. One in white, and the other in black.

He then put a millipede inbetween the circles, saying, “if the millipede crawls into the white circle, your future will be great, but if it crawls into the black circle, then you are doomed! Your future is bleak!”

As soon as the insect was dropped inbetween the circles, it began crawling towards the white circle. This chap was super-excited. But suddenly, as it got to the edge of the circle, it turned back and began crawling away from the white circle towards the black one.

The boy watched as the insect progressively moved farther away from his desire to his doom. Then, just when the insect got to the edge of the black circle, this chap picked it up and quickly but carefully dropped it in the white circle.

The soothsayer, watching all the while, asked the chap what he did and why he did what he did.

The boy simply replied by saying “I cannot sit and watch my destiny doom while I can still do something about it and to change its course. My destiny is in my hands.” He got up and left.



Mr. Buhari has appointed all his brothers including me into choice positions, he is persecuting everyone minus his brothers but has that changed the fact the North is a region on her knees, and at no other time than now has the North faced an identity crisis and fight within herself.

Who are the Hausas, who are the Fulanis, and how about the Hausa-Fulanis, what really is the place of the Islam North, real, or media creation and when or how really did it begin, how about the Christians in the North?

Is the North still united, as was the case, what about her oligarchy and a few leftist socialist activists that set the talakawa agenda, what happened, what is it that needs to be understood about the alamajiri system and institutional begging in the North?

And before we scream, has the North been this violent, is it really about marginalization and if indeed, who marginalized who, Abacha, Shagari or IBB, Abdulsalam, Yaradua, and now Buhari; it has been us, we only us.

Northern governors are coming and going, becoming billionaires on exit, and it does not translate to hospitals and good roads and schools even in their villages.

The North and the agitating Middle Belt is an emotional wreck, a perfect picture of an abused bride, which today is even afraid of a hug of reconciliation, with rehabilitation and reconstruction a far cry.

If the North decides to go away from Nigeria, will the other component part fight to keep it and would it be really 19 states, is Plateau North, when there’s no love lost between the Plateau people and the North, does Taraba believe in North, Southern Kaduna, parts of Nassarawa, Benue, Kogi etc?

People still believe that up North we are all empty land mass and goats, unproductive, and leeching termites stuck on Nigeria because of the oil, if not, why the hue and cry of PIB when Zamfara’s mines are gold for the asking and we could develop a self-sufficient and exportable agrarian community?

What is the arewa ideology, we abuse each other, in recent times all of Nigeria’s problems are the creation of Mr. Jonathan, but as ‘Northerners’ have we blamed brother TY Danjuma, or alfa IBB, mallam Lamido, dr. Babangida Aliyu or rev Yuguda and Ministers, legislators, and their ilk, what examples have they set?

So much is wrong with the North–I challenge my brothers from Katsina/Jigawa/Kebbi/Zamfara etc to tell me two companies that make 30 million naira a month after salaries are paid and utilities are sorted.

Covertly holding all choice appointments does not change the fact that we possess a huge army of unemployed youths in the North and thus an urgent need for the revival of the Northern economy and job creation. But how are we doing that, other than power sharing amongst our elite with our usual power as a birthright mentality.

How many Ashaka/Larfarge cement companies do we have in the North, NASCO in Jos is dead, funeral rites only being delayed baring a miracle. Same for the Kaduna textiles industry, and Mallam Rufai my friend and his governor colleagues have spent more time on preaching and grazing bills.

What and where have the trillions of naira of 17 years gone to in the North? Universities out of private initiative litter the South and up here what are we doing, killing a woman for preaching and butchering another for reasons only known to our insanity.

Okay it has to be poverty, that’s one ideological school of thought for the bloodbath and mayhem, even Obama thinks so, I agree only to the extent that really … “countries are not delivering for their people and there are sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with”.

In this case, the North has failed herself.

The North has equally failed…“to give her people opportunity, education and resolve conflicts through regular democratic processes.”

… “In terms of human capital and young people, I think the greatest investment any country can make, not just an African country, is educating its youth and providing them with the skill to compete in a highly technological, advanced world economy”. Nigeria has failed in this regard and the North has woefully crashed in same vein.

The North will rise again, how, by wishful thinking, I can only smile; the South-west despite Tinubu’s crookedness is chasing a semblance of regional integration, the South East and South-South are not left out, maybe the NDA is wrecking havoc but we from the North are not at par.

States have even gone ahead to show/use their emblem/insignia and are creating identities. We are still seen as Fulani herdsmen asking for reserves on other peoples’ lands and seeking nomadic education because we can’t do regular school.

We need to bash ourselves, the North, arewa needs to stop lying to itself and her people, there are current realities, where do we fit into it?

The North needs to think more, pray less, plan more, work harder, RELATE BETTER, and talk less. Battles are better-fought and won through wisdom and strategy than through inflammable pronouncements and political tantrums. This is to the North but it does apply to Nigeria, the current hate quotient is high.

Many of us are behaving like the flip side of this chap. We leave too many things to chance.

We are laid back. We watch things messed up right under our nose and we do nothing to change the course of what we can help. Our destinies are in our hands. Like the dude is my story, the North in particular, and Nigeria in general needs to redefine it’s journey or we have been fooling ourselves; for how long—Only time will tell.









Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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