Northern Nigeria is a region that has a huge population , demographically and geographically they can be at advantage. Educationally , they are a very disadvantaged position. It’s so bad that University entrance in some states are so poor that not up to 500 students sit for Universities Matriculation Exams. The region is called vote bank. A region political players go to canvass for votes and then move on. A lot of questions have been raised since the twin troubles of the country namely Boko Haram and Herdsmen wondering and roaming violence can be attributed to lack of education or even aversion to education as in the case of Boko Haram. We also have to keep the high level of drug and substance abuse in view . This is also very common to the region, a situation that promoted an international broadcasting station to do a full documentary on it. That is the sorry situation the Northerners are in today. All point to education and this has sparked debate on “who is to be blamed for this ”
Anytime examination results and statistics are released and the Northern states have low rating, the Northern elite is blamed. The Northern elite has made education free in the North. The Northern elite provides incentives to encourage children to go to school. Education is not free in many Southern states. In most Southern states, state governors make it mandatory that every child must be in school. Can a Northern governor (especially in the Northeast or Northwest) force every child to go to school without the masses revolting?
The Northern elite sends its children to school to show example that education is good.
Whenever someone talks about the children that are in the streets begging, the Northern elite is blamed. How is that the fault of the elite? Most members of the Northern elite bear children that they can take care of. Do they have the power to compel the lower class to have only children they can cater for? Do members of the Southern elite take care of all the children of the southern lower class? Does the Northern elite have the power to proscribe the almajiri system without the Northern masses revolting against it? Can members of the Northern elite preach against marrying of four wives by those who can’t afford it without the masses revolting against them?
Anytime someone talks about lack of infrastructure in the North, people blame the Northern elite. The Northern elite, while in government at the federal and state levels, ensures that some projects are sited in Northern towns and villages. Even members of Northern business elite site some companies and projects in the North. To help create jobs and opportunities and make life easier.
Please I need someone who knows to genuinely enlighten me on the crime the Northern elite is guilty of that it is always accused of keeping the Northern masses down. Please keep the bashing aside and enlighten me.
Making the contribution, a Northerner , Abdulrasheed Magnifico Sulieman said that
” You play politics to make your gains via luring the masses with what the society holds dear. In this case, both Northern and Southern elites employ similar tactics. The only difference is, using the religious card is more paramount in the north than in the South. ‘
He also opined that “If we should categorize the matter into social norms, the elites would be exonerated in the North because of its conservative nature and resistance to total secularism. ”
He added that “If we are to see it from secular perspective, the elites are to blame for the continuation of the societal woes. However, historically, exploitation of the masses has been in the society since time immemorial. Perhaps, the use of indirect rule by Lugard therein strengthened elites power coupled with Mullahs’ fatwah on obedience to leaders”
Do note that resistance to some social changes is a cultural problem which only an elite that is autocratic and reformist-pragmatist or western oriented could change. It may be futile because the indoctrination process and child rearing practice would hinder any progress in say, banning street begging and almajiri syndromes, Abdulrasheed concluded .
Bichiia Maisango , a resident of Kano, the most industrial city in the North added his voice and opined that “You have gotten it wrong, because Northern elites are different from the clerical establishment that mans our pulpits.”
He maintained that ” The brainwashed masses listen to clerical establishment than they less consider the words of the political elites .Political establishment leverage on the influential voice of clerical ideation in order to enjoy numerical strength during election. The sheep likes are made susceptible to manipulation by the pulpits, such that no matter the power of political elites, they can’t challenge the status quo insomuch they want maintain an influential political capital.”
Sanusi II (Emir of Kano) and Kwankwaso are living specimen. The former challenged the status quo, on early marriage, girl child education and polygamy, while the latter as the then Kano state Governor tried to legislate laws against child begging (Almajiris), they really faced some overwhelming resistance from the clerically tele-guided masses. The backlashes were hard to bear once a politician is willing to remain electable , he also added .
In the words of Ekene Edeanigbo, he opposed the notion and tried to inform that in North as it is with all the Islamic populated States in the world , there is a blurry line between political administration with religious or clerical administration. Both are interwoven and can’t be separated. He added his voice to the discuss
” Religion is fused with politics in Islam (which is the predominant religion in the North) and the North. You just can’t separate the two. The religious leaders are as influential as the political leaders and both are mostly allies in the North.”
Olusina Olayiwola stated that ” China, South Korea, Singapore that we all admire today, even USA, with all its “freedoms ” , does not leave the issue of child education to the caprices of their biological parents. A child is a community ‘s responsibility even in Africans culture.
We need to stop hiding under voluntarism, except we wants our own children to live in bunkers for the safety of their lives”.
“Can members of the northern elite preach against marrying of four wives by those who can’t afford it without the masses revolting against them?” Queried Abdulrasheed .
If you follow trends, you’d have noticed that when Emir Sanusi raised the issue, many resisted it and later on, he was put to silence by same political elites and the masses were used to put him to silence. However, himself is not exonerated in the problems which he critiques.
“Marrying many wives is cultural rather than religious in the North. And it would only be ameliorated via gradual cultural rehabilitation and attitudinal changes”, said Abdulrasheed Magnifico Sulieman.
Agunze Onwuka & Anthony Nwosu