Northern elite impoverished the North
By Godson Offoaro,
Monday, April 02,  2012


Good morning class. Some weeks ago, the Nigerian Tribune newspapers led with a front-page story like this: “How North cornered Nigeria’s oil blocs.” The list, which showed those who own Niger Delta’s oil bloc(s), if I may borrow the language of Haroun Adamu of the 1970s Nigerian journalism, looks like “a telephone directory” printed for use in the Hausa/Fulani LGAs of the country. Go look for the list. That’s an assignment, for you.

Class, from today, let’s make a deal. No more personal insults. No insult of the people of my tribe. If I fire you, you return fire. I fire again; you fire back until we have a mutually assured consensus. Isn’t it soothing to know that “we are all in this together?” To salvage Nigeria, our great country! Let’s together, piece by piece, deconstruct the reason why we make monumental progress – only in the backward direction. Can we through constructive engagement collectively redefine a fantastic road map for present and future generation Nigerians?

Let’s pray, therefore, that God the almighty soften the hearts of the movers and shakers of politics and policies in northern Nigeria. God help them understand that this is the twenty first century and that things and times have changed. Changed for good, for those who while at the epicenter of military dictatorship, amassed stupendous wealth, all which they selfishly kept for themselves; changed for bad, for most, especially northern Nigerian talakawa who had hoped that their erstwhile looting leaders would have allowed a positive, discernible trickledown (Reaganomics style) impart unto them.

God, enter and soften in particular the heart of Dr. Aliyu Babangida of Niger State. He is the chairman and spokesperson who embarrasses the Northern Nigeria Governors’ Forum and their enlightened community with illogicalities and serial gaffes laced in ill-conceived, outlandish, laughable demands. Help that the Guvs may know it’s not too late in the day for them to begin anew, some people-friendly, all encompassing developmental policies in their north – if only to, at least, justify what they now get from the feds and by so doing pacify northern masses whom they seem to be loving to death.

Soften the mind of Junaid Mohammed – the northern separatist movement leader. SSS operatives should watch this man and his disciples. Soften the heart of my friend, Anthony Sani of the ACF and that of Joseph Waku too. Continue to give abundant happiness to Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. His cousin, Prince Sanusi Lamido is, according to reports, a key shareholder and director in Seplat/Platform Petroleum – operators of the Asuokpu/Umutu Marginal Field with a capacity of 300,000 barrels monthly and 30mmfcsd gas plant. The plant, we hear, is capable of feeding 100MT of LPG.

God, soften the heart of another northern oil baron, a multi-billionaire named T.Y Danjuma. God, is it true that Dangote is originally from Ijora, Lagos? If not please, redirect his attention to job creation in the far north. He can’t in good conscience be on Forbes’s list only to return home, and be surrounded by the Almajiri. His 45 million naira to the Red Cross in Kano the other day is peanuts.

Class, aaall stand! Sit! Hmm, I think, I need some water. God, in your infinite mercies and abundant wisdom, crack the hardening hearts and minds of Northern Nigeria technocrats including past and present military plutocrats and their counterpart civilian barons plus their oligarch backers; the Mandarins of the north, oh remember and forgive them; in particular, the oil bloc owners; make it clear to them that the oil whose blocs they gormandize originally belong to the great peoples of the Niger Delta.

Sometimes, I’ve imagined what the situation would have been had oil been first found in the north; who on earth would have given a pint of it to Yinka or Chukwuka or Ibinabo? For obvious reasons, I can’t through this medium effectively address the Almajiris of the north. God, may you then on behalf of Nigerians enter their heads that they too, may see the need to re-focus. Let them know that Western Education is not as dangerous; that if anything, it is sweeter than crumbs from any master. It is a social equalizer.

Help inscrutable Sanusi Lamido Sanusi – Executive Governor Central Bank of Nigeria. Help him. God, this Mallam, he needs your help, quick, quick. Look at his record: unilaterally, he sets up Islamic banks. Singlehandedly, he approves donations of hundreds of millions of naira to his cousins affected by self-inflicted Boko Haram atrocities. He refuses to submit his CBN annual budget for scrutiny by the appropriate oversight arm of governance. Now he opens his mouth wide to foreign press to blame poverty in his region on Nigeria’s “lopsided” revenue allocation formula.

Make Sanusi see reason, God, why he should with immediate effect brace up to the fact that Nigeria is not in any way still under the jackboots of the insular northern dominated military. God, impress it upon them that if they endured, knowing that life is not a dash but a marathon, they may one day (earliest 2019, latest 2023 thanks to one honest Jokolo) access power as they’re used to. They could also be bold and fast-forward their desire for the utopian Republic of Arewa (ROA) as a quicker alternative. Impress it upon them not to push the oil derivation button too hard as, they, sooner than later, may be left with nothing other than the short end of the stick of the Nigerian project.

Class, do you know that once upon a time in Nigeria, a segment of the population cornered the wealth of the country to the jealous exclusion of the rest? Then, at the helm of affairs, which spanned four decades, rulership of Nigeria was some sort of a game of roulette. Political batons changed seamlessly to seniors in the northern dominated military hierarchy, co-opting at their whims and caprices, a few avaricious favored, fawning members of the civil society.

Co-opted or press-ganged into this bizarre consensus at resource plundering and treasury-looting too, were unsuspecting folks from other ethnic groups essentially to make such acts of daylight brigandage have quasi or complete national coloration. They sat at the helms from 1967 when the first states creation exercise was made. They followed the domination of the political space backed by military fiats. They appointed and deposed sultans, emirs; obas, obis and obongs at will. Oh, Major Jokolo. They overstretched their luck by annulling June 12, 1993 elections won by a Muslim southerner.

At a point, the game got into their larger than life swollen heads that they claimed not only to have been born to rule the rest of us, they also, relocated the headquarters of the Nigeria Ports Authority to inland arid Abuja; they constantly appointed people who have never, ever played football or known what a modern stadium looked like (except on TV) to head the Nigeria Football Federation with millions of dollar yearly budget. Ever since, the Super Eagles have known no victory. Can you see that in trying to impoverish Nigeria, they ended up impoverishing the north?

Class, it was the northern elite that controlled and gagged the media of their time which were, mainly, government owned; they jailed journalists and killed some in broad daylight; they sat at the Supreme Military Council from where they hired professionals who altered, to their delight, the political landscape with effortless ease; they institutionalized corruption with the settlement syndrome. They decided how many (un)qualified persons got university admission.

Revenue allocation formula that gave a greater percentage of the nation’s resources to the feds was designed by them, with which they ought to have helped the nation or at least the north. They created schools of basic studies to help children from their geographical expression that could not stand the rigors of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). Not satisfied, they created NECO as a counterpoise to WAEC. Do you now see who laid the unmatchable foundation of northern impoverishment? They recklessly offered overseas federal scholarships lopsidedly to members from their ethno-religious clan.

They created local governments with landmass (not human mass) as a major criterion. They set up government parastatals, which they turned around to run aground with reckless abandon. They decreed where and when new federal institutions including hospitals, airports, roads, schools of all categories would be built and located. The civil service was theirs for the asking. Some very sensitive positions for over forty years were the exclusive preserve of men and women from their ethno-religious groups.

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