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Nigeria: How Can One Be Of Help?

By: Abdullah Musa  
 Published January 8th, 2012

Much more than any tragedy, not even the life- sapping subsidy removal, the current insecurity pervading Northern Nigeria is one challenge that calls for the contribution of all Nigerians who desire that the nation continues as we inherited it from those who led our independence struggle. There was this saying that: the efforts of our heroes should not be in vain.

Time they say is a great healer. It may also be a great destroyer. A Northern icon, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, died in 1966, forty six years ago. Many today in the region cannot take inspiration from stories extolling his achievements. Although Chief Awolowo  survived for a longer period than Sardauna, it may not be his values that are driving Western Nigeria today.

But why is Northern Nigeria in turmoil today? The reader may want to say that it had been in turmoil for quite a long period. Are Muslims still struggling against the fact of colonial occupation fifty two years after independence? I raise this question due to an analysis I came across over the internet while the motivation behind the acts of Boko Haram was being discussed.

One does not need to be a PhD researcher to understand that many in Muslim North feel that they can do without Western education. The facts on the ground support their reasoning. The richest people in Muslim North, besides the political class and some thieving civil servants, are those who did not pass through formal Western education. Though uneducated in the Western sense, they can become international merchants, going even up to Far East to import wares.

But one thing is certain: the challenge to secular authorities cannot come from this particular class. For trade to flourish, you need peace and predictability. The Intelligence service of Nigeria has its job made easier for it. Hardly would this terror organization come from civil servants. Hardly will it come from factory workers. One would hardly expect a farmer who planted crops either during the rainy season, or dry season farming neglect his crops in order to go and throw a bomb into a Church, or destroy the shops of non-indigenes.

Those who can become terrorists are those who have no stake in the present system. Terrorism in Nigeria’s case must recruit from the jobless. The terrorist who will target the state must be Dan Boko, meaning one who received Western education, however little. If not, he must surely be under direction from one who has received Western education, however little. I have been to Abuja numerous times, I received western education up to university level, but I do not know where the UN headquarters is in Abuja. How come an Almajiri knows?

Modern governments in Africa are doing great disservice to their subjects. With the transformation of societies from rural to urban setting; with geometric rise in the movement from rural areas to towns, it is highly suicidal to say that you do not need to organize such societies. How can you be comfortable that millions will earn living driving motorcycles? And how can you be comfortable that you do not know the percentage of those who leave school and are unemployed? And you also do not care even if someone decides not to go to any school at all!

Education to my understanding is the most effective tool to use in order to run and shape society. Why then doe sit lead to unemployment? Unemployment may come from a disorder in the economic system. The product of Tsangaya, (traditional Quranic School) was not prepared for either the office or factory. He thus does not know about the labor market. He may be a laborer to many, for many years; but his goal is to raise capital and engage in a trade.

Many a times he does not marry till he builds his own house. The civil servant, if he is honest, must have to wait for gratuity after 35 years of service before being able to buy a house; not in the area that he has lived all his life! This is what is called achievement.  This is Boko Halal. But in their preoccupation with winning elections at all costs; in the unjust distribution of the spoils of office; in total disregard to the welfare and the dignity of the citizens and the nation respectively, the current political class cannot make the addressing of the afore-mentioned problems a priority.

The current insecurity is after all a payback. It is the fruition of many years of neglect, of lack of planning, and of diabolical politics. A handful  of people, employed by any who does not wish us well, (within or outside this country) can, with determination unbundle this nation. One has great respect for Chief Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra state for trying to dissuade the Igbos from reprisal; but for how long? If you are sitting on a chair, and a protruding needle keeps on pricking you with every move you make, you must ultimately get up from that chair.

Addressing the issue of Boko Haram is a national emergency. Now is not the time to deregulate the petroleum sector. Now is not the time to introduce new electricity tariff. Now is the time to sack Ngozi Iweala. When the survival of a nation is at stake, it is not the time to listen to IMF. Everything must be put on hold, till the Nigerian nation is secure. And in order to secure the Nigerian nation, Dr Goodluck Jonathan may write his name in gold by also putting his ambition to rule Nigeria forever on hold. Gorbachev is today a paid lecturer in an American university; he was lured away from the leadership of an empire!


Abdullah Musa

557, K-Nassarawa  

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