North: 55 Years After The Death Of The Sardauna

Yesterday Friday January 15, 2020 marked the 55th year of the brutal killing of the first premier of defunct Northern Nigeria and Sardaunan Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello. Also killed in the military putsch was the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and other national politicians and military red necks.

The death of the premier proved cataclysmic for the region as the military officers of northern extraction rallied others for consensus building for the nation’s survival and unity. Considering the sterling efforts deployed by the Sardauna, power wielders in the North were committed to continuing with the legacy of ‘One North One People.’

As the scion of Othman Dan Fodio, the Islamic scholar who waged a successful jihad in some parts of the North, Sir Bello spared no efforts in ensuring the North was placed on solid foundations with the sole aim of developing the area. As the political leader of the North, the Sardauna assiduously worked towards the promotion of unity amongst the region’s diverse ethnic and religious groups.

Unlike other regions that are inhabited by fewer number of ethnic groups, the North is home to hundreds of tribal groups that were then suspicious of one another. Riding on its sheer size and population, it was not difficult for the Northern People Congress to form a central government at independence on October 1, 1960.
It is to the credit of the Sir Ahmadu Bello that he was able to wield a rancour-ridden region into a strong region and assembling all groups to embrace the common cause of developing Arewa. With the granting of independence in 1960, these sharp divisions became obvious as riots broke out in Tiv land inhabited by a people that have become a recurring metaphor for resistance against oppression.

Though the North was the greatest loser in the first military coup that would later lead to a counter coup of July 1966, the Northern region continued to occupy the driver seat of political power from 1966 to June 1998. Unlike today when the North is seen as the wretched zone of the country, Arewa was then the darling of all the zones as its agricultural potential placed it on a preeminence platform to influence decisions.

For instance, when there was motion to grant independence to Nigeria before 1960, the North insisted that it was too early for self-rule. Considering the importance of the zone to the country then,, other regions accepted to postpone the date of independence to allow the North prepare for self-rule. Since the killing of the Sardauna 55 years ago, can we in all sincerity say the the North is still being held in admiration by others?

During the First Republic, there were subtle ways of dealing with smaller ethnic groups for domination, but can we say the same for today? Presently, the oppressive tendencies of the northern ruling cabal, aided by collaborating agents from other small ethnic groups, has assumed a despicable dimension with ethnic and religious sentiments being promoted for political domination. More than anything since the creation of the Nigerian state, the North is now almost irredeemably disunited, with politicians taking advantages of the rancour to further sow seed of discord.

Democracy may be focused at delivering dividends to the overall majority, but Arewa has been trapped in the mud of self-contradictions. The ruling cabal has been involved in double speaking and engaged only in verbal warfare aimed at deceiving the electorate. The region’s power brokers are striving to hold on their political domination as well as struggling to maintain its stranglehold on the corridor of power. The present pathetic state of the North and Nigeria is not the exclusive manipulation of only one ethnic or religious group; it is the evil manipulation of a ruthless ruling cabal whose overriding vision is to maintain political and economic dominance at all times.

Like most of our political representatives, elected politicians have embraced selfishness and stomach infrastructure. Some of our elected representatives are interested in looting public funds and deploying same humungous illicit wealth to owning sprawling estates in foreign lands. Those who are representing the people now embrace a loud silence to serve their stomachs. When asked why they cannot speak against oppression and corruption, their usual refrain: ‘the few of us cannot change the system’. The failure of our elected representatives amounts to the failure of our nation’s democracy that is showing serious strains.

Since the death of the premier, the inheritors of the Northern political power have been living in self-denial to the incontestable truth that no nation can survive with citizens classified into masters and slaves. Democracy abhors the classification of citizens as those born to rule and those born to hew the wood. Democracy thrives on negotiation and healthy national discourse and respect of all voices, no matter their numerical strengths. Unlike in the past when the minority held their peace and endure the pangs of oppression, democracy gives power of expression to the few, while upholding the sanctity of the ballot.

Over 20 years after the dawn of this unbroken democracy, many citizens are in doubt if our nation’s democracy has not been hijacked. More threatening to the unity of our nation is the often repeated allegation that political players are swinging the anvil of power to favour a particular religion. Looking at the records, there have been demonstration of this fact in the present reality that out of the 19 states, including Abuja, only two Christians, Mrs Pauline Tallen and Sen George Akume, have been appointed ministers. What positions are they holding? Women Affairs and Special Duties!

Going further to other appointments in the security sector, almost all the security heads are mainly Northerners and Muslims. Does that not contravene the laws of the land that provide for a sense of belonging to all federating units? With all these appointments in both security and other sectors, in what way(s) have these appointments benefited the ordinary Northerner who is now the most wretched of the country?

Yes, I know some people would say there is no use talking about these facts. If we do not talk about these and call for a review, when should we speak about it? Despite being in charge of the security forces, nearly 5000 people were killed in Borno and Kaduna State in 2020. It is horrifying that in an age where children are being groomed to face the modern world, the House that the Sardauna built is home to millions of street children.

As I pen this article, hundreds of communities in the North have been devastated and the inhabitants displaced. Borno state has become the global headquarters of humanitarian disasters through the incessant terror unleashed by Boko Haram. The potentials of the region’s agriculture has been erased by cattle rustling, kidnappings, invasion and devastations of communities and the enthronement of hopelessness and despair.

Northern leaders have lost their vision and need to be reminded that the dusk is setting. Let it be told that the Arewa is the greatest beneficiaries of the project called Nigeria. Apart from possessing the capacity for bridge-building across various regions, the North holds the capacity to engender development and commence an agricultural revolution for the African continent. But this cannot be achieved in the present context due to spiraling of terror attacks and incessant attacks on communities and manipulation of citizens in the name of religion and ethnicity.

The North must not continue to constitute an impediment to national growth. The Northern power wielders must stop criminals from unleashing attacks on communities as well as strive to enthrone a system that accommodate all Nigerians across ethnic and religious divides.

Let us not wait for the fire next time, please.

Source: Leadership Newspaper
North: 55 Years After The Death Of The Sardauna North: 55 Years After The Death Of The Sardauna Reviewed by Extraordinary on 7:51 AM Rating: 5

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