Wednesday, 13 August 2014

2015: The Hypocrisy of the Northern "Elders"

It was Hillary Mantel who said that "History offers us vicarious experience. It allows the youngest student to possess the ground equally with his elders;
without a knowledge of history to give him a context for present events, he is at the mercy of every social misdiagnosis handed to him"

Over the years the Nigerian political landscape has been shaped by various characters masquerading as patriots,these class of people were individually and collectively responsible for the decay in our national infrastructure and the total lack of progress in the past, to these set of people any policy or government that does not have input from them must be sabotaged or pulled down at all cost.

In 2011, several factors coalesced to unleash the unprecedented post election tragedy witnessed in several parts of Northern Nigeria , a critical analysis of these factors has shown that the activities of the northern elders prior to the 2011 general elections was largely responsible for the carnage witnessed during the period. Fast forward to 2015 and the same set of people have returned with the same sectional and divisive politics, this time choosing to exploit the misfortune of the grieving Chibok families and the insurgency they have midwived into maturity.

It is important to note that these disgruntled self imposed Northern "elders" have never proffered any reasonable suggestion on how to end the current insurgency, neither have they sat for one day to appraise the impact of the 12 brand new Universities 9 of which were located in Northern Nigeria which should have been a norm if they really cared about the education of the Northern youth.

We expected these "Elders" who have served several governments in the past and are familiar with the problems facing millions of almajiri children to conduct an impact assessment of the effect of the over 200 amajiri schools built by current administration in northern Nigeria but these "elders" don't really care about education.

 Elders who have the interest of their people at heart would have set up a machinery that will expose business men and women within the region on how best to position themselves so as to take advantage of Nigeria's first speed train service which will connect Kaduna the heart of northern Nigeria to Abuja the nations capital city, but these elders will rather do politics than help Northerners reduce haulage cost by helping them take advantage of the new rail links that now transverse the region .

As at today, the economy of northern Nigeria is largely driven by agriculture, it is regrettable to note that no meeting of the Northern elders in the past 4 years had agriculture on its agenda . The Farmers e- wallet which has revolutionalized the distribution of subsidized farming inputs and fertilizers but which the northern farmer has been finding very difficult to key into, is not an important issue to these "elders".

On a visit to one Nigeria's oldest Museums with some colleagues few years ago we came across several photographs that captured the British royal Merchant ships discharging finished products and loading agricultural produce bound for the west from inland ports in Northern Nigeria ,one had expected that with the dredging of the Niger river completed and the Inland dry Ports nearing completion the elders would channel their energies towards ensuring that our people not only take full advantage of the project but also position themselves as key players in the sector.Sadly, that also will never happen because these "elders" are more interested in politics than development .

As Northerners, our greatest mistake will be to think that the ''pretro'' dollars from the Niger delta will last forever, because when the oil finally dries up we will have nothing to fall back on, as such we must look beyond oil ,we must extricate ourselves from the desire to grab power at all cost and channel our energies towards raising strong entrepreneurs and economically sound communities by encouraging young people to start businesses rather than take up arms .

Until we create the enabling environment that will encourage investors to explore mineral deposits and invest in our region our economy will continue to suffer.
To date we have ruled this nation far longer than any other region, with little or nothing to show for it. Its time to stop blaming others for our woes and start taking responsibility for our future

Oche Joseph Otorkpa

Publisher :Tsuntsu (Hausa Newspaper)
Tweets from @ochejoseph