By Aminu Rabiu Kano
IN WATCHING the flow of events over the last few days, it’s hard to avoid the “unavoidable” feeling that the geographically, culturally, and undebatably, educationally distinct regions of South and North of Nigeria, are moving diametrically. In other words, the South is going ‘Souther’ while the North is moving ‘Norther’.
The above portrayal implies, in a simple language, that while the South is moving forward, the North is drawing backward. Better still, it’s right to say whereas the South leads, the North, uninformedly, follows. In this direction, one could understand some of the reasons why the recent protests seeking an end to the injustices perpetrated and perpetuated by security agencies generally have gained – and still gaining more currency and popularity in the South than in the North. Although this protest, for me, is ill-timed because, Nigerians should have since before this time protested against the overzealousness, and most often, unprofessionalism of Nigeria’s Security bodies.
Apparently, hundreds of thousands of innocent, law-abiding citizens of Nigeria have lost their lives to the very agencies that have been designed, to constitutionally protect them from any kind of threat, be it physical, economic, political, etc. At some point, it was reported that what triggered, among other factors, Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast was the perennial cases of human rights abuses by the Military.
Meanwhile, as the protest continues even after the dissolution of the SARS’ Police wing by the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, the North continues to watch and as days follows nights, it appeared to be unconcerned. However, this is not happening just like that. One, the Northerners were historically taught not to rebel against their leaders, even if those leaders are abusing their rights. Severally, I do hear people saying that rebellion to constituted authorities is “Haram”, meaning it’s prohibited. But realistically, even if this is true; and not designed by some clerics, I think Nigeria should be an exception. This is simply because Nigeria is not an Islamic State.
Second, the leaders of the North in the First Republic mainly from the Northern People Congress (NPC) have played an important role in creating a purely conservative society. The NPC was then against women participation in politics and revolutionary action towards native authority. Therefore, this led to the emergence of a revolutionary political party, the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). NEPU unrelentlessly fought NPC but despite the former’s populist and pro-masses ideology, it was outsmarted by the latter. In short, NPC succeeded in employing religious and cultural fixation of Northerners to have its way paved.
Third, and most importantly, Northern leaders and elites have, arguably, sold their people. Without an iota of doubt, Northern elites are more than ready to have their people killed just for financial benefits. Today what is happening in Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, among others, is not unconnected to the avaricious and dollar-monger nature/attitude of Northern politicians. It’s noteworthy that even the traditional rulers that ideally should be our protectors have now compromised primarily owing to their sheer lust for power and money. As powerful as Sultan of Sokoto, he can’t do anything to protect us.
Having said all these, one should reflect over the following questions: Between the more secured South and the ugly insecure North, which of the two should have protested first? Does the North not showing interest in the ongoing ENDSARS protest implies that its people have never for once been victimized or brutalized by police operatives? Does the North’s Indifferent attitude shows all is well with it and its people?
Aminu Rabiu Kano writes from Kano