Deficit of transformational leadership, dwindling economic fortunes and increasing violence have turned the vast plains of Northern Nigeria into a bastion of despair.

 

Bitter Taste of Honey

Deficit of transformational leadership, dwindling economic fortunes and increasing violence have turned the vast plains of Northern Nigeria into a bastion of despair.

 

 

By Abdulrazaq Magaji (magaji777@yahoo.com)

The increasingly impoverished people of northern Nigeria are waking up to the stark realization that the sweet taste of democracy could turn sour if you are unlucky to have the right hands in the kitchen. Northern Nigerians have never had it so bad: democracy is in the air, yet many of them will swear they will welcome the devil’s alternative. Here, we are talking of the alternative available to a distressed and poverty stricken people who are constantly harassed by red eyed misfits who believe taking human lives is the only visa they need to go to paradise? And just before you say Boko Haram, remember this is peace time and the north is not at war; it is not even contemplating one, but the number of guns in wrong hands will make Osama bin Laden jump out of his skin. More money, thanks to increasing earnings from oil, is being pumped into the northern Nigeria but, like the guns, they end in a few, wrong hands. Democracy? Like hell! Afro beat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, once re defined this sweet nine letter word; he called it demon crazy and we all laughed. To the average northern Nigerian today, Fela is a prophet!

 Let’s begin the story by taking a cursory look at the composition of the Nigerian federal government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan. The vice president, president of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice of the Federation are all from the north. What this means is that, in the event of President Jonathan dropping dead today (God! Please, forbid it!), a northerner is on queue to succeed him. Let’s extend this a bit more: in the unlikely event of the top four government positions becoming vacant today, it is taken that, anyway it is juggled, a northerner is still on queue to constitutionally take up the position of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The dominance does not end there as the Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser, Chief of Naval Staff and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation are all northerners. Apart from this northern dominance, the north has majority members in the two houses of the national Assembly. The picture gets clearer against the background that northerners, either as elected or unelected leaders, have ruled for thirty seven of the nation’s fifty two years of independence. Poser: has this dominance been of any benefit to the north and northerners?

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