The North that produced the likes of Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Aminu Kano, Ishaya Audu, Sunday Awoniyi all of blessed memories suffered haemorrhages of neglect, diseases, poverty and sustained underdevelopment because of the deliberate distortion of the real vision of northernisation founded by these people. The north entered gradual deterioration mode shortly after these visionaries breathes their last. Those who succeeded them truncated the blueprint of northern greatness to personal greatness and since then, the region has continued to bleed dangerously.
Late Sardauna birthed a vision, he went round northern villages poaching young people to be mentored. The likes of General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, General Zakari Maimalari, Hassan Usman Katsina, Muhammadu Buhari, Mamman Vatsa, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Ibrahim Taiwo, Joe Garba amongst host of others were young northerners Ahamdu Bello influenced into the Army as part of his dream to have a prosperous north. These people rose to triumph in their aspirations; some becoming decision-makers in this country. They didn’t only thrive in the north, they became pivotal references in Nigeria. Did these Sardauna boys replicate the Sardauna dream by recreating themselves in others? Your guess is good as mine. They abandoned everything the man preached and built in preference for individual pursuits, and the north became a ruin.
Agriculture was the strength of the north, so sufficient was the region that it could feed Nigeria and its neighbours around the sub-Saharan region. This key sector went down the drain as almost everyone abandoned farming for other quick wins ventures. And hunger was birthed in the north. Kano groundnut pyramid was replaced by the colonies of almajiris in search of Islamic knowledge.
The region became fertile ground for fundamentalism, brilliant minds who went out in search of knowledge in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations returned with burning anger. They groaned at the liberality of their people and vowed to install a new and ‘authentic ‘ version of Islam. Those who don’t believe in Islam were called ‘Arne’ (Infidel). The liberal Muslims were labelled as practitioners of ‘Bidi’a’ and the region fell tragically to the indoctrination of religious fundamentalism. Instead of the quest for life-saving knowledge, it became the jostle for the best in Islamic dexterity as scholars upon scholars were birthed. The scholars became the voice and the hope of the people as they got fed with the knowledge of Islam and forgot to teach them the skills of survival. Hunger, illiteracy and deaths became the forte of the north because successive leaders abandoned Sardauna’s dream!
Nowhere in Nigeria exist class differential like the north, it is the north a man with 10 cars is surrounded by 100 families who go to bed without food. The rich live in mockery of the poor in this region, they splash the wealth in the faces of the poor. Life between the rich and the poor in northern Nigeria is a grotesque contradiction. The poor are fed with the utopian opium of religion, they are cajoled into submission of life -after -here.
Mentoring is a dead concept in the north, accomplished people prefer they groom an army of dependents than build a battalion of creators. That is why you have the richest man from Kano but many successful private sectors don in the south of Nigeria. In the South, they groom chains of rich people, in the north, individuals grow themselves. In the south, every family has a rich man, in the north, every village has one rich man that sponsors people to Hajj, marry for them but never give them scholarships, business grants!!
The north of today can become the north of Sardauna’s yesterday if we genuinely go back to the blueprint of Sardauna and domesticate that template for the benefit of our people. Otherwise, we shall continue to be greeted with daily killings, unmitigated diseases, sustained poverty and stagnation. It’s never too late to halt the individualism, bigotry, feudalism, fundamentalism.