A People in Terminal Decline

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For a while now, I’ve had reason to believe that the people of Northern Nigeria, especially the (in)famous “dominant” group, the Hausa-Fulanis seem to be in terminal decline. Could this conviction have stemmed out of the aftermath of the 2011 Nigerian general elections and the rampage of the Northern youths against the so-called Northern leaders or the recent spate of Boko Haram attacks in the northern cities of Kano and Kaduna? Perhaps it is the intensification of the unfair media bias and the recent vitriolic, virulent and hateful diatribes against the mostly Muslim Hausa-Fulani Northerners in the mainstream and social media or the serial decline and retardation of the economy in the north and/or the region’s growing political irrelevance in the scheme of things in Nigeria. This conviction is coupled with a growing realization that little or nothing is being done by us, the victims, of our mostly self inflicted problems to salvage our future which is in dire jeopardy.

The most obvious problem is the serious leadership deficit in the North which became magnified before and after the 2011 general elections. There is almost a general consensus that Northerners who were at the helms of affairs in the country for several decades did little to better the life of ordinary people in the region in terms of provision of healthcare, education and other infrastructure, direction of useful investments and creation of economic opportunities for the population. The leaders are seen to have enriched themselves and their cronies while using an adept mixture of religion and ethnicity to keep people subjugated in the shackles of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, and misery. Few leaders have utilized accumulated wealth towards establishing profitable enterprises that employ people, philanthropic organizations that empower others or other productive ends. Rather accumulated wealth is squandered in consumerist behaviour, in opulence in the midst of absolute and abject poverty. Interesting exposés on the leadership deficit have been written by analysts such as Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed and the columnist Adamu Adamu amongst several others.

While the deficit of transformational leadership is not exclusively a Northern phenomenon, it is more magnified in the North. It is these leaders who are perceived by many to have “sold out” the north during the 2011 elections hence the rampage of the youths against various emirs, a former speaker of the House of Representatives amongst others. Consequently traditional, religious and political leaders who used to command tremendous respect from people have lost their credibility, and to an extent legitimacy to speak on behalf of the people. Certain enigmatic “geniuses” have been de-robed of their toga of mystique. The people in turn are plagued by frustration, helplessness and hopelessness in the wake of un-inspiring leadership. The newbreeds like Nuhu Ribadu and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who are viewed with suspicion or seem more interested in embroiling themselves in political controversy provide virtually little solace.

Closely following the heels of the leadership deficit is the economic decline and retardation of the region. This economic decline has been accelerated by the Boko Haram insurgency, thanks to which the holy grail of foreign investments will now become ever so elusive. Once the basket of the nation on account of its agricultural productivity – the legendary, towering groundnut pyramids of Kano come to mind –   and its budding industrial activity, the north is now plagued by rapid de-industrialization. 

Buildings housing hitherto bustling factories lay derelict and abandoned in ominous gloom in Kano, Kaduna and Zaria. Poor incentives to farmers, lack of storage facilities and access to credit has led to a decline in agricultural productivity as state governments are embroiled in one fertilizer corruption scandal or the other. With the exception of Kano and to a lesser extent Kaduna, few businesses, and enterprises especially SMEs are owned and managed by Northerners. In many state capitals, the bulk of the labour force engaged in the formal sector are civil servants. The neglect of agriculture, manufacturing and other economic activity for easy oil money coming from the federal government by the state governments has aggravated this situation as the allocation is hardly directed towards reviving infrastructure, capital projects, empowering the populace or investment in non-oil sectors of the economy. The CBN governor recently stated that many states, especially in the North are economically unviable without such allocations. Instead, monthly allocations which run into billions of naira each month are expended towards recurrent expenditure and unproductive ventures such as subsidies on annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage trips mainly to reward cronyism. This dependence on oil revenues which has done little to benefit the ordinary Northerner has created an impression of the North as an unproductive region, a “liability” which contributes virtually nothing to the nation’s kitty but consumes so much because of its population and its size. Though a cursory look at history deflates this impression since the proceeds from agricultural produce of the North virtually sustained the nation before the discovery of oil.

A socio-cultural aspect of our numerous problems and which lies at the heart of it is our mind set as a people, especially amongst the Hausa-Fulanis . We have developed a mind-set that paradoxically makes us feel culturally superior when infact we are progressively retrogressing in many aspects. We look down on fellow Northerners of a different religion and ethnicity, we feel our own brand of Islam is better than the Islam practiced by a Yoruba man, an Igala or a Tiv such that you’d forgive anyone for thinking the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Hausa language somewhere in Kano. We feel many career choices especially those which involve working our way to the top are demeaning; our educated youths have been brought up with the mind set to only aim for the ultimate “secure government job” or bust, and as a result many an enterprising and creative youth’s dreams have died at stillbirth by the patriarch’s final fiat.

This paradoxical superiority complex has pitched us against other “minority” groups in the north who used to be our brothers but now regard us with contempt and derision and has been played upon by mischievous people to ferment ethno-religious tensions.  Many are quick to blame Islam or the mixture of religion and politics, but a comparison of predominantly Muslim societies who are doing relatively well-off such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia and Indonesia for instance shows Islam is not the problem, rather a crude cocktail of ignorance, and the perversion of religious teachings and cultural prescriptions. While in Iran, women outnumber men in Universities as many are highly educated and articulate, female literacy in Northern Nigeria by contrast remains abysmally low, one of the lowest in the world and ditto women empowerment though attitudes are positively changing at snail pace. The problem appears as a friend once stated that we haven’t found the right interface between culture and religion in the North.

Lastly is the all-out media war and propaganda against the North. From the mainstream media to social networks, online forums to blogs, it is hunting season for anything Northern (in this context, synonymous with the Northerner of Hausa-Fulani extraction but also any of the predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the north: Kanuri, Nupe etc). At most you need an advertorial on the pages of the numerous dailies, at the very least, you need an internet connected mobile phone and you are set to begin unleashing your full arsenal against “Northerners”. The activities of Boko Haram which have claimed more Muslim lives, wreaked more havoc to Northern cities than anywhere else are attributed to desperate Northern politicians who lost out in the political chess game, a view peddled around even by erstwhile respected intellectuals; sectarian crises and conflict which abound in every part of the country, but more frequently in the North are mostly attributed to the Hausa-Fulani Muslims who are seen to be the culprits even in situations where they are victims; even the lacklustre performance of the Jonathan administration is attributed to the “evil Northerners”. The problems highlighted above: leadership, economic decline and socio-cultural challenges have rendered us a voiceless people in this media war and propaganda, we are unable to tell our stories strongly from our own perspective while others do it for us, and they paint their version of the truth in whatever colour hue they deem fit.

Alleged Boko Haram Members Arrested in 2009

We are a people bedevilled by so many challenges which of course, this writer has barely scratched the surface of. The leadership deficit has aggravated our economic decline and retardation, and threatens not only our social cohesion but our very identity as a people. In times like these, a strong and transformational leadership is what is required to mobilize our abundant human and natural resources for us to realize our full potentials, but this deficit forms the bane of our problems. Paradoxically, while we acknowledge the failure of leadership, and the incapacity or inability of the present crop of leaders to do much to salvage our pathetic situation, we are still waiting on them.  Obviously our leaders cannot do much because they are constrained, because they are not interested or because it is a Frankestein’s monster has turned on Dr. Frankestein situation. While we “wait”, Boko Haram seems to be the only force filling this leadership vacuum in a very destructive and warped sense by co-opting the vast number of idle, unemployed and frustrated youths as willing recruits to its campaign of death and terror. Gradually, Boko Haram could become the only thing that defines us as a people, if this leadership vacuum persists and by then we WOULD BE DOOMED!

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

To further buttress my point, when I googled “Northern Nigeria” and “Arewa Nigeria”, at least 50% of the images that came up in the search results were of Boko Haram, scenes of its attacks or images of its victims. That speaks volumes.

Whatever the case, it is our generation which will suffer most because the present crop of leaders have little to lose; we will live with the consequences of their actions while our children’s future becomes increasingly uncertain. Perhaps the tone here is a tad too pessimistic when this writer concludes that the numerous problems we face in the North crowned no less by Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency gives a gloomy premonition of a bleak future . We are in a terminal decline, the question is are we doing enough to address this? What can we or should we do to reverse this certain reality?

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245 thoughts on “A People in Terminal Decline

    Abdulnasir said:
    February 17, 2012 at 22:55

    ” We look down on fellow Northerners of a different religion and ethnicity, we feel our own brand of Islam is better than the Islam practiced by a Yoruba man, an Igala or a Tiv such that you’d forgive anyone for thinking the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Hausa language somewhere in Kano. We feel many career choices especially those which involve working our way to the top are demeaning; our educated youths have been brought up with the mind set to only aim for the ultimate “secure government job” or bust, and as a result many an enterprising and creative youth’s dreams have died at stillbirth by the patriarch’s final fiat.”

    This is what I’ve been trying to tell people, we Northerners think we are superior and even amongst ourselves we think we are even more superior if we are Hausa-Muslim. It’s so sad!

      Emraj said:
      November 28, 2012 at 13:19

      Exactly my thoughts! Funny thing is.. that same Islam preaches the exact opposite.

    Onyemaechi Dike said:
    February 18, 2012 at 00:36

    A very thoughtful attempt at self-criticism. Indeed, substitute ‘north’ for any other region in Nigeria and the situation is not so much different. Where in Nigeria are people not suffering from the effects of terrible and irresponsible leadership? In virtually every community in Nigeria we are still yet to address basic issues like water, electricity etc. The people have been so deprived of the basics of life that any leader who tries sincerely to provide them as we witness in a few places becomes a cult hero. They become celebrated for performing their basic responsibilities.

    As you pointed out, endemic poverty is indeed a major challenge in the north. Some people equate the argument to ‘justifying’ BH but it’s commonsense that a poor, unemployed, unemployable, uneducated and disillusioned young man (or woman) with virtually nothing to lose is much more likely to make himself available for recruitment into militant groups like BH and their warped politico-religious ideologies. Poverty reduction is no doubt the long term solution to such problems. Poverty and deprivation always fuel social tension as we are seeing even in parts of Europe where life is getting harder for the people. And Nigerians must learn to practice whatever religion they profess responsibly. It doesn’t have to, but religion complicates many of the problems we facing in the country at large.

    Again, a very thoughtful piece. At the rate you going, I won’t be surprised if I pick up a Newspaper one of these days and see your column. hehe. In fact I think have seen some of your articles elsewhere online. More power to you.

      Anonymous said:
      February 20, 2012 at 15:33

      Kudos to you Mr. Dike

      I said:
      February 20, 2012 at 23:26

      Please get his point. We understand u r tryin 2 b understanding or supportive or de-tribalized, but u shoulda just kept quiet, afterall, silence is assent. He isn’t talking about the demerits of religion or the problems of Nigeria or bad leadership, he is talking about THE DECLINE OF HAUSA-FULANIs. He is mourning, and u should let him mourn before u come with your useless sorrys! Tel him instead that u have noticed the same about your people and whether or not you share his pessimism.. I do. But to come with your obviously non-hausa fulani name & pretend like you understand d VERY RARE view of a hausa-fulani is.. Hypocrisy to say the least. By the way, to the writer, u need to run for political office. U have identified the problem.

        Fidel Agunf said:
        February 21, 2012 at 23:13

        You de vex? Truth is bitter. You don’t believe that a northerner could be this objective right? Ask El-Rufai. He knows her or doesn’t he?.

        Uzor said:
        February 24, 2012 at 18:36

        Funny and insultingly direct though, you are a typical example of people the writer wishes to change or even eliminate. What makes you feel an outsider (non hausa-fulani) cannot understand the pains of the north and even interprete it better? Sorry to say but your outward pride is fueled by a deep rooted inferiority complex and as a brother, a fellow nigerian and a co-human I urge you to purge out and try to see things objectively. To the writer, I wish you well brother and do hope that things would get on the right footings soonest. To Dike, I love your response and to this receiver,….I am silent.

        Onyemaechi Dike said:
        February 25, 2012 at 03:55

        Mr I, I’m not sure I get you. I don’t understand how pointing out the fact that poor leadership is a national problem amounts to ‘hypocrisy’ on my path.

        I understand the article focusses on the problems of the north. But do I have to have a ‘Hausa-Fulani name’ to comment on issues facing the north?

        I don’t get it. However be assured that my comment was made with the best of intentions.

        uncle pee said:
        February 26, 2012 at 13:13

        Nice talk,let them carry their cross and if possible isolate themselves from Nigeria if they cnt cope

    Ummi Bukar said:
    February 18, 2012 at 10:15

    Yes Northern Nigeria is obviously facing tough times, slighty more so than the rest of Nigeria. Yes i do agree with you on most of the issues raised however i am of the opinion that one of the greatest short comings of of our former leaders was that they did not invest in the mass media, hence the outrageous exaggerations in the potrayal of Northern Nigeria in the madia . Daily Trust and a few others are lone voices in the wilderness.

    Bashir Baba said:
    February 18, 2012 at 12:15

    Zee, a critical piece. The North at the moment is at a crossroad. I used to think our challenges are surmountable but the realities in our Northern Nigeria have long deflated that hope. However, your piece has given me the impetus for a rethink. Enough of the lamentations, as you rightly pointed out it is time to start seeking for a way out of the cul-de-sac we have walked ourselves into. Individuals with genuine intention to transform the region should be identified; we give them our support to acquire political power. Realistically, political power and will are necessary ingredients to getting out of the woods.

      Jonathan said:
      February 20, 2012 at 12:35

      more political power ehn? good luck to you in your quest.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:00

      Unfortunately Bashir, I disagree with you on the point that “political power” is a necessary ingredient to get out of the woods. To acquire political power, the contending party needs to have resources, economic power or some leverage to compete favourable with others. At the moment, the North has none of these, and is lagging far behind. I believe we need to get our house in order first, because even if we get the political power (at the center) it would not make any difference to the lives of the ordinary people on the street. We need to re-build our economic base, embark on massive awareness campaigns and programmes for the much needed attitudinal change and give priority to educating and empowering the people. When we achieve that (or start somewhere) then we can think about political power.

        Jonathan said:
        February 20, 2012 at 14:38

        Zainab, Bashir is thinking like a Nigerian while you are not. Bashir appreciate the fact that there are alternative means of acquiring power in Nigeria. He still belives in the maxim ‘seek ye first political power and all other things shall be added unto you’. You can agree with me that this has been and still is the attitude of the Northern political elite. The problem however, is that experience has shown that this is a fallacy.
        Still, old habits die hard…….

        Anonymous said:
        February 20, 2012 at 18:35

        I think you guys really need to stay out of power for a long time to make you think of other ways of to build your economy. I think this has been the secret behind the Igbos and their economic prowess. They are rated to have the highest per capital income in Nigeria. I met a Pakistani doctor in London last year and when I asked him why they are always in the news for the wrong reasons he stated that the major reason is that Pakistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, he continued, has made millions desparately poor that many would happily go on suicide missions than face another day of hunger. He swore that he knew of cases where a distraught father would kill his entire family than go through the agony of watching them starve. Having said that I think Zainab has made a brilliant submission here. The north needs more people like here. When I was living in Nigeria, I had a lot of friends who were Northern Muslims. Truth be told, they were not bad at all. They were as ambitious as anyone else. They were as friendly as anyone else. I think Northerners need more quality education. Education is a leveller. When you have good education primordial sentiments like religion and ethnicity become irrelevant.

        Ola said:
        February 20, 2012 at 22:20

        I respect Zainab’s level of reasoning. I’m a Yoruba youth that so much love Notherners that I was even dancing arround when I was deployed by NYSC to the North. Though the love reduced the way I was treated as a Corper there. Betterstill, the way forward to Northern growth are:
        (a) Increase in literacy
        – western education
        – religious literacy withou sentiment
        – social-cultural value.
        (b) cincere poverty eradication programs.
        (c) population control.
        (d) good leadership.
        if these four key factors are critically addressed internaly instead of clamouring for central power, great things will come out of Northern state of Nigeria.

        Ibrahim Ali Shira said:
        June 14, 2012 at 08:03

        I must say i like your style of writing,the boldness and simplicity with which you address burning issues.you always go down to the bottom of the problems.The bitter truth is,as you pointed out, the north is by far left behind in all spheres of life.This is mainly attributable to first of all to the selfish and currupt attitude of our so called northern leaders.Secondly, the north’s overreliance on easy oil money and hence the neglect of the agricultural sector,which used to be the main stay of the Nigerian economy.Thirdly and sadly,we the northern youths are to be blamed for our misfortunes.Why, because an average northern youth is lazy.It is only in the north you see energetic, able bodied young men wasting valuable productive hours just sitting in joints(popularly known as Majalisas)and dicussing rubbish,while they are actually supposed to be engaged in one productive activity or the other.
        I believe the current challenges facing the north are simply wake up calls to, as you pointed out, “put our house in order”.We must change our attitudes from heavily relying on federal allocation to reving agriculture,our leaders must put the fear of God into their hearts,the youths must channel their time into productive use.Unless and until we do these,we will keep on lavishing in abject poverty.

        Xeex said:
        November 6, 2012 at 05:39

        Nice piece Zainab. The north have bad orientation about herself in recent time unlike the past. Until the north re-evaluate her orientation about religion, politic, economy and nation building in a more humane and responsible way, her effort would be elusive.

      ochlab said:
      February 20, 2012 at 20:27

      What did you do with your political power of almost 50years? The critical issue is how can the north be made productive and less dependent on others who are themselves poor. The solution which most northerners shy away from is loosening up the stranglehold the central government holds on the nation. Until this is done, the north is not just terminally ill, but Nigeria will give way. This is a tragedy that we can avoid and empower the ordinary Nigeria of which ever tribe and not cliques.

    Femboss said:
    February 18, 2012 at 12:50

    My question is where has this superior complex derived from? And why has it been allowed to manifest for so long without there being something tangible behind it? Look at the Anglo-Saxon, they have long had a superior complex over the world because of the domination of their language, culture, music, arts, military etc. What have the Hausa-Fulani achieved to justify the air of superiority?

      baniyaz said:
      February 19, 2012 at 15:04

      One of the reasons for this “superiority complex” is the adoption of the hausa language as lingua franca in all of northern nigerian.

        Okwulu williams andrew said:
        February 20, 2012 at 20:33

        Hausa is spoken in all northern states excluding Benue & kogi

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:14

      I will not claim to be a historian, sociologist or anthropologist, but the little I know of each vis-a-vis the Hausa Fulani was that there was a great Hausa-Fulani empire built from the conquests of Uthman Dan Fodio, the culture of the Hausa-Fulanis became dominant and even many minorities adopted not just Hausa language as the lingua franca, as Baniyaz above noted, but also many aspects of the culture. This cuts across Kaduna state, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi etc. You see, this dominance itself is not really the problem because all around the world, some groups are in the majority while some are in the minority but are able to live peacefully and in mutual respect. Now that is not the case here: and I actually don’t have an answer to that. Perhaps we got too comfortable and complacent…

    Anonymous said:
    February 18, 2012 at 14:44

    I can’t but agree with this home truth that Zainab has expoused in this piece. The so-called Northern leaders have done so much damage to our generation and the next, yet they are still clinging to old sentiments for them to remain relevant. Thank God, reality has dawned on us fuelled by life’s hardship that stares us in our daily lives. Its about time we define how we want to be led and the qualities that our leaders must have. We can’t afford to leave our destiny in the hands of selfish and myopic people. What we require at the moment are selfless, futuristic and development orientes leaders. Thumbs up Zainab.

    Hussain Zandam said:
    February 18, 2012 at 14:56

    This expose I think reflected all our problems from sociocultural, economic and religious dimensions. However, I think all other problems are tied to political ineptitude which gave rise to our economic doom. It was political decision that made our govts neglected the agricultural sector. This disenfranchise the northern masses from the govt but for few elites that have western education. The majority of masses were left to depend on those few elites for almost everything and that made them susceptible for manipulations.

    Mr.Nasir said:
    February 18, 2012 at 14:57

    awesome piece! This is like hiting the nail directly on the head. The north is about to fall, we all need to provide pillars to prevent it frm going down.

    Maduka said:
    February 18, 2012 at 15:39

    I don’t usually agree with Zainab, but I agree 100% with this article. However, I have a few points.

    1. The Northern (Hausa-Fulani) people should follow the example of the Igbo people (not Igbo leadership). After the Civil War, the South East was more devastated than Northern cities like Kano, Kaduna or Maiduguri will ever be. The Igbo people took it upon themselves to build themselves up economically (no job was too demeaning) and seized every opportunity on offer to improve themselves. People went to Lagos, Kano or anywhere else they could sense economic opportunities – today these efforts are bearing fruit.(73% of the houses in Abuja are owned by Igbos).

    2. Ahmadu Bello had his faults, but at least he had the good sense to successfully manage diversity. This simple fact is lost on many Northern leaders – from Yerima to Gumi to even Buhari. It is one thing to throw the red meat of Sharia to the Muslim majority, but it is another thing to carefully consider the impact on the non-Muslim minority. The North really needs demarcate between Mosque and State. It is not possible to build a Saudi-like society in Northern Nigeria and it is time to stop the pretense.

    While certain elements in the North were busy thumping their chests, practicing the worst kind of exclusionary politics based on a perverted understanding of political Islam, the Christian minorities in the Middle Belt (e.g. Tiv, Idoma, Southern Kaduna) discovered that (a) they were not wanted by the far North and (b) they actually had more in common with Southerners than the Taliban wannabees in the far North. So the slow drift of Northern Christian minorities from the Muslim majority accelerated and Jonathan’s election victory was built on this.

    3. All said, there are certain things that the North needs to do for itself that nobody – neither Federal Government nor the international aid agencies can do this for them. First, they have to seriously deal with the polygamy and its impact on infant nutrition and development. Secondly, fathers must be encouraged to send their daughters to school – I cannot count the number of Northerners I’ve come across who don’t take female education seriously. Thirdly, the Almajiri system needs to be abolished as soon as possible.

    People cite Iran as an example of an Islamic society with a love of learning. What people don’t appreciate is the historical context; it took the mullahs to tell fathers it was okay to send their daughters to school. The North should learn from this; instead of dissipating resources in useless outward shows of piety, invest energy in getting the religious scholars to preach the importance of female education!

      Sada Danmusa said:
      February 19, 2012 at 06:55

      Thnk you Maduka for your objectivity. However I need to point out that those northern leaders you referred to are not interested in creating any Saudi-type supportive leadership in northern Nigeria. Far from it, they are only interested in accumulation without end, for themselves & their immediate family. Any allusion to religion is pretentious & intended to deceive. It is my opinion that the same reason why the Mid-Belt is drifting away from the north is the same reason why northern youth are becoming disenchanted & becoming more militant, targetting govt & political leaders. And that reason is the greedy political leadership in the country.

        Jonathan said:
        February 20, 2012 at 13:13

        So what is the Igbo man’s contribution in all these that will make him the primary target of Boko Haram?

        aminuishaq said:
        February 20, 2012 at 14:06

        Ask the boko haram yourself

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:30

      I don’t usually agree with Maduka, but I agree 99% with the points you read. The part I don’t agree with, I believe Sada Danmusa has done a better job of critiquing it. Thank you very much for your constructive and objective comment. Education and a massive awareness campaign is what is needed as you rightly pointed out. And like I stated in the article, we just need to wake up and think of how best to go about attaining this. It will be difficult, but it can be done.

        Oladipupo Folarin said:
        February 20, 2012 at 20:00

        It is not difficult and should not be difficult in the right sense of it.
        Established female scholars,doctors,enterpreneurs of Northern extraction should be projected to limelight as role-models.This will have a trickle down effect on the coming generation and will definitely go a long way in reducing child-marriages as the girl-child will see a better future with qualitative education.
        Ironically,most Northern female students,co-workers or co-passengers i have ever met are extremely brilliant.Right from my days in a public school in Yaba,Lagos.Investing in the girl-child education,empowerment and emancipation will go along way in rightly shaping the lives of Northern children.Because an educated woman will have no other choice than to ensure than her siblings are also well educated.

        Maduka said:
        February 20, 2012 at 21:04

        If you fix female education in Northern Nigeria, within a generation you would have fixed the human capital development problems of Northern Nigeria.

        My father has a PhD, but what really made him what he is today was his elder sister. She was one of the few women in the 1950’s that was privileged to have an education (she was a primary school teacher), she fought tooth and nail to ensure that he had an education, she coached him and at the end of the day he excelled.

        A woman who has the benefit of secondary school education will fight like a wounded lion to ensure that her children go to school and exceed her academically. She will understand basic sanitation and nutrition and bring up healthier children. She won’t allow her sons to become Almajiris.

        Northern Nigeria has all the resources to make this happen, what is lacking is the will. It has been done elsewhere – as recently as the sixties, literacy rates in Eastern Nigeria were as low as 19%. Today, they are as high as 96% in certain states – the changes occurred within one generation.

        If need be, form community development associations like we do in the South. Hold town-hall meetings, raise money and build schools (the secondary school in my village and the girls school in my mum’s village were built by the local community and handed over to the government). Contribute money and send people to school.

        Don’t wait for the government.

        As I said earlier, the importance of education needs to be preached from the Mosques. If Islamic Civilization could give rise to concepts like Algebra, if Islamic scholars could translate the works of Aristotle and save them from European barbarians during the dark ages, where does this concept of “Western education is sacrilege” come from? Is it really Islamic?

        I look forward to living with a Northern Nigeria that looks up to Turkey and Malaysia (where thousands of Nigerians of both faiths go to study. I have cousins studying there), not one moving on the road to Afghanistan and Somalia.

        Jonathan said:
        February 21, 2012 at 11:27

        Maduka well done! You are very erudite. The problem is that the road to Malaysia is the road less traveled while the road to Afghanistan is the path of least resistance. Another problem is that there seems to be a deliberate conspiracy by the Northern elite to keep their people illiterate while they give their own children the best of the same western education that is evil. What better way to perpetuate their generations in positions of leadership? Selfishness is at work here and the sooner the youths take their destinies into their own hands, the better for the Northern masses.

    Sadiq ibrahim said:
    February 18, 2012 at 18:44

    I alwys dance wit ur pen zainab & dat of mal.nasir elrufai..d media has been totaly cntrol by d govt..diseminating wat favour them only! B4 d mariage of north &d south by lugard..d nrthern 9ja wit her agricultural prduce feed d entre nation and serve as frge exchge..since d dscvery of oil in d suth paved way 4d isolation of agric.prdct!.mst informed u dat d decline of northerns in term of evrytin in 9ja is cose of power strgle amge d elders of d north..atiku,ibb.buhari sambo &co unite 4 beter 9ja

      Anon said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:40

      Guy, please re-learn how to write correct english. It is really annoying the way you have chosen to express your valid opinion. Much of the impact is lost!!!

    Anonymous said:
    February 19, 2012 at 05:51

    Indeed a great & critical article from Zainab. Thank you again. This is exactly what we have saying. The Hausa-Fulani civilization, like every agrarian civilization is falling because it has suffered what all such civilizations suffer from when they fail to adapt to modernity. Take a look at these facts:
    1. We had an education system well before the coming of the white colonial men but up. To this moment we have failed to adapt it to the modern system even when we now know that it is not working, its counter productive and has been used to undernine the future of many young ones sent to be almajirai in the cities. Our leaders cannot legislate against it, our elites cannot talk against it, our Mallams have refused to educate people against it, our academics have researched on its ill effects so that activists have no grasp of the issues etc. Yet the best you hear from our leaders about it that the government should take over the system. This same govt that cannot even maitain the formal ones it owns. At a time when missionaries are fighting to regain control of their mission schools, we are begging the govt, this govt to take over our own.
    2. Having developed full spectrum of occupations & professions necessary for sustainance of civilization, we became complacent & were unable to adapt it to modernity or even the modern form of such vocatios. We were unable to, for instance, see the obvious connection between our dukanci system to modern lrssther work, our sassaqa of turmi for instance to capentsry & modern woodwork, or even the maiqira system & weilder and modern ironwork. The list is endless. Remember. That, as Prof Maishanu once said, there I’d a whole library

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:36

      Very true, very apt. I totally agree!! We had a great empire, we simply refused to adapt to changing times; we stubbornly stuck to some of our old ways when these things are clearly fetters to our progress, development and cohesiveness; we became complacent and now the foundations of our very being are crumbling away. We need a new approach, but this can only come when we accept that we have a problem and we all come together to agree on solutions (education and literacy, economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and attitudinal change) and how best to go about them. Thank you for your contribution.

    Sada Danmusa said:
    February 19, 2012 at 06:14

    Indeed a great & critical article from Zainab. Thank you again. This is exactly what we have saying. The Hausa-Fulani civilization, like every agrarian civilization is falling because it has suffered what all such civilizations suffer from when they fail to adapt to modernity. Take a look at these facts:
    1. We had an education system well before the coming of the white colonial men but up. To this moment we have failed to adapt it to the modern system even when we now know that it is not working, its counter productive and has been used to undernine the future of many young ones sent to be almajirai in the cities. Our leaders cannot legislate against it, our elites cannot talk against it, our Mallams have refused to educate people against it, our academics have researched on its ill effects so that activists have no grasp of the issues etc. Yet the best you hear from our leaders about it that the government should take over the system. This same govt that cannot even maitain the formal ones it owns. At a time when missionaries are fighting to regain control of their mission schools, we are begging the govt, this govt to take over our own.
    2. Having developed full spectrum of occupations & professions necessary for sustainance of civilization, we became complacent & were unable to adapt it to modernity or even the modern form of such vocatios. We were unable to, for instance, see the obvious connection between our dukanci system to modern lrssther work, our sassaqa of turmi for instance to capentsry & modern woodwork, or even the maiqira system & weilder and modern ironwork. The list is endless. Remember. That, as Prof Maishanu once said, there I’d a whole library with several books on such occupations written by the scholars of Jihad period, yet when you go to any village in the north & u require a weilder or plumber, you may likely referred to Sunday, or Emeka to do it for you. As you said we looked down on the same things that made us a great civilization in the first place.
    3. Our leadership, traditionally based on promoting cummunal sense of belonging andderiving its legitimacy from trust & justice has been replaced by a greedy lot, interested only in showing up & their aility to maintain a level of consumption that we the followers cannot match.
    4. While we look down on other peoples, we tend to adapt only those bad habits that

      Sada Danmusa said:
      February 19, 2012 at 06:33

      We take only the bad habits of others such as excessive spending of the yoruba wedding with its asoebi, calenders & souveniers without the necessary linkages that makes them culturally beneficial
      Zainab, its all so pinfull that we have become so unbearably complacent such that the decline is inevitable unless something like drastic leadership but also widespread attitudinal changevis initiated.

        Akeem Olatunji said:
        February 20, 2012 at 17:28

        When people like Sada talk like this,I feel sorry for d pple of Northern Nigeria.is it d bad habit of yoruba spending imitating by d hausas dat make BH to start killing igbos,yoruba and even northerns?I am a muslim myself in d north,I can not lead a typical Hausa- fulani in prayer bcos of their mindset.When northern say,agricultural earning was used in developin oda areas b4 oil,I feel ashame that d more is not used judiciously to develop d critical sector of human development,which is education.In south u hear of community schools.this kind of things dnt happen in d north and govtn can not do everything.d present crop of leaders in d north shld invest imore in human development instead of accumulatinting wealth dat can not b bury wit them when they die.we all know d damage polical sharia caused to d economy and social development in d north.give d pple real education and they will know dat their leaders had been deceiving them for a long time.Yoruba’s way of spending during weddings had no relationship with d anger in d north.it is self inflicted.I rest my case.

        Sada Danmusa said:
        February 22, 2012 at 06:31

        Akeem, Am sorry for making you feel sorry for the north because øf what I said but you confused my message & missed my points. I wish you had given me a reason to undestand that excessive spending is not a problem ør a bad habit, ør that Hausaas ære not imbibing it ør anything to challenge my assumptions. The point is BH is a symptom øf failure øf a region. It is not the original illness, its just a symptom and many more ære there for you to see. The fact that your friend does not allow you to lead hik in prayers has something to do with the way you people see each other at that level. Remember AbdlLateef Adegbite is the Sec Gen øf the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs. Pls forgive me.

    mahmoud said:
    February 19, 2012 at 09:03

    Agreed 100% with the writer’s opinion, the north has lost every pride we used to have. The writer should have recommended the way forward out of this mess!

      zainabusman responded:
      February 19, 2012 at 11:19

      You are right Mahmoud, the writer should have recommended the way forward, but I alone do not have all the answers, I doubt any one person has the answers. Our problems are multifaceted which require a wholistic approach, where all of us need to come together to tackle them head on. The one thing though that I strongly believe and as I have pointed out is that we need to do SOMETHING! There is a very slow re-awakening taking place but it is just that, slow.

        Bashir said:
        February 20, 2012 at 13:40

        If I may add here, the writer is only trying to open a new vista in the way in which we view our current situation. The onus of suggesting a way forward should be our next assignment. There is a need for us to brainstorm on how we intend to solve our problems. Think Yan Arewa! Think!

    Ishaq said:
    February 19, 2012 at 23:05

    Well done Zainad. Not only is this expose well written, articulate, & indeed thought provoking, there could not have been a better time to write it. For obvious reasons howevr, I find it difficult to accept this part:

    “We have developed a mind-set that paradoxically makes us feel culturally superior….”
    For someone that leaves a reasonable period in different parts of the Country especially South-West & South-South will hardly accept this claim.

    “We look down on fellow Northerners of a different religion and ethnicity….”
    I rather you say ‘mistrust’ than ‘look down on’ here. And it is axiomatic that mistrust is an upshot of betrayal. A jorney into the Northern history from Sardauna’s time to the late 1980s when dots crisis like the Kafancan & Zangon-Kataf began will be quite revealing.

    “…we feel our own brand of Islam is better than the Islam practiced by a Yoruba man, an Igala or a Tiv such that you’d forgive anyone for thinking the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Hausa language somewhere in Kano.” Hhmmm! This the most tricky, time & space consuming of all. My mind unbiddingly raced to the Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, which is proven wrong by this assertion. Anyway, Islam has its creeds, one of which is the surbodination/colapse of tribal or racial boundaries for the Islamic identity. Hence, a closer look at the situation on a scale will reveal a contrary view.

    All the same keep it up!

      Jonathan said:
      February 20, 2012 at 13:26

      Ishaq, what is your alternative opinion to the first assertion you highlighted. Living for a reasonable period in different parts of the country is hardly an explanation. I agree 100% with Zainab’s assertion. This is what I refer as the ‘Born to Rule’ mindset of the average Hausa-Fulani.

      Mohammed said:
      February 20, 2012 at 13:39

      You’ve merely pointed out that you find it difficult to accept certain assertions in the article but you’ve not shed sufficient light on what your take is on these points rather you simply scratched the surface by giving a few rather vague clues as to what you really feel they should be. I’d like you to be more elaborate on the points which you highlighted above. Pls.

    Sani Sagagi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 04:04

    It is the same old story of “North bashing”. Now even one of its own is doing it. Yet not a single solution or suggestion of a way out could be offered. Just too bad. I regret wasting my time reading…..

      Nas said:
      February 20, 2012 at 12:59

      well u just wasted OUR own time by not offering ur solution. pls park well!!!

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:48

      Far from “North bashing”, Sani Sagagi, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and tell ourselves the truth. I am a Northerner through and through, I see the problems we have in our society. We need to acknowledge these so that we can work towards a solution. The first step towards a “solution” is identifying the problem and in our own case, we all need to accept that we have a problem and then come together to work out solutions. I personally don’t have all the answers, I doubt if I have any answer come to think of it, but one thing I know is that I want my kids to have a future in Arewa. At the moment, that looks very uncertain.

        Chukwuma Okeke said:
        February 20, 2012 at 17:20

        I agree with most part of your article but I must disagree with you on the aspect of the media tirade emanating from the South. You don’t weep a child and still expect the child not to cry.

      uchman said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:00

      Nas , accept my sympathy and stop living in regrets over good articles like this

      olafolarin said:
      February 20, 2012 at 20:52

      It is not “North-bashing” as you think.
      It is a well-articulated piece on how things went wrong.
      I’ll praise Zainab for “looking inward” before writing this piece.

    isah abbas said:
    February 20, 2012 at 08:01

    This is by far the best attempt at self-critique by any person in recent times; Arewa is indeed in disarray and mostly attributed to self-inflicted problems. The Boko Haram insurgency is today an open sore as well as an embarrassment to the people of northern Nigeria, especially the muslims. The once powerful and closely-knitted Arewa is today politically unstable , economically stagnant and socially disintegrated; its people have turned against each other while hate, intolerance and bigotry have taken centre stage. Its main problem as you rightly pointed out are its current crop of leaders, characterised by an arrogant thieving elite, a corrupt traditional institution and a compromised religious establishment.

    Hajara said:
    February 20, 2012 at 11:36

    An interesting piece!!!’

    Anonymous said:
    February 20, 2012 at 11:46

    Hausa Fulani Policre and soldiers still terrorize people in south nigeria, this has to stop

      Anonymous said:
      February 20, 2012 at 12:10

      There are so many things wrong with that statement, and being BS is one of them!

      Najib said:
      February 20, 2012 at 12:13

      There are so many things wrong with that statement, and being BS is one of them!

    Anonymous said:
    February 20, 2012 at 11:50

    Until now, some of us from North seems to believe Nigeria belong to Hausa/Fulani because of the way their leaders act. 2011 election was a pointer to my point. But the election result proved that Hausa/Fulani must dump the arrogancy tendency in them and face the reality. Nigeria of today is far than Nigeria of 1999. As it is today, they must forget Nigeria presidecy in the nearest future and put their house in order that is if Nigeria will remain one. Through qualitative education, no region can stand the cos of the numerical strength endowed on them by God almighty. So far no any Governor of the Hausa speaking state seems to b ready for that instead they are busy lotting their various state treasury and their pple are glorifying them.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:51

      I am also of the opinion that we need to forget about any political ambition for now (Presidency) and concentrate on putting our house in order. Without an attitudinal change or renaissance of sorts, the political power would be meaningless and would not generate the change we need. Besides, we are not in a good bargaining position: we have little economic resources and little bargaining leverage in the political equation… let’s just put that aside for now.

    adamuadda4 said:
    February 20, 2012 at 11:56

    All what is happening in this our arewa region or nigeria as a whole is as a result of the greediness of our so-called leaders,i am not a pessimist i am an optimist if the equation of leadership followership is not balanced i am afraid this just the beginning of insecurity in this poor nation.

    Nafiu tanimu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:01

    I think i aggree partly and disaggree partly with this opinion. Reason being that the crisis of development isn’t only a ‘North’ phenomena but a Nigerian reality generally! The root of the crisis is largely the collapse of the social justice system which resulted from the decay of our moral system from it root!

    Halliru Abdullahi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:02

    All these challenges come as a result of our bad attitudes towards Allah(SWT). If we change, we will definitely see the difference.

      Anon said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:51

      Halliru, wake up and smell the roses man!!! Aren’t you tired of using the religion excuse to cover for obvious inadequacies and incompetencies???!!!

    mechi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:04

    Wonderfully objective

    babs iwalewa said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:12

    Critical and dispassionate analysis

    oduna Arisi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:13

    I think this is a thought provoking analysis but it must nevertheless be pointed out that the resources of the north or the much talked about groundnut pyramid alone never sustained the nation as mischieviously conceived by many a northerner,there was cocoa from the west ,palm oil from the east and the truth if my faculties serve me right is that 50 percent of the resources goes to the resource owners and of course agricultural production does not degrade the environment as much as oil production does.i think you guys need to hide your face in shame and accept the obvious fact that nigeria is a fraud ,the resources from oil is the only reason the hausa fulani still co inhabibits with the rest of us and the basis of our togetherness has to be renegotiated to stop the carnage that has become a recurring decimal in the life of this contraption

    kamaal aldeeny lawal said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:13

    what an insightful thought….what impressed me the most is the writer’s unbiasness, i always says this fact that our north, more especially our muslim hausa-fulani communities have been religiously and socio-culturally misguided by our so called scholars. The teaching that we r religiously superior compared to other northern muslims has been the genesis of our ill-mental perception to the outside world which in essence damage our social co-existance as well as unity and cohesion which @ long run doomed our development. We need to look back and do a deep-rooted pinpointing to clearly fish out the problem and correct it..it is possible but will take a long time but it worth paying thr price. We have to be optimist and enlight and educate our upcoming generation for a brighter future…

    Kunvala Kaka said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:13

    Am a christian from the northeast or I can say middle belt with fulani blood flowing in me. Nobody has to tell me I can feel it. The only lessons we can learn from this the youths is to be our brothers keeper. Our parents have failed us we should not shy away from the truth. We should be bold enough to stand for the truth cos at the end of the day we are still the ones this so called politicians are using.

      Nsikan Ntuk said:
      February 22, 2012 at 02:48

      @K9, on point there!

    Enebeli Jonas said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:15

    I salute the courage and wits with which you have delivered this truth, I don’t believe northern Nigerians are lazy, but the northern politicians are myopic and very selfish, even I though I think nigerian political leaders of other regions are also that way. I used to love the photos of the groundnut pyramid. the fact that nigerians of every region are really pointing out our short comings means we can still afford the opportunity to do more, and by God’s grace we have better days ahead inspite as a nation inspite of our uninspiring present situation; I don’t think we need any SNC, we only need our governors to be responsible and creative and Nigerians will go back to work.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:57

      Thanks for your comment. I agree, our governors simply need to sit up, be more responsible and alive to their duties. As it is right now, they act as they please simply because they have no incentives to do otherwise. With a better educated and informed citizenry however, and with a more vibrant civil society, people via organizations, NGOS etc we can put pressure on these governors and ensure that they perform their duties. That’s why we need a reawakening of sorts, we need to realize these are our problems and that the way out is to be less complacent and more proactive in demanding for better leadership: service delivery, transparency and accountability in governance

    Abdullahi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:17

    Nothing to add but prayers for a well articulated write up. Heart warming

    Anonymous said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:17

    Well,well said.Articulate.Some thn can and should be done abt it.But dats for our Northern brothers.All d rest of us can do is wait & watch,nd hope dis message is spread,nd wish our brothers well,nd keep running for our lives as Bok Haram rages on.

    Luna said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:22

    One of the best piece I have read about our social and economic demise in the north. Thanks for this view.

    Muhammad Saddiq said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:23

    Way forward please

      ahmed said:
      February 22, 2012 at 12:46

      You should know that there should be short term and long term solutions based on the complexity of the problems.

        Kabir Yahaya said:
        February 22, 2012 at 14:53

        Mallam Ahmed.For way forward, please see below my comments in answer to Bashir:

        Thanks Bashir. Like I said, the starting point shall be the establishment of political parties that are rooted in the people of this country. Once we have this, and getting it is no rocket science, then we can be assured that some 60 to 70% of the people these parties would field for elections are those that come through the mill. Next is mass mobilization of the electorate to peacefully protect their votes at all levels; this has happened in a way in a number of states during the botched April 2nd 2011 National Assembly elections. Any leadership that emerge as a result of credible elections wil not be as contemptous to the electorate as a majority of the current crop of “elected” leaders are. Once you have credible leadership with patriotic commitment at all levels you can cut down the waste and corruption in government by about 20% in the first four years, give that leadership a second term by which time suffiecient safe guards are enshrined in the system through legislation, convention, rules and regulations etc., as has been done in Singapore, and it will be next to impossible to reverse their concrete achievements by any set of crooks that may subsequently take over.

    Shaibu Abubakar Ademu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:26

    God shall revail all.

    Mohammad Yaman said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:27

    A fair assesment of the north. As a muslim northerner I believe the decline can only be halted when we become true to the tenets of the religion we follow and the nation we love. A good muslim is an asset to any community.

    Aliyu A. said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:31

    A good write up,we need to behave as Nigerians and shared our problems as Nigerians not as a different entities.

    Jude said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:33

    This is the first time I have seen my Muslim brothers openly agreeing to and discussing progressively that there is indeed a problem, particularly that of a superiority complex amongst others. This is a sign of hope for my generation. I wish more people can embrace these views. The author did a great job considering the complex and complicated nature of the problem.

    Reading through comments above, I would suggest that for a way forward. We take the authors views and that of “Maduka above” and we have a number of concrete solutions to work with. The “Imam’s” and “Mullahs” must be made to contribute to the education of the girl child by preaching that it is okay for girls to be educated ( and boys as well).

    This article actually forms the basis for honest dialogue with the world. It is a realization of the self-inflicting nature of the plaguing problems in the North of Nigeria.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 15:15

      Thank you. I agree with you, Maduka’s contributions are really practical, pragmatic and progressive. Education and attitudinal change enabled by mass awareness campaigns are the way forward clearly. For this to happen, there needs to be a dialogue as you noted, and dialogues just don’t materialize out of thin air. This is where the educated ones amongst us, youth groups, former public office holders, CSOs etc need to step in to ensure pressure is put in the right places that matter (those leaders again unfortunately!) so that we can have this proper dialogue of sorts, and then agree on the best means of implementing these solutions.

        nazif said:
        February 22, 2012 at 06:38

        @zainabusman, no doubt education and factors outlined are key to solving the problem. However, whose responsibility is it? we all seem to shift it squarely on government as if we have no responsibly, especially when most of us are products of public schools and now take our children to private schools (nothing is wrong with that) If we can all consistently do little things a lot would no doubt be achieved, a simple effort we all can do is- whenever we are paying for private sch fee let us find time to contribute just a pencil and an exercise book ( N100 only) to those public schools, which today have alot more ex students than existing ones. Not only would no student in our public school buy a book or pencil all through his schooling life but teachers will be more serous and student will learn from early that drops of water indeed make the ocean.

    bola said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:35

    SOLUTIONS
    1. Improve on Education: Gradually abolish the quota system of entry into Universities. It encourages indolence and fosters medicority. Gradually icrease the cut-off points of entry into Universities and encourage more Northerners to move out of the North in search of Education.
    2. Try abolishing the almajiri syndrome. Let the children go to normal schools under their parents’ care and then get a community paid mallam who can teach them the tenets of Islam after school hours. the Southern Muslims do so.
    3. Proper Doctrination. Not everything Western, American is bad!!! Not everything Arab originated is Islam or Good!!!
    4. Demand more accountability from leaders.
    5. Encourage familial ties. Let each family take care of its own
    6. Not every non Muslim will be a bad leader and not every muslim will be a good leader. vote not based on etnicity but based on individual quality

      zainabusman responded:
      February 20, 2012 at 15:29

      Thank you Bola!! The only thing I would like to add to your pragmatic solutions is that the almajiri system might not need to be abolished completely at one go. It could be a gradual process where it is either phased-out (as a friend suggested) or where the system is completely reformed and overhauled. The problem is not really the Almajiri system itself, but the fact that it hasn’t been reformed to adapt to changing situations and present times. Once long ago, it was this system that many went through to become scholars. I have heard of proposals for such submitted to state governors but there has obviously been little political will to implement them.

      ishak said:
      February 21, 2012 at 12:31

      thanks to you bola. these are some of the way forward esp solutions 1-3

    tara said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:35

    Congratulations to the young educated northerns who have the courage to analyse their present position in the scheme of affairs of our great nation. It is indeed true that the first pointer to change is an awareness of where you are and an inspirational dissatisfaction.

    Having got here I think you should form a forum to address the evils that have befallen the north. This is the right time to let ur voices and ideas be heard. As you say there is a leadership vacuum pls don’t allow Boko Haram to fill this vacuum. Let your voiced be heard thru the length and breadth of our great nation, form alliances in the other regions who will help to broadcast your views and use all d mediums available to sell ur stories including the newspapers. BBC africa has a huge followership in the north use it to your advantage. Expose ur leaders for who they are, you must also be willing to meet the physical needs of your pple thru soup kitchens etc for that’s what these pple do to win them over. Good luck or shld I rather say best wishes

    LOTOSTEVE said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:37

    In fact the objectivity of this write-up is highly commendable, it shows a wealth of professionalism. IT is a fact that illiteracy in northern Nigeria is at the high side; it is a fact that the song of superiority complex(religion) is sung there in the north; it is a fact that vibrant industries are continually passing on to their eternal glories; it is clearly evident that northern leaders are all ‘cheats’ – what exactly have they left as legacy for their followers? its time to rise up and re-start.

    zuhairdeconstructed said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:41

    I was going to hit on this same issue on my blog; as a non-muslim however, I thought to respect myself and allow a hausa/fulani and a muslim @ that to come to this realisation.
    I will say this though, you are wrong about the Boko Haram attacks. More Christians have lost their lives to these attacks than muslims. And as we speak,more christians are dying.
    I remember when the issue of Al-mustapha’s death sentence hit the news… My hausa/fulani-muslim friends were all over facebook and blackberry. One of them even proclaimed that “there will be war”. What was most ridiculous was that 99.9% of them in true hausa tradition,didn’t know what court tried almustapha and what he was on trial for.
    This is the hausa north I have grown up with. Surely,while u all turned a blind eye to the killings in Jos, did u think it won’t come back to bite?
    In my own village, a hausa girl (whom I’m sure is a settler) spat @ me and called me an infidel. In the time of my parents, a christian with all the qualifications will be put below a muslim with a secondary school leaving certificate.
    The world can no longer accept mediocrity and that,my dear is what the north has been delivering even before independence. RESEARCH IT!!!

      Nas said:
      February 20, 2012 at 13:08

      I’m a muslim my brother and i agree with u 100%, it is sad and when i read abt such attitudes i feel sad and ashamed, our system and values have been eroded by hatred for our neighbours, i once got into a fight with friends cuz i said our major problem in the North was tht we looked down on other tribes in the north, had a big fight in the middle of the night but it is a fact. i look at my christian northern friends and wonder if they’ll ever believe tht i truly care abt them. Reading this i’m trying to hold my tears, cuz i’m angry, sad and also very ashamed.

    suleiman said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:45

    An extensive write-up that needs no sequel. Zainab has covered all aspects of contention relating to the wide range of issues troubling this region. A very good piece, articulate and un-biased, well done. As the problems have been clearly spelt out and brought to light, the next step and most important at that is to seek our ‘Turning point’ of sorts. As the review has prescribed, the leadership in the North has failed, the people despise them n a wide bridge of mistrust between the people and this ruling class has been wedged firm. My suggestion would be that the youth groups and civil coalitions must rise above the stance of distant critics into core pressure groups and progressive institutions to empower a new generation of vibrant intellectuals and career professionals within the region to drive this part of Nigeria back to its celebrated level. And, as the young generation vastly affected by the situation of today we all must come together and give our own quota.

    Ponfa Ndam said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:50

    On point Bulls eye

    Authentic said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:53

    A beautiful peace. I so much agree with the writer on almost all the points raised. I strongly believe investing in quality education…education and education should be the first step in getting the North back on track. Followed by Agriculture.We need to get our Agriculture back to the glory days. It is not going to be easy but there are sacrifices worth making.

    I hope we wont just t read this peace and live it right there without appreciating the points raised and work towards changing the North for the better. May God help us.

    Zainab keep it up.

    Chygoz05 said:
    February 20, 2012 at 12:53

    If i were to score this piece as an examiner, i would rather prefer to design the page(s) with big question marks for obvious reasons. Firstly, the writer failed to strike the necessary balance in such a way that an enemy of the Nothern Protectorate can borrow this same piece (hook, line and sinker) to launch a heavy attack on the North. It is simply about changing the topic to ‘THE RISE AND FALL OF NORTHERN NIGERIA’ and this supposedly well articulated piece will automatically assume a negative inclination. Put differently, religion, over the years, has been the bane of the entirety of happenings around the north. Boko Haram members and their co-travellers are all muslims. They are sensitized in Islamic Schools; but i’m compelled to believe the Islamic teachings they receive are full of murdered truths such that they attritube their victory of every successful bombardment to Allah (SWT), {in the parlance of Muslims}. Against this backdrop, solutions are not far fetched. Concentration should be on awareness of campaigns and rigorous propagation of Islam to be the religion of peace as professed. I’m concerned about the Nigerian state but the writer was biased and concentrated on the North alone. Zainab, with all due respect, you should equally have the interest of other Nigerians at heart. This challenge in the North is all encompassing. I rest my case.

    Anonymous said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:00

    This is a truthful piece.its been long that the true diminishing position of the north has been put in print.Leadership gap cuts across the country but the only saving grace the South-West especially Yoruba’s has is education which has eluded the northern part of the country.Education is a priority in the South west,while it is not so in the North.Only an educated youthful populace can challenge the status quo of a malfunctional,mal-administration government in power through positive criticism and not harms as in the case of BH.The dent that BH has painted on the north is huge and will take a long time to wipe out in the near future.Northern leaders intentionally refuse to educate their citizens so as to avoid challenge owing to self awareness.Religion is another factor that is militating such development through unscripted superiority belief over another religion.During my NYSC in Sokoto State,as much as we pray the afternoon prayer together daily before close of work,i was still regarded as an outcast because am a Yoruba muslim.The need to continually raise new crop of leaders that will redefine the Northern future and bring about the peace we all yearn for can not be overemphasised.There is need to change the social belief of the northern youth.Only the educated literate can liberate the uneducated illiterate.

    Mr Felix said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:13

    Reading through this piece clearly shows that the problem bedeviling the nation is one and the same regardless of the region- bad leadership.
    The only part(s) of the article I don’t particularly agree with is the issue of sourcing for a new set of leaders that will get all these problems solved – the solution lies in all of us. The same bad leaders that have run this nation aground abound in every region and they have become so powerful and immovable that it will require the effort of all to kick them out.
    For the northern Nigeria though, quality education remains one area it has to continuously invest in to be able to meet up with the rest of the country.

    abdulkatung said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:21

    What is good for the goose,they say,is likewise good for the gander! Y complain about the western media when the muslim north also takes uses of its control of d media in the north against the christian north. Don’t complain o! We aint seen nothing! He who wants justice…………..! Ali ne ya gan Ali! Allah ya taimake mu yaraba Nigeria da munafuncin bahaushe, bayarabe da nyamari!

    Nas said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:30

    So much has been said abt the beauty and objectivity of this right up, Kudos Zainab. One solution by comment 44, yes there is need for massive reeducation of d youth abt religion, governance and productivity. While that is going on, d need for credible and honest leadership comes in. i have been opportuned to be part of a group of young northerners both christian and muslim during d recent occupynigeria protest and cuz of tht we are really trying hard to bridge that gap btwn christians and muslims in Kaduna, also National Youth Forum is also organising a seminar on peace initiative, it is not an impossible task but a difficult one. years of hatred, killings and discrimination will take some time to eradicate, but we will not give up. this has to be replicated across the whole north, yes it is biased but with d north in flames we really can’t help d rest of Nigeria, and if we try it will still be recieved with suspicion and derision. everytime i read an article, comment, tweet or see an insult abt the north, i blame it solely on our present and past leadership, which includes religious and secular leaders. our emirs and district heads r among d biggest culprits not cuz of anything they hav done but cuz they r closest to d pple, if we want to solve our problems we need to leave these pages and go to d pple and show them we r honest, sincere and ready to build a society that is one, tht does not discriminate nd does not kill just cuz u come from a dif tribe, religion, or sect, and our religious leaders should be held responsible for their wild and unproven allegations, as well as harmful and destructive sermons!!! We hav cowards and greedy pple in our leadership who would rather keep quiet and steal than do what is right and stand up for justice, equity, fairness and tolerance!!!

    Its me said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:44

    If we do not stert killing these politicians northen blood sucker including some old militries and chiefs we will continue end up killing ourslves they cant change ever.

    Jalingo Abdullahi Yakubu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:46

    I weep for the Hausa Fulani races. It’s a pitty, I don’t think we will ever forgive our so called leaders. Allah ya isa.

      yusuf Lawal said:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:32

      Allah Ya isa

        ishak said:
        February 21, 2012 at 13:15

        Allah ya isa

    BARAU said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:46

    ONE POINT STRUCK ME IN YOUR WELL-WRITTEN ARTICLE. THE HITHERTO, PEACEFUL AND UNITED NORTH THAT SEEMS TO BE GONE. TRULY, A LOT OF MINORITIES IN THE NORTH (ESPECIALLY CHRISTIANS) SEE THEMSELVES MORE AS THE “SOUTHERNERS” OF THE NORTH-A KINSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS FROM OTHER GEO-POLITICAL ZONES.

      Anonymous said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:23

      Are the Christians in the so-called North as Minority as we present them? I would rather prefer the usage of other ethnic groups in the Mid-Belt.

        zainabusman responded:
        February 22, 2012 at 03:32

        But there are Christians in the North-East and North-West, and that is certainly not the Middle Belt. As you can see, I used the word “minority” in quote for obvious reasons.

        Habimus said:
        February 23, 2012 at 01:24

        Your point proved. Just wanted to draw the attention of some of the respondents to your article. Cheers Zainab!

    chinedu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 13:59

    If we tell ourselves the truth surely we shall survive, but when lie even ourselve then fall we must, heavily shall we

    wale said:
    February 20, 2012 at 14:01

    Nice write up, though am quite challenged by the superiority complex bit. Contrary to what you wrote, i know the Yorubas dont see northerners as being superior, i have never known a superior northern era. I have always wondered about the nomads in the north and felt they needed help. Anyways, back to the real issue, the leadership deficiencies; i wonder why nobody has yet proferred any meaningful solution to the lack of uneducation in the north. Why cant we just send them to school and feed the almajiris three times daily for 20 years. THAT WILL SOLVE 60% ALL THE PROBLEMS. Lets stop speaking grammar and just do something.

      Jonathan said:
      February 20, 2012 at 14:24

      Wale, Very typical for you to try to impose Yoruba superiority. I did not see anything in Zainab’s write-up to suggest that Yorubas consider Northerners as superior. What I understand from the write-up is that Northerners consider themselves as superior. These are two different things and your attempt at putting words into her mouth is just a ploy to start a useless argument here. Unless of course you mean to tell us that you do not understand English.

        ishak said:
        February 21, 2012 at 13:23

        Am sure he dint understand the write-up, or he is pointless person and yet he cant keep his mouth short.

      uchman said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:05

      Very useless post

      uchman said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:06

      Wale, this is a very useless comment from you.

    Olufunso Omodele said:
    February 20, 2012 at 14:09

    You are right on top with your analysis

    xyneon said:
    February 20, 2012 at 14:18

    This is a very nice write-up, the contributions are wonderful…..i believe we can go further by publishing this in the nigerian newspapers, where there is more publicity, from there orgarnise a conference for the youths from all tribes, it can develop to something great…one of d contributors talked about bbc africa[hausa] thats a great channel to communicate this issue to the youths, even some of these mallams have radio and listen to news. It shows they have interest in knowing the right information. The media may be the best tool we can use to turn things around. I still believe its possible!

    Comrade Sheriff E.E.Zadok said:
    February 20, 2012 at 14:19

    I salute d courage of d writer of dis wonderful e-pin background of d northern leaders viz those who had ruled d country in d past from d region.D truth is dat they ve failed their people from d north via how uncaring they ve subjected their people into so as to continue to use dem as a result,d emergence of dis so called Boko Haram Sect dat is causing serious economic retardness of d region in d recent past.How I wish our youths from dis part of d country could wake up and ve a re-think vis-a-vis how best to re-position and take their destiny in their hands while ensuring they do away with dis monster called Boko Haram which if left,would unmake,doom and return d region to a perpectual poverty zone.God bless us.
    Thks.From D Country Rep,All West Africa Students’ Union(AWASU)08036907273.

    yusuf Lawal said:
    February 20, 2012 at 14:30

    Thank you Zainab May Allah bless you amen

    Nehe said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:16

    The earlier we start telling ourselves the truth, the better.

    Stan said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:26

    A very nice piece well articulated I must confess am indeed very happy bcos nigeria has a future and even the North for a Northerner to say something like this speaks volume. The way forward 1. Compulsory and free Education for all northerners I.e Akwa Ibom and Imo State 2.Abolishment of Almajiris scheme 3.Northern Govs to invest massively in Agriculture 4.Preaching peace to the Northern Youth not to law into hands at slightest provocation and should not deceived by 7 seven virgin thing. We need to keep this country this our own country. God bless Nigeria!!!

    Dave said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:26

    Zee, your article is critism of the northern elites like the southern counterpart is highly commendable. However the southern elites tactically encouraged their people to work harder and independent minded the northern believed in ‘a big tree in a forest’ encouraging beggarly and docile citizenry. Besides, they also believed ‘yamiri’ people of southern nigeria are inferior and they must provide leadership for even when such had been tested and found wanting. Such feeling of superiorty complex of one ethnic group over others is not taking kindly by any group in the 21st century. Nigeria is experiencing leadership problem.

    Opeyemi Agbaje said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:29

    A candid self critique here. We need more of this not just in the North, but everywhere in Nigeria.

    chukwunonye said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:41

    I beg to differ on the point that more muslims have lost their lives in this bombings. This is a point that you should push to those that did not grow up in the North. As to the fact that its under-development might have been caused by ‘ITS PAST LEADERS’ why bomb and kill ordinary church gowers? I have good muslim friends that I grew up with and learned how to keep the PEACE, from them. So looking @ the spate of recent happenings, I can deduce to you that the problem of the North, came up through infiltration of the North by neighbouring countries whom now claim to be Nigerian and go along confusing you Northerners and setting up the Northern muslim for a duel against his christian country man. Let me make this clear to Northern muslims- if ever Nigeria disintegrate, then will you seek to purge out the settlers amongst you, then will you encounter a bigger problem and wished you were wiser.

    Halima said:
    February 20, 2012 at 15:49

    Zainab, thank you so much, I had posted something similar on FB, but not as comprehensive and well written. Acknowledging a problem is solving it half way. I’m from Borno, and have seen up close the destruction, chaos and mayhem caused by illiteracy, extremism, poverty,greed and corruption.

    Matthew said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:01

    What a great job here! I just feel this is a timely piece for the entire country although, I share your view that northern Nigeria is more at the edge/ precipice of the terminal decline of transformational leadership. I wish the north well in the quest to address this urgent situation while I hope the rest of us will take a cue from this.

    Thumbs up Zainab

    Chris said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:06

    I grew up in the north. So I understand the psyche of the people. Wonderful to be with. The truth is the have had their chances but it was poorly utilized. There is too much allegiance to religion and their leaders have used it negatively. It has always being a dooms day in the waiting. I recall fifteen years ago I told my friends in kaduna that the sufferings of people in recent years will eventually get to the north. For several reasons. Viz: bigotry, parochial approach to nationalism. Too believe in wealth that is not accounted for.(Allah ya ba shi ) blind worship of self leaders. Ignorance. Perpetuated by the leaders. And the erronous believe that holding on to poor is the eldorado. And the refusal of the rich to invest in education, human capital or companies. In place of charities for future electoral votes.

    Bunmi Idowu-Kuola said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:11

    What an awesome article. Painfully true and pragmatic. I think the problems you have outlined do not only affect the norh but the whole of Nigeria. As a fellow Nigerian from the south-west with mixed yoruba / Ibo blood, i see the same problems everywhere in the country. We need a complete social re-engineering in Nigeria so that politics can be seen as a way of serving the people and bringing the fruits of democracy to the common man instead of a means of amassing illicit fortunes. We need to educate to heavily invest in educating our people so that poor leaderhip can be heavily challenged and held accountable through the democratc process. Then and only then can we have the credible and competent calibre of leadership that we need to be able to move forward socio-economically.

    oluwatoyin vincent adepoju said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:24

    Wonderful-both essay and comments

    adly said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:26

    ”that the people of Northern Nigeria, especially the (in)famous “dominant” group, the Hausa-Fulanis seem to be in terminal decline.”

    Thank you for being bold to own up, and this is your own personal salvation. Only truth can save you, a nation and civilization. Religion can not do these. And substitute all your analysis in one word: ”hate” and you know that not only has the north reached ”terminal decline”, but has also become a Frankenstein to itself and to other groups, as it has been, principally due to its vitriolic ”hate” to others. It was its hate and contempt to others, backed up with past utterances and speeches that everyone of other regions will eternally hate the northerners as long as the time Nigeria remains as ONE…and even in disintegration, this will continue….people can forgive, but not forget..especially manifest hate backed up with certain speeches and utterances of the past ”leaders”….If there is any lesson Nigeria teaches me, it is only about the beauty of nature presented to man, of which man has inflicted damage to and destroyed by ”hate”, hiding under religion to do evil and this stigma will eternally follow the northerners, as they have proven to not only Nigerians but to the outside world that there is structural deficiency in Islam – the psychology of every other groups in Nigeria about the northerners has wrapped up as a society that will self-destruct, due to arrows it throws to others who are peaceful and blameless, and nature has a way of throwing back these kinds of arrows to their origins….

    ”While the deficit of transformational leadership is not exclusively a Northern phenomenon, it is more magnified in the North.”

    I think northern culture sustain this and it will remain forever, because the culture sustain idleness and lack of self-responsibility….in which parents abandon their children…youths believe in government patronage than self-reliance, people sleep in Mosques than think/do business…

    ”This economic decline has been accelerated by the Boko Haram insurgency, thanks to which the holy grail of foreign investments will now become ever so elusive.”

    As someone cobwebbed in Nigeria, I had plans to visit Kano before, but the reality of today has placed a mental chasm around my psychology that there are certain no-go areas in ONE NIGERIA…I think I’m not alone in this thinking….I think some of the friends of the north from Saudi Arabia can ”invest” in the north…treachery is not sustainable…not matter how many years it is projected….it will collapse and affect those who project it..

    ”Lastly is the all-out media war and propaganda against the North.”

    Perhaps because you found yourself born in the north, you will perceive issues as like this. Is there any media war and propaganda? These are real and these are things sustained over the years through treachery, but like things done this way, they continued to slip off the hands of those who ”build” them, but fear would not allow them to own up and acknowledge wrong doing or seek redress….

    Chuka said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:28

    A very good article I must say. You simply said it all. The problem now is how to get an average notherner understand this b’cos most of the people that can read this already have an idea of these facts…. Somebody is using his/her money to sponsor the BH, why not use that money to start up a business that can employ people? Arms and ammunitions and drugs are not cheap and can’t be purchased by ordinary man. The BH activities, if not checked, will draw back our region to a very large extent which will take decade of recovery. I recommend that we start re-orientating our youths. We can start by organising seminars in the universities, secondary schools and other higher institutions. These crop of leaders are interested in themselves only and not our well fair. Let’s tell them the truth which is that the leaders from the north are our problems and not the southerners living in the north as they have always made us believe.

      Anonymous said:
      February 21, 2012 at 00:34

      Chuka

      When you say, an average northerner, what do you mean? If i may ask. who is a northerner?

    Alhaji Abdulhakeem Abiola said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:31

    I wish concerned elites will put heads together to examine this critical espouse. But even as d sell out of 2011 has done incalculable damage to d collective physique of d North, all other sections had their share of neglect from our heartless leaders!

    Kamal said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:42

    Zainab i have agreed to some of d things u said but not all. I strongly disagree with u when u said d hausa/fulani look down on oda tribes n ethnics in d same region. Tribalism n ethnicity is not our problem in d north bcoz u will not see a hausa man fightin with kanuri or kanuri fightin wit nupe etc like it happens in d south. D hausa and fulani pple naturally have hospitality n dey r never tribalist may be u can say dey are extremist when it comes to religion. And there is need for u to explain to d southerners dat its not every muslim in north dat is hausa/fulani. Our main problem in d north is corruption n bad leadership our past leaders have failed us. Dere is a serious need to solve d case of boko haram now which is destroyin our region dats our immediate problem now coz we are d once sufferin but d media is not being faithfull like u said.

    Nasir Badamasi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:42

    This is sad bt true. I weep 4 my country, n I weep 4 my region.

    Aliyu Muhammad Saifuddeen said:
    February 20, 2012 at 16:51

    Succintly and aptly put.

    adugh orduen said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:02

    Amina, your write up was very great, my contribution is though I am from the middle belt but I schooled and have lived in the North. Until the Northerm Politician and business men go back to telling the truth many have join others in telling lies to accomulate wealth. My father use to tell me the most trusted person to do bisiness with is Hausa ~ Fulani man but most of those things have changed, until we go back to the basis, truth and standing by the truth, many nations will keep playing over our inteligence. But its a good and truth you have written.

    Niechai said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:20

    You are right Zainab, at the rate the North is going , we will become an ancient civilisation if we don’t tell ourselves the truth. No Tribe is born to rule. The way to economic prosperity is through hard work. We cannot continue to depend on crude oil fuelled government allocations to survive. Truth be told, what has the North contributed to the nation in terms of resources in the past 20yrs? Have you ever wondered what will happen if/when the oil dries up? I am a Northerner and I have experienced the animosity southerners feel towards everything Northern. If our parents have failed, we have no excuse to carry that failure to the next generation.
    Thought provoking piece Zainab.

    JANUS said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:21

    I dove my hat for this piece; zainab your explicit and simplistic presentation of the quagmire that seem to overwhelm the “North” (Other parts of the country are not immune either) deserves commendation. Nevertheless, my mind is drawn to the recent Northern Conference and the passion with which our “Leaders” (Selected and not Elected) eloquently outlayed the problem of the region; I must have being naïve to have thought it would have provoked a blueprint for the region to lift us from the doldrums of bedeviling socio-political rot; Indeed we are bereaft of Good Leaders. My gaze is thus cast to the foreseeable future and the gloom that looms on the horizon if we fail to nip these problems soon:
    1. We need to urgently re-orient the entire populace on the need for proper education; this task is the responsibity of all stakeholders (religious, political etc ).
    2. The era of the anointed candidate by our traditional leaders should stop; we the people should choose our leaders; then accountability and transparency will begin to count.
    3. A state of emergency should be declared on agriculture; to revive our pride and reposition us economically as a people.
    4. We should have a total overhaul of our value system whose core should be towards unbiased integration.

    The fire has being kindled, let’s not watch it wane.

    Kamal said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:26

    U talk about hatred in d north but ur comment here proves more hatred arrogance n ignorance. Wat do u know about d northern culture? Wat do u mean islam have structural deficiency? Am very sure ur an IGBO man coz u pple never like nigeria and have been shoutin division since 1967. Why are u talkin as if u dont have more problems to solve in ur own region? U said d hatred will continue even after division ryt? But am very sure even if nigeria is divided u pple will continue killing each oda over land and petroleum resources dat u think it was planted by ur ancestors. Get a life

    chinade said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:35

    An excellent piece . The issue of Almajiri is the bane of our problems in the north. Our politicians use them to try to achieve their selfish motives.The boko haram also capitalize on their (almajiris) ignorance to brain wash them into committing all sorts of crimes in the name islam. In my opinion, it is the greatest problem we have. Just as one of the commentators quite rightly said,” the issue of polygamy in the north should be addressed”.
    It is NOT allowed in islam for a man to marry more than one wife if he cannot shoulder their responsibilities, contrary to the belief that marrying more than one wife brings one out of his poverty stricken life; absolute ignorance! Our people especially those from the rural areas need to be properly educated on such delicate issues, perhaps fewer almajiris will be seen on our streets.

    bamikola adjaryieso said:
    February 20, 2012 at 17:47

    ]]- @Zainabusman]- This write-up in your “mirror-reflection” hath said it to all…! And some of the truth hath thus been spoken…as regards the situation in the “North”..! Let for once say: the “North” has NOT problem; IT is Problem that SEEMs to have the North in Its “BAG” stored in a CAGE. And until the “North” Gets OUT of that “BAG” and the Cage; Nothing is going to CHANGE…!
    The Former NORTHERN NIGERIA as still defined by the old British colonial boundaries, now has over 30 universities; Primary Education has been FREE in the North as is in the rest of the country since Pres Shagari Administration 30years ago…! And the schools products of that free-education-opportunity must be in millions in the North; 20years in public service after university. My point is: What have they been doing in the North since graduation…?? My point is: It is the “EDUCATED NORTHERNERS” that MUST be held respossible for the Problems[if any] in the “Hypothetical North”..!

    Akeem Olatunji said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:10

    Nice write-up.I pray more like mind pple like u crops up,d north will regain it’s lost glory where nothing like religious intolerance exist.I wish u well in ur quest.

    Akeem Olatunji said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:12

    Nice write-up

    uchman said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:22

    Zainab, this is splendid. I also agree with some of the comments that explains that this concern is a general thing and can be seem in other regions with varying degrees.

    I will suggest a few recommendation.
    1. All public office holders must have their children using public institutions like public schools(pry, sec and university), public (general) hospitals etc.
    2. Representatives (senators & reps) must have there offices in their zones and commute for meeting from there except on occasions where they need to spend more days at the capital for sessions.
    3. Remove constituency allowance from senators and reps. They have no business running projects in their zones. Their job is to make enabling laws.
    4. All public office holders shd be made to visit ICPC or EFCC after service for review of their resources and stewardship.
    5. Engage the traditional rulers and influential religious leaders in communities to achieve educational and local health initiative using independent and credible organisations.

    Hope this adds well to the discussion.

    olalekan olowu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:27

    This writter has hit the Bulls eye it is left for the Northern oligarcy to do what right. To delay is dangerous.

    Adamu Adamu said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:27

    It seemed all are mere centripetal or centrifugal out pours ; why going round and round without proffering a single solution to the menace? it will just end up for the records that an articulated article was written to sensitize or conscientized the Northern elements. But as you opined that Northern people are but in a terminal decline….then who will bail the cat?

      zainabusman responded:
      February 22, 2012 at 03:46

      Thanks for your comment and observation. You are right, I didn’t proffer a single solution to our problems and indeed, I didn’t set out to do that at all. The article is just an expression of my frustration and despair over what I perceive to be a crumbling of the very foundation of my identity. I don’t have the answers, I alone do not have the solutions. But one thing I know that would serve as a step forward, and as I noted in the article is the need for a massive re-awakening, a need for us to tackle our problems head on. That can only happen when there is a collective acknowledgement of these problems and a collective, concerted and wholistic approach towards addressing them. For one thing, I am tremendously happy with people’s reactions to this piece which I didn’t at all expect for what I consider to be my personal lamentation on the sorry state of things. I am also glad that apparently, many people overwhelmingly share the same sentiments. That’s a start. And people here have been making wonderful contributions and suggestions on the way forward. The onus now lies on whether we would be able to galvanize ourselves and apply pressure in the right places in order to have a meaningful and collective dialogue which would fashion out the steps to be taken and how they would be adopted.

    Wale said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:28

    Zanaib I appreciate your truthful writeup. However, in finding solution, massive investment into both Islamic and western education by northern govs should be your ( I mean the youths) agitation, even if you need to form a pressure group for this purpose. Western education must be made compulsory, particularly at the primary level.

      uchman said:
      February 20, 2012 at 18:29

      Western education or appropriate education?

        oluwatoyin vincent adepoju said:
        February 20, 2012 at 18:47

        Uchman, you hit on a very sensitive and controversial point : “Western education or appropriate education?”. Could you elaborate, please?

        Anonymous said:
        February 20, 2012 at 20:06

        as I settle to read this impressive article from a small but concentrated Hausa community somewhere in an abuja suburb, my attention was attracted by a hausa young man who reliefed his nostrils of congestion by noisily blowing it, I was perplexed to see him freely bending down to pick a litter from the ground to wipe his nose. My mind immediately went to the inapproprite education that has become a house hold name for northern citizens of this country. The question now is, how many of our past northern leaders who enriched their pockets with stolen govt funds have that innitiative of establishing private education facilities for their people like their fellow compatriots of the south, east and west? Amongst privately owned universities in Nigeria, how many do we have in the north? Where are these past leaders? Will they hear my voice so they can retrace their steps if possible? The problem as I percieve it is inappropriate education which must hit the ground now and run. In whatever we do or say however, let us not forget to preach peace. One Nigeria. God Bless

    Augustine Ogaba said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:40

    An objective self examination. Hope “Born to rules” share your dispassionate view. Allah ya taimake mu, Amin.

    Joseph john said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:47

    Let us pray, the main player had harding there heart……no access to….

    Nanawealth said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:47

    Wow!!! Honestly I keep on seeing it as the resposibility of our religious leader to carry upon themselves bcos the so called “northern” doesn’t respect his leader again as he respects d clergy men!!! Reason why I said so is bcos most of d clergy men say things dey don’t suppose to say but if they say words of encouragement dat will build up the society then we will be better people!!!!

    Igbotic said:
    February 20, 2012 at 18:50

    I for one wondered why my Hausa friends where silent on the issues. The silence made the perception of the north worse. Thank u for breaking the silence.

    Idris said:
    February 20, 2012 at 19:06

    A well thought out peice zainab. But this superiority complex thing. Might be about Hausa-Fulani on a national scale but others major ethnic groups also have it. As a minority from Kwara State, we live under oppression and so called fake superiority complex of the Yorubas. This is the case in all parts of Nigeria. A wonderful piece though.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 22, 2012 at 03:47

      Thanks for this observation

    Habimus said:
    February 20, 2012 at 19:13

    “The leaders are seen to have enriched themselves and their cronies while using an adept mixture of religion and ethnicity to keep people subjugated in the shackles of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, and misery.” My thumbs are up for Zainab because the above is as true as sincerity. Religion, is uncontestably used as a vehicle to unjustly convey the innocent northerners to a seeming unreturned journey so that the minority Monarchs/Leaders would keep sitting on a personally and selfishly made unreachable seat by the poor majority masses. How I wish that this objective and from the heart piece of a concerned through and through Northerner (Zainab), will be read by the few priviledged educated Northerners who have objective (positive) intention not only for the North but Nigeria? God, please save the future of the innocent young northerners that we may progress in place of retrogression.

    Ibrahim Uba said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:00

    I never thought anyone could read my thoughts untill I read this article. Thank you so much Zainab $ May God bless you. Please $ Please try and publish this article on a wider coverage media so that the awareness which is most important @ dis stage could reach as many audience as possible! May Gold help us. Thank you once again Zainab.

    Ibrahim Uba said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:06

    Thank you so much Zainab $ God bless u. I neaver thought sum1 could read my thoughts untill I read this article. Please pass it on 2 more braoder channels so that the awareness which is critical @ dis stage can get 2 as many audience as possible. Thanks 1ce again.

    halima said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:11

    This is the first time I am reading this blog. I find the discussion interesting, as well as the replies. Agreed, we have a problem in the north. How do we solve it? The seed of these problems was sown by the colonial govt which de-emphasized western education for the north because it may turn out to be a detriment to indirect rule. In fact our problem was created by indirect rule!! How do we solve it? We should abolish the almajiri system entirely. The politicians ruling us should be made accountable or else they face mass action (post election violence is an example). Quality education to all men or women must be enthrone. Our govts should provide basic amenities such water and electricity (we have not seen electricity in my hotoro area of kano for sumtime now, imagine!). Irrigation is very important, etc

    Suraj Oyewale said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:34

    Second article I’m reading from you, Zainab. First one last year in Daily Trust, after which I sent you an email but you didn’t reply.

    A feel your pain, your lamentation, your concern. A lot is wrong in the North today, and northerners of our generation don’t appear to see it. All the concerns you raised are very valid.

    I have always said it, let northerners invest in education and reform their religious institutions(I’m not saying you should drift from Islam) – that will automatically reflect in mindset and attitude, and with proper mindset, a lot of good will follow.

    But this is not to say others regions don’t have its problems.

    This is perhaps the most intellect-driven platform for home-truth by young northerners I have ever come across. Who knows, the transformation can start from here.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 22, 2012 at 03:49

      Thank you for your comment. Please accept my apologies for not responding to your email, I thought I did.

    Tee said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:36

    Zainab, Thank you very much for this piece.

    One of the most under-estimated steps is the fundamental basic of the society which is the family. Most families are in a state of despair, thanks to poverty. Parents need to be more responsible so that kids could have a meaningful upbringing. You don’t expect a kid exposed at age 6 begging around the streets not to fall into some bad company later in life. A system should be in place to check family activities where parents/guardian are fully responsible for their young ones.

    Education is a vital point and the north that claim to be Islamic is nothing without education, In fact they can’t be seen in the light of Islam if they don’t have education because even in the quran, (1) The first world reveal to the prophet (may peace be upon him) was Iqra which means read/recite. (2) The word “Allah” appeared most in the quran followed by the word “ilm” which means knowledge, these should be motivation for people who claim to be Muslims. To achieve sound education, good schools should be made available/affordable if possible free to all kids at-least till the end of secondary schools and most importantly all schools should be monitored to know what students are being taught too so that they wont come out soiling name of Islam.

    Another point is development, agriculture is something Nigerians have underestimated these days because of oil. the lands are still there and it is a high employer of labor. I believe that if agriculture is taken very seriously, its just a matter of time, the business men will come calling. You have to lure them with potentials and I believe the profit makers will come rushing and everyone will eventually laugh last.

    Once again, Thank you very much for this piece, I believe self criticism is a way to better ourselves. May Allah bless you.

    Sam said:
    February 20, 2012 at 20:39

    In a long long while, i have not seen a well thought out, frank and straight to point article on the predicaments of the north. power is hurting and hunting the north at the moment and we don’t know where this road leads to except self destruction; however i am still of the opinion that northern elites particularly the ex military leaders and their other high profiled ex service men are not doing enough to curtail the activities of boko haram which their inactions or actions in the past help create in one way or the other. Does it mean that they cannot work out a modality to salvage the situation? i am at a great loss here. I remember Chief Awoniyi who lived and died for northern interest always spoke of a day like this while defending his ‘rabid’ defence of the Arewa. It is a pity we allowed ourselves into this.

    Emmanuel Usman Bassi said:
    February 20, 2012 at 21:12

    Fantastic and analytical piece.

    Akefo MA said:
    February 20, 2012 at 21:32

    Zainab, Excellent piece. I can not thank you so much. If only I had the technology to clone some of the beautiful minds on here and elixirate the rest of Nigeria. However we will keep educating our generation so as not to live in total jeopardy.” Allah ja zamani” and God bless you.

    isiguzo E A said:
    February 20, 2012 at 21:46

    Good analysis,but biased coclusion that the North is being victimized by the rest of Nigeria. One of the problems with the North is that they are not used to following but leading.but Nigeria is no longer 10yrs old or 25 yrs old she has grown old.it belongs to all of us and not the North alone.the North should learn to accept this fact and embrace the rest as BROTHERS,and wish the Nation the best at all times irrespective of its source

    abubakar said:
    February 20, 2012 at 21:58

    The solution is education, education and education, The word Boko originated from the name Book, During colonialism, the white man came to Emir of Kano and told him that the colonial administration will open school to teach the natives, the whiteman gave the Emir a book, Emir said is it from this (book) you will teach our children? the white man said yes, then the Emir said if you called this Book in your Language, we will call what you will teach our children BOKO. During those days, we are taught islam on a piece of smooth wood which we call ALLO ( ). We memorise the Holy Quran on this soft wood, one will never have access to the HolyQuran (the book is available but to only highly learned Scholars). Gradually we start calling islamic studies as Karatun Allo( those who read from the soft wood), while those who are studying in the school run by the colonial administrators are those reading Boko. The colonial administrators are christians, while we are muslims, in some cases they try to convert muslims to christianity, this made many parents to be suspicous of taking thier children to colonial schools. The mistake we made was separating the two, since Quran is a Book, we shouldnt have named them differently. This differentiation made us to embrace one and reject the other.In the western Nigeria, the yorubas where less cautious in contact with whitemen, many yoruba muslims revert to chriatianity, such cases are very very rare or doesnt exist among Hausa/Fulani. However because of ignorance of the islamic Knowledge, some Fulani herdmen revert to christianity.

    Let me refer back to issue of education, the average Hausa man despite his modern education doesnt care if his children attempt to emulate him, he only pamper them with luxuries, and we do not give scholarships to children from poor families. If you compare Barewa College Zaria and Kings College Lagos, you will cry for the northen child, Barewa College has been totally neglected by the old boys and Kaduna State Government, is it the same thing with Kings College Lagos?

    As I said at the begining, the solutions lies in educating the northener, certainly, we are in decline but definitely NOT TERMINAL DECLINE.

    Anonymous said:
    February 20, 2012 at 22:35

    El-rufai what is your comment?

    dage said:
    February 20, 2012 at 22:39

    Brilliant write up! You spoke my mind. We northerners either reform or perish (I couldn’t think of a nicer word to convey a similar meaning).

    Its open season on us northerners. We must resist the temptation of being overtly defensive and ultimately misread the situation. But that should only make us more determined to rise from the ashes of our past. Its in our interest and Nigeria’s that we change our circumstances.

    The time is short.

    akpos ebinum said:
    February 20, 2012 at 23:17

    Beautiful piece,well thought out!I hope people like Sanusi Lamido Sanusi whom you made reference to in the article get to read this and compare with his interview in the Financial Times.I spent most of my early life in Northern Nigeria,and I feel sad that the region is being defined by the Boko haram scourge at the moment.That being said,I also look foward to my generation defining ourselves first as Nigerians before Northerners or easterners or whatever.Honestly,I’m scared that I’m being too optimistic.

    Chris said:
    February 21, 2012 at 00:45

    First and foremost, I am a Nigerian, a true Nigerian at that. By emphasising on being a true Nigerian, stems from the fact that I have lived on almost every part of the major ethnic groups and I have taken my time to understand a bit of the people’s mentality. This was possible because I tried to view issues from their viewpoint. No view is wrong, the view point might be wrong but what’s seen can’t be wrong.

    I am from the Eastern part of Nigeria and that makes me an Igbo man who’s secondary education was in the Middle Belt Kogi State to be precise (FGCU). My NYSC was in Katsina (I’ve lived in more places), in order to ensure I do not sacrifice brevity for clarity, I’d go ahead to make my point as not many have the time and patience to swim through a verbose comment.

    I am impressed at the way Zainab has chosen her premise to present a seemingly unbiased truth about the North. To that I do applaud you. This is a well thought piece of a write up that would give the Northerners a good kick on their backside.

    Now, my diagnosis of your piece. Am I write to believe that you are presenting the North as the victim? Would I still be right to believe you are distancing the North from the activities of Boko Haram? Your piece seems to be mourning that the North is losing it’s superiority instead of rejoicing in the fact that the North is now waking up to the reality that what they had been clinging unto is a dead and dried straw. If my assumptions are wrong, then it might be my wrong assimilation and digestion of your piece.

    You made mention of the groundnut pyramids and how the North fed the nation before the discovery of oil. Did you try saying how much resource control on the groundnut pyramids the North had at that time and how much the oil states are begging for now? I am pretty sure that would have meant digression from the route of your piece. You were right to draw analogy from other Islamic countries to come to the conclusion that it’s not religion which I can’t agree more with, but the average Hausa-Fulani Muslim youth have not read and understood the Holy Book in the way it was meant to be understood. This is the avenue the greedy rich politicians explore to cause ruthless and heinous inhuman criminal acts. They buy whoever to misinterpret the situation and find a way of concatenating it to religion which would now attract reaction. I can not say for precision if it’s religious or cultural teaching that the shedding of blood of one who’s not of the same religious belief or cultural extract is not a crime. Maybe you can help me out on this little confusion.

    Someone advised the North to learn from the Igbos, it might come off as derogatory, but in all honesty, the North should learn from the Igbos. After the civil war, no matter how much any Igbo man had, all was taken away from him and each man was given N20 (twenty naira) to start life with, and this was after changing the currency. So the richest Igbo man after the war started with N20. Today not much difference would be seen between the Igbos and other ethnic groups who had the financial strength. The Igbo man wrestled his destiny with shear determination. I guess it was this that leads people to make comments about Igbos and money. You can not blame the Igbo man in his pursuit of money, it was the only way we have the seemingly little relevance we seem to have at present. Today, every trouble in Nigeria always demands the blood of the Igbos for appeasement.

    Igbos are not the best, we have our own problems too. I only used the survival instinct as an analogy not that every other ethnic group should accept nudity and follow the Igbos in toto.

    Finally, if the North (or Hausa-Fulani whichever suits) has really woken up to the fact that they are just stakeholders like every other sect or section of Nigeria, then, I’d suggest the following;

    1) a proper interpretation of the Holy Book and if possible a reorientation on religious demands;

    2) education of the youth, and that education does not start and end at Arabic studies;

    3) that God Almighty help those who help themselves and not that the rich would always be rich needless trying kind of mentality;

    4) that being Hausa, Fulani, or Hausa-Fulani and being of the Islamic sect does not make you anyone’s superior;

    5) male or female in education each gender has equal opportunity of survival.

      Jonathan said:
      February 21, 2012 at 10:37

      Chris, this is a beautiful piece. Very thought provoking.

      zainabusman responded:
      February 22, 2012 at 03:55

      Thanks for your comment Chris. The following statement you made is a complete misinterpretation/misunderstanding of the message I tried to pass across: “Am I write to believe that you are presenting the North as the victim? Would I still be right to believe you are distancing the North from the activities of Boko Haram? Your piece seems to be mourning that the North is losing it’s superiority instead of rejoicing in the fact that the North is now waking up to the reality that what they had been clinging unto is a dead and dried straw.”

      Yes the North I believe is a victim, but a victim of its self-inflicted injuries, problems and predicament. Please you can refer back to the article and verify. It is interesting you think I am distancing the North from Boko Haram when I am clearly lamenting that there is a risk of Boko Haram becoming the most prominent feature of the North in recent times. I am not mourning the “North losing it’s superiority”, rather, I am mourning the North’s loss of its dignity. There’s a world of difference between the two. Thanks

    Dan Arewa said:
    February 21, 2012 at 01:18

    If you really need a solution, then we need to be independent and face our own problems ourself. How would you expect an Igbo or Ijaw or Yoruba to come and solve the problems we are facing? They will only come and spoil everything we have and leave. Sorry for being rude, but the truth must be told. Sardauna, in a video I watched, said, Igbos should not be allowed to penetrate the Arewa, they will do more harm than good.

    Secondly, Christianity came and further divide Arewa, which this same Igbos brought to the Pagans that we left unattended (our fault here). Now Christians in Arewa feel more closer to their counterparts in the other regions, and truly, they don’t like us, they see us all as animals.

    Finally, when I say Independent, I mean to separate from Nigeria and face our own problems. We have all it takes to be independent, we can solve our own problems. What we need is patience, structure, and honesty. If oil wealth is what makes a Nation survive, then I don’t see why Nigeria wouldn’t be like UAE or Malaysia as you mentioned, all of which are Muslims, but independent. We can still accommodate non-Muslims in Arewa but we will only give them a Permanent Resident card, not a Passport. The dream is truly independent, economically viable, muslim country, this is how it was, and this is how it should continue to be.

    Idan kunne yaji, jiki ya tsira. The issue of illiteracy in Arewa is something that will be almost automatically wiped out. Because what most people thought of being illiterate is the inability to speak English language which is completely wrong. Imagine educating people in their own mother-tongues. Arewa will be highly literate when we translate most scientific, social sciences, technology books into Hausa language. Idan ba dan da harshen turanci kika yi rubutunki ba, da sai nayi maki filla filla akan yadda kasashen Iran, China, da kuma kasashen da suka balle daga Soviet union suka cigaba. Gabadayansu da yarensu suka cigaba. Indai muka cigaba da cewa turanci shine literacy to kuwa cigaban mu zai dade bai zo ba, watakil kuma kafin yazo irinsu Boko Haram 100 have emerged, and we will be finished by then, subhanallah. As a Muslim from Arewa, I prefer us to peacefully find our way out from these forced and incompatible marriage. Nigeria is not one, period.

      Dave said:
      February 21, 2012 at 08:57

      @ Dan Arewa, how can you mussed such statements: ‘How would you expect an Igbo or Ijaw or Yoruba to come and solve the problems we are facing? They will only come and spoil everything we have and leave. Sorry for being rude, but the truth must be told. Sardauna, in a video I watched, said, Igbos should not be allowed to penetrate the Arewa, they will do more harm than good.

      Secondly, Christianity came and further divide Arewa, which this same Igbos brought to the Pagans that we left unattended (our fault here). Now Christians in Arewa feel more closer to their counterparts in the other regions, and truly, they don’t like us, they see us all as animals.’

      We southerners thought we are one Nigeria and working to make it better but with recent happenings in some parts of the north have almost destroyed the thought. We believed that Boko Haram and others trouble makers are just criminals among the good people but if your highly honored and reverend past leader made that statement many years ago as you said was really unfortunate. And you a young man equally harboured such animosity against the christians, I’m afraid, we are in trouble in Nigeria.I beg of you to change your mindset and let education you got has meaning in your life.

      Wadni said:
      February 21, 2012 at 08:59

      You will “only give the christiam residence permit not passport” are the MARGHI,ANGAS BIROM, ZURU,GWARI christians not northerner? They will not be citizens in your dream country.Your types are North’s problem the writer is talking of.

      Jonathan said:
      February 21, 2012 at 10:28

      Dan Arewa, you must be a Boko Haram sponsor. Your ideals are their ideals.

        Habimus said:
        February 21, 2012 at 19:50

        Dan Arewa! To, ni da masu neman zaman lafiya da kuma bunkasa dangantaka tsakanin al’ummai, ga Allah muka dogara. Domin a ainihin gaskiya, ba wani mahaluki da yayi shawara da Allah Mahalicci domin ya halicce shi a matsayin Kirista ko Musulmi ko kuma wata Kabila wadda ba Fulani, Hausa ko Hausa-Fulani ba. Ko kasan cewa Allah shi ne makiyayin kowa da kowa? Bari in shawarce ka da ka fadi alheri ko kayi shiru. Idan nufin Mahilicci ne kowa ya zama Hausa-Fulani ko musulmi, baka isa ka canza ba. I can see and hear a seeming well learned personality but…

        Dan Arewa said:
        February 22, 2012 at 02:14

        I wish they share the same ideals with me about separating Nigeria and creating a viable Muslim countrry where the requirement of being a citizen is be a Muslim first, then stay in Arewa for at least 10 years without causing any trouble, or be born there. They don’t have any ideal apart from killing and maiming innoccent people. I wouldn’t hesitate to join though, if they will adopt my ideals, and so will millions of Muslims of Arewa.

        Habimus said:
        February 22, 2012 at 20:38

        Their ideals are theirs and yours and yours and all of you have a very stiff and self-centered ideals that I try to imagine your creator whom I think you are even yet to understand. Is a muslim a human being? Is a christian a human being? who is their creator? Why did He create them muslims and christians alike? Why not all Muslims or all Christians? Please read clearly what Zainab Usman has written.

    Femi said:
    February 21, 2012 at 06:17

    This is an excellent write-up. However I have to disagree that massive investment in education is priority number one.

    I think cultural superiority complex is much more to blame than lack of education for the North’s ills. Lets be frank – the only reason the Nigerian intelligentsia is starting to see the North as on the edge of a precipice is because of Boko Haram, not exclusion from political power (the North is still very relevant politically). Boko Haram did not just come into existence in one day, or even one year. The attitude that led even decent Northerners to look away while their fellow Nigerians were being murdered in cold blood is the fertile soil on which BH has sown. Its how they have been able to recruit so quickly, and overwhelm security agencies. Every time a northerner accused of beheading a christian (Northern or Southern) walks free from a jail, that view was strengthened. The North is now reaping the seeds of its complacence (some would say complicity) in the wanton deaths of other Nigerians.

    Education is not going to be the primary solution – it just empowers you to do more of what you already believe (see Sanusi Lamido’s write-ups). I think its going to require a change of heart in how Northerners see themselves in relation to others in the Nigerian socio-political space. I am not too sure the older generation have the capacity to do this (or want to) – the younger ones like Zainab may get the chance, if there is still a Nigeria when they finally get to the levers of power.

      Jonathan said:
      February 21, 2012 at 10:23

      Well spoken Femi. But my take is that education is still the surest way of achieving this cultural re-orientation. To that extent, education is the key to solving the problem of the North.

    Ayisha said:
    February 21, 2012 at 07:16

    interesting but honestly nothing new and as some have pointed out: what is the solution? Unless…the hype around this article is that someone named Zainab Usman wrote the article…if Temitayo Ibikunle wrote it would it be as interesting? People have written ad nauseaum about this… see

    http://www.leadership.ng/nga/columns/15533/2012/02/07/legacies_and_failed_north.html

    and

    http://www.leadership.ng/nga/columns/16261/2012/02/14/fixing_north_one_state_time.html

      zainabusman responded:
      February 22, 2012 at 04:05

      Thanks for your comment. You are right, I pointed out “nothing new” or nothing that hasn’t been said before. Infact more seasoned and experienced writers have encapsulated our many challenges and outlined solutions more articulately. However, my intention was neither, this is simply my own expression of my frustration and lamentation over the sorry state of affairs in the North. Its very interesting that people keep asking me for solutions, I don’t have them. And I strongly believe the solution will not, cannot and should not come from one person only, no matter who it is, because our problems are multifaceted and complex that require a collective approach by all stakeholders. That’s the very crux of our problem, don’t you see? We are waiting for someone to proffer the solutions. Why don’t you, the reader suggest what you think might be a possible solution, no matter how inconsequential it might seem to you?

    Jock said:
    February 21, 2012 at 07:44

    The problem of the north all started when the muslims rolled out the campaign of ‘ISLAMISE THEM ALL’ using all forms of evil against Christians. The earlier we start using LOVE instead of WAR to display the SUPERIORITY of our RELIGIONS the better for us.

    Wadni said:
    February 21, 2012 at 07:55

    Abdulnasir,i am sad more than you are, i think,because though i am not hausa-fulani nor moslem. But i am a northerner and proudly so, but can hardly be understood by my fellow brother from the north who is a moslem;While the down-troden masses of the north continue to drown into more poverty by the day, whether they are hausa-fulani or not, moslems or not. The more powerful hausa-fulani elite continue to use every mean including the internationational media houses of VOA,BBC,DW and RFI to divide the northern masses along religious and ethinic line the more.I am the more saddened because i come from a town where the effects of this problem will make the soul of our dear grandfather, the first and only prime minister mourn because of what is happening there.

    Anonymous said:
    February 21, 2012 at 09:37

    This writer can go a step futher to help her people. Translate it into their local dialect,get it printed and distributed. For those who cant read,get airtime on local radio stations and read it out. The north can only be liberated by the notherners. Time will tell….

    As she rightly send, you hardly see them in private sector jobs or other form of employment tht involves being competitive, they dwell more on “Quota system” and govt jobs

    Abubakar Malam said:
    February 21, 2012 at 09:45

    Very apt analysis, know that the sun is begining to set on the so called Northern leaders. Our prayer is for the dismemberment of Nigeria peacefully so we can cleans the system in the North.

    jaafar sanusi said:
    February 21, 2012 at 10:52

    U said it all, but in my view we have only one or two ways out of this mess. Give back to society as well as re orientation and going back to develop the Agriculture through provision of seedlings,pesticide,fertilizer and other farm implements, establishing cottage industries,processing plants, re establishing of marketing board n cooperatives, developing solid minerals that are bound all over the north. Discourage blind followership and instituting scholarship to support those that cannot pay there fees to complete there studies.

    Wadni said:
    February 21, 2012 at 11:08

    Adamu Adamu you are a long standing critic and a colomnist.Use your avenue to change the mindset of the hausa-fulani moslem instead of defending the mistakes made, for the north to revive and grow.

    Anonymous said:
    February 21, 2012 at 13:53

    This is certainly the obvious!!! Good work Zee! Good write up!

    Auwal Mohammad Bello said:
    February 21, 2012 at 14:32

    What I suggest for this country called Nigeria is separation. The Southerners, especially the Yorubas consider us backward people. When we have our North, I believe we will settle our differences between our major religions and ethnic groups. So let’s go and manage our poverty and let the rich south manage their endowed wealth.

    Donnel said:
    February 21, 2012 at 14:40

    This is obviously one of the best piece I’ve read of late! To even imagine that the piece was written by a northerner elates my heart! It tells me that all is not lost by the north! Their are just a few things I disagree with the writer. First is the impression that the problem of leadership is a Northern problem. Nigeria as a whole has a Leadership problem. Nigeria has left the era of competitive “regionalism” to an inate individualistic and selfish desires of a few political power seekers and office holders. The era when we have the likes of the pan-african and extremely unselfish Zik and that of a die hard ethno-centric and regionalistic Awolowo have all gone. What we do have now is political pedllers and cronies that are after their indivdual pockets! Politics is now the easiest way to make money from the Oil resources of course! I quite disagree with you that prior the oil boom, that its the North that lays the golden eggs for the country. Its absolutely untrue! All regions have something they were offering. The South were Producing and Exporting Red Oil, Cocoa, Rubber and a good number of other cash crops! The Igbo speaking southerners are bedvilled with bad leadership as the North have been as well! Why they tend to be economically viable relatively is because they are survivalists by nature! A people that woke up from shakles of a civil war with nothing whatsoever, even their houses outside their domain and savings in Bank accounts were denied them by the Nigeria that wanted them to be part of it and that claimed “No Victor, No Vanquised”. They started from scratch! They were determined to survive. I still can remeber paying for the construction of the airport in the region, paying for the construction of the state schools etc etc in the region during the early 80s. Malysia came to this region to be educated on Red Oil pruduction and they took the seedlings with them while going. On record they are the worlds largest producer of palm oil and its products! My state is a crude oil producing state with all its environmental hazards and have absolutely nothing economoically to show for it! The North have been in Leadership for the better part of this country and especially during a period were accountability of what ever type is not asked for! Still nothing to show for it! The North obviously marginalised the North! With all sence of humillity I do think that the problem with the North do not in any way come from the fact that they do think they are superior. What on earth will make them think that. I plead not to be taken out of contest but I must ask- What have come out of the region in terms of Human and/or Material resource that will make them think that way. History can enlighten us better! The problem I believe is that they(some part of course) think that they are “Born to Rule”. And obviously it sounds ludicrous! The political elites in the North thus uses ethnicity and religion to embelish this idea just for personal and selfish interest. And a great part of the North keep falling for it! The simple truth is that Nigeria can only move foward only when public office is made less enticing and, when we do create soverignties amidst the present state of what is called “Nigeria”. That will obviously breed competition and better the lot of “Nigeria” .

    uzairu Umar said:
    February 21, 2012 at 14:55

    I am really amazed and this is a profound call on us northerners particularly Muslim to wake up from our slumber. However what amazes me most is that in all our comments both in print media and social networks and other forums we only relive what everyone knows. This perpertaul blame on leadership will not take us anywhere unless we come up with coherent and consistent ideology for the north nay Nigeria. So long there is no ideology which will be used to judge performance and compliance we will continue and in fact fall into abyss.

    Tajongs said:
    February 21, 2012 at 17:22

    This is true no body created by God is superior to anoda,talkless of religion the northerners should integrate n see all people as thesame ,work toward enhancing themselves , advocate for peaceful co existance ,educate n equipped their young ones ,join hands to discourage the so call boko haram cos this group whether fighting a just course or not will soon terminate young vibrant generation that would have made a difference, may allah help us in his name

    Sholay said:
    February 21, 2012 at 17:31

    All said on this piece…………… I think the bottomline is that the write up is an eye opener to the direction the region and the nation at large is heading to. We should not allow this wake up call to be drawn into the voices of arguments and buried just like that.

    We should wear our thinking cap and start searching for solutions and start it right now. For a start why don’t we consider supporting the NGOs that are fighting social problems like the almajirci, begging, early marriages and decay of family values.

    Anonymous said:
    February 21, 2012 at 18:37

    surely by this article n comments, I have the believed that Nigerians are divided, God come to the aid of our country people.

    Anonymous said:
    February 21, 2012 at 22:55

    .I disagree that the people are in decline, the Oligarchy, their sick parasitic ideology IS IN TERMINAL DECLINE, and good. After 200 years of sustained and progressively insidious parasitism, the North, the true sleeping giant of Nigeria is finally rising up, albeit a bit chaotically. Their eyes are opening, they are seeing the rest of the country, the world and they will not accept this rubbish status quo indefinitely. If Boko Haram is the best they can do, then they have been outmaneuvered because this is not 1966. In 1966, they played the same game, unfortunately a series of strategic miscalculations by the South East extended the life of this cancer and financed the extension of its influence southward for 50 more years. However, as more locals are killed and all the religious and ethnicity justifications are betrayed for the lies they are, the true scope of this power grab will become apparent, the illusion will be broken and the oligarchy will lie isolated. This Boko Haram death spasm, history will record as their final act of madness. In the last election, 12 million people spoke and discerning minds did not miss it. Zainab, serious people see what is happening up north and the emergence organically of a new generation in search of new leadership. It is not only most welcome it is in the interest of all of Africa. Clearly, no one wants extremism to replace decadence but oligarchy, kingship, empire is an ideology of moral degenerates, it fosters mental slavery and it must die, wherever it exists. Biafra proved that there is only one revolution that matters in Nigeria, the Northern Peoples Revolution, everything else is prelude, opening act. As long as the majority of people living in the North are subservient and can be easily incited via religious and ethnic sentiments, can then be deployed and wielded as weapons by the Oligarchy for the benefit of special interests, be they foreign or domestic, we will ever remain far from Uhuru.

    Fidel Agunf said:
    February 21, 2012 at 23:01

    Wao

    Micheal Nwoboshi said:
    February 22, 2012 at 05:42

    Its a big shame, North use to be a paradaise. Now what do we have, Anarchy.

    igmaryam said:
    February 22, 2012 at 07:25

    This a great challenge to our so-called political leaders. To be I believe those who advocates the teaching of Sardaunan Sokoto is nothing to write about than favouritism in our society. If we will differentiate between religiom and economic development and learn from islamic countries like IRan and Asians Muslim dominance. We know our leaders cannot do anything because most of them are not clean. Self reliance or entrepreneurship is d best way

    Kabir Yahaya said:
    February 22, 2012 at 09:47

    Zainab, Maduka, Danmusa etc have caught the essence of it all. Please note however that Nigeria’s (whether North, South, West, East, Middle Belt or whatever’s) problems are those of leadership. More often than not we tend to be caught in the web of trivialities and parochial analyses. In essence, all these north and south is just a way of evading the real issues, reducing a vertical problem into a horizontal one. From 1990 to date, I have either lived in, or visited virtually every state in Nigeria and poverty, the wanton destruction of our educational system, desecration of the healthcare system, negative materialism, parasitic affluence of a tiny minority, exploitation of man by man etc.seems to be a common denominator everywhere I went. So its really a problem between the leadership and people of this country. How do we move forward? We surely have to start somewhere and I believe the starting point of addressing these problems is the emergence of a leadership at all levels through a process that ensures peoples’ wishes, expressed through their votes, are respected. In essence, we have to start with truly free and fair elections.To do this we have to start with the political parties. We must have political parties that are rooted in the people of this country, not the present contraptions, by whatever name they are called.

    Bashir said:
    February 22, 2012 at 14:28

    Thank you Kabir, I am of the same opinion, our problems are all with how leaders are selected. You don’t expect some one that ascent to a throne by corrupt means to sanitize a corrupt system. we all need a good leadership, how? I don’t know.

      Kabir Yahaya said:
      February 22, 2012 at 14:50

      Thanks Bashir. Like I said, the starting point shall be the establishment of political parties that are rooted in the people of this country. Once we have this, and getting it is no rocket science, then we can be assured that some 60 to 70% of the people these parties would field for elections are those that come through the mill. Next is mass mobilization of the electorate to peacefully protect their votes at all levels; this has happened in a way in a number of states during the botched April 2nd 2011 National Assembly elections. Any leadership that emerge as a result of credible elections wil not be as contemptous to the electorate as a majority of the current crop of “elected” leaders are. Once you have credible leadership with patriotic commitment at all levels you can cut down the waste and corruption in government by about 20% in the first four years, give that leadership a second term by which time suffiecient safe guards are enshrined in the system through legislation, convention, rules and regulations etc., as has been done in Singapore, and it will be next to impossible to reverse their concrete achievements by any set of crooks that may subsequently take over.

    Habimus said:
    February 22, 2012 at 20:49

    Zainab Usman, could you please expain what you have in your mind to Dan Arewa? Though I know, I believe and I am convinced that you mean good but still, explain to him. Thanks Zee.

      Abbas Musa said:
      March 17, 2012 at 18:23

      I agree with dan arewa, a raba kasar. Divide the country and lets face reality. 50 years without any progress apart from looming into another civil war. We can solve our problems. Because even the rest of the country will develop faster if divided. After becoming self reliant, we can form a union like that of EU. But our difference is crystal clear.

    Ishaya Ibrahim said:
    February 23, 2012 at 13:59

    I have not read anything that neatly analyzed the problem of the north as rendered by Zainab Usman. In fact, i am about to google more about her. I’m impressed with that critique. I hope our leaders are listening. They set us against ourselves with religious and ethnic vanities. They have succeeded in planting deep cut amongst northerners who ordinarily should be political and economic allies to one another. How can the economy grow if we don’t believe in the region and its people.

    Thank you Zainab

    IK said:
    February 24, 2012 at 13:29

    This specifically to Zainab. I wanted to reply this error of yours but somebody had already done so as the quote below shows. Otherwise a very good piece. My fiancee is a nothern Hausa and I have nothing against a developed north.

    Zainab Said: “Though a cursory look at history deflates this impression since the proceeds from agricultural produce of the North virtually sustained the nation before the discovery of oil”

    “25.
    oduna Arisi said
    February 20, 2012 at 12:13
    I think this is a thought provoking analysis but it must nevertheless be pointed out that the resources of the north or the much talked about groundnut pyramid alone never sustained the nation as mischieviously conceived by many a northerner,there was cocoa from the west ,palm oil from the east and the truth if my faculties serve me right is that 50 percent of the resources goes to the resource owners and of course agricultural production does not degrade the environment as much as oil production does.i think you guys need to hide your face in shame and accept the obvious fact that nigeria is a fraud ,the resources from oil is the only reason the hausa fulani still co inhabibits with the rest of us and the basis of our togetherness has to be renegotiated to stop the carnage that has become a recurring decimal in the life of this contraption”

      zainabusman responded:
      February 27, 2012 at 00:50

      Thanks for the observation. As you and quite a number of others have pointed out, along with groundnuts, cotton etc from the North, there was cocoa and rubber from the West, palm oil from the East and so on. I guess I meant to say “…proceeds from agricultural produce which was the mainstay of the North sustained the nation before the discovery of oil”.

    Abubakar Suleman said:
    February 25, 2012 at 16:06

    A fantastic piece from zaynab. Hwever, it is practically near impossible to change the situation in the north at the moment giving the high level of poverty and ignorance bedeviling the region. What we actually need to change things here is good leadership with strong mind & focus like Nasir el-rufa’i & co. God save Nigeria.

    myudara dot com said:
    February 26, 2012 at 06:46

    Well articulated fact

    myudara dot com said:
    February 26, 2012 at 06:47

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    myudara dot com said:
    February 26, 2012 at 06:48

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    db said:
    February 26, 2012 at 13:03

    Blame the discovery of crude oil for the collapse of the agricultural sector which was the nerve of the north in the 60’s and 70’s?

      yahya aleeu said:
      February 27, 2012 at 00:09

      There”s nothing spectacular on this write up..to me the writer is just one and part of the problems of the north…”The Elites” they think they can just write anything…and get applauded for so called radical exposure of bitter truth. So what if u cannot raise ur kids in Arewa? take them to Okrika or Ajegunle..We will remain as true northerners in the north and salvage her. I don’t believe in Boko Haram wen u find educated(?) Christians bombing churches..attributing it to so called Boko Haram

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    Nasiru Daudawa Bala said:
    March 6, 2012 at 12:54

    The North shall know no peace untill we all stand agaist the so called elites and force them to do the right thing. Education is the one most important thing we need to guarantee for all our teeming youths otherwise BH is just the beginning

    Habimus said:
    March 6, 2012 at 20:37

    Education is the one most important herritage the future generation of the North needs. This is seemingly very much acceptable by a good number. How do we please go about it? Is it possible to catch up with the west in terms of this vital asset? It is no longer news that the BH sect has resorted to attacking schools. What a disaster! Ideas, more ideas please.

    dauda auta said:
    March 27, 2012 at 15:56

    it is really a thing to sleep over in order to profer a possible. Pls keep me updated.

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    ola said:
    November 3, 2012 at 13:24

    What is the problem? Why is the North the center of so much poverty, illiteracy and self-inflicted violence?

    One problem is the dependence on revenue from the Center. (Just like a lot of countries in the Southern hemisphere is dependent on foreign aid from the North and it continues without any proper development growth in the south-this is a whole other issue needed to be addressed properly!)

    If state governors do not have to do anything but sit in their state government houses and collect and spend their allocations every month- then there is no incentive to work hard. This coupled with the culture of fadanci has created a great disincentive to work hard – so no one from the governors to the illiterate and uneducated care to do anything than collect money from those who have or beg for money from those who have. Also, if the system of dependency on the center for revenue did not exist, then maybe there would be more stringent requirements for being a Governor – so that States would be looking for the most competent not the most compromised to run affairs. This problem is not only in the North but also in the south.

    This is just one of many problems but what we need is solutions to our problems, please!!
    Thanks.

    Salisu Daura said:
    November 3, 2012 at 19:33

    “A stitch in time saves nine” well done Zainab

    M. Jalal said:
    November 5, 2012 at 11:26

    Well done Zainab! I’m proud of you and other people like you.

    Ibrahim Ismail said:
    November 11, 2012 at 09:08

    I agree that the current system needs to be crashed down and rebuilt with honesty, integrity, model, love and respect for all various groups that represent Nigeria at home and in diaspora. Our people are spread across the world, great minds had been disposed by the current system, people with the intellectualism and morality that convey positive wind in the society had been suppressed one way or the other from being sincerely represented and as such remain on the struggle for their voice to be heard. I agree that the One Nation Bound In Freedom, Peace and Unity needs to go back to it foundation. Apparently you will find it almost impossible for a nation with so much diversity in people, ethnicity, culture and religion existing in one entity “Nigeria”! I believe in a change that will rebuild the constitution to represent various parts of the country irregardless of their language and religion differences. Its true that Nigeria as an Institution of a State has failed and on the verge of collapse. We the youth owns the future of this great country call Nigeria and the work of shaping this future of ours that is on a verge of collapse is in our hands. If there must be a revolution then let it be a meaningful one. Social media revolution can be used among us like using investigating journalism with trusted news media houses across the world, video recording of some atrocities displayed by our abused leaders can be placed on youtube. News media that are known for taking bribes from the corrupt leaders and publishing news of deceits should be collectively attacked by us the youth using the power of the internet and also proves of their atrocities can be streamed via the internet. Now with the internet technology we the youth can fight a bloodless revolution by the use of character assassination of some corrupt Nigerian. These can start the bloodless revolution and changes we want in our socio-politico norms. The current leaders are far from giving up their positions to we the youth, they have rule us with their same philosophy and political party ideology for many years and nothing meaningful had been achieved except leading us into chaos. We the youth need to start creating an environment which will discontinue further damage that can be more worse than a Somalia by these wicked and selfish leaders of ours. Though a bloodless revolution seems unrealistic, nevertheless lets make a difference and start changing the trend at which Nigeria is growing in destruction, anger, frustration and hatred that will emerge war, hunger and confusion.

    Your Positive Youth Wind
    ISMAIL.
    From Malaysia.

    makeri said:
    November 13, 2012 at 19:09

    May Allah bless you dear. Only Allah can save us from Media propaganda and attrocities of Northern leaders who have nothing to offer.

    Kabiru GARBA said:
    January 18, 2013 at 11:39

    An excellent summary of northern Nigerian problems, in fact the best article of its kind i ever stumbled on! May God Bless you.

      abubakar said:
      February 7, 2013 at 22:18

      Kabiru you are very ignorant of the North. You need to go back to school., Let me advise you, pl read a book called the Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, specifically read the chapter The PitFalls of National Conssciouness.

    Abubakar Sadiq Mahmud said:
    January 20, 2013 at 07:26

    Salaam Zainab, this is truly inspiring and a realistic disclosure of a catastrophic pandemic that is significantly wiping our (northerners) reputation from the face of the earth.
    In the course of my current job, I travel to so many parts of this continent which gives me an opportunity to keep meeting people from different parts of africa and the entire world.
    One most annoying fact is that today, most foreigners do not see the northern part of Nigeria as a place for Safe-Investment at all due to the ongoing crisiin the region
    This is really a Wake-up-Call on all northerners indeed.
    Together we are Better, Faster and Stronger
    Jazaa kumullaahu bilkhair
    Wassalaamu Alaikum

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    April 25, 2013 at 13:58

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      zainabusman responded:
      April 25, 2013 at 15:08

      Thanks for reading and following my blog. My twitter handle is @MssZeeUsman. You can subscribe to the blog, so that you get notified via email, of new posts. The subscribe/follow button is at the top right corner of the page. Thanks

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    Umar Hadejia said:
    August 7, 2013 at 17:58

    Slm Zainab,, you are superb, anytime I analyse your response and read over and over again I become more convinced. It is naked truth that North is a victim of Boko Haram unfortunately most of our counter parts in the South believed we are culprit. Your piece is an eye opener for sensible Northerners to rethink and act and behave rightly. Thank my sister GOD bless.

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