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‘Backward North, Developing South’ : El-Rufai’s Inadvertent Indictment Of His Region

The Oasis Reporters

July 8, 2018

As it is the tradition in Nigerian politics where development indices look shamefully bad but leaders must cling on to tiny redeeming threads and dribble the shame to imaginary faults Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that Nigeria is made up of a developing South and a backward, less educated and unhealthy North, with the highest number of poor people in the world.

El-Rufai stated this in Kaduna on Saturday.

Speaking at a summit, the governor noted that the problems of the region must be addressed collectively as a group of 19 northern states governors, not as individual states.

El-Rufai said the summit ” was very timely, adding that “when we talk about awakening the spirit, it means the spirit is either sleeping or dead. Therefore, this summit is very important, just like our keynote address speaker has said.

“But, looking at the statistics, Nigeria appears to be a middle-income country. But, if we segregate those statistics across states and zones, you will see that in terms of human development indicators, Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.

“We have to speak the truth to ourselves and ask why is it that northern Nigeria has development indicators similar to Afghanistan, a country still at war?

“We have the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria. Nigeria also has the largest number of out-of-school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria.

“Northern Nigeria has become the centre of drug abuse, gender violence, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism. We have also been associated with high divorce rate and breakdown of families. These are the challenges that confront us. This is the naked truth that we have to tell ourselves.

“We must, therefore, as leaders at all levels have a conversation about the way forward for our part of the country. Because increasingly, as many of you must have seen on social media, we are being considered as the parasite of the federal economy, even though, that is not entirely true. Because northern Nigeria still feeds the nation. The richest businessman in Nigeria is still Aliko Dangote, not someone from southern Nigeria, thank God for that.

“So, we still have a lot to be proud of. We should be proud of our culture and tradition, as well as unity. You can hardly find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of.

“We are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt than other Nigerians. That is something we should be proud of. In addition, our demographic superiority gives us a very powerful tool to negotiate in politics. And that is something we should be proud of, and we should preserve. So, we have every reason to unite and not be divided”.

Interesting points made about the south there, by the Kaduna State governor. Questions being asked by Southerners include the fact that the judiciary, the executive and the legislative arm are being controlled by the seemingly pious Northerners. Recently, all corruption charges against a former governor of Gombe State in the north were withdrawn, how would the South not record more figures in seeming criminal indices. When recruitment are being carried out into the Security forces and many paramilitary forces, the majority of recruits are usually northerners, how would criminality amongst them not be covered up?

Who considers Northerners to be less corrupt or more honest beyond their way of consoling themselves in the face of harsh realities confronting them? El-Rufai should just tackle the depressing realities confronting the North and leave the south out of his diatribe.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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