GOVERNOR Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has rehashed the current agenda of certain northern leaders who blame others for the under development of the North. The practice has gained more ascendancy in the past one year.

“The North had opportunities to have done better, but the region squandered the opportunities.
“We still have polio as an issue, we have the quality of lives of our daughters being hampered by Visco Vagina Fistula as a result of unethical practices,” Governor Aliyu said in Kaduna.

“We have a growing army of school children roaming the streets, begging or engaging in one form of delinquent behaviour or another.”

Some northern leaders clinging mischievously to the foresighted Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, who laid initial foundations for developing the North, ruined the North. They have an ideology that is alien to development.

They denied their people education, the basics for sustainable existence, locking them out of the opportunities of modern living, especially in a technology driven, global economy. The leaders are more concerned in keeping them in perpetual servitude as evidenced in the fact that the children of these leaders attend the best schools in the world.
Poverty is not peculiar to the north.

What is peculiar about northern poverty,  is that a high population suffers from the greed of a few, who rely on religious, cultural and political leaderships to maltreat the people, subjugate them, and abdicate their future. They have the effrontery at summits to bemoan the non-development of the North. Sometimes they gratuitously blame everybody.

The neglect of the traditional economies of the North in agriculture, for example, has denied many people a chance to survive the daily perils of existence. The North enjoys the evils of poor governance, a hallmark of our national life, which enhances the incidences of poverty, while governments spend billions on propaganda against poverty.

Last October, a northern economic summit in Abuja recommended 40 per cent of state budgets for education -  it remains a recommendation.

Another area the North can help the whole country is by adopting the Child Rights Act, which the National Assembly passed in 2003. Only Abuja and 16 States have passed the bill into state laws.  The law tackles most of the issues Governor Aliyu raised, but there is great reluctance to accept it in the North. Some States hide behind cultural and religious excuses to reject the law.

It is the only law that contradicts Section 4 (5) of the 1999 Constitution which states, “If any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void”.

Unfortunately, most of today’s quicksand leaders fail to learn from the regrets of the North. They are ploughing the country back to the indices of backwardness the North is battling.


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