By Shehu Musa
Some Nigerians still fondly remember the catch-phrase “political North,” because of the entrenched principles of love, unity and progress of Northern Nigeria in the pursuit of politics and governance in the country. Before now, the region exuded love and peaceful co-existence, ultimately defined on the tripod of fraternity, unity and oneness customary to the region.
Multiple associations and Foundations like the Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation, the Gamji association, the Arewa Consultative Forum and its youth wing were platforms that preached these norms. They were instruments of cementing and reliving the great legacies of pioneering northern leaders in politics and development.
Successive Northern leaders like Sir Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Aminu Kano and the likes held tightly to these cherished virtues. They did not only embodied these ideals, but replicated them. These leaders ensured the unity and development of the North was not compromised in exchange for anything. They were always protective, democratic and conscious of interests of the region, in all dealings.
In politics, the North was famed for bloc votes and whole support to a consensus candidate endorsed by the region at any political dispensation. They could break rocks to ensure they secure the best for the region in national bargaining.
But it’s like the great heritage of the North of yesterday has shamefully eclipsed as loudly demonstrated by the current generation of leaders. The divisiveness of the North is repulsively displayed in the open to the extent it has become the laughing stock of other parts of the country. It is common these days to notice internal squabbles even within the elite umbrella socio-cultural organizations of the North.
They vary or differ on many national issues and irreconcilably. These days, prominent Northern leaders disgracefully bicker in the open. They insult and criticize one another without restrictions. They hardly feel constrained to protect the strategic interests of the region in politics or on issues of development.
This mindset has stretched to damaging limits and at every point, it becomes more venomous and vindictive. The latest victim of this destructive ideology is President Muhammadu Buhari. And those who connive with dissenting elements from other sections of the country to diminish the height of his administration are his own kinsmen in the North.
Many Nigerians attest that like in 1983, Buhari has again ascended the Presidency of the country at the most turbulent time in Nigeria’s history. The country is riddled with crises of different dimensions. Aside economic and leadership crises, Nigeria was almost rendered prostrate by Boko Haram insurgency in the North East; the near irrepressible militancy in the Niger Delta, to emerging secessionist groups like IPOB and MASSOB in the South East and all manner of ethnic militias.
However, the Buhari presidency has channeled its energy in arresting these crises and sometimes, bends backwards to appease aggrieved interests and parties. His belief in the oneness and unity of Nigeria is recklessly abused by those hell bent in shattering national cohesion by continuously beating the drums of war to discredit his administration.
But unexpectedly, the echoes of dissent sound louder from the South, core northerners have also joined the fray of those desperate to cripple the administration, by rubbishing and undermining its milestones. It is more disturbing to realize that no cogent reason is adduced for such distractions of the presidency or why his kinsmen have excitedly joined the league of his traducers.
Agreed that Buhari is Nigeria’s President, but those who stand to benefit more from his presidency are Northerners, who are now brainwashed to see nothing good in his government. They have aligned forces with some disgruntled elements in the South to destabilize the government.
Just recently, a former minister in the second Republic and prominent northern leader, Alhaji Junaid Mohammed granted an interview to an online media platform, in which he reeled out statistics of alleging nepotism and lopsided federal appointments by the Buhari administration at the expense of the South .
His likes bestrode the North in dozens and their interest is far detached from the north. To these category of leaders, the dreams and legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the first Premier of Northern Nigeria are worthless. Therefore, when they unjustifiably hit at their own, their southern allies are ennobled to replicate same in a more dangerous manner.
It explains the reason for the new wave of militancy in the Niger Delta and the IPOB uprisings in the South East and other crises threatening the foundation and unity of Nigeria.
Hence Buhari cannot find solace in his own kith and kin, plots by the south to destabilize his government have thickened, as manifest by the indifference to it by both political and traditional leaders from the South. They are comfortably mute. There is no strong condemnation of these crises, but instead, the posture of the leaders resonate a tacit approval and support of the actions of the perpetrators of the crises.
While Buhari struggles to contain it, more groups in the South have galvanized in baselessly criticizing his regime. But more surprising, even religious leaders from the South have teamed up against the Buhari administration, which conveys of a sinister motive. Apparently, the unity of Nigeria means nothing to them. And while the issues linger, Buhari is also stripped of the necessary support from his fraternal brothers who delight more in supervising the collapse of his administration and shameful exit.
In effect the Buhari presidency is gradually being tied and delivered to the predators in the south for slaughter by his own Northern brothers. And failure to halt the trend which is still at its infancy, the North again would go down political ruins reminiscent of the events of 2011.
It is incumbent on all northerners to see the Buhari presidency as a gift to the region and strive to support it to succeed, as against leading the league of those who cast it in bad light. If Buhari succeeds today, the credit goes to the whole region, in the same degree they would share the guilt of his failure in government.
Shehu Musa is an archeologist, wrote from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.