By Muyiwa Adetiba
Let’s start with the literal. Tomorrow is Easter, the day Christians mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yesterday was Good Friday, the day He was crucified.
The preceding Thursday called the Holy Thursday, was the day of the Passover which all Jews were obliged to celebrate. Jesus celebrated it with His disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem—I have been there before and wondered how that small place was able to accommodate a banquet table with at least 12 disciples.
But that’s a story for another time. This was where He symbolically offered His body and blood for the salvation of mankind with that famous declaration of: ‘This is my body…’ which has since formed the kernel of: ‘The Holy Communion’ in all Christian churches irrespective of denomination.
This was also where a bosom friend, a confidant, a companion, a disciple, one who dipped his bread in the same soup bowl, finally showed his hands. That Holy Thursday was anything but holy.
It was a day of serial betrayal. Judas, first betrayed his friend and master with a kiss. Peter, the man around whom Christianity was later built, then betrayed Him with denial, once, twice, three times. The other disciples, including the two who wanted to be with Jesus permanently in His Kingdom, betrayed by running away.
The silent supporters of Jesus within the Sanhedrin, betrayed with acquiescence or silence. The crowd which just a few days earlier, had shouted, ‘Hosanna to the King’ now shouted ‘Crucify Him’ almost with the same passion. Some of them might have been people who witnessed the miracles of Jesus. Or might even have been beneficiaries. Yet, they betrayed Him when they turned their backs. Pilate, who had the authority to set Him free betrayed Jesus by handing Him over to his accusers. It was the season Jesus was stripped naked physically and spiritually. It was the season of betrayal.
Now to the moment. The situation in the North worries me. Law and order is breaking down in inches and meters, spreading across the entire region like cancer. Nigeria has been serially betrayed by its leaders; people who are supposed to clothe her have stripped her naked.
These nakedness and deprivation have manifested in various forms across the land. In joblessness; lawlessness; vicious crimes; emigration and acts of bestiality, like rapes and incest.
But the North has fared worse. Many Northern states are showing signs of losing control; of gradually becoming failed states. The lawlessness started slowly in the North-East like all serious fires do. It started from Bornu and it is inching downwards.
The Plateau basin has had its share. Kaduna, the political capital of the North and erstwhile home of the Northern elite, has always smouldered. Now the smouldering fire is being fuelled and flared by the actions of an arrogant and insensitive governor.
The end is not in sight. Zamfara, the home of the Minister of Defence, is the latest state to catch fire. Now there are allegations of emirs acting as informants there. There are allegations of politicians using the murderers to settle scores. There are allegations of businessmen using them as guards in their illegal mining activities.
Although these are unbecoming acts of betrayal from leaders who are engineering chaos and exploiting disorderliness to further selfish objectives, they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the deep underlining problem of the region. Different culprits have also been named for the collapse of security. We started with Boko Haram which based its insurgency on religion and education. We then fingered Fulani herdsmen, who accentuated their perennial battles with farmers and move I must remind us, have always been there, but who seem now to make the place ungovernable and unliveable. These culprits are mere symptoms or manifestations of years of injustice and betrayal.d into burning, looting, kidnapping and raping. The latest culprits are the illegal miners who,
it would be uncharitable to blame Buhari alone for the security collapse in the country especially in the North. But he has his own share of the blame. More because he is a Northern elite. He has once ruled the country and he is currently ruling. Yet, he has done little to address the real problems of the North. It is not as though the problems are difficult to see.
They stare us in the face in every negative statistics on Nigeria—extreme poverty, unemployment, out of school children, access to education, access to medical facilities and population growth. The same statistics that the northern leaders have used over the years to get more for their selfish purposes. But Judas that they are, they would rather exploit the situation than address them. They should know what to expect for example, when a peasant farmer marries three wives and has 24 children. They know he is simply deepening the poverty in his community.
He abdicates responsibility by sending the male children out to fend for themselves under the guise of almajiri education while marrying the female children out for a few heads of cattle to become teenage mothers. The guess as to what happens to these male children who have no parental guide or aspiration, is as good as mine.
Suffice to say that they are likely candidates for indoctrination, brain washing and violent crimes. These Judas of leaders should know what to expect when they encourage almajiri education under the guise of religion and nomadic cattle rearing under the guise of tradition.
Why are their own children not products of almaJiri education or nomadic cattle rearing if they are such faithful proponents of religion and tradition? But they know better. Their children are in the cities or Europe getting good education.
The problem in the North is man inflicted. The deepest cuts have been inflicted by their leaders who have betrayed them almost at every turn. It is the problem of poverty borne from years of neglect, deceit and exploitation. It can be ameliorated if all Northern leaders, not just the ones in government, atone for their ‘sins’ by diverting their considerable resources—after all they caused the problem in the first instance—to massive education and acquisition of basic skills for the northern youths.
The parents should also be told to stop breeding like rabbits. It is irresponsible and unsustainable. The North has to be modernised and taught to be productive. It can’t be productive without education, acquisition of skills and a different mind-set.
As for the Northern Elders, they should be embarrassed that their region has about 55% of the country’s population, 70% of its land mass but contributes less than a quarter of its IGR. They should be concerned that it is mostly down to them.