This week, I’m compelled to return to active participation in the social media, especially Facebook, by a storm more powerful than hurricane Patricia, which I’ve forecasted moving with whole force toward our direction, Nigeria. It’s the storm of lack of reasoning and problem-solving techniques among our leaders and lack of discipline and self-control among the followers.
Although amongst the people that follow my postings, there are those who think that I support whatever economic policy garbage being sold out by the current administration. This is largely because they think I am still a staunch supporter of PMB, which is not true. I want to publicly declare that I am no longer a blind follower of this Government, but a de-jure follower, for we are being led willy nilly. If we accept the name “Nigerians”, we are followers to those who are on the mantle of leadership. Anything short of this amounts to dissidence.
As Nigerians, we shouldn’t be carried away by geo-political agenda, ethno-religious sentiment or false democratic consciousness to wage a war of verbal attacks against our leaders. If we do, our difference with Boko Haram or Niger Delta Militants is that they are armed and we are unarmed insurgents. Instead of wasting our precious time on abusing and insulting leaders, why can’t we come together and find a common solution?
I am not denying that genuine and polite criticisms are healthy, but it is unbecoming of a wise man to lose control while criticising certain policies by his Government. What bothers me the most is how some of us, the youth, throw huge insults to their leaders. I know that there are people with different levels of literacy and civility in the country. But why would an ignorant come out in the open to say “Buhari ka mai damu inda ka samu kasarmu”, which literally means “take us back to the condition you found our country”, and you as an enlightened person to applaud him? Should you teach him manner or you should learn primitivity from him? What a paradox!!
As a sociologist, with indepedent view of the social, economic and political realities of my country, I am quite aware of the fact that our Government has taken a wrong direction right from the very beginning. This is because I prefer a context-based solution to every problem. I believe in developing indeginous models and theories, which will be used to squarely address social, economic and political issues peculiar to our country and even the continent. Where Western scholars’ ideas are borrowed, that should be done as an ad-hoc adoption before our local, national or continental models evolve. My obsession with indeginous models is driven by the belief that our historical, socio-cultural and geographical make-up are unique to us, and those of the Western World are unique to them.
Africa didn’t witness the Renaissance of the 14th to 16th Centuries and the Enlightenment of the 18th to 19th Centuries at the same time with the the Europe. The French and Industrial Revolutions occurred in Europe, but not in Africa (albeit their effects on the continent are enormous today, which is another topic of its own). I’m trying to detach Africa (and Nigeria in particular) from those historical events because the political and economic models being adopted by President Buhari today are more or less the off-shoots of those events. In other words, the Nigerian Government policies dance in tune with neo-liberalism, to whom these political and economic revolutions were given birth. Neo-liberalism is , therefore, grand child of the Enlightenment period.
To me, this idea of metaphorical “copy and paste” is inimical to our country’s development. It is just like copying the model of other continents to paste it in another without critical analysis of whether they’re suitable and applicable. When the European countries developed these ideas, they did them to address their existential social, economic and political crises, not Africa’s or Nigeria’s.
Sadly, Nigeria has no existing indeginous model that take into cognizance the country’s peculiar socioeconomic realities. This is because our society is not only a “consumption society” in terms of everyday life goods and services – food, cloths, vehicles, telecommunication, etc – but also in terms of ideas. As a result, we are not only suffering from the poverty of per capita, national and continental income but also poverty of ideas.
Nigeria should have learned a lesson since the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in 1986, because since then the country’s economy became pathologic. Instead of liberating the economy from the false paradigms of the Bretton Wood’s Institutions (notably, the World Bank and the IMF), each successive government has deepened the economy into a new brand quagmire. The only exception is the Government of Late Gen. Abacha, which I knew it fought for the Nigeria’s self-determination but I doubt if itself tried to develop indigenous ideas.
Be it ideas or goods and services, Nigeria has folded hands, waiting for other countries or continent to produce what Nigerians would consume, while the world is increasingly becoming what I can call a “competitive village”. These countries are busy developing themselves, and they are living by the principle of the “survival of the fittest”. Do we think they can forego their global hegemonic struggle to come and lift us to greatness if we do not do it for ourselves by ourselves? We must be in a state of illusion if we think so.
Of course, the Nigerian Government is very wrong to be exacerbating the predicament of the citizens by borrowing this neo-liberal idea, but until Nigerians come together and seek for a common ground to design a common destiny, salvaging themselves from (the leaders and by implication, the foreign forces), solution to the current plight is not forthcoming.
There are many countries that tried to change their destinies through developing indeginous models for economic and political development, such as China, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Nordic countries. On the last, I recently realized, in an interview with the former Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, that Norway has adopted a model that blended Christian doctrine and Socialism and it worked quite well for them.
If those countries can make it, why not Nigeria? However, there are conditions for achieving this.
First, there should be an attitudinal changes amongst Nigerians, especially the youth. Government should be just to the youth and then instil discipline in their minds. This is because their attitudes are shaped by the high-handedness of the Government and the deplorable economic condition they are left wallowing in.
The youth shouldn’t be seeing the leaders living luxurious lives, while the citizens are in economic hardship and the leaders to be singing to the citizens that inflation is unavoidable, that Covid-19 is the factor trying to drift Nigeria into another recession, that it’s crisis in the global oil market that shook the economy. If the citizens observe that the leaders are also suffering the way they are suffering, there wouldn’t be such widespread rage amongst the youth. But the leaders are announcing the message of fuel price increase in the comfort of their well furnished offices with AC, among other luxuries, and the citizens are on the streets, under the sun and in the rain, struggling to survive.
Yet, this can’t justify non- civic approach to issues by the citizens. Rancor and insults are not the appropriate means of addressing the issue. I believe that peaceful demonstration and non-violent protests can be done. The best way is to resort to a common ground for all Nigerians before they can institutionalize a responsive and pro-poor government. This common ground will also facilitate congruence between the Government and the citizens to understand our national problems and developing indeginous models (specific) to address them.
The Government should also consider intellectuals as partners in national progress. It should encourage research that can lead to grounded theories and models to address problems contextual to the Nigerian socio-cultural, economic and political structures.
We have to understand that our population and our diversity is a blessing in disguise, if we can ponder. This is because each ethic group has its unique experience and characteristics that the others don’t. If combined and effectively utilised, these experiences and characteristics can help the nation to achieve greatness.
If we cannot understand and respect our differences and tolerate one another, we shouldn’t be deceiving ourselves with the catchphrase “Unity in Diversity” or “One People, Great Nation”. Why would we be self-deluded and be deceiving ourselves with the title “Giant of Africa”, while we are crowling?
Jamilu Ibrahim Mukhtar writes from Dutse, he can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rarara: The Swindler and Buhari’s Not Golden Silence By Adamu Mäi-bödi
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people”. – Martin Luther king Jr.
Dauda Kahutu Rarara, a popular Hausa musician and a staunch Buhari popularizer has come up with a fraudulent scheme. He is duping Hausa speaking Nigerians of N1,000 per donor. The singer cum con-artist swindles the targeted population in what he coined as ‘Buhari Popularity Test’ in which the true Buharists are supposed to put the naysayers to shame by collectively sponsoring his new song in praise of the President.
Despite the nonstop outcry about harsh economic situation, thousands of Northerners have proudly fallen victims of this fraud. Some online bloggers alleged that Rarara garnered about N50 million in 48 hours. The victims consider this as another chance to register their unalloyed loyalty to President Buhari, to whom they once raised funds and elected twice into the Aso-rock Villa. Sadly, the president chose to remain silent thereby allowing the dubious singer to keep extorting his diehard apologists.
Our propensity to keep silent in the presence of abnormalities has brought us to where we are in Nigeria today. The President should not allow Rarara to ride on his popularity and gyp Nigerians of their hard-earned money while smiling to his bank account. Buhari’s silence is not golden in this regard. It is nothing but a sign of approval which is unpresidential and will definitely pave way for the emergence of many other swindlers.
To reciprocate the goodwill he enjoys from the flock of his Northern followers, Mr. President should unambiguously distance himself from this fraudulent scheme and warn the perpetrators against using his name to enrich themselves to the detriment of Nigerians, especially his ardent supporters.
Arewa people should take a deep breath and ask themselves; what value would the proposed song add to their wellbeing or to the Buhari administration, would it stop the killings, the banditry, the kidnappings, the communal clashes or would it bring succor to the Internally Displaced Persons across the region? – I believe the answer would turn out negative.
Adamu Bello Mäi-bödi writes from Gidado Bombiyo residence K/kaji Azare
LEADERSHIP: A Vacuum Katagum Needs to Fill By Adamu Mai-Bodi
Looking at the above caption, one may think the article is aiming at diminishing the leadership capacity of the current crop of elites katagum has, many of whom have carved a niche for themselves in various fields of calling. This is a contrary notion, actually. The piece is only an appeal to katagum sons and daughters, especially those who drop water in the nation, to fill the shoes of their predecessors.
Gone are good old days when everyone listen to elders and obey their commandments because they were selfless and never partisan. Sadly, Katagum is now weak, divided and vulnerable. Disagreement surpasses agreement, political rivalries persist, rural/urban contempt continues, internal conflict multiplies, and youths continue to lose confidence in elders, all thanks to lack of good leadership.
Every community has a leader or group of people who give direction or serve as arbiters when there is a dispute among them. Such leaders are non-partisan, spotless, highly revered and upright. Katagum has been blessed with such kinds of people. The late Emir of Katagum, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir, late Alhaji Sule Katagum, (Wazirin Katagum) late Alhaji Aminu Saleh (Wamban Katagum) and late Muhammadu Danmadami (Sa’in Katagum), among others, have provided leadership during their life and time. The demise of these larger-than-life personages has created a huge vacuum. Their exemplary leadership and relentless efforts in uniting the region shall not therefore be allowed to go in vain.
As we mourn the departure of these remarkable fathers of the land, Allah in his infinite mercy, raised amongst us another set of notable personalities who are equally endowed with leadership quality. This is the right time to begin the discussion and search for a leader among the elders who have excelled in various human endeavors as diverse as diplomacy, military, academia, administration, business and politics.
I am not oblivious of the fact that some will think it is the prerogative of the emirate council to unite the people, mend internal disputes, end inter-towns conflict and champion a common agenda. This may sound appropriate. But it would be a great injustice to put this burden on the emirate council. the hypocritical colonial masters’ policy relegated their role to the background. Traditional institutions have been deliberately weakened by colonial fiat. The emirs, who hitherto exercised genuine power and authority, are now at the mercy of the politicians. State administrators who are politicians of different persuasions are leveraging on that policy to get control of monarchs. Hence, they relegated them to mere advisory bodies.
Among the plethora of our people in the government, academia, politics, and the business circles, we need one with powerful will, who first sees the improvement in the quality of our people above his personal consideration and aggrandizement. Until we find someone who fits this description, katagum would continue to wallow in confusion and remain vulnerable and divided.
Adamu Bello Mai-bödi writes from Gidado Bombiyo residence
THE SPARK THAT CONTINUES TO GLOW: 70th Anniversary of the Founding of NEPU By Falalu Bello
Exactly seventy odd years ago – to be precise, on 8th August, 1950 – arguably one of the most forward-looking and conscientious political parties in Nigeria was midwifed in the ancient city of Kano. Christened the “Northern Elements Progressive Union” [NEPU], the founding of the Party, marked the breaking of an epoch in Nigeria’s political history. The event itself was spearheaded by eight young men, viz: Bello Ijamu, Abba Maikwaru, Mudi Sipikin, Magaji Danbatta, Babaliya Manaja, Musa Kaula, Abdulkadir Danjaji and Garba Bida. In addition to these historic eight personalities, there was the influence of Mallam Aminu Kano [who, as a public school headmaster and therefore a public servant, could not openly associate with the Party at the time] and Saad Zungur [of the defunct NCNC] in the background.
Founded in the context of a social order characterized by unrelieved feudal oppression, unrelieved aristocratic excesses and arrant colonial impositions, the NEPU openly and unambiguously committed itself to mobilizing the common man [“talaka”] for the struggle to wrest political power from the clutches of both British colonial authorities and their collaborators, the Emirate aristocracies of Northern Nigeria. In its founding document, The Sabawa Declaration, the NEPU declared that: “…the talakawa must organize consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government – both nationally and locally – in order that the machinery of government, …may be converted from an instrument of oppression into an agent of emancipation and the overthrow of Bureaucracy and aristocratic privilege.”
In its daily and routine political praxis, the NEPU emphasized and exhibited three fundamental principles which up to date are critical to the peaceful and progressive advancement of the Nigerian Project. These three principles are, viz; (i) a commitment to multiculturalism in political organization and popular mobilization, (ii) the promotion of working peoples’ solidarity in terms of the forging of peasant-worker alliances and similar popular alliances involving the lower wrung of the urban petty bourgeois classes as well as the traditional and modern literati, and (iii) rugged and unalloyed commitment to Nigeria’s national independence and national unity. With regard to the first principle, the NEPU went out of it way to ensure that the composition of its organs and branches was inclusive of all cultural and ethnic identities, to the extent of even encouraging the formation of affiliate tribal unions dedicated to fighting their own local despots. This is a far-cry from the present progressive retreat, particularly by the present crop of Nigerian elite, into exclusive primordial cocoons. In pursuance of the second principle, NEPU activists and organizers mobilized the urban wage earners, traders, craftsmen and other petty producers to identify with the struggles of the oppressed and exploited peasantry. As for the third principle, it is on record that NEPU entered into several alliances with other progressive political parties – the most famous being the historic NEPU/NCNC Alliance during the First Republic – in the pursuit of Nigeria’s national independence.
Our Party, the Peoples Redemption Party [PRP] is the direct heir of the NEPU and its legendary struggles for the emancipation of Nigeria’s downtrodden, exploited and oppressed working masses. The PRP continues to be inspired by the heroic sacrifices and commitment of the founding fathers of NEPU. We continue to be enamored and fired by the exemplary courage, vision and strategic objectives of our NEPU progenitors. And on this platinum anniversary of the founding of NEPU, the PRP pledges to remain steadfast and committed to keeping the torch which was ignited by the spark of 8th August, 1950 always aloft.
Alh. Falulu Bello, OFR
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