Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The North and threat to 2015

                            Boko Haram insurgents                                                        
The recent outburst by Alhaji Aliu Isamaila Gwarzo is a threat to the forthcoming 2015 general elections and should be accorded the seriousness and urgency it deserves. This should be so considering the daunting security challenges currently confronting the nation. It behoves every Nigerian irrespective of political and social status to observe restrain and make utterances with ultimate caution so as not to further heat up the already tensile political sphere we have in our hands.
But that was not the case with Alhaji Gwarzor who threw caution to the wind and threatened fire and brimstones concerning 2015. Alhaji Gwarzo bemoaned the state of affairs in the northern part of the country demanding power must return to the north in 2015; the political power the north had lost to the south in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. According to Gwarzo, “We do not have economic power, we do not have intellectual power, the only political power we have they have taken it from us. We must get our political power back come 2015 or we will maim, kill and destroy the country!” These are undesirable words that should agitate the minds of all Nigerians.
 It is noteworthy that this was how some prominent northerners also threatened to make the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan if he gets the presidential ticket under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the 2011 presidential elections. Former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita had said, “The North is determined, if it happens, to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy. Anything short of a Northern president is tantamount to stealing our presidency. Jonathan has to go and he will go. Even if he uses incumbency power to get his nomination on the platform of the PDP, he would be frustrated out”. Then the imprudent utterances by some prominent northerners were never ruminated upon and given actionable attention they deserved hence during the presidential elections, innocent youth corps members in the service to their father land were hacked down in their prime. It was pathetic and this should not be allowed to repeat itself in the 2015 general elections hence the urgent need to contain such inciting utterances. Today, nobody holds Alhaji Lawal Kaita and others accountable for their unguarded statements why all the blames occasioned by the insurgents are heaped at the feet of the president.
Nigeria is in a precarious situation and self-inflicted political quagmire that should not be aggravated. But what are the grievances of Alhaji Aliu Gwarzo for which he threatened doom and war? First, Gwarzo said the north does not have economic power. In this context, Gwarzo couldn’t be right because only nine states of the 36 states of the federation are viable economically; the remaining 27 states have no economic power! The nine states that have economic power are the oil producing states. That the remaining 27 states have no economic power is by choice and self-inflicted owing to the fact that every state of the federation has the potentials to grow economically and become an economic power. This is because every state has both natural and agricultural potentials to attain economic power. The north is the most endowed region in Nigeria in terms of agricultural potentials as its land is adequately fertile for the growing of various cash crops. Maybe Gwarzo has forgotten the groundnuts pyramid and cotton piles in the north. What happened to these agricultural crops for which the north was known? Groundnuts which grow very well in the north have been abandoned by the likes of Gwarzo just because of the crude oil in the Niger Delta! Groundnuts are the major sources of vegetable oil and Nigeria spends about $500 million (N8 billion) annually on the importation of vegetable oil.  
Again, the north does not have crude oil but the north controls 87 per cent of the oil sector. Therefore, what is the economic power the north does not have that Gwarzo is complaining about? Perhaps, Gwarzo does not know that Niger State has the capacity to produce rice that can feed the whole of the West African sub-region! Why can’t Gwarzo encourage Niger State to cultivate rice and rake in the N365 billion Nigeria currently spend on the importation of rice from Thailand and India annually? According to the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Adeshina  Akinwumi, “If you go to Sokoto, or to Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Kogi, Ofada rice in Ogun State, down to Abakaliki and to the Niger Delta,  we have up-land rice, low-land rice, Fdama rice, all types of rice that can be grown here, yet we are buying rice”. Now, what prevents Ahlaji Gwarzo from seizing the abundant fortune in rice farming in his home state of Kano that is fertile for the growing of the grains and turn the north to an economic power?
Additionally, Gwarzo further said that they do not have intellectual power! If the north does not have intellectual power who should be held liable? Is it the fault of the south that the north does not have intellectual power? The north had a rare opportunity to have led this country for 39 years as military and civilian leaders. If by omission or commission, their leaders refused to empower them educationally, should Gwarzo vent his anger on the entire country for the ignorance of their leaders or share classism? Can Gwarzor tell the world of any children of northern leaders including his own children that are not educated? Is it not the children of the poor in the north that are denied education by choice? Would Gwarzo say 39 years were not enough for their leaders to have empowered their citizens in education? If for 39 years Nigerian leaders of northern extraction could not provide education for their people who else could have done so? President Jonathan has built 150 schools for Almajiris, it would be in the best interest of the north for Alhaji Gwarzo to support his administration for him to do more for the north.
Not done yet, Gwarzo also added that if they do not get their birth right (political power) in 2015, they will maim, kill and destroy the country! Who are the people Gwarzo aimed to maim and kill? If Gwarzo should maim and kill innocent Nigerians who will the north lead in 2015? If the north had led the country for 39 years and they still lack economic and intellectual power, when will the north achieve all these? It is instructive to note that political power is not a birth right and there is nowhere in the entire world where political power is permanent in one section of a country. This is because political power is dynamic and it is determined by the wishes and aspirations of the people. In democracy, power belongs to the people and it is incumbent on the people to bequeath it to persons they want; those who can meet their economic, intellectual and social needs. This is done through the ballot. Thus, the people must give their mandate to persons of their choice before such persons can achieve political power! In a democratic state such as ours, political power can never be achieved by fiat, decree, maiming and killing of the citizens as threatened by Alhaji Gwarzo. If the north had led the country for 39 years and northern leaders could not provide economic and intellectual power to northerners why did Gwarzo think they will get all these things if political power returns to the north and also remains there for the next 39 years?
Considering the aforementioned, one would have expected the likes of Gwarzo to galvanize and mobilize the Nigerian masses to vote for the candidate of his choice rather than threatening to maim, kill innocent Nigerians and above all, destroy the country! If Gwarzo destroys the country which country will the proposed northern president presides over? It is most unfortunate for a Nigerian in the status of Alhaji Aliu Gwarzo to threaten to destroy the country on the ground that power must return to the north in 2015. The country has given so much to Aliu Gwarzo and the country does not expect this drum of war from him. Aliu Gwarzo was the pioneering director general of the State Security Service (SSS) from 1986-1993. He also served as the National Security Adviser to Chief Ernest Shonekon and continued in that capacity for 6 years when late General Sani Abacha seized power from the former. It is pertinent to ask, would Alhaji Gwarzo had tolerated any Nigeria who made such unguarded statement during his tenure as the director general of the State Security Service or as the National Security Adviser? That is doubtable!       
The threat by Alhaji Aliu Isamaila Gwarzo to maim, kill and destroy the country if political power doesn’t return to the north in 2015 is gratuitous and should be retracted in the interest of the country. The country can’t afford a fresh outbreak of insurgency as that will definitely be calamitous.


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