By Eddy Odivwri; firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ Â 08053069356
During the week, what looked like a fight back from the northern political elite against the Emir of Kano, HRM Mohammadu Sanusi II, was registered when the news was released by the Kano Emirate Council that it had spent N3.4 Billion in the last three years. The state government had claimed that the Emirate council had spent N6 billion within the same period. The same state government had claimed that Emir Sanusi inherited N4 billion from his predecessor, and not the N2.9 billion the Emirate Council said it inherited.
It is surely a cruel response to the punches thrown at the political elite by Emir Sanusi during the recently-held Kaduna InvestmentÂ summit.
As he often does, his speech ruffled many feathers. And this unsettled the northern political elite. The brickbats had started with the vitriolic letter the Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari wrote to Sanusi calling him a hypocrite and one who was a threat to Islam, admonishing him to literally respect himself. Sanusiâ€™s offence was debunking as â€œunIslamicâ€ the theory of Gov Yari which says fornication breeds meningitis. Yari had blamed the outbreak of meningitis on the tons of sins of his people. The death toll on the meningitis as at last Thursday had hit 813. The governor just didnâ€™t have vaccines and rather than admit so, he blamed it on the fornication of the people. It was as unIslamic as it was unscientific. We have long found out that in Zamfara State, for instance, there are 21 medical doctors in the 24 state-owned hospitals. That means that at least three state hospitals do not have medical doctors. Is this the result of the peopleâ€™s sin too? Need we say more on how decrepit Yariâ€™s theory is?
Emir Sanusi dared to speak truth to the people, saying what everybody has always known but hardly expressed openly.
The feudal system which still operates in the north mixed with the high level of illiteracy helps to promote mass ignorance and blind adherence to religious dogma.
Many of the big men in the north are just pedophiles, in the name of the religious permit to marry many wives. We see men of over 60 years of age squaring up in marriage with teenagers and even minors. That explains why the Emirâ€™s comment on the girl child education rankles the political elite in the north, most of whom are the worst perpetrators of the act especially as they can easily intimidate the poor rural folks with their money.
But if they discriminate against the education of the girl child, how well do they do with the boy child? Is it not the same boy child that constitutes the despicable practice of Almajiri? How can they be encouraging poor people to keep marrying more wives and procreating without caution or adequate financial backing, all in the name of religion and culture?
Is it not true that the northern political elite nurture and protect the almajiri system because it helps them to feather their political nest during elections?
It had to take the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to build special schools for the almajiris. Jonathan it was, who also established nine universities in the country, six of which were located in the north.
Are these not the same people that academic standards are often lowered during admissions into federal institutionsâ€”be it secondary or universities?
How well do the northern elites care about education? In this time and age, we still have schools where teaching and learning take place under the trees in the north. And any day it rains, such a school is on holiday.
How many of the children of the northern elite attend such schools?
How many scholarships do they award per year?
Is it untrue that the highest numbers of uneducated folks in the country are in the north? What is the average budget on education in the north and what is the annual budget on pilgrimage and religious activities/projects like building of mega mosques?
Is it not true that the more uneducated the people are, the less critical they will be and the more vulnerable they will be for political manipulation?
But these same governors who refuse to build and equip classrooms make heavy annual budgets to sponsor people on pilgrimage as a matter of priority. These same governors who would not build schools, build big mosques.
How does that impact on development?
Why should that be the concern of a responsible government? Why should government money be used to pursue and sponsor such religious programmes while we claim we operate a policy of secularity in government?
This is simply because those sponsored to such pilgrimagesâ€”be it Christians or Muslims, will often pay back with their support to the governor during elections.
The north has held on to political power longer than any other part of the country. What has that translated to in terms of the socio-metrics of development? Is it not clear that without education, there can be no development? Does that not explain why despite everything the north, the core north, that is, is yet wearing a rustic and pristine look? Indeed, Emir Sanusi was right when he said if Yobe and Borno States were to be countries, they would be poorer than Niger and Chad. How true!
Why are the northern elites angry with Emir Sanusi for daring to tell them what the rest of the nation have always known and talked about?
Even on health care, the north is still tottering behind. There are several diseases in the north which are largely caused by poverty and malnutrition. I once visited a hospital in Sokoto township where all the patientsâ€”young and old, have terrible ugly infections that eat up their upper or lower lips thus exposing their dentition. I cannot remember the technical name of the disease. Doctors say it is mainly caused by malnutrition.
Just last Sunday, a doctor was speaking on 92.3 FM radio in Lagos and was relating an experience of medical practice in the north. He recalled a particular case where an illiterate mother who had just lost her set of twins to poor medical attention was almost losing another child within one week all because the husband (who has three other wives and dozens of children) did not give the permission for the sick child to be taken to hospital, all because there was no money even for the most basic medical procedure. The doctor said they had to task themselves to donate some money to enable the womanâ€™s child to be treated and saved. Is that not why infant and maternal mortality is still very high in the north? But the governors of such states would have the presence of mind to sponsor people on pilgrimage. Imagine the plight of the 21 medical doctors in the 23 hospitals in Zamfara State, where the governor literally governs the state from his cosy Abuja castle. There are times the doctors in such hospitals will helplessly watch patients die because of no drugs and equipment.
Truth hurts the heart of the wicked, hence the northern political elite are ganging up against Emir Sanusi. Reports have even said there are plots by the same northern elite to dethrone him, as if that is what will change the ill-narrative of the north.
To kick-start the plot, the Kano State government has set up a plan to probe the finances and operations of the Kano Emirate Council, as if it is a government parastatal.Â What has the government got to do with the running of a traditional institution?
How many times does the Osun State Government probe the budget and finances of the Ooni of Ife? Or the Edo State government probing the Oba of Beninâ€™s financial books?
How come this financial efficiency of the Kano State government is coming just after the Emirâ€™s keynote address at the Kaduna summit?
What is the Prayer Point on Buhari?
I have been looking for General Yakubu Gowon.
What for? Is he your mate?
Is it only my mate I should look for? Donâ€™t you know he is premium elder statesman?Â
Look, we need to rework that his NGO
NGO? Gen Gowon has an NGO?
Â Donâ€™t you know Nigeria Prays is his NGO?
So why do you want it reworked?
Need you ask? Canâ€™t you see the nationâ€™s shepherd is weak and the flock might be floundering and scattering?
You have come again with your archaic parables. What exactly are you saying?
Look, Mr President, our dear Muhammadu Buhari is still ill. He is weak. He has not been coming to office. He has been absent from the all-important Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on two consecutive occasions now. He has not been seen in public for a long time, except the weekly Jumat prayers in the Villa mosque, on Fridays. They even say he can no longer come to office. That he is now almost like a resident monarch. That he has opted to work from home. Files and official documents have to be carried home everyday for the president to treat. Do you now see why we need the prayers?
So why do you think Gen Gowon should be the anchor of this? Is he a prayer warrior?
Donâ€™t you know he founded Nigeria Prays?Â
How successful was that ministry as to want him preside over the all-important prayer for the full and perfect recovery of President Buhari?
And in any case, why the resort to prayers? Was he not supposed to go back to London for a medical check-up? Why has he not gone? Is he scared he might lose his office?
This is not a subject of debate! Somebody is sick. And I am saying we should all gather and take a prayer point and intercede for him. And it is callous for you to suggest he is scared he might lose his office if he goes back to London. Look, if it is the will of Allah, Buhari will serve out his full term(s) unhindered.Â
So what is the prayer point?Â I ask because there are some people who will not participate in the prayer if they donâ€™t like the prayer point.
What else can the prayer point be but for God to effect total healing and the renewal of his health so he can bounce back in shape and form and really take this country to the Promised Land.
(in hushed voice) But do you know that some people are praying that the president will not recover enough so he does not get back to office? That way, he will not stand in their way in 2019? Some are even saying he should justâ€¦.
(cuts in, with raised spread palm) Chai! Enough of that sacrilege! Anybody, man or woman, young or old, who does not want the president to fully recover and regain his office in full blast, should, fall down andâ€¦Â
(cuts in) Donâ€™t curse anybody. I am only telling you the wish of some people. But I know that the good Lord who has been guarding Nigeria will terminate their wish. But do you know that those who donâ€™t wish the president well believe he is the cause of the hardship in the land and that if we are to regain our economic gait as a country, Buhari should be out of the way?
That is gratuitous nonsense! What kind of dump talk is that? Do those people know the rudiments of fiscal and monetary policies? Do they know the ever contending forces of micro and macro-economic indicatives? Do they know what is called the Balance of Trade?Â If Nigeria is not exporting anything but oil, how does she intend to earn foreign exchange? If Nigerians have a bottomless appetite for imported goods, how can she earn or conserve foreign exchange? Is it Buhari that said the price of crude should fall in the international oil market? Let me tell you, many of those people wishing the president dead are those sweating uncomfortably from the anti-corruption war. They donâ€™t want their stolen billions to be recovered. Look, tell those people arguing upside down to think aright and pray for Buhari because he means well for the nation.Â
Whatever it is, I am not sure those who donâ€™t wish Mr President full recovery are any number to worry about. And I donâ€™t think the concern should be about 2019. It should be for a total recovery. However, when he recovers, he has to double-pace his speed to catch up in pursuing people-oriented programmes.
You have spoken well. So where is Gowon, so we can call a national prayer conference with a singular prayer point: Pray full and unfailing strength into Mr President. Nothing else matters for now.
If you donâ€™t see him in the Plateau, check the Abuja Hills, you will see the ebullient statesman.