By Bashir Adefaka
There are more apprehensions in Southern Nigeria, particularly Lagos, muchmouthed as not only economic nerve centre of Nigeria but an African economy bigger than South Africa’s and some West African countries combined.
This is because, states of Northern Nigeria that we, Southerners, hitherto claimed to be underdeveloped and backward in terms of everything including economy, education and development, are now leading even Lagos in developmental projects.
One of the claims of ours was that because the oil on which seated Nigeria’s national budget for many years was only from the South, there could be nothing great coming from the North, according to those claimers among us, except that they would remain “parasites” to the rest of the regions in terms of development.
Although they were told in most cases that Saudi Arabia as the hottest country of the world is the richest and most depended upon by other generally acclaimed world powers, those seeing Northern Nigerians as reason for the backwardness of Nigeria for quite sometimes did not change ground until realities now begin to dawn on them as the North moves, not only in overtaking us but now has become leaders in all ramifications.
It will be recalled that while the only thing that Lagos is now good for is in its ability to host the much complicated container trucks traffics that have made Apapa-Mile 2 area of the state impassable and turn to no-go-area, the Northern state of Kaduna now makes its economic landscape feasible for businesses to grow. No wonder early this year 2019, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the state that was formerly capital of Northern Region was honoured, recognised and applauded as BEST STATE IN EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN 2018. If a society makes doing business easy for people, what else follows if not easy life? That is North that we, Southerners, never saw anything good about but as parasite to our effort to move forward and reason for which we thought the best way out is needless restructuring of a country that was long ago well structured.
Not too long after Kaduna, Katsina that is the state of the country home of sitting President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, moved in the brain and spirit of its Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, and designed an economic architecture for itself. What Katsina did was like to say “okay, we are a desert though farming giant part of the country but, despite that we do not have oil deposit, we can make ourselves oil giant if we choose to be”. That was how they designed a refinery project for themselves and are currently developing it with intent that it will be fed with crude from the abundance of Niger Republic which is neighbouring country to ours. This is how brain, sometimes, is more progressively productive than the mouth and pen. In the end, it will be discovered that all the noise and bragging of the mouth and pen depend solely on the propelling control of the well articulated brain.
Again, for over four years now, effort to make Nigeria grow what it eats and produce what it needs have been more effectively successful with Northern Nigeria. One is yet to see where in Southern Nigeria the much talked about economic independence has been seen to be matter of concern to the heart on the table of those talkers. LAKE Rice is simply an acronym for “Lagos-Kebbi” Rice. This means that more Lagos State people beyond Yuletide period now find succour in nutritious rice that is produced and Made-in-Nigeria at the mercy of the same Northern Nigeria that the same Lagos and other Southerners claimed were causing no more than backwardness to the rest of the country.
In the end, the North finally discovered oil deposits in its Chad Basin and the rest of the regions boastfully ascribing all that is negative and backward to the North has kept quiet. Not only that, more brilliant and beautiful ideas are now further coming up with which Northern states are now leaders in developmental projects. This is where we go again. The North East was left to itself to rotten and decay by insecurity that all Nigerian regions including those in the South could not clean themselves of partaking in how it came about. Today, the nine-state geopolitical zone has not only bounced back but, more noticeably, its displaced people – mainly farmers and traders – have been returning home and to farm, thus making Nigeria to regain its food security level. Thanks to the resilience, strengthened by Allah, of current administration of Muhammadu Buhari, who refused to be wavered by any of the side attractions and distractions of the wailing public not wanting better Nigeria for good people of Nigeria. Thanks also to some governors and political leaders like Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Rauf Aregbesola in his days, Rochas Okorocha and even Seriake Dickson, who refused to choose politics of the blood that could have taken us as a nation back to the stone age.
That is aside the fact that political and religious leaders who have shown interest in better, greater and more prosperous Nigeria through security, peace and development are, undebatably, Northerners. It is not far back in history that while the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, mni, CFR, LLD, was flying and jumping all over the country issuing statements towards making Nigerians see themselves as an indivisible family regardless of their religious and ethnic differences, those other religious and traditional leaders who countered him, albeit to no success, were only from the South. What is it that Nigeria did wrongly to the South that was not done to the North?!
But Allah has a way He continues to show the wronged people that their joy will not be lost forever. Today, the developmental rating has moved to Kano State, where the Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has now been rated the Best Governor in terms of initiating and executing developmental projects among others.
The All Progressive Congress (APC)’s Progressive Governors’ Forum, which did the rating cannot be wrong. Not only are they in the majority but also they contain quite a number of brains comprising brilliant members from Southern Nigeria agreed with by even PDP governors. These are those who know when ratings are done properly and when they are not.
The question now is, while all the positive things are now happening to and from the North of Nigeria, where is Lagos in all of it? Ease of Doing Business, Lagos is not found. Initiating and executing developmental projects, Lagos is not found. Effort at making Nigeria dependable on itself in food security and better life for and from manufacturing economy, Lagos that is currently the face of the South West is not found. Yet Sokoto is seat of Cement Factory of Northern Nigeria, the Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is not an APC but PDP and this company thrives under him and he never owed workers salaries.
The man that is most revered as World’s Richest Black Man is product and son of Northern Nigerian community of Kano, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON.
Much disgusting as my submissions above may have been to anybody that reads, the point I am making is clear to any discerning person and it is to ask, “We the boastful people of Southern Nigeria, where is our pride if, against Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s leading legacy of all the Firsts of the past, we now find ourselves good only in attacking other regions but without anything to show for our boastfulness to make us sustain the Awolowo’s Legacy”?
*WAKE UP is opinion article of Alhaji Bashir Adefaka, an Akure Prince and Lagos-based media practitioner. Reach him via his email: email@example.com.