By Bola Bolawole
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Last week we spoke of the North’s Frankenstein monster; today, we shall be speaking of the South-west’s own Frankenstein monster because the South-west has its own “Babanla were” (real time madness). Frankenstein monsters are usually self-created and self-inflicted disasters. They start small, “like joke, like joke”, as they say, but soon grow out of control and get out of hands such that the tail begins to wag the dog, again, as they say. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine and the wisdom of our people is that we make hay while it shines but where the needful is left undone and the right timing escapes us, then, what is controllable becomes uncontrollable. The end result is disaster. That is the sad state that the North finds itself today. The South-west, I dare to say, is on the way to joining the North in that unwholesome league.
The North has a chequered history of religious intolerance. Its religious fanatics and fundamentalists unleash orgies of wanton destruction of life and property at the flimsiest of excuses. They kill for what otherwise reasonable persons will consider as insane and unreasonable. There is hardly any town in the North that does not have a religious riot to its name: Kano religious riots, Kaduna religious riots, Kafanchan religious riots, Bauchi religious riots, Sokoto religious riots, Maiduguri religious riots; name it! Usually, the targets were Christians and non-indigenes, especially Southerners. They kill, maim, rape, and destroy with relish. They are above the law. Not only do they get away scot-free, they also mock the law and rape the Constitution. They trample the rights of others. They provoke other Nigerians at the receiving end of their bestiality. They dare anyone to do anything about their lawlessness. Outlaws! Bandits! Rather than frown at them, the Northern establishment used to justify, support, encourage, finance, and defend them. So, they were never brought to book. They grew in impunity. Each such dastardly act successfully executed by them made them more audacious and confident. Blood-letting became a way of life for them. Impunity became their code. Life means nothing to the average fanatical Northerner. What sets an average Southerner aghast, his Northerner counterpart accounts as nothing much to worry about. When the victims were usually Southerners and Christians, the average Northerner Muslim saw nothing wrong in it but now that the chickens have come home to roost for them as well, they can shout from the rooftop that the North is the worst place on earth to live! For them; yes, the North is now the worst place on earth to live as they begin to feel the heat but for others, it has always been so!
The North’s sense of entitlement is one of its greatest undoing. They contribute little but take the lion’s share. That way, their level of productivity is so low they cannot sustain themselves on it unless they leverage on others. And because their level of productivity is low; because they leverage on others to make up, they are not encouraged to work, not to talk of working harder. They are not doing any catching up with the South. They only abuse the system because they control it to place themselves over and above those more qualified and more hard-working than themselves. That way, they occupy top positions which they are not prepared for. They are not qualified to do the job they entrust to themselves. So, everything they touch turns to dross. Inefficiency and incompetence everywhere: That way, too, they hold down the people over whom they perch. They frustrate and discourage them. Those who cannot do the job are the ones entrusted with the job. Those who can do the job are shoved out of the way.
Federal character or quota system is another great undoing of the North. With these twin-evils still in operation, the North will never catch up with the South in the real sense of the word because they will never acquire the quality needed. For instance, while students from the South study hard because they have very high cut-off marks to make admission, their counterparts from the North do not need to aspire to meet any cut-off mark. Conversely, it is the cut-off mark that travels down to meet them at the lowest rung of the ladder! So, while a Southern lad must score 300 to make it, his Northern counterpart in many instances needs as low as 2 marks to make the same admission! Now, someone who did not need to study hard to make admission is not the same person who will suddenly begin to study hard after gaining admission in this whimsical manner. The seed of laziness, of entitlement, of audacity, and of impunity is sown into the Northern youth at tender age. And they carry it all through as they are favoured with employment, with appointment, and the uncountable number of favours extended to them at every point and port. Southerners in Federal establishments have tales of woes, of frustrations, and of oppression and victimization to tell. Acting this way, the Northerner establishment thinks they are helping the North but, in actual fact, they are destroying it. They have imperilled it with shaky, unreliable and untenable foundation.
A mother thought she was taking it out on her step-son while treating her own son specially: Every house chore was done by the step-son while her own son stayed glued to the television when he was not cuddled up in bed. In the final analysis, it was the step-son that mastered how to do this or that while the son knew absolutely nothing. This mother had, inadvertently, only helped to train the step-son while her own son rotted away. By maltreating Southerners while pampering its own, the Northerner establishment has weakened its own base while strengthening the Southerners it thought to punish. The North, thus, spoils its own child. Spoilt children always misbehave; they ruin everything entrusted to them. They are the proverbial children you fail to train properly (build up) that end up wasting all the wealth you stored up everywhere. A spoilt child is usually a super-brat: Irascible, uncontrollable, unwise, unthinking, wasteful! Imagine the level of destruction and disruption that the North has done – and is still doing – to the North! Boko Haram! Fulani herdsmen! Bandits! Kidnappers!
This is one war the North cannot win if it does not change its mentality and orientation. It is sad that the country’s human and financial resources are being poured into this bottomless pit but the greatest losers are the Northerners themselves. A change of Service chiefs, unless it coincides with or reflects a change in mentality and philosophy, will amount to trifles. It is time for the North to face the reality of its decadent system of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The South-west is making a similar mistake right now. We often perceive the enemies as “outsiders” but they are, in fact, right inside. They are the proverbial insects eating up the vegetables…”Kokoro t’o n j’efo…Those who have turned our vibrant youth into “Twale” and “Alright Sir” guys; those who have allowed the legacies of Awo to rot; those who siphon the wealth of our people to please the tin-gods at Abuja; the leaders of the South-west who have looted their own people blind; those who are concerned only about their own political interests and will sell their people to advance such interests; those who have tied the hands of Amotekun and will not let it function; those leaders who take orders from Abuja politicians whose interests run counter to those of the South-west – those are the real enemies holding the South-west down.
The South-west has degenerated. In fact, it has badly degenerated. And the reason is simple: It has been badly governed – in fact, miserably governed – since 1999. Never mind which party is in control, Alexander Pope said it all when he posited that “As for forms of government, let fools contend; what is best administered is best” Since the coming of the Fourth Republic, the South-west has not been best administered. Cultism is rampaging already and it will grow worse. Unemployment leading to restiveness, especially on the part of our youth, is a time bomb that will explode any time. Igbo youths are learning trade all over the place, what are the Yoruba youths learning? Yahoo-Yahoo! Twale! Alright Sir! The Northerners trooping down here have taken over the “Okada” business. Their Fulani counterparts are into the Forex trade: What are the Yoruba youths into? The North has cornered agriculture. Thousands of cow heads amounting into billions of Naira every day are consumed in Lagos alone. Where is Yoruba’s own money spinner?
Mark my word: The South-west’s dam of frustration, pent-up anger, and deprivation will go burst one day; perhaps, sooner than expected. Just like we hold the North’s political class accountable for their own grief, we must hold the South-west leaders accountable for the South-west’s own grief which is unfolding gradually but assuredly before our own eyes.
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