Cheta Nwanze: This administration has a clear Northern agenda

by Cheta Nwanze

A new pipeline is in the offing, from Port Harcourt to Kano. Then three new power plants. One in Kano, one in Kaduna, one in Abuja. This comes as more resources are being devoted to the search for oil in the North-East, then there’s that 3% of VAT thing, that somehow Kano got itself involved in, despite a) not being in the North-East, and b) not exactly being victims of Boko Haram’s festivities.

There’s no hiding it. This administration has a clear agenda, and the North is front and centre of that agenda.

Many of my southern compatriots have complained, bitterly in some cases, about how we are constantly “shafted” by the North. I think different. To be honest, I can’t help but envy the almost laser sharp focus of the northern elite in cornering the resources of this ‘ere country for their purpose. Whether those resources are used properly is another matter. What matters here is the lessons to be learned.

First, it is true that the northern elite is ahead, only just, of the various factions in the South as the most hedonistic and self-obsessed group of people in this country, and those guys have managed to abuse noble concepts like Zakat for their own selfish purposes. But I’m a firm believer in the theory of enlightened self-interest, and as the resources available to share dwindle, and the population, especially in the North, grows, I believe that a leader will eventually emerge in the North, who will go beyond merely giving his people fish, but teaching them how to fish. When that happens, someone else will teach his people how to create a scarcity of fish.

Concurrently, what will happen in the South? Our own ‘leaders’ here are too busy feathering their own nests and not giving a hoot about building sustainable alliances. Within the South.

You see, one of the greatest victories of the Northern establishment is in the manner they managed to convince so many in the South that we must all have a “national vision”, yet if you look closely, many in the North, the intelligentsia, the common people, always promote the Arewa ideal. Are they wrong?

The answer is NO.

There is nothing wrong in advancing the interest of your section of the country. Where things start to get messy is when you advance your interests, and deliberately pull down others at the same time. That is what has been happening in Nigeria. Unfortunately, we have spent the greater part of three generations making it look like advancing your own interests is dirty, and as a result, abusing people, especially Southerners, who try to advance their own interests. This has to change, and what is important is the context within which it changes.

You see, if we make this change, but maintain the current context, we will be caught in an endless loop where the moment someone comes into power in the all powerful Abuja centre, only the “interests” of his people will be advanced for four years. Then when he leaves, the pendulum swings, and so on. That, is not sustainable.

However, if we have a situation where people are allowed to be creative within their own small enclaves, then pay Abuja an agreed percentage of their sweat, while keeping the rest, then we will quickly find that we can all advance the interests of our sections, and the interest of Nigeria.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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