Whosoever wrote “Our Hausa/Fulani Leaders: A Blessing or A Curse” is one further proof that Education is about the greatest legacy any leader can give his people. America is what she is today because Americans have recognized that empirical fact, and are taking steps to daily research and break more and more frontiers of Knowledge as we speak.
The same America we are talking about used to be a British colony just like Nigeria and Gambia. Look at where they are today compared with Britain, their erstwhile colonial Master. That the British Prime Minister is sometimes described today as a lap dog of an American President with some justification is a great irony of history. America was able to do that through the instrumentality of Education and selfless leadership of her founding fathers who are all great men and benevolent leaders in my humble judgment.
The closest a man can get to perfection is to admit his mistakes. Mr. Usman has just torn the mask and has helped the North to appreciate where things had started going wrong for them, in spite of the fact they have continuously ruled Nigeria for 37 years and certainly longer than any other tribe or interest group in Nigeria. Attempting to hold the South back is not the way to go, because it will only worsen the tension and distrust between the North and the South down the road, because, as rightly observed by Mr. Usman, there are no fools any more any where in the world, so to speak. Even the old North is no more what it used to be, but it is a long way from where it needs to be, for it to level up with the South and be able to remain equal stakeholder or partner in the affairs of Nigeria.
Another point that Mr. Usman has made that is so true is the injection of Religion to modern day Government around the World, and more so in Islamic countries around the world, and more so in Nigeria. While Religion has its appeal and strong points in promoting stability in society, it is an antidote to good government, if it is not wisely invoked and applied. Why? Because Religion, quite often, defies human logic. You just have to accept and believe without asking too many questions, whereas the practice of Democracy and good Government, is anchored on asking endless and limitless questions and finding answers that would be acceptable, at least, to the great majority of the governed.
Professor Bolaji Aluko has recently questioned why no Nigerian Government has never tried to reassess and reappraise our membership of OPEC from time to time, to see if the Organization is serving our Nation’s best interest, just like we ought to be doing to our membership of all international Organizations including the British Commonwealth, and even the UN. Why not, if not? It is the right thing to do. You cannot just sit there and assume that all is hunky-dory. Never. I don’t care your views on President Bush Jnr. I think he did the right thing when he challenged the UN and told them, it is not going to be business as usual. They must try and be able to enforce their own rules from time to time, and if they are not doing so, it is time to start asking why. That is the correct attitude.
If Nigeria is doing that with OPEC, our Nation would probably have been better off today with the kind of conditionality we get from OPEC. If OPEC is going to continue to put Nigeria in a box like they have done for close to 30 years, we don’t belong there, and must quit today. I can understand a smart country like America, Britain, Japan and others pulling a fast one on us. I cannot, for the life of me, understand or tolerate Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, UAR, Libya, Kuwait, and others putting Nigeria in a box, and setting limits for us, or telling us what they think is good for us, all because Nigeria is a member of OIC, and we are not going to be seen challenging or questioning the judgment of another OIC member. We are today ruled by a so-called born-again Christian in Matthew Olusegun Obasanjo. If Obasanjo with all his medals as a four star General cannot see anything wrong in the Nigerian position, how can any other Ayatollah who may succeed him in the future, be able to ask a similar question. Forget it. I remember in the 60s when Nigeria wanted to sign a military pact with Britain. Guess who aborted the move? The Students Union of the great University of Ibadan working in tandem with other Universities and Institutions and Labor Unions in the country.
I thought Obasanjo was going to be a more proactive and bolder leader than he is today. I know he had stooped to conquer to get this far in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, I believe he had ridden to power by belittling men like Awolowo, and later Abiola, and making the North believe, he is their man Friday who is going to dance to their tune every step of the way, because he knew they gave him a chance to rule Nigeria three times in a row in a country of 120 million people or more. Obasanjo should tear the mask and become a true statesman for Nigeria. He should try what Awolowo would have done, had he be given a chance to rule the whole country. He would, at the very least, have introduced the concept of Free education to the whole country like he said he was going to do, and that would have done the magic.
Secondly Awo would have managed our resources far better than Obasanjo is doing today. He did it with the Civil War and would have done it again, just like his peer and classmate in the UK, the great Lee Kuan Yu of Singapore had done. Singapore does not have half the natural resources of Nigeria and yet she is today recognized as one of the four tigers of the Pacific Region, in large part, because of Lee Kuan Yu’s leadership.
I am writing this rejoinder to add my voice and support to that brilliant article asking if the Hausa/Fulani Leadership in the North, had been a Blessing or a Curse? It is a hybrid of the two, but more of a curse if you ask me.
I rest my case.