Sunday, February 12, 2012

Legacies and the Failed North

7 February 2012

By Ayisha Osori

A few years ago, when things were not nearly as bad as they are now - a young man in the context of a conversation whose details have evaporated like the heat from a plate of food, said quite arrogantly that the North had a legacy.

What is that legacy I asked? He proceeded to trot out a few things which even then sounded meaningless in the cold light of the realities in which we lived in then which was that the North led the rest of the country, nay, even parts of Africa in the high levels of poverty, illiteracy and religious and ethnic violence. And this was the time when all we had to contend with was a corrupt, inept and uncaring government and the distant menace of the Niger Delta militants.

Today, when we have a lot more at stake, the issue of the legacy of the North in Nigeria seems more pertinent than ever. The dysfunctional and some say failed state of our nation where government has proven to be incapable of and uninterested in providing any of the basic public goods and where Boko Haram has waged war on us - has dredged up questions about the viability and indeed, the essence of Nigeria as an entity.

The bottom line is that the North is at the bottom of most indices of development and whether or not secession happens - the North needs to take a cold unemotional look at itself and realize that it cannot go on this way.

I asked a trader from the North recently - "who from the North are you likely to vote for in 2015? Apart from Buhari," I quickly interjected". And he thought for a minute and then said quietly "no one".

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