Ya'u Mukhtar
Ya'u Mukhtar

If you do not fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost: An Awakening Call on the North, By Ya’u Mukhtar

NEWS DIGEST – Barely a week ago, the hottest news trending on social media within and outside the country was on the plying of deaf ear by the Presidency, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari to the incessant killings, kidnapping and banditry that have been happening in Zamfara state by some group of barbaric people, but quickly reacted to the accidental murder of Kolade Johnson by a stray bullet fired by a policeman.

The Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji, has on Friday, March 05 disclosed that no fewer than 50 persons, including members of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) were killed in the state on Tuesday, March 02. The speaker revealed this during a condolence visit to Kaura Namoda Emirate, and has attributed the incidence to CTJF confrontation with bandits in a community in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of the state.

The good people of Nigeria especially those from Zamfara State expected the president to immediately condemn the act, condole, comfort and sympathize with the citizens of the state. This forlorn hope has never been achieved as the presidency kept mute over the issue without issuing any comment or taking any action. Nevertheless, this has sparked a series of criticism against the Federal Government from different angles of social and electronic media. Sequel to this, many people were quick to opine that the government is not committed and ready to tackle insecurity challenges bedevilling Zamfara environs.

To cut the story short, a tragedy has recently happened in Lagos involving a policeman attached to anti-cultism unit and civilian personnel. It was on March 31 that a person named Kolade Johnson had gone to watch a football match when he was accidentally hit by a stray bullet from policemen attached to the Police Anti-Cultism Unit of Lagos Command. To rub salt to the injury, President Muhammad Buhari through his media aide and tweeter handle did not hesitate in quickly denouncing the incidence and commiserating deeply with the family of the deceased, saying that; Government will not tolerate in any way, the brutalisation of Nigerians or the violation of their rights.

The President said: “Any officer of the law enforcement agencies or any other government functionary caught in this act will certainly be visited with the full weight of the law.” As at the time of filing this report, the suspect caught in this act had since been dismissed from the police service and remanded in prison to face legal proceeding.

This quick response from the presidency on this matter has brought about bitter arguments more especially from the North that the President was been partial in deciding to quickly respond to Kolade’s killing in Lagos but kept mute on the massacre of over 50 persons in Zamfara. Some critics have even concluded that the attention of president has been shifted toward appeasing the Yoruba/Igbo of the South over his Hausa/Fulani kinsmen in the North who massively voted him during the just concluded 2019 general election.

According to my perspective, the way and manner by which the Northern and Southern regions are being treated by the government is dependent upon how the people of these zones stand up and fight for their rights. For example, the Igbo and Yoruba apex sociocultural groups; Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere have all visited and felicitated with President Buhari for his second term reelection. Not only this, each of these two groups have tabled before the President the list of agendas which they expected his government to execute for their various geopolitical zones and they will no doubt keep on pursuing until their hope had become a reality. But up to now, I never heard of this development from any of the apex northern region associations whom were always trying to show that the masses interest is what always matters to them. With reference to this, so how do you expect the people of the North whom always hesitate in fighting for their mandates to share equal benefits of democratic profits with their Southern compatriots whom are always ready to fight at the forefront to exercise their constitutional rights?

The Southerners are known to be fearless and vocal in fighting for justice, human rights, economic and political dividends, while Northerners seem to be passive prayer warriors who expect change through miracle. I can even recall the saying from one of my lecturers who told us that God will never come down and execute the jobs of human beings for them. Meaning, a person must always strive for what he wants not to just sit down redundantly waiting for miracle to happen. In this regards, how do you expect equal treatment for victims in the South and sufferers in the North? I doubt the possibility of such.

When Nnamdi Kanu was arrested for his secessionist activities and remanded in a cell by security forces, all his compatriots from the South irrespective of religion, tribe or political affiliations stood solidly behind him thereby making every effort until he was granted a bail and got released by the court of competent jurisdiction.

How about the issue of illegally detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Shi’ites sect Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky of the north? The duo have been granted a bail on several occasions by courts of competent jurisdiction also but yet been withheld by security agencies as ordered by the Federal Government.
Apart from a series of protest staged by the members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in Abuja and other cities in the country, there was no any strong demonstration against the Federal Government on the continuing of illegal detention of these duos and this is mostly in line with reasons connected to political, tribal or religious differences that has divided the region.

Furthermore, on the issue of Zamfara killings and other sensitive matters of national interest, to some blindfolded Pro-Buhari loyalists here in the north, a person is not allowed to categorically voice out that Buhari government did not do well enough in its effort to tackle insecurity challenges in Zamfara state. Worse of it was that, this is simply because he is a Northern extract, or due to the kind of blind love they have for him which prevented them from understanding his faults or other reasons best known to them.

Let me tell you a fact that whenever group of people team up together and fight for a common course under a single umbrella, no doubt, their voice must be heard and action must be surely taken. Just flash back on what recently happened last week of Saturday in the capital city where a group of women led the indigenes of Zamfara State residents in Abuja, to protest the protracted killings in the state by the bandits, which forced the Federal Government to take some decisive actions. Shortly responding to the development, the Federal Government has suspended with immediate effect all mining activities in Zamfara State and all foreigners at the mining sites have been directed to suspend their activities and vacate the sites.

I will finally conclude this article by reiterating the need for all the citizens in the Northern part of the country to imitate our brothers from the south in casting aside all religious, tribal or political differences whenever it comes to matter of national interest that will be of good benefits to the entire region. Otherwise, it will just be a matter of time before we find ourselves at the losing end and finally starting to blame one another for our collective errors.

Ya’u MUKHTAR, writes from Madobi, Kano State.