North Is the Problem of Nigeria – Balarabe Musa Explodes

“At the moment, because of historical development, the North is 40 years behind the South in educational development. If this condition continues, there is no way we can have national unity, there is no way we can have even development, there is no way we can avoid the North being the problem of Nigeria.”

Former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has release an arsenal, saying, “North is the problem of Nigeria because the region is educationally backward to be able to help in reconstruction of the country to achieve socioeconomic greatness among comity of nations.”

The former governor said this in a chat with Saturday SUN when he was asked if he is in support of restructuring of Nigeria.

Below are his words:

Left-leaning Babarabe Musa

Babarabe Musa, a left-of-the-center 2nd Republic politician, has remained a thorn in the flesh for the Sokoto Caliphate which dominates politics of Northern Nigeria

Well, in the first place, let’s determine what we mean by restructuring because, at the moment, there are various meanings of restructuring. As far as I am concerned, I am in support of restructuring, particularly in two areas; in return to the arrangement of the First Republic, where we had regional governments which were viable, and we should return to that. The 36 states are not viable, and everybody now knows it, and it is not in the interest of the country to continue with it. Let us have six regions, the North-west, the North-east, the North-central, South-west, South-south and South-east.

This is the way to transfer Nigeria into three regional governments, each with its own constitution and government. Let them also be units and not the statutory states, let any financial allocation come directly from the Federal government to the regions. And let the regions establish as many local governments as they cope with them with regard to financial allocation with the center. And in fact, what they need from center will be reduced. They will be viable like the former Eastern region, Northern region, the Western region, and even before the Mid-western region, they were viable. They needed the Federal Government support just to ensure even development and national unity. But definitely, even without the Federal Government support, they could survive. This is not what we have now.

The second restructure I want is that let us return to the situation before the military came in where the government played the leading role in the economy to ensure, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the country. It is the major restructure, this is economic restructure. So, we should have this political and economic restructurings. There are other aspects of restructuring that we can tolerate as long as they keep Nigeria united as one nation and capable of equal development because, as long as we have one region not having the equality to participate in the affairs of the country, we will not have unity, we will not have peace. For instance, at the moment, we have major problems which we must face and solve as a country. Free education development is central to any form of national development.

Founding fathers agreed to federalism

First Republic political leaders. Left to right: Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe

At the moment, because of historical development, the North is 40 years behind the South in educational development. If this condition continues, there is no way we can have national unity, there is no way we can have even development, there is no way we can avoid the North being the problem of Nigeria.

It is a fact, and we must face it. If we have people like the Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and so on, their contributions to development would have continued, we will not have problem of even development, particularly in the educational sector. Let’s not forget that because of the colonial policy, the North was left behind right from 1950. For instance, by the time I left school in 1951, there was no single secondary school in the North.

And therefore, a Northerner could not go straight to university. He had to go to the South, that was in 1943 when there were about 100 secondary schools in the South. And this disparity has continued up till today, and we are calling on Nigerian leaders to know that this is a threat to peace, to national unity and even development of the whole country. But Nigerian leaders, particularly, the present crop of leaders don’t listen to this. But they now have to listen because we want peace and progress, and there is no way we can have peace and progress if a section of the country does not have equal rights to participate in the affairs of the country, and you can’t have the equal rights to participate in the affairs of your country if you have this disparity in educational development.

I always give an example. Let us say the present government of APC, (just for the sake of mentioning the party) decides to go revolutionary, decides to face the problems of Nigeria in a revolutionary way, in a way that within a short time we can see Nigeria becoming one of the second largest economy in the world. This is possible, it is not a dream. Take the case of the Soviet Union in 1976, take the case of China in 1949, what are they now, they are the leading countries of the world. Nigeria can achieve this within a short period of time because Nigeria is large in every respect, and it has resources.

Let us suppose, just for the sake of mentioning it, that if the present APC government decides to go and do what these other countries have done to bring them to this present position, if that happens, for instance, the role of the engineers will be very vital. Of course, the roles of doctors, administrators, educationists will be vital. But the roles of engineers will be more vital in the sense of changing.

Let us suppose that that government because of the need to reconstruct the country, to rebuild the nation quickly, wants every one of the 36 States, including FCT, Abuja, to produce 1,000 engineers for the sake of achieving this rapid development, how many states in the North can produce 1,000 engineers instantly without deploying the state engineers to the central pool. Now, maybe, if they can, it is Kwara and Kogi states that can produce such number of engineers, but I don’t think they can. They can’t even produce 100 engineers.

But let us take the South, in the South, even one local government can produce, 1000 engineers to the national pool. How can we expect equal development under this condition where there is an unequal role in the society? So, let’s face the problem. And that is why we in the PRP, who aimed to bring about new and equal Nigeria to its God-given status, advocate socialist reconstruction of Nigeria, starting with the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and progressive, even development. If we adopt this, I can tell you that within the next 20 years, even less, Nigeria will be different from what it is today. It will be one of the most developed countries in the world because we have the people, we have the geographical area, and we have the resources.

Culled from the Sun Newspaper