Shame on Northern Nigerian Politicians: A Million Times, Shame! – Says Sarah Omakwu


Sarah Omakwu, Senior Pastor at Family Worship Center, rains opprobrium and condemnation on Northern politicians, while addressing congregants, for abandoning their constituents to languish in abject poverty and mass illiteracy despite the fact that the rulers have full control of Nigeria’s resources in more than half century. The female cleric laments that Northern Nigerian indigenes still walk about naked due to crass impoverishment and backwardness. There are no schools to provide basic primary education, not to mention formal learning up to secondary level. The Northern politicians are chided for grabbing and hanging on to power indefinitely without giving a care about those who they supposedly represent in government.

She reminds the indifferent and incompetent politicians of Northern Nigeria that political power demands responsibility on whoever wield it on behalf of the governed. Political power must be used to care for the poor and powerless in society. For as long as the politicians take all the public funds and resources, which belong to the people and divert them to personal use, “the judgment of God’ll be on your heads“, the animated pastor tells the Northern ruling aristocracy.

Comparing the North with elsewhere in the South, Pastor Omakwu remarks that in Alaigbo in the East and Yorubaland in the West, every community has either secondary or primary schools or both. Abandonment of the poor to wallow in filth and ignorance is unheard-of among the Igbo and the Yoruba. It is only among the Hausa that such a deprivation is prevalent and normalized.

For an influential individual like Sarah Omakwu to openly lambaste the Northern political establishment for failing to proffer the basic care for indigenous peoples of the North, who they claim to represent in government, is indicative of emergence of a new audacious countermand to the rule by the Northern aristocracy which, in the past, would not tolerate any criticisms, not to mention from a woman. But the mostly female audience was in total agreement with the pastor and her scathing rebuke of the nonperforming politicians of Northern Nigeria.

The Sokoto Islamic Caliphate was established in 1808 after a successful jihad led by the Fulani radical cleric, Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio, whose jihadist fighters overran the Hausa kingdoms that controlled Northwest Nigeria for centuries. The Caliphate leadership order belongs to the Wahhabi Salafi sect whose Islamist ideology is predicated on jihadism, the suppression of women and an absolute rejection of Western influence, including education. This explains the disparity between the Muslim-dominated Arewa North and Christian-majority Southern Nigeria. Before British colonization, the area that is today’s Northen Nigeria was under the rule of feudal Fulani Muslim emirs who recognize only the place of the aristocracy in society and not the impoverished masses who were regarded as mere serfs.

Because of the doctrine of the so-called indirect-rule system deployed during British colonization of Northern Nigeria, the Islamist emirs retained control and thus shielded their emirates from the influence of the West. Today, vast territories of Northern Nigeria are generations behind the South in literacy rates and overall socioeconomic development.

Illiteracy and the dearth of basic educational facilities in the North translate into mass unemployment due to the absence of technical skills in the local population and poverty. The jobless hordes, known as the amajiris, abound in Northern population centers where they constitute recruiting reservoirs for Islamist terrorist fighters needed to populate the ranks of the Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen militia etc. Over the decades, the political leadership elite corps in Northern Nigeria have, somehow, perfected the methodology for utilizing these violence-prone amajiris for fighting turf wars and settling scores.

Is there any wonder then that the womenfolk seen in this video are lamenting over the status and stature of their menfolk in society? Whether the likes of Sarah Omakwus of the world can make a dent in resolving the yawning gap in the literacy levels between the North and South is hard to predict. The ruling establishment that has enjoyed seamless control for centuries has shown no sense of urgency in upsetting the apple cart, especially if the introduction of Western education and worldview shall translate into greater social freedoms as displayed in this video.