Politicking and Human Development in Northern Nigeria
Looking at the differences in cultures, norms, values, and foreign relations, the northern part of Nigeria is somewhat of an autonomous division within Nigeria.
This makes it distinctive from its counterpart, the southern part of Nigeria. It is noteworthy that politics in the northern part of Nigeria is different from that of the south, especially concerning human development.
Human development has to do with enlarging people’s freedoms and opportunities and improving their well-being. Therefore, a country, region, or community whose physical growth is not commensurate with the level of human development will one day find out that its growth is eventually unsustainable.
The real basis for social, economic, and political progress is the development of the skills, knowledge, and creative capabilities of the people. Therefore, development is fundamentally a human, rather than a technical and economic process. Therefore, human development is an important variable to check the effective growth of a system. Unfortunately, northern leaders shy away from important aspects of human development such as continuous development in education, improving health and living standards, security, shelter, and nutrition.
Indeed, it is stunning to hear shocking revelations about the problems confronting the North, especially from Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, II, and his friend, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru Ahmad Elrufai.
That day, at the 60th birthday of Mallam Nasiru Ahmad Elrufai in Kaduna, Sanusi, the II and the 14th Emir of Kano, said, “No leader of the North would be happy in the face of the multifarious challenges confronting the region… there is the problem of drug abuse, the Almajiri system of education, and Boko Haram in the North.”. In the same vein, Governor Nasiru Elrufai said during a Human Capital Development Strategy meeting in Kaduna that the northwest region has human development indicators that are closer to those of Afghanistan, adding that the region is afflicted with the highest number of out-of-school children and the highest poverty rate in Nigeria. Similarly, Governor Masari of Katsina state noted that banditry and insecurity issues have kindled a long flame and can only be extinguished with a sound education.
It is astonishing, though not surprising, to hear all these revelations from elites and political leaders because it seems more like self-confession. These statements (situations) can best be described as a “hegemonic culture,” where the ruling class influences the values, norms, ideas, expectations, and behaviors of the rest of society through social and religious institutions. Therefore, it becomes common sense for all, thus maintaining the status quo. A simple example is a statement made by the majority of our northern clerics, who attribute all of our sufferings to our sins.
In the meantime, a few politicians in the North are working hard and trying to turn the tides. Most of these leaders shun their duty to translate their power into a meaningful and useful impact on the lives of their people through human development. Therefore, there is a need for prevention as the penultimate weapon and countermeasure against conflict, violence, and, subsequently, humanitarian and developmental crises.
In short, the most important way and initiative that can be used to improve human living based on high living quality is the provision of good health, security, improving education, and providing essential health services, which are all pre-requisites for human development.