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Who is being marginalized?

Evidently worried about the fact that his main opponent is most likely to come from the Northern part of the nation, their campaigning has taken…

Evidently worried about the fact that his main opponent is most likely to come from the Northern part of the nation, their campaigning has taken a new twist with an attack on those who believe that that the North has become “marginalized” under this presidency and a northerner will have more compassion or feelings for the suffering masses of the north. A social media post attempting to debunk these assertions has gone viral on the internet. The facts presented supposedly disprove any claims of marginalization and “prove” that Northerners have their “fair share” of top appointments in the scheme of affairs. The internet post claims the following key political offices are being held by Nigerians originating from Northern parts of the country.  
The Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Federation, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge, Federal High Court, National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Head of Service of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, EFCC Chairman, Comptroller of Customs, Comptroller General of Prisons, INEC Chairman, PDP National Chairman, Minister of Defence, Minister of Education, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, and Managing Director, NDIC.  
In addition it says that to the best of their knowledge 85% of Petroleum Marketers are from the north and 80% of Oil Blocks are owned by Northerners. Furthermore the richest man in Africa comes from the Northern part of the nation.  The internet post goes on to say that despite all this going for them, 99% of the beggars in Nigeria come from the North, the poorest and  most educationally backward areas of the nation are in the North, and Boko Haram is in the North. The post ends with the suggestion that its time northerners face up to the fact that their problems have not been caused by any sort of political marginalization but by the failures of their own leaders. The main thrust of the argument is that if over the years Northerners have held key positions yet the lot of their people has not improved, then why should they feel that if another Northerner is elected president somehow things will change? The manner in which most Northern leaders perambulate locally and internationally full of pomp and ceremony, in fleets of expensive vehicles and wearing the most expensive materials, no one would never imagine that they preside over such unacceptable poverty and degradation. They behave as if their people owe them, instead of the other way around, consistently exploiting the lack of education and lack of political awareness off their people to keep them permanently impoverished. They are the problem with the north, and the real reason why the region is in economic and social distress. The common denominator and main distinguishing feature of today’s political leaders nationwide is their insensitivity towards the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate.
 Once in power they become selfish, arrogant, pompous and full of self-importance, refusing to conduct themselves with grace, humility or gentility, and continuing to seek relevance despite achieving little in office. While regrettably true that modern northern leaders don’t compare favourably with their legendary predecessors in terms of the impact they have had on the lives of their people, it really isn’t important which part of the country the next president comes from. The past six years of governance have witnessed a disappointing inability to address issues of corruption, security, political evolution or change. Ethnic and sub-regional politics can’t hide the fact that   despite the manifestations of poverty in the north and south being different, the underlying causes are the same, poor leadership. The poverty stricken masses of the North are not the ones responsible for the environmental degradation problems of the Niger Delta and vice versa. It’s neither the north nor the south that has been marginalized; it’s the poor and underprivileged citizens of the nation. All references to political marginalization in the upcoming elections are irrelevant. The truth is that failure to adequately address critical issues of security and poverty nationwide is causing ever increasing hopelessness, lawlessness and impunity. We have slipped into a situation which requires statesmanship. Never before have we been so divided along ethnic and religious lines. Having held onto power for long enough to show what they have to offer, nothing more can be expected of this current leadership in terms of fundamental political re-engineering or visionary social programs. In the meantime there are citizens capable of leading this nation to greater heights if we face squarely the problem of electing a principled leader no matter where he comes from. Any leader who has spent six years in office, achieved so little and is presiding over chaos should have no reason to want to come back no matter where he comes from. Since 1999 we have continuously squandered opportunities to build a great nation from the rubble of military adventurism because we have failed to do what is required to move forward. We have consistently failed to elect citizens who possess true leadership qualities, respect laws and human rights and have a vision for a great nation, irrespective of where they come from. If we don’t elect such leaders in 2015, then Nigerians must brace themselves for the consequences of their choices.

Eugene Enahoro

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