Nigeria’s Glorious North; Whither Is She Bound?

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There are so many areas where Africa’s largest and most dynamic economy derives its strength and one of these borders on geographic diversity. Is Nigeria a single country? If you ask me , frankly , I will say NO in block letters  being  a collection of many nations and quasi-independent city-states fused into one  geo-polity each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and  problems.
The different ethnic nationalities that make up the Federation of Nigeria  doubtless once  compete with one another with the once glorious north losing its economic importance,  dominance, and prestige to the south resulting from self-inflicted pains and misery  ravaging the region via insurgency. Talents have since begun to flee the embattled region known for its gentler climes to the humid south as lives are being hacked to death by powerful dangerous powerful explosives. This forebodes nothing but grave danger to the biggest economic power house of the supposedly ”Dark Continent”
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Time was when   the great groundnut pyramid in the desert city of Kano served as a huge foreign exchange earner for the country. The desert cotton fields up north provided employment for people in the region but today the reverse is the case as the open  arable fields transmute into   battle fields killing the inhabitants of the region in their hundreds and thousands. Poverty in Nigeria today is better blamed on this and not the economic policies of government which has been trying to better the lots  of Nigerians in that  the wealth generated in the south is not enough to benefit the rest of the country considering the steady decline in oil prices.
Drift from the  north to  south’s  semi-autonomous  economic states has been on-going . This had happened  many times in history before now. Some of these economic migrants were intercepted and swooped down on in the south east  sometime ago and branded as terrorist although this claim was refuted by sympathizers who held contrary opinions and claims.  The North which used to be  the nation’s  cultural centre ,  is steadily losing that title to the south. 
For quite sometime now the South –  the least populous region  has rocketed ahead of the North as a high-tech centre. It has by far the highest percentage of workers  more than 50% above the national average  and the largest share of artisans  in its workforce. The south owes this steady progress  to nothing but peace and the once communitarian north   must take their cue from this.  Kano once  the pearl of northern Nigeria   remains distinct from the rest of the country. Long a lure for migrants from the south , it has slipped in recent  times, losing not only population to other areas but whole industries and major corporations. Once youthful, it is experiencing among the most rapid declines of any cosmopolitan area in the nation. Yet it retains one of Nigeria’s oldest international airports and manufacturing factories in the whole of northern Nigeria. Kano  a great cultural and religious centre achieved this then by her strong and stable government.  But in the past, no state  in Nigeria apart from Lagos and Rivers  has displayed greater economic dynamism. This is one of the reasons why the inhabitants of the region must embrace peace.
Most remarkable of this would be the region’s  demographic revival. Lives have been lost to violence and terror and expected to increase further if the trend continues. A few armed terrorists gang must not be allowed to put millions of lives in jeopardy.  The strong pro-growth spirit in the region, its wealth in natural resources  in the northern tier, suggest that the region  will play a far more important role in the future  dethrones the south as  the nation’s leading economic power base ,  locus for trade and   a cultural and business destination in the sub-region.  President  Jonathan’s  pursuit of  peace  in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria will bring about economic prosperity and  sustainable development and this requires our collective efforts.
The north which  used to be one of the nation’s industrial heartland has  haemorrhaged  millions  manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years of Islamist militancy in the region bringing untold hardships to its inhabitants . Have the natives ever  pondered over this problem hand on chin? This problem is man-made and we have no option but to   join forces with the present administration under President Jonathan  to reinvent and regenerate the  embattled northern province.
Iyoha John Darlington , aka Lington Donovan , a political activist and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.

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