The traditional elites in the Northern part of Nigeria are fighting a war of survival on two fronts. The poor who are regarded cannon fodder and the expendable in the course of class protection have woken up from the slumber of complacency and suddenly become bandits, Boko Haram and kidnappers. More troubling for the elite is a scion of the caliphate, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Kano ex-Emir, spreading their dirty acts and selfish indifference of the comfortable to the suffering of the poor, unskilled and uneducated Sanusi has turned against the class that produced him, Odia Ofeimun, a poet says he was due for interdiction. He says more below.
What is your take on the removal of Emir of Kano?
It was long in coming. I expected they would remove him the way they removed his grandfather. Not because he has done anything wrong, but he was certainly too radical for the traditional establishment. I don’t think it is just about the Governor hating him or anything of that nature. I think across the North, they are generally frightened by a traditional ruler, who is outspoken, and who because he’s respected by many people can influence the way people think about society. His ideas are not traditional in a traditional environment. If Nigeria, had been lucky to have had a traditional ruler, speaking or talking like that over the past 40 years of our history, we would have had a wonderful country. The thing is that he himself sometimes breaks his own rules, but he has a regular 21st-century man’s approach to the development of society. He does not pretend that he’s not an aristocrat from aristocrat background. I can hold that against him because my grandfather was Onuha of my hometown, but I certainly would not put my republicanism aside to support that position. But, to speak as he’s doing from the height he has attained, a height, which he fought for from his babyhood, was a sign of somebody from home great doing the unexpected. They may have unlocked a gene that they would never be able to control if the man chooses to go beyond being a traditional ruler.
He could make life impossible for all those who have removed him. Not necessary by becoming a politician himself, but he could choose to participate in electoral politics. I remember that African leader in Southern African, the Prince, who married a white woman, came back home and insisted that he would run for election. And he managed to create a wonderful country. He’s a very conscientious objector to the way they have run the North for ages. How could you have a society in which up to 30 million people are not just out of school, but properly speaking are unemployable, because the story of the North of Nigeria is of a people who could be great producers, helping to increase the productivity of people, and taking care of more than the population of Nigeria, but they are kept as uneducable ruffians, who you can treat anyhow you like? Well, we’ve now entered the season, where it appears those uneducable ruffians are buying guns becoming real ruffians and bandits, and kidnappers, who could make demands on the society that we did not anticipate. If we think we have a future that is not dependent on those kids we are deceiving ourselves.
Meanwhile, they could be saved from that line of action and way of living, but we don’t have leaders who imagine it as a task they must perform. There is no reason for us to have such a large population of uneducated people. We have the means to turn them to normal citizens and human beings, but we don’t have leaders who think in that manner. So, when Sanusi speaks for them, he’s actually speaking for people who might actually not allow his class to have peace. But it is the wisest thing to do, to think of how to take care of them so that we would have a future that has harmony on it. Our people are not bad people. But when you refused to educate or you deliberately go out of your way to treat normal human beings as dispensable, you are creating a problem that could lead to war. Nigeria has been so for so long, to have a population that is that way. Some people would tell you that the people who did not go to school are Hausa, not Fulani. It doesn’t matter whether they are Hausa or Fulani. The fact is that if we give them the skill and education to function as normal members of a good society, they are bound to be great producers. They have greater intelligence than many of the big men in the office, but since they’ve never been given the opportunity, they are behaving the way people of their level of education must behave. As for the guns they are carrying those guns were bought for many of them by those intending to use them for nefarious purposes. They forget to realise that once violence begins in an environment, it doesn’t move in one direction. Those who bought the guns might be the one to suffer, many of them are already unable to go home. They can’t go to their normal area of domicile Nigeria is a beautiful country but we must have to take care of those who are making it happen this way. Nigeria needs not be a country of terror and terrorists.