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What Really Concerns the Northern Elite? By ken Tadeferua

By Ken Tadaferua

• Where is Professor Ango Abudullahi?
• Where is the Northern Elders Forum?
• Where are the Governors of the 19 Northern States?

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Look at the table below.

It shows the latest ranking of the 36 states and Abuja in terms of their WAEC performance. See the positions of the northern states on the table? No northern state made top 10 performers. Meanwhile the bottom 10 or the laggards is a roll call of northern states except for Oshun State.

Year in, year out, for decades, this has been the position with the northern states. A sore indicator of the decrepit state of education in the north.

Do the governors of the northern states not collect federal allocations? If yes, do they provide for education in their budgets? If they do, why do the north perform so poorly at WAEC?

Should not the North declare a state of emergency on education? Do northern elites give a damn about their states’ sordid education performance? I doubt.

The north has very vocal elite persons and groups including Professor Ango Abudullahi, 78, former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University and the spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, a “think-tank” of the North. Add the boisterous group, The Governors of the 19 Northern States.

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Do these elites and their groups worry about deplorable development, particularly of education, in their states? Do they discuss education of their people? Do they strategize on how to get their swelling millions of children out of school educated? Again I doubt.

They focus on elite concerns: the personal business of oil and money sharing along with political power dominance. So issues of Niger Delta oil, prospecting the Chad area for oil, sustaining a federal system skewed in favour of northern elites, threatening groups like IPOB and Niger Delta militants, declaring that their personal herdsmen have right to any part of the country, ensuring their personal safety under the general banner of national security are among selfish concerns they raise hell over.

They tend not to hold summits or discuss or have opinion on the huge poverty, mushrooming almajiri system, horribly low education standards, avoidable diseases, growing ignorance and acute lack of jobs afflicting the greater majority or the masses of their peoples. For them, these are non-issues because they do not generate business, money and control for the northern elites. So they don’t matter.

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So be not surprised if, again, this year as in the past decades, you hear nothing from Professor Ango Abudullahi, Northern Elders Forum and Governors of the 19 Northern States on the WAEC states ranking and its indication of the alarmingly poor state of education in their domain. That is not a priority. What is top most priority is that the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to the North (please read as northern elites). Just the oil not the massive pollution of Niger Delta ecosystem and marginalization of its indigenous peoples. Those Niger Delta peoples like the masses of the poor up north do not matter. They are worth no considerations.

Professor Samuel Zalanga of Bethel University, Minnesota in a 2014 paper titled – Northern Nigerian Elites and National Power Struggle in Nigeria, wrote:
“The great majority of the Northern elites defended their interests and the interests of those whose services enhanced the elites’ capacity to continue controlling the lives of the ordinary masses and what was then known as the “national cake.”

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The story remains same. For how long will this charade continue?

WAEC Ranking of the States
Abia 1st
Anambra 2nd
Edo 3rd
Rivers 4th
Imo 5th
Lagos 6th
Bayelsa 7th
Delta 8th
Enugu 9th
Ebonyi 10th

Ekiti 11th
Kaduna 12th
Ondo 13th
Abuja 14th
Kogi 15th
Benue 16th
Akwa Ibom 17th
Kwara 18th
Ogun 19th
Cross River 20th
Taraba 21st
Plateau 22nd
Nassarawa 23rd
Kano 24th
Borno 25th
Oyo 26th
Niger 27th

Adamawa 28th
Osun 29th
Sokoto 30th
Bauchi 31st
Kebbi 32nd
Katsina 33rd
Gombe 34th
Jigawa 35th
Zamfara 36th
Yobe 37th