Hardball is not given to sectionalism and ethnic jingoism – yes, even if he says so himself. Hardball, if he must go on this self-adulatory trip, is something close to a humanoid – human machine programmed to redeem, ha, ha, ha. But today, Hardball will pick on a nascent group known as Northern Reawakening Forum (NRF). According to reports last week, NRF chaired by Alhaji Mohammed Umara Kumaila had a summit and retreat in Abuja and the communiqué emanating from the event was at once remarkable and unsettling.
This is why Hardball is giving a warning upfront that it is going out of its way today to do a regional number. Alhaji Kumaila who was a member of the House of Representatives in company of other northern elements like Tajudeen Dantata, Jack Yakubu Pam, Aliyu Ahmed Wadada, Aisha Dukku and Mallm Saidu Malami. Others include; Salam Ahmed, Adamu Moddibo, Suraj Yakubu, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, Bilkisu Magoro, Hajiya Amina Jambo and Hajiya Fatima Saleh, among others.
Those who know can tell that these are the new young Turks of the North most of who have held plum public appointments in the recent past. And if we might add, most of who are ‘loaded’ to the hilt; if you understand Hardball. Now what does this group of young men and women want? At the summit which had the vice president and four governors in attendance, they demanded that (1) the national conference held last year be discarded; (2) a new confab to focus on how to rebuild the Northeast be convened, (3) the Federal Government must pursue within the next 12 to 24 months, issues of health care, youth empowerment, education, security, human suffering, good governance and infrastructure in the Northeast.
These demands by the NRF seem legitimate but are obviously ill-digested. One, most of them did not only participate actively in the Jonathan National Conference of 2014, they also benefited immensely from it both politically and in pecuniary terms. Hardball happens to know that age-old maxim which says you cannot have your cake and eat it; and the other one: you cannot burn your candle at both ends.
Two, the NRF says their demands have become necessary because the Northeast zone has been marginalised. Hardball on his part demands that this word must be banished from Nigeria’s political and grammatical lexicon for good. ‘Marginalisation’ has over the years, been sharpened into a deadly weapon of victimhood, a handy totem to terrorise the polity.
NRF quotes a 2013 World Bank Report to corroborate the fact that poverty has doubled in the North since 1980; that the North has the lowest rate of literacy in Nigeria among other damning indices.
But the NRF so conveniently forgot that the North has held power in Nigeria, it has the highest number of former heads of state, former top military brass, former permanent secretaries, former Supreme Court justices and former governors.
The North has the highest number of senators, House of Representatives members, government appointees, states, local government areas; billionaires and apart from the Southsouth, the largest share of the national cake.
Now, short of asking the rest of the polity to evaporate or live on sawdust, all the money in Arabia will not help the North if it won’t stand up and help itself.