[Opinion] Mass Protest: A Cure To Northern Nigeria Underdevelopment?
Comparing the pace at which development unfold in the Southern part of Nigeria albeit much more slowly, to what is obtainable in the Northern part of the country, it would be an unquestionable fact that the North is in total stagnation. This is so because the North, unlike its southern counterpart has failed woefully to hold its leaders accountable for their words and in actions.
Since Nigeria became an independent state in 1960, it has witnessed series of protest mainly in the form of general strikes, boycotts and mass demonstration organized and led by labour unions, youth movements and social activists to press home a variety of demands and grievances.
About 90 percent of those protests took place in the South. Much as the south controls to a larger extend both mass and social media, yet, we always find them on streets demonstrating their anger and disagreement with certain government policies.
Although, unfortunately, the North has more pressing issues to demand from their governments ranging from: rampant poverty, poor educational system, high unemployment, poor infrastructures, better wages, better living conditions, corruption etc, but has never found wisdom in demonstrating grievances through mass gathering and street matchings which would have fetch more government attention and speedy response.
Election which is most common form of political retaliation in the North is too ritualistic and periodized, citizens therefore, as to wait for four good years to be able to affect any political or social change. Little wonder, those political office holders usually find their way back to their offices by manipulating elections.
With strike however, people can demonstrate their need for political change, or ventilate their anger on certain Political issues they do not agree with, those in power can ignore letters, phone calls, emails, agitations from the radio and television platforms but they can’t ignore people gathering together and making their voices heard.
Even though protest usually came with some consequences basically because those in power detest it, it however, remain the best option to attract the attention of the government. A good example could be driven from the recent (Stop the killings in Katsina) protest, even though some of the leaders of the protest were arrested but they have succeeded in driving the attention of government to them which manifested to the president sending the IG of Police, DG of DSS and the National Security Adviser to Katsina so as to end the killings.
By and large, its only in the northern part of Nigerian that a governor would stay in power for eight years without anything tangible to show while followers does nothing about it. Sadly enough, 60 years behind independence, till today the North still battle with illiteracy, poverty, unemployment poor infrastructures etc, despite producing more than half of the presidents and heads who ruled the Nation.
Also due to lackadaisical attitudes and lack of supervision of federal projects, a number of infrastructural projects which would have help the North reduced its unemployment rate, reduce poverty and bring about foreign investors in the region have been halted either deliberately or due to embezzlement, projects such as the Baro land port which is located in Niger state though commissioned since 2019 by the president is yet to commence operation, sadly nobody is asking questions.
Mambila hydro power project which located in Adamawa state is taking forever to be constructed despite the fact that the federal government has approved funds for it. A number of federal roads among other projects located in the north have been abandoned and nobody seem to be too bothered about it, and might not continue basically because we failed to demonstrate to the government how much we needed them.
That been said, I think Northerners should begin to hold every leaders in the region accountable for the sorry state in which we are now. Let’s move out from conservative shell in order to get the government do what it’s voted to do. That’s the language that the government seems to understand, let’s speak it.
Abdulmajid Bala Kangiwa writes from Sokoto, Nigeria. He is a freelance journalist and can be reached via