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OPINION: NIGERIA @ 61: SENATOR BALA MOHAMMED AND THE DISCOURSE OF OPTIMISM

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State

At twelve antemeridian, October 1st, One thousand nine hundred and sixty, the year of our Lord, the Union Jack was removed and a tri-band vertical flag of green, white and green hoisted. The Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ was altered with ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’. Princess Alexandria of Kent preceded the sovereignty jubilation by handing-over Nigeria’s constitutional documents to Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of a newborn nation grace with outstanding civilizations, tongues and adherent of two Abrahamic faiths, Islam and Christianity, and patches of pagans across.

Prior to the incursion and conquering by the colonialist, there were path-breaking ideals transverse from all the angles of land christened Nigeria. For example, ‘Great Benin Kingdom’, the first city in human history to have a ‘Street Light’ fueled by palm oil to light the 120-feet wide lane. Thus, Benin is endowed with breathtaking artefacts; bronze, terracotta, sculpture and insignia. Another salient civilization is Kenem Borno Empire. A culture triumphed for hundreds of years and had diplomatic ties with great empires including Ottoman Empire and Greek. The scintillating ‘Nok Culture’, according to the archaeological grounds and remains, dates back to about 900 BC.

After years of inflicting pains, massacre, exploitation and colonial subjugations in all the geographical zones. Those atrocities were unleashed at the expense of Maxim guns and cannon. The clandestine killing of Sultan Attahiru II and his acolyte in 1903. Bombardment of Lagos, on 26 December 151. The British used sophisticated arsenals against unarmed citizens. By involving in a ‘Games of Thrones’ between the dethrone, expelled Akitoye. A nephew to Oba Kosoko the genocide and annexation recorded thousands of deads and fatal causalities.

Prelude to naming of Nigeria, there is a clash of interest among the British officialdom. Some suggest ‘Goldesia’, after the name of George Golde, powerful merchant of Royal Niger Company. On 8th January, 1879; Flora Shaw, a journalist, published an article in The Times with the term Nigeria. The word was coined from the Niger Area. Later on the name was adopted for the British Colony into two, Northern protectorate and Southern protectorate. On 1st January, 1914 British decided to amalgamate the two protectorates as one country with intricate diversity in cultural mores, belief system, social strata and even the temperate is dissimilar.

Recently, Senator Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi state presented two paradigm discourse, regarding the burning challenges jeopardize the advancement of Nigeria among the comity of nations. The delivery is titled Recipe for Effective Security and National Development at “The Annual Conference of The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) in Ibadan, Oyo State on 24th May, 2021”. The second thought is entitled Governance, Security and Sustainable Development in Africa Nexus, Challenges and Prospect, The Bauchi State Experience at “The Executive Intelligence Management Course Fourteen (EIMC 14) of National Institute for Security Studies, Abuja, on 1st September 2021”.

The dual rhetoric touches divergent subjects, which is very typical in our current political predicament. The most brilliant aspect of the presentation is enumerating five key problems that hampered potentials of Nigeria; Governance, Security, Federalism, Sustainable Development and Bauchi State Experience. As a result of those aforementioned factors our unity, values system, national integration and patriotism faced grievous threat.

Senator Bala Mohammed’ speeches bring insights from a perspective of apolitical lens on pervasive security declining endangered Economic prosperity, farming activities, poverty and acute food ration. Especially Boko Haram terrorist, farmers-herders conflict, banditary and kidnapping, Niger Delta militant and the recent unknown gunmen in South-East. It’s very evident in villages from Sokoto to Zamfara from Katsina to Niger, bandits attack innocent people and are kidnapped in broad daylight. The mournful part of it, the assailant negotiated for ransom via mobile. South-East experienced the incessant killing of innocent individuals by the gunmen. The tsunami of insecurity doesn’t exempt those from the political class, connected or common man depending on less than one dollar. The security scourge is endemic with the hydra attribute.

Another key implicit juxtaposition is aligning two concepts: Governance and Sustainable Development to buttress his thought. Governance is a pillar of society that encompasses the instrument of democratic principles via transparency, rule of law, federalism, universal basic amenity and accommodating all people under the guard of a leader. And also, Sustainable Development is a twig of governance, accompanied by quasi virtue of democracy. In contemporary Nigeria, we lack such features. We followed the tunes of macabre dance. The political parlances choke with pessimistic utterances. For instance, ‘we are tired of Northern hegemony’, ‘presidential seats must return to South’, ‘Nigeria will break up’, and all sorts of gibberish.

 

Bauchi State is a 5th largest state in Nigeria, with a land mass of 49, 199 km2 (18,965 sq mi) with a population of over 10 million. It shares borders with eight states; Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna. For almost a decade, Bauchi experienced no civil strife or ethno-religion conflict. Senator Bala Mohammed asserted his deliberation by expounding the challenges of Bauchi state, as a governor. The problems as follows, poor governance, lack of job opportunity, the menace of Sara Suka (thugery), 1.9 million of school children and some notable setbacks each state in the federation faced with.

To sum up, Senator Mohammed gave an ambitious attempt to address the complexities of Nigeria;s loophole that he covers with reflection words based on facts. From the premise of pressing themes try to undermine the cementing nationhood that our founding fathers accomplished through a bloodless struggle and comradeship. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE NIGERIA!

The Author is Abdullahi D. Hassan, a freelance journalist and writer from No E12 Emir’s Drive, Bauchi: Abdulbaffah@gmail.com

***Written by Abdullahi D. Hassan