Not too long after chief obasanjo became President, there was a religious crisis in kano and I was on the Presidential entourage. As we drove round the ancient city, apart from the widespread carnage, what struck me most was the teeming number of youths mostly males aged between 15 and 25 that poured out in thick awesome clusters .
The sheer number was perplexing. In my estimation they must have been close to a million. Obviously not in any schools nor any gainful employment. Even then I envisioned serious danger to the society and the nation at large.
It was not until several years later that my initial fears became firmly established.
Some six years ago I needed to attend a social function outside lagos so I left home at about 6 am. On getting to Berger area along the Lagos ibadan express, I saw trailers packed with hordes of young male northerners disembarking from them. Others who have already gotten down milled around with empty gazes and furlong looks on their faces. Sponta eously I asked my driver" who are these?" He said they are young boys from the just coming to Lagos from the North to ride Okada. I asked again "where will they sleep?" He replied, when we come back and u have time, I will take u to where they sleep.
A week later, we left home at 12 midnight, and drove to obalende where I used to run a hospital. I was stunned. I counted a out 500 motorcycles, literring everywhere with many of these young Nigerians my Iying fully stretched on their bikes. Others not ready for bed were engaged in boozing and womanizing. 90% of them were younger than my first 6 children. I was sad and melancholic.
From there my driver drove to an area along lekki express road. Situation here was different. There were several uncompleted buildings , some looked long an abandoned, but they were all filled to the brim including the souroundings (bare floor) with boys sleeping all over.
I was convinced that some things have gone terribly wrong and if care is not taken or something done to 'rectify the situation, we may all be sitting not on a keg of gun powder but on tons of missile bombs.
This is why the alarm raised the emir is apt, candid, and constitute a matter of national emergency.
It is a regrettable pity that Nigerian politics and the concern and empathy for the people appear sadly unrelated. Politics mainly over the years seem to be about elections and 're elections, sharing of resources and glorification of elected officials at all level. To this we are all guilty without exception.
We as elites or members of the political class, wether notherners or southerners must as a matter of urgency come together to seriously seek for immediate or palliative, medium and long term solutions to this potentially explosive social menace. This also must be bi partisan. We should also involve global agencies who have dealt with poverty issues globally for decades. The underlining issue here is not just being your brothers keeper but recognising that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere.
Too much negativism, self centeredness, greed
Self serving propagation of hatred, bigotry, ethnic chauvinism and archaic and unprogressive mindsets including feudalism and Prebendalism will neither help the masses nor develop the nation.
At this point the northern governors as of necessity must reconsider their programs and redesign them in such a way that no less than 70% of their resources must be diverted towards improving their human development indices and fighting poverty.
On a final note is the issue of the devastating effect of the destruction of the Northeast part of the country by the Bomo Haram insurgency.
The governments of these region must open up the space so that all available resources especially human expertise which abound elsewhere in the nation can be harnessed to execute a Marshal Plan for the rebuilding of the region.
If we are truly a nation then we must begin to share and jointly solve problems that are common and also unique to specific areas. Religion must essentially remain personal and private and the practise of it must be openly free and unhindered. It should not accord any privileges to any person's or group of person's and should not be a disadvantage to any citizen. More importantly it's virtues ordinarily should not be exploited by the elites and leaders to incite hate against other religions or for it to constitute a hindrance to the socio economic well-being of the masses.