Published On: Tue, Jul 4th, 2017

Between Dangote and Arewa youths

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DangoteBy Okanga Agila

What has got me thinking is the insistence of Northern youths on the rightness of the three months quit notice they issued Nd’igbo residents in Northern Nigeria to relocate to their ancestral southeast region of Nigeria. More arcane is the inclination of these youths to hurl invectives anybody who does not share their views.
Their latest victim is the iconic Nigerian and international business tycoon, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group. When Dangote pleaded with Nigerians to ignore the so called Arewa youths, who issued eviction order to the Igbos in the North as inconsequential, the near faceless northern youths went berserk, crazily insulting a man who is unpretentiously a pillar of their survival as a people and a region.
A public statement issued by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) through its spokesman, Abdul-Azez Suleiman, these demented Northern youths described Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man in very despicable terms. Nothing can ever be so disheartening like this apparent display of ingratitude and debauchery by these crooked Northern youths, incensed for inexplicable reasons. What I cannot fathom is that much as people have reasons for their madness or remain dogmatic in silliness, it is idiotic to compel followership by force. The weird thought that everybody must coercively accept the excuse or reason for certain genus of madness as exuded by CNG is not tenable anywhere.
I am really confused because the youths claiming the toga of the conscience and voice of a large region like Northern Nigeria display the least grasp of the traditional afflictions of the region. No one knowledgeable about the North would claim its problem is barrenness of morality. Morality has no placement in the science of development or the econometrics of the region. It is sloth and the unbridled appetite for violence, as even presently canvassed by the Northern youths that is the burden of the North. That’s why it is largely undeveloped. Islam or Christianity has taken care of moral values in the North.
If the North is presumed poor as they have canvassed, it’s because the youths have refused to copy the Dangote example, who, as a budding, energetic young man, traversed the nooks and crannies of Nigeria trading in small wares. And today, his business has appreciated in leaps and bounds, to place it high on the list of world recognized business conglomerates. And like self-indictment, the youth’s preachments on upholding Northern values and its abuse by people like Dangote dissects and exposes their poverty of the mind. Nigerian borders are very porous, particularly in the North and so aliens, smuggle themselves into the country.
And the Northern youths strike me like such people. This is how Nigeriens illegally migrated into Nigeria and left us with Boko Haram insurgency. The insistence of members of the CNG on lighting up a conflagration in the North and Nigeria compels my deep suspicion in this direction.
And there are proofs. Precisely, if members of CNG are truly Northerners, they would understand that the culture of its people pay utmost respect and regard to elders. Even those influenced by drugs know the limits of madness and could not do as little as point a finger at an elder, much more unleash insults like the perverse minds in the CNG delight in doing. And like Dangote rightly qualified, just to earn underserved relevance.
The late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, never at any point canvassed such volatile or dissenting views on Nigeria. He preached peace and love; lived and died for the progress of the North and the unity of Nigeria. So, where have they borrowed the ideology of violence as means of resolution of disputes, on which platform they have tethered their present campaigns of hate against the Igbos or any group in Nigeria?
Dismissing Dangote as inconsequential is immaterial. He does not need their endorsement or consent to preside over his global business empire. The idea of patriotism is subjective; So, if the youths believe that the resort to hate speeches, segregation and campaigns for Nigeria’s break-up is patriotism, Dangote and millions of other Northerners do not believe in it, period!
They can go ahead and lick their wounds, but should neither drag others into their nightmare nor expect sympathy from sane minds. When they talk of Professor Ango Abdullahi in patriotic terms because of his support of their destructive intentions, it makes me sick
Much as I would not like to drag his personality in the mud, it suffices to say he remains the only Northerner of repute who has openly supported the position of the CNG. Even at that, he has done it criminally, by usurping the platform of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), taking undue advantage of his position as the spokesman of the group. NEF has widely disowned his comments on the eviction order to Igbo.
At their ages, Dangote had already become a notable name in business in Nigeria and Africa. Today, the Dangote Group has created countless jobs for idle youths like them all over Nigeria. And Northern youths are the majority beneficiaries. If the verbal restlessness of CNG members is a result of idleness, they are free to approach any of his companies for engagement. What will keep destroying the North is when youths spend productive age and hours spreading hate campaigns instead of investing in productive and lucrative ventures.
I do not see how the Igbos quitting the North would make its economy better. The solution is in productivity whether in business or farming. And Dangote is a model in this respect and CGN members shall do their souls some good if they emulate him. History will remember Dangote as one Northerner who opened the doors of development and progress in the North..
I plead with Dangote to get some trailer trucks ready for these idle CNG members to work, hauling cement, sugar and rice from his factories to markets around Nigeria. Finally, Dangote is a self -fulfilled man in business and wealth. He has never been interested in politics, even now. He has been prodded several times to pick up Nigeria’s Presidency on a platter of gold, but he rejected it. He has no Trumpian instincts, which are only known to American’s in President Donald Trump. So, the grandparents camouflaging as youths in CNG should redirect their energies to things that promote national cohesion.

Okanga contributed this piece from Agila, Benue State.

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