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By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

This is a metaphor of what the Talakawa refer to as ‘Kashin Dankali’ used in Hausa to exemplify societal oppression of smaller potatoes beneath that always bear the brunt of the bigger ones above. It was an analogy made popular by Malam Aminu Kano after the Sawaba Declaration of NEPU in the 1950s.

So ‘Kashin Dankali’ signifies how elites subjugate the downtrodden in the North irrespective of religion or ethnicity. Back then the political differences in the North were ideological. Today they are religious. The implication is that instead of making progress the North has backslidden. ‘Kashin Dankali’ almost 70 years later begs the question of why the Buhari administration discontinued the Almajiri school projects started by Jonathan. The answer is very simple and straight forward – the political North is so narrow minded and conceited that holding power in the interim is more preferable to it than planning for the future of its younger generation.

Simply put as far as the Northern intelligentsia is concerned dominating defense and security portfolios including headship of NNPC, NPA, FCT ministry among many others is more expedient than completing the 400 Almajiri schools earmarked across the North. Apparently to the ruling APC in the North an Almajiri child voter is more equal to an educated Talakawa leader of tomorrow. A more equitable Arewa is therefore not on its agenda. That is ironically among the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency which now has become a political weapon in the dubious hands of the same mischievous Northern elite.

The first private university to be licensed in Nigeria was located in Rigacukum along the Kaduna- Zaria expressway as far back as 25 years ago. To date it has never admitted a single student nor built any lecture hall. In fact it is now a secondary school under Turkish management. Contrast that with the number of private universities springing up along and off the Lagos – Ibadan expressway within the last 10 years. Jonathan thought he was doing the North a favor when he located 9 of the 12 Federal Universities he established in the North. Not only that the former president elevated FCE Kano and Zaria to the status of Universities of Education. Both gestures were set aside when Buhari became president. With Alvan Ikoku at Owerri and Adeyemi in Oyo ambushed in the cross fire.

The newly established Nigerian Army University by the current Buhari administration would have brighter prospects because it is located in the more cosmopolitan Southern Borno. The high inter-communal harmony and level tolerance of that part of the NE are the reasons why the BH has repeatedly been unable to make any major foothold there. But what does not add up in the North is fact that our elites are mostly of humble background that were educated at public expense while their children and wards are so cut off from their grassroots and so expensively educated in private schools. Gone are the days when the son of a messenger will share the same class with that of a Perm Sec. That marked the beginning of the end of education in the North.

The man formerly known as Lamido Sanusi Lamido described it as a misplaced “12th century mentality” based on religious ignorance. I totally agree with him. Currently the Hon Minister of Education is a Northerner so are most of the heads of the ‘juicy” agencies under him. Yet the North still wears the dishonorable badge of educational backwardness under the current dispensation.

Will Atiku be any different if he becomes president? I humbly stand to be corrected but between Buhari and Atiku all their children were tertiary educated abroad. That is why both of them don’t have any comprehensive agenda on Education in Nigeria. Both candidates are fundamentally the same in ideological perspective.Truth is the differences between the North’s political elite are only in their bank balance, personal character and level of socialization but as far as ‘Kashin Dankali’ is concerned they are the same kind of oppressors Aminu Kano had always warned the Talakawa about.

2019 is therefore a Hobson’s Choice. A precarious situation where all the major options are just not good enough for Nigeria.

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