Fact
Northern elites and the political class have neglected development in the North to the detriment of the whole nation.

Our loss
The focus has often been on straight forward nepotism. How we can use our clout to get our own people, whether qualified or not, into positions of power and influence? How can we ensure we have access to the pots of gold and the biggest share of the Nigerian cake? How can we position our children whether qualified or not to steal and plunder for the family? In most situations, talent is sacrificed and mediocrity promoted to the chagrin of all. The rot in the North started a long time ago because of these deliberate acts of promoting quota system for selfish interests.

This has stifled honest endeavours in the North, turning good people into looters and promoting an army of beggars. The bastardization of education whether Islamic or otherwise has led to the production of doctors who cannot save lives. Architects who do not build and bankers who lose or worse, steal money entrusted in their care.

The meetings being held in the clan, village, community, state and regional levels have frequently followed lines on how to plunder, for personal benefits, rather than for real advantage of the region. Our collective loss!

Worse
The truth is that we are at the edge of the abyss, no matter how much we bury our heads in the mud. There are people hell-bent on changing the landscape for political gains. Northern elites used religion to destabilise the North and potentially lead Nigeria closer to becoming a failed state, reminiscent of Somalia, Egypt and Libya. That some in the North have armed Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen is widely accepted and is no longer news. That the same people continue to promote Machiavellian tendencies as we all ‘siddon’ look is the major worry.

But, what can we do? Well, we can proffer solutions and project ways out of the quagmire before it sinks all of us. Whether the elites will see solutions and redeem the situation is another story.

How can we turn the North round?

Investments in sports and entertainment
This is the quickest way to bring back sanity to the North and get the children and multitude of jobless youth on a road to economic empowerment. Sports and sporting activities are dead in the North and many talented individuals cannot achieve their potential for lack of opportunities. Yet, many young people in the North have the capacity and capability to excel if given a platform. Catch them young and influence their development in a positive direction!

South Africa is doing this.

Let us start by encouraging primary schools and after school sporting activities. Stimulate, reactivate and promote sports days to discover talented and skilled children. Promote various sports including athletics, wrestling, football, tennis and golf to the youth and young children. There are exciting activities like motorcar racing, off road bike racing and other esoteric local activities we can develop specific to our region. What about sport activities involving cows and other animals?

This is something individuals and communities can do that will get the children engaged. Let us create platforms for promoting sports in the North. It provides a different focus and removes them from the Devil’s workshop. It might even prevent some from sniffing glue!

Jamaica is doing this.

Invigorate the entertainment industry
The entertainment and creative industry is not thriving in the North. It needs to be revived. There is such a huge tapestry of culture and tradition in the North that can provide livelihood to a large number of people if encouraged.

The music industry and creativity in the North needs to be developed and stimulated for growth. There are tiny sprouts that can be nourished to success. Music, art, dance and exhibitions can have a strong foothold if supported through smart investment in individuals. This can and will bring honours to the North apart from stimulating other industry such as tourism.

Dubai is doing this.

Finally
It is important to lend a voice to the calls for population control in the North. The culture of marrying many wives and giving birth to many children is one major part of the population explosion in the North. Many people are under pressure to conform to this behaviour subsequently leaving the children to fend for themselves on the streets.

Northern elites and leaders must reflect deeply on this as they set an example for the rest to emulate. Curtailing the number of children is vitally important and sex should not the only pastime available in the North.

Final, final
People can be engaged in sports, tourism and entertainment. Profitably! It is time to turn things around in the North and engage the teeming youth population in honest endeavours before they turn on us.