Ruwa Dege Gidan Kashi written by Lanre Olagunju

If you are wondering what language it is? Or you’re thinking I’m going to write in a language I’m yet to fully understand, then I think I’ve achieved!
That the owners of this particular language house me on their land presently is making the ever inquisitive me more curious about their history and why they are quite behind in almost all ramification of civilization. The entire security threat the nation presently suffers hails from these quarters, and some are of the opinion that it’s because they’ve been marginalized, but I beg to ask who marginalized who and when?
Haven’t the northerners always had a fair share in government and politics? Didn’t the evil British colonials succeed at their agenda to give power to the north at all cost, due to the submissive and incredibly loyal nature they naturally posses? Were census result not manipulated for the north’s sake, were they not given accelerated promotions in the military so they could still rule over the southerners who gulped in so much of western culture, religion, and education?
Sure, someone would read this half way and lament “is this what we need at such a time as this?” maybe I should have even flaunted a disclaimer and say that anyone who is allergic to critical analysis as a result of whatever type of paralysis shouldn’t bother reading pass the title. It’s always more rewarding when we critically try to solve a problem from its root. But in a case where a country’s foundation is faulty what can the elite do?
My national call to serve in northern Nigeria has engendered me to so many things that I would have felt some lazy journalist cooked up if I read them on papers. Amazingly I can’t stop wondering if the amusement will ever end.
Exactly two days ago, a young girl around the age of say 13, walked into my lodge saying “sala mu alaikum”. I replied in the affirmative, and that gave her the impression that the Hausa language is my mother tongue. In her soprano voice, she covered me up with so many words than my Hausa ears of understanding and interpretation could not comprehend. I muttered “mai ke na so” meaning what do you want? Again in her lengthy reply, all I could decipher was “asha ruwa”- I want water. Then I gave her a cup pointing to the bathroom where she would get taps where drinkable water could be fetched. Sincerely you won’t believe me! I was taken aback to discover that she actually dipped her hands into the toilet seat to fetch water that went from her mouth through her throat and then to her stomach. I was intensely helpless. I had to call someone to explain what had just happened to her; there and then, I heard and learnt the title for this piece. The poor girl became so scared and was wailing profusely. But how on earth can an adolescent be so dumb to do such? Then a colleague said she probably hasn’t seen a water closet all her life put together. It’s not hard to believe because in March, UNESCO’s report revealed that the Hausa woman is the least educated on earth: 97% of Hausa women between the ages of 17 and 22 have completed less than 2years in school.
This is a place where cows are one of the most valuable assets to the people; it is here that I see hefty adults sit conveniently in the car trunk when the car is already filled to the brim. Also, it’s here in the north that I see babies give birth to babies, is it not here that primary school kid’s say good morning when the sun is long gone?
How come the British favoured region has now overly become the most impoverished and frightening? Or could it be that they held back education from the north so they could manipulate the people easily?
It’s only manifestly clear that being powerful isn’t enough. I don’t know who Tuface was talking to when he said “power is nothing when your people are dying of disease and starvation” but I forward his words to the former and present day northern leaders who couldn’t do enough to ensure that the mind of their people is developed via any meaningful and peace oriented means of education. UNICEF has estimated that school age children who are out of school in Nigeria are about 10million, and about 8million of them are the almagiris who roam the street with dirty plates, torn clothes and white faces in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Bauchi and some other parts of Northern Nigeria. They’ve been denied the opportunity of living and growing up in a family so why won’t they become utensils for national chaos in the hands of evil politicians and fanatics who have malevolent tendencies. I wish that Nigerians could see these politicians for their true colours, they are after the pockets and bellies alone, if not, how can we have such primitives and backwardness in the north when their leaders have had the most opportunity to rule Nigeria. It boils down to the fact that it is not where the president is from that matters, but how much he cares about bringing development to Nigeria. The good treatment I have received since coming here also shows that Nigerians are not their own enemies as the political class wants us to believe. The enemy is the man who paints that picture in order to divide and rule. Having said this, the road to Obasanjo’s house in Ota Ogun state is a death trap despite his multiple years in government.
Follow the writer Lanre Olagunju @larigoldd on twitter and this blog on @omojuwa

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