The North And Its Failed Political Industry Weep my Brother

Chief Audu Ogbeh, immediate past minister of agriculture and chairman, ACF, was recently quoted as saying that politics is the only industry in Northern Nigeria. His statement intrigues me for two reasons. One, I have often wondered why the north which has ruled the country longer than all the other regions put together is in dire straits. If it is only the industry, then it must be an industry that has failed disastrously.

Two, his statement reminds me of the famous statement made long ago by the late Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule. He said: “The northerners are endowed … with leadership qualities. The Yoruba man knows how to earn a living and has diplomatic qualities. The Igbo is gifted in commerce, trade… God so created us individually for a purpose. Others are created as kings, servants. We all need each other. If there are no followers, a king will not exist.”

I am not sure he spoke for the almighty but his statement, obviously provocative at the time it was made, was an attempt to promote the right of the north, for which read, Hausa/Fulani, to rule while the Yoruba and the Igbo respectively carry on with their divine assignments of earning a living and diplomacy and engaging in commerce and trade. If the man upstairs had not meant it to be so, he would not have given these tribes their special qualities. If each tribe sticks to its divine assignment, things would work well in Nigeria and for Nigerians because every tribe would mind its own business and in doing so, contribute to the peace and development of the country.

What Sule said was fiction and utter nonsense of course. But it has sat on the psyche of the north for so long that it has gradually acquired something close to divine imprimatur; or more correctly, an exclusive political industry nurtured by a warped psyche and sustained by a political engineering that has put the north at the head but left it hollow. Power, political power, matters to the north because it is the only thing that matters. I have heard it argued with some passion that since the north could not compete in money-making ventures with the Yoruba and in commerce and trade with the Igbo, it is only fair that for it to be a major player on the national stage, it must hold on to the reign of power.

The late Chief Richard Akinjide once kindly invited me to breakfast in his London home many years ago. In the course of our conversation, he said, and he said it with biting contempt, that every stupid northerner, no matter how ill-prepared for leadership he may be, wants to be head of state. “And this,” he underlined it, “for no better reason than that he is a northerner and would always count on the full support of fellow northerners. No northerner I know disagrees with this provocative notion that his right to rule was given from above.”

Our conversation then shifted to a critical point: what has the north done with power or leadership? It is an important question. Northerners hate to address it. But however much we tend to shy away from it, there is no hiding the fact that politics as a northern industry is a failed industry. It has failed where it matters most: lifting the people from illiteracy, poverty and mind-boggling squalor. It only offers seasonal employment to young men as political thugs in election seasons. When the elections are over, the job ends and the young men find themselves right back where they were until another election season rolls by.

Northern Nigeria is merely an also-run in all the indices of social and economic development. About 80 per cent of about 14 million children out of school are in the north. It took a southerner, President Goodluck Jonathan, to appreciate the damage the north is doing to its young people through the trado-religious almajirai system. Worried about the future of these children who beg to sustain their teachers, he built a number of schools specifically for them. The schools are not functioning because the northern leaders simply sabotaged them and the noble intentions of the former president came to nought. When the Covid-19 hit the country, the almajirai were shipped from one state to another because they were deemed to be the responsibilities of their home states. No state governor would be the keeper of the almajirai who were not indigenes of his state. It was a pathetic abdication of responsibility. Toying with the fate of young people is unpardonable political rascality. Is this the correct use of politics as an industry?

In the times before these when Nigeria was an agrarian economy, the north, with its vast arable land and well-honed tradition of agriculture was the food basket of the nation. Our country’s food needs were met largely by northern peasant farmers. Northern cattle, sheep and goats provided the meat needs of the nation. The groundnut pyramids in Kano might be a fading distant memory today but they celebrated northern agricultural ingenuity. Today, what does the north contribute to the national economy? Ask the politicians who run politics as an industry in the north. Southerners generally regard the north as a parasite and a drag on national development. You cannot blame them.

None of the 19 states in the north is able to meet its basic obligations such as the payment of the salaries of civil servants and the pension of retired civil servants. They are comprehensively poor and impoverished. The difference between the northern states and the southern states in terms of resources and human development is clear. The south is soaring in modern development and the north is sinking in under-development. All the northern states must wait for the monthly handouts from the federation account. Obviously, politics as an industry in the north is not booming. It is sterile. Never mind the fine babban riguna won by our political leaders, strutting the political stage in fine examples of conspicuous consumption. Things are not what they want us to believe.

Nigeria, as you know, is the poverty capital of the world. Northern Nigeria is a major contributor to our national level of poverty. The rate of poverty is as follows: 77.7% in the north-west; 76.3% in the north-east and 67.5% in north-central. The fault lies with the managers of the political industry. An industry should yield better dividends than these.

Two scholars, professors Aslam Khan and Lawan Cheri, undertook a study in which they homed in on poverty in the north. In the report titled An Examination of Poverty as the Foundation of Crisis in Northern Nigeria, they wrote:

“Northern Nigeria is a region that contradicts its natural endowments. Despite the existence of many economic resources such as tin, kaolin, a variety of agricultural products and a huge fertile land, the people remain in abject poverty leading to a plethora of crisis in forms of insurgency, electoral violence and crime. …Northern Nigeria becomes a hub of joblessness, crime, illiteracy, maternal mortality and terrorism.”

This is what politics as an industry has done to the north.
Weep, brother.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Business Economy Events News Society Sponsored Tourism Travels

EMEC EXPO, the International Exhibition of Digital Transformation is back for its 3rd edition and will be held on May 10th & 11th,2023 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Casablanca-Morocco





The EMEC EXPO Exhibition is an event dedicated to Digital Transformation, focusing on e-marketing, e-commerce, hosting & cloud, mobile internet, social networks, internet of things and technology.

EMEC EXPO 2023 responds to the urgent need for businesses to embrace DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION by allowing them to discover the latest breakthrough technologies that are revolutionizing the world, as well as the tools and solutions that will better equip them to face this dynamic of permanent transformation.

Digital transformation represents a strong lever of competitiveness and a great opportunity for growth and productivity. Therefore, companies are obliged to provide themselves with the means to adhere to this mutation, which will allow them to accelerate the achievement of their development objectives by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by information technologies.


International Exhibition of Digital Transformation Consecrated to e-marketing, e-commerce, hosting & cloud, mobile internet, social networks,…

Read More
Business Economy International News

Business support groups poised to drive African integration


Regional and continental business support organizations can help Africa’s private sector benefit from the continent’s free trade area, after a webinar that highlighted progress the Agreement has made.


Business support organizations can play a crucial role in the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the AfCFTA Secretariat held a webinar to update these organizations on the free trade bloc’s negotiations and implementation. The session also presented findings of their joint exercise to map business support organizations across the region.

The regional and continental business groups used the session to voice their priorities and needs, as well as to explore methods to update their services on the AfCFTA.

The collaborative effort is part of a broader joint commitment to make free trade work for Africa’s private sector.

Kicking off the session, the AfCFTA Secretariat explained its Guided Trade Initiative. The new scheme aims…

Read More
Business Culture Opinion Society




The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE has said that the Agency has been implementing several initiatives and programmes aimed at bridging the gender divide that exists in the Information Technology sector.

The Director General made this disclosure through his Special Adviser on Innovation and Strategy, Mrs. Iklima Musa at a programme in Abuja organised by the African School of Economics, (ASE) in partnership with African Women Entrepreneurship Programme, (AWEP) to commemorate the World International Women’s Day with the theme “Embrace Equity: Cracking the Code”.

Inuwa informed that part of the programmes the Agency has embarked on to bridge the gender divide was a training organised on the 7th of this month where the agency trained 200 women in digital marketing, digital entrepreneurship and 3D painting and “we are planning to train another 200 women this month and the next,” he revealed.

He said that, “There is…

Read More
Business Economy Energy

Transmission Substation Groundbreaking: Minister Rallies Support for APC



The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the installation of 1 x 60MVA Transmission substation in Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, with a call on the people of the state to sustain their support for APC in the forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Speaking at the occasion on Thursday, Alhaji Mohammed, who was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Engr. Sule Abdulazeez, the Council of traditional chiefs and some APC stalwarts in the state, said the project would lead to improved power supply to Oro and its environs, boost economic activities, especially for artisans and small and medium scale businesses, and enhance the social development of the people.

He therefore implored the people of the community to ensure peace and security in order to enable the contractor to deliver the project within the…

Read More
Announcements Business Investments Software Technology

Hyperspace Technologies Introduces Keymaster VAULT: A Low-Cost, NFC- Based Hardware Wallet for the African Market 


Hyperspace Technologies (, a Lagos-based Web3 startup specializing in next-level smart security infrastructure and key management systems, today announced the launch of its groundbreaking product, the Keymaster VAULT (

Designed to cater to the African market, Keymaster VAULT is a secure, NFC-based hardware wallet that stores private keys offline, offering an affordable and user-friendly alternative to expensive and complicated traditional hardware wallets.

Leveraging the simplicity of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the Keymaster VAULT allows users to securely access their digital assets by merely tapping their NFC-enabled devices.

This eliminates complex installation processes, making the wallet an ideal choice for both cryptocurrency novices and experienced users. With offline storage of private keys, the wallet significantly reduces the risk of hacks and malware attacks associated with online storage.

“We wanted to…

Read More
Business Economy Investments News Opinion

Currency slump sees surge in demand for dollars assets in West Africa despite greenback’s ongoing strength (By Abiodun Adebimpe)


The Russian-Ukraine war and the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have severely weakened West African economies and currencies – but businesses and investors are looking to dollar assets to mitigate the damage.


As most West African economies are commodity-driven, any development within the global economy that affects the supply and/or demand of commodities imports and exports portends significant currency weakening effects on the economies.


Recent and ongoing global events have created massive demand destruction in crude oil, agricultural products and precious metals such as gold. Supply chains are also still to recover.


As a result, most West African currencies such as the Nigerian Naira (NGN) and the Ghanaian Cedis (GHC) have significantly weakened.


It is a major source of concern – and an ongoing challenge- for most Nigerian businesses and those in other West African countries.


Fiscal and monetary imbalances compound the problem.


The import-dependent nature of most West African markets implies huge demand…

Read More
Business Culture

Appearance will give you a leg in the room – Fola Daniel Adelesi



Several years ago, a company was going to run a corporate event at one of the prime hotels in Lagos. You probably already have an idea of the location or possible locations. You may understand the fanfare that will accompany that kind of event. We all know that half of the activities will not be needed or noticed but they still go into the event anyway.

Sometimes, the organizers are scared of failure and you can tell from their facial expressions or tones when they talk to you over the phone. They want a perfect event and they sometimes want to see that perfection in you as a vendor. The implication is that you have to be the one allaying fears by demonstrating the perfection they want to see.

I saw the ad for this company’s event and decided to bid to compere the event. I had experience on my side…

Read More
Announcements Business Economy Events Fintech International Technology Technology Trends Telecoms Travels Trends

Global tech pioneers and innovators look to supercharge double-digit business growth across Africa



International powerhouse brands turn to inaugural GITEX Africa 2023 as launchpad to scale operations in the world’s next biggest digital economy

Global tech pioneers and innovators are preparing to supercharge double-digit business growth across Africa, as they eagerly anticipate the debut of the continent’s largest and most inclusive tech and start-up event in Marrakech, Morocco.

GITEX Africa will open doors for the first time from 31 May-2 June 2023, welcoming 500 exhibitors and 400 start-ups from 95 countries, with regional and international companies exuberant about the potential of the world’s rising tech continent, and the opportunities amplified by Africa’s ongoing Digital Transformation Strategy.

Among those spearheading the charge into African tech’s showpiece event is Japanese headquartered Epson; American giants Autodesk, Honeywell, Hewlett Packard, Dell, ESRi, Nutanix, Cisco and Shure; Lenovo, Huawei, and TP Link from China; along with DP World and the Technology Innovation Institute from the UAE.

With the African Union’s bold…

Read More