Bishop Matthew Kukah says If the North were a book, it certainly won’t make for a good read. Think of a region boasting of big things such as its landmass, population, agriculture, power, billionaires, poverty, insecurity, illiteracy, intolerance, and ‘bad luck’ in Yakasai’s own words.
Even Northern elites are at a loss as to why the region is perhaps, one of the worst places on earth despite its grip on power more than any other region in the same country.
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto State, Bishop Matthew Kukah, in a recent open letter to late Premier of the Northern Region and Sardauna of Sokoto State, Sir Ahmadu Bello, perfectly described the pathetic state of the region.
In his letter, Bishop Matthew Kukah described the North as four things, a ‘huge orphanage’, a ‘refugee camp’ a ‘wasteland’, and a ‘graveyard’.
He said, “Your heart must be bleeding at the sight of what has become of the North today. Boko Haram, a criminal band of murderers, took hold of the North and turned it into a wasteland. Thousands of lives have been lost and today, millions of our people are in refugee camps. Thousands of innocent women, women, and children have lost their lives. A great swath of the North is now a refugee camp of desolation and pain.”
“Many of your children have become orphans because the region has become a huge orphanage. Our children fill the streets begging for food, their elder brothers who have some education have no jobs and nowhere to turn to, their parents have no work and those who have worked are dying with no pension. Farming has become a hazardous preoccupation. You will weep if you see where we are now.”
“We have spilled so much blood around the North, you will be shocked to see how many unmarked graves there are.”
In his words, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, similarly spoke of the sorry state of the North, describing the region as ‘unlucky’.
“I’m a northerner but we are the most unlucky people in this country, ” he said, then added “We have been in power more than any other ethnic group. The fact is that we held power more than anybody yet we became the poorest.”
Even one of the most revered Northern leader, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has his concerns.
“The north of today is not the same north Sardauna wanted to see or had dreamt about. It’s not the same north that our children now roam the streets, begging for food in the name of Almajiranci. It is not the same north in which Sardauna wanted all our girls to go to school and he was very passionate about girl child education. It is not the north that he has built and left a very solid foundation and it is now left for our politicians to build on that foundation,” he said in a statement while blaming leaders in the North for the region’s woes.