A Premium Times report published today has Nasir El-Rufai, the disingenuous governor of Kaduna State, doing what he does best: twisting the facts to paint a picture of victimhood for Northern Nigeria. In the report titled, “Northern Nigeria backward, similar to Afghanistan in development – El-Rufai”, the wily governor was quoted as saying that, “Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria, and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.” He also complained that, “We have the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria. Nigeria also has the largest number of out of school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria,” but the truth is that the South has its fair share of the poor and out-of-school children, hence the high rates of suicide and hawking there.

Although the report didn’t quite state this, the trick when such statements are made is to stand logic on its head and blame the South for the problems of the North to justify the skewed diversion of government funds and projects to the North.

In an article written during the last national,confab in 2014 and titled, “Why The North’s Dependence On Oil Revenue Is Festering Terrorism”, Theophilus Ilevbare explained what is behind this devious reasoning:

“In the most dishonest manner, northern leaders have taken a stand in the face of profoundly disturbing spate of bloodletting; they blame the poverty in the North on the 13 percent derivation of oil revenue given to the Niger Delta states. Recently, Governor Murtala Nyako made allusion to this in his scathing criticism of the federal government contained in a missive to the Northern Governors’ Forum that poverty and illiteracy has festered terrorism which would have considerably been reduced if the revenue from Nigeria’s oil were more equitably distributed. … Gov. Nyako failed to realise that there are non-oil producing states in the South who receive meager allocations like those in the north but have managed to steer the ship of state aright. Former governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, while he was still Governor of the Bank, shared similar sentiments expressed by Nyako and many northern elders at one point in time or another….”

[bctt tweet=”Northern leaders are fixated on the South’s resources as solution to the North’s problems.” username=”edithohaja1″]

This was the indefensible reason Sanusi went about donating huge sums of government money all over the North during his tenure as CBN governor. (You can also read “Why Do Northerners Blame Other Regions For Their Backwardness” -url at end of the post- for more on this.)

The Fulani hegemonists ruling Nigeria, of whom El-Rufai is a key figure, are currently using this victim card in an attempt to enforce the mass movement of Fulanis from the North and other parts of Africa into towns to be built by government on other citizens’ lands in the 36 states of the federation. The so-called Ruga settlement plan, which has been stiffly resisted in the South, had been mooted earlier as grazing reserves, then cattle colonies, and is now being rebranded as the National Livestock Transformation Project. Poor Northerners are being fed the lie that the South is El Dorado and moving there at government expense will solve all their problems.

That is not the case at all as the planned settlements are specifically for Fulanis. Besides, movement does not solve the endemic problem of backwardness of Northerners, which backwardness is perpetuated by the insincerity of their leaders who hold tightly to the reins of power in Nigeria, corruptly enrich themselves and their families but do nothing to better the lot of the average Northerner, who remains illiterate and ignorant. This situation serves the Northern elites well as they can use their poor to threaten other ethnic groups and foment trouble at will as well as play on religious sentiments to get them to vote for crooks and dullards.

(Related: Governance By Trial and Error)

So it has transpired that although the North has kept a stranglehold on Nigeria’s resources through clinging to political power (siting most federal government projects in the North, including refineries for oil that is in the South) and selfishly mining other minerals privately without remittance to the federation account, the poverty in the North kerps worsening. And now with almost every federal government portfolio in their kitty, including the Service chief positions, the insecurity in the North has escalated to unprecedented proportions, with Boko Haram, killer herdsmen and bandits rampaging and uprooting communities, depriving people of what little livelihoods they had through farming, fishing or arts and crafts.

[bctt tweet=”Nigeria’s visionless government is insisting on a 19th C. solution to a 21st C. problem.” username=”edithohaja1″]

The Islamic-Fulani controlled government at the centre is fighting a half-hearted war against insecurity, refusing to bring criminal elements to book, be they terrorists or murderous Fulani herdsmen, rather forgiving and reintegrating them into society, even absorbing them into the armed forces. That is the case with terrorists found guilty in the courts, the herdsmen are hardly arrested and never prosecuted, rather they are repeatedly paid billions of Naira in compensation and appeasement fees. No wonder Nigerian troops are being slaughtered daily in ambushes and their weapons seized by terrorists while brazen herdsmen are destroying and burning down communities, engaging in armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom.

The federal government’s answer to poverty in the North (a government that El-Rufai has more clout in than the Vice President) is to organise an influx of Fulanis to take over Nigeria on the pretext that it is helping Northerners to have access to the good life and natural resources in the South. And some gullible Northern youths have bought the lemon, threatening that Southerners living in the North must vacate if Southern governors refuse to allow Ruga settlements in their area. #smh

The insistence that Ruga be implemented in the South and Midfle Belt where the natives are vehemently opposed to it when there is sufficient land for it in the North and Northern governors of different parties are receptive to it lends credence to the charge recently made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that the government has an Islamisation and Fulanisation agenda. As the articles cited earlier posit, the government wants to use the settlements to establish emirates and institute Sharia law in the whole country, including the Christian South, and make the Fulanis the dominant ethnic group in Nigeria with land rights in every part of the country. This, it is feared, will make it easy for them to extend all over Nigeria the ethnic and religious cleansing which they have started in the North and the Midfle Belt.

But I thank God, this victim card often played by El-Rufai and his like is losing its potency and by God’s grace, their plans will fail. According to Wikipedia, “Victim playing (also known as playing the victim, victim card, or self-victimization) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy, or attention seeking.”

The Buhari administration has been repeatedly told that the modern way of doing animal husbandry is ranching, not open grazing. Rather than rich Northerners to ranch their animals, they hire the poor to graze them and arm them to prevent attacks from cow rustlers and farmers whose crops are destroyed. Now, rather than check desrtification and do their grazing in the North if they won’t move with the times, they are coveting the rich vegetation in the South and want to build towns all over for their people at government expense, a government that is using 70 cents of each dollar it earns to service debts. And, perhaps, for this selfish reason or to play safe, influential Northerners have been largely silent during this whole Ruga controversy.

(Related: We Must Jettison The Fear Of Speaking Out)

Not only does Southern Nigeria not have any land mass to speak of, the whole of the South-east being smaller in size than one Northern State alone (Niger State), the common people of the North are wising up to their leaders’ duplicity. The Northern youths mentioned earlier who are blaming the South for the plight of the North are probably just groups that are on the payroll of politicians like El-Rufai, whose role is to make whatever noises they are directed to to scare other Nigerians.

So I found it particularly heartwarming to see the following responses from Northerners to El-Rufai’s lamentations. Some of them accurately diagnosed the problem of the North and some were quite bitter with El-Rufai and his kind.

[bctt tweet=”The victim card Northern leaders play to deceive their people is losing its potency.” username=”edithohaja1″]

Comments by Northerners

Ajimalu Sani
“you made the northern region to be what it is today…you and other corrupt, selfish politicians brought the region to its knees…. interestingly, you will never actualise your dream of becoming a president or VP…”

Saminu Muh’d Mailemu
“You and your type are the problem of northern Nigeria. Akwai Allah”

Yohannan El-saba
“Because you people preach religion instead of development. You can use religion to seek for love from the poor with out given them anything in return.
Power has always been in the North, yet the region is extremely backward in terms of everything.
In the north because of religious sentiment they can vote for a secondary school certificate holder against an Oxford or Cambridge PhD holder if the person is not of their religion, they think sentiment than development. If you like let all the position of authority be occupied by us the northerners , nothing is going to change.
Buhari is busy sharing positions for northern men, but refused to develop the north, refused to build companies, or attract investors to the north. He’s just concerned about empowering the Fulanis instead of him to tell them the truth, he felt they are being cheated by others. North will never get it right!
Individuals are empowered with positions stealing billions for their personal use and their families, the poor they use religion to deceive never benefit anything from them. Their children school abroad, their children go to parties smoke and flex with fine girls.”

Collage of some of the comments

Abubakar Maina
“Yes but what are you and your kind doing to change the situations for better after identifying and recognizing the predicament? Remember you were part and parcel of the disjointed and corrupt previous governments who badly mismanaged the abundant resources from 1999 upward. ”

Anas Usman
“What have you done to make your state to look like Dubai as you promise during your campaign for past four years.”

Shaheed Maikudi
“As much as this is a statement of truth we shouldn’t shy away from some certain facts; 1. The Sardauna pf Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, established a system of education where it was made mandatory for every child in the north to attend schools free of charge and incentives were made available in order to encourage enrollment. Unfortunately your generation and those that preceeded yours who were the major beneficiaries of that noble policy bastardised the entire system and made it almost impossible for the poor to have access to quality and affordable education, whereas you send your children to countries with high quality education at the expense of the poor and the nation at large. Save us the cacophony, for you are part of the problem, act and change the narrative rather than stirring up the hornet’s nest.”

(Related: Response to Pastor Kumuyi’s “Do Not Attack Leaders” Sermon)

Idris H. Usman
“Oga, this is a well-known fact. What is important at the moment is how to drive the north out of this sorry state. As a leader in the region what did El-rufai do or is doing to develop the north? Nothing. Is not by lamenting everyday, let’s start doing something different to make a difference.”

Abubakar Umar Kalli
“As a sitting governor in the northern region we only see violence and bloodshed in your state…..so shut up!”

Allahyayi Bulus
“snaky and cunning. why didn’t u allow the will of people to prevail during election? if not u would have been back benchers now. suppressing the right people to govern the masses. you will answer before God some day.”

Mohammed Bula Ngwangi Njow

I also saw this interesting comment from one Southerner.

Charles C. Uwechi
“Southerners in all their efforts to rescue Northerners, the Northerners like a sinking ship are trying to capsize their rescuers.”

That is exactly what the Ruga plan or whatever else it’s called will do if allowed in the South, God forbid! Let the Northern leaders do what is right for their people and stop comparisons that excite envy in the Northerners when, in reality, the whole of Nigeria is in need of serious intervention for the actualisation of true development, which starts with the building of human capital through education.


Have you noticed similar sound reasoning in your own interactions with Northerners physically or in the media on the issues discussed in this post?


Premium Times article: http://bit.ly/2JvdIrg

Theophilus Ilevbare, “Why The North’s Dependence On Oil Revenue Is Festering Terrorism”: www.gamji.com/article10000/NEWS10088.htm

“Why Do Northerners Blame Other Regions For Their Backwardness”: newswirengr.com/2014/10/31/opinion-why-do-northerners-blame-other-regions-for-their-backwardness/




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  • Ndieze Kelechi

    I hope that Nigerians, especially Northerners, will be able to break free from the stranglehold of the so-called Northern elites. It’s sad that their negative impacts are being felt mainly in their region.

    • Edith Ohaja

      What is worse is that now they want to pull down the South into the hellhole they have turned Northern Nigeria into. God forbid!

  • Idam Joy Ogwu

    What do these leader intend to gain actually, why feeding the northerners with lies why not channel those resources they will waste in the southern and eastern states to the north so as to achieve the development they are yearning for, their plans will continue to fail because it has never been heard since history that such plan held water, the southerners and Easterners will never give their lands to the north

    • Edith Ohaja

      Obviously, they are not just interested in the land, they want to take over and islamise the country but our God will fight and disgrace them.

  • Ugwuda Mathew

    This man should stop being biased. It is not anyone’s fault that the Northerners have failed to develop their home. Meanwhile, they boast of the richest man in Africa, yet they complain of being backward, less educated and unhealthy.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Unpleasant truth, my dear. That is what comes from overdependence on government and the insincerity of Northern leaders. Have a blessed week!

  • Levi Ifeanyi

    When will this blame game come to an end? Sometimes, I wonder if these people reason well or think at all before saying things. You are demanding for land in the south, what happened to yours? At least we are no longer in the 16_19th century, this is the 21st century where people can convert what they have and get what they don’t have…Through artifical irrigation and afforestation, I believe they can solve their problem and stop grazing all over the nation.
    Just imagine all the northerners leaving their land to settle in the south, who will then develop their land for them or are they trying to abandon it?
    I pray that God in his mercy will come to our rescue.

  • Anabude oluchi

    You will agree with me that the Northerners are given the highest attention and most benefits are chanelled towards their region because their brother is in power but still they have the highest number in terms of illiteracy all because their leaders choose to enrich themselves and impoverish their people. So, they should work on themselves and not look for who to put the blame on because corruption has so much blinded their leaders from doing the right thing. And the southerners they are pointing at with the little they are given still remain the best. I think EL-Rufai is just coming up with irrelevant reasons to justify their corruption and greed.

  • Levi Ifeanyi

    When will this issues of blame game come to an end? Sometimes, I wonder if these people reason well or think at all before saying things. You are demanding for land in the south what happened to yours. At least we are no longer in the 16_19th century this is 21st century where people or state can convert what they have and get what they don’t have…Through artifical irrigation, afforestation,I believe they can solve their problem of grazing all over the nation.
    Just imagine all the northerners leaving their land to settle in the south, who will then develop their land for them or are they trying to abandon it?
    I pray that God in his mercy will come to our rescue.

  • Enwerem Chiamaka

    Isall he said about their underdeveloped nature true? Yes. But is it southerners fault? No.
    Educate and empower the people. See Nigeria as one and stop this stupid north and south battle.
    But this man has proven to be an ethnic bigot. Deaf to the voice of the people; his people.
    So he should indeed stop the victim playing

  • Amaugo Stephanie Chidinma

    I don’t know why El-Rufai keeps twisting facts. This kind of thing can bring war o. Thank you for sharing Ma

  • Amana Sharon Umola

    “Northern leaders are fixated on the South’s resources as solution to the North’s problems”. Its funny that all they keep doing is blame other states for their issues. Instead of looking for ways to solve their issues and make their states better. God will definitely help us.

  • Onu Tochukwu

    I think that the aim of his victimization claims is for sympathy which is a weak point. What happened to the lands in the Northern part of Nigeria. It’s also left for the northerners to buy land in the sourthern part to rear their cows, no one is against that but trying to impose something in others is not a good idea.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    Thank God that some of his fellow hausas saw the truth and criticised him. This man has been causing havoc to Nigeria from day one. Their plans is to lay hands on all our resources here in the south east so that we won’t have anything to ourselves. This is wickedness and selfishness to the highest. God will not let the wicked rest.

  • Menkiti Vivian

    I won’t be surprised to hear one day that El-Rufia isa shadow player to Book Haram menace… To my my brothers and sisters in the north please let us come together and kick against every move to allowing the fulanies rear their cows in the South. It is only God that can save us all.

  • Ugwu Chizoba Janet

    Hhhhhhm,am feeling bad for our brothers in the North most especially those in Kaduna. El-Rufai is causing so many havoc in the North and the people are not doing anything but I don’t blame them much because there is nobody to listen to their complient…

  • Ugwuaneke Grace U

    May God save this country called Nigeria,it is the same northern elites that are causing the problem, at the same time pointing fingers at the southerners.l am happy the reasonable ones amongst them know what the truth is…they cannot be a tool to their wily and evil leaders.

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    The problem with the Northerners is that they feel as though they are competing, when they should rather be working hard. God has blessed them a lot, I lived there ,they should use what God has given them.

  • Adebanjo Adenike Rebecca

    Through this commentary and review section, I got to know that the Northern Nigerians presumed the Bas part of Nigeria system of living are all packed to Northern Nigeria, while southern Nigerians states are all at the peck of life. No wonder the so called El-Rufai is roooming in hell of low reasoning and infusing the mind of the Northerners.

  • Every region has it’s problem,we have to wake up. Northern should know that no place is safe in Nigeria, we have to come together so we can achieve something.

  • Eze Nelson Emeka

    El Rufai should stop criticizing others whereas his own Kaduna State is in shambles. We need God’s intervention in Nigeria.

  • Eze Chinalurumogu Success

    This thing of making Northern Nigeria look like they are always the victim. I’m glad the RUGA plan backfired.

  • Nkan David

    I strongly believe in Ex President Obansanjo’s statement, that the government has an “islamisation and fulanisation” agenda…This is evident in both Buhari’s government and that of Sani Abacha

  • Lucky Okezi

    It is disheartening that these Ruga plan has resulted in the loss of life in some indigenous communities in some of the southern states… On 15 May, the vice President of my association encountered some of these northerners but was lucky to escape. Two lives were lost.

  • Ekeh Maryann C

    The Northern leaders are clowns, all they do is create scenery for evil occurrence

  • Williams Blessing Ngozi

    When will we learn to take up our responsibilities and do the needful. We should put our differences aside and proffer lasting solutions to our problems.


    The North and their leaders should know who they are in for, they are never contending or trying to meddle wit another set of low-minded Northern who any suggestions can go for and I believe this government knows this and should something better rather than some phony ploys.

  • Nwikwu chidera judith

    What does he stand to gain when he goes around blaming the Southerners for his failure as a governor,instead of channeling all those energy into developing the state to be like the southern states.

  • Our country, Nigeria needs God’s grace amen

  • Jacenta ossai.

    One common thing I have noticed about our Nigerian politicians is our they play dumb to their misdeeds and think Nigerians will get fooled by their witty act.

  • Edebeatu Ebere Nelly

    The northern elites have always been the darkness, restricting the progress of the northern people.

  • Nwosuocha Winnie Chidiebube

    When would all this blaming end every region has their own problem. The northern elites has always been the problem of the north and Nigeria a s a whole most of the revenues generated goes to the northern region yet they still complain. Though I’m happy that some of our northern brothers are beginning to see the truth that their leaders are the problem, but if we continue going as we are with all this accusations Nigeria would never move forward

  • Okolo Elizabeth Chisom

    Our country Nigeria needs the mercy and Grace of God

  • Ejim Juliet Ifechukwu

    The leaders in the northern province is always used to twisting words thereby leaving the people in shackles and pains and El Rufai isn’t helping matters because he isn’t always straight forward with the kind of information he gives the press.

  • Okoh Stephanie Chinenye

    El Rufai shouldn’t go around blaming the Southerners for what he should be responsible for. If he’s seeking for sympathy he should do so but not by dragging Southerners into it. He’s always acting like the people in the North are victims everytime.

  • ochor johnmartins ifeanyi

    We can now see how our politicians can manipulate facts and use the victim card to gain support or channel resources to their regions. I never heard anything good about this EL_Rufai. I think recently, the national assembly rejected against his ministry appointment. Kudos ma.

  • Thomas Ebimoboere praise

    This post is a powerful indictment of Nasir El-Rufai and his record as governor of Kaduna State. Your arguments are well-supported by evidence, and makes a compelling case for your conclusion. I would recommend this post to anyone who is interested in learning more about the political situation in Kaduna State or the human rights record of Nasir El-Rufai.

  • Esogwa Jubilate Aghachiluru

    What a critical and sarcastic response to the governor of Kaduna state. I love that!

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