The North: Where ‘foolishness birthed science’


By Yusuf Mairiga Shekarau

A common thought by our brothers from southern Nigeria is that an average man from the northern part of the country is a ‘fool’. In most cases, they widely reflect it in how they erroneously understand certain terms in Hausa, one of our most popular languages in the north. For instance, the term ‘Aboki’, which literally means a friend, is being misconstrued mostly by our southern brothers as fool and so be it how they largely regard ‘Mallam’ which means a teacher, as coward.

Those interpretations, deceptive as they are, and other errorneous stereotypes, especially in the wake of recent disagreements emanating from ethnicity and religion, which have added to the worrying regional primordials, are capable of inciting palpable tensions that not only put Nigeria to a state of abyss, but also kills  the fruits future we keenly cherished on born.

In one way, it used to be a thing of great surprise, given that even foreigners from Asia, Europe, America and around the world do come to learn and often used the language without any form of abuses.

It therefore, only makes fun of these our exciting brothers, how they ignorantly take pleasure by fixing contrary meanings to the real interpretations of terms in one of our popular local dialects, Hausa.

No doubt, there may be foolish people in the north, like there are in the south, but never should such negligible few be used to represent the generality of us from the northern region, as fools. Besides, the term foolishness is relative and therefore what could be seen as foolishness here could not necessarily be seen as same elsewhere.

There are, for instance, a significant number of issues happening in the south that perhaps, if the north should apply its homogeniety of sense, thoughts and wisdom it would probably go beyond describing southerners as fools. But then, out of foolishness, it is science that always guides the north in reaching common and harmonious decisions not hysteria.

When President Buhari assumed office in 2015, majority of our brothers from the southern region never minced words in telling the world that he is very tribalistic, and gives greater priority to the northern region. They described him as an uneducated person that is unfit to lead the country.

Nevertheless, we have seen on different occasions perhaps for the first time in our history when kids were abducted from the core northern states and transported to the southern states like Abia, Anambra and Edo in the name of trafficking. 

Yet the ‘foolish’ north could not protest it. Perhaps for two reasons, one for having the science out of an assertive foolishness to understand that there are bad eggs from all corners among many innocent ones that are always willing to perpetrate evil. Secondly, it’s to allow peace to reign. We have seen, however, in many instances foreigners from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and some of our neighbouring countries disguising as Fulani herdsmen to commit crimes and without genuine evidence, our southern brothers would not wait in concluding that it is the Fulani people from northern Nigeria that have committed it. 

Most annoying is that sometimes, even when formal statements are issued by relevant authorities in order to make clarifications, our very wise brothers would stand to invalidate the verified statements. But why is the north still quiet? Maybe because we are not as media rich as the south that we could freely access as many platforms to propagate our issues or perhaps, the science in our assertive foolishness is teaching us to embrace peace.

Notwithstanding, from the north, we acknowledged and condemned how personnel of the erstwile Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force used to brutalise our brothers in the south. We equally acknowledged the constitutional rights of our brothers to peacefully protest it. But instead of a peaceful demonstration it was completely violent destruction by hoodlums. 

Alas these criminal elements have the media to crave empathy by framing their situations worse than the banditary and incessants kidnapping ravaging the north, even more than the Boko Haram insurgency.We also found to be offensive when a sitting governor from the south took to the public space to issue ‘quit notice’ that sought to prohibit a Fulani tribal group herding in the area from residing in his jurisdiction. His utterance in itself is divisive and uncalled-for.

Today, the governors of Kano, Kaduna, Gombe and Kastina states, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i, Inuwa Yahaya and Aminu Bello Masari are of the Fulani ethnic groups. In the event they react to their Ondo counterpart, Governor Rotimi Akreledu to issue same notice to Yoruba residing in their respective states, it would eventually lead to Nigeria’s breakup. God forbid!!

This is a science, out of foolishness of the north, that let Nigeria stand today. Hence if all that’s happening today in this country is politically motivated, then we need to learn how to play politics with sense. President Buhari has less than 30 months to complete his second and final term. If that is done to undermine his administration, please do your opposition and let Nigeria be. It is time to see ourselves as fellow Nigerians not as northerner or southerner and desist from looking down at anyone as inferior.   

Shekarau writes from Yelwa, Plateau state via

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

2 × 5 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.