He Who Pays The Piper, Dictates The Tune4 min read
By Bala Ibrahim
According to Wikipedia, the caption above, originates from the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The town of Hamelin agrees to pay the Piper to get rid of all the rats. When they fail to pay him, he steals their kids. The simple meaning of the phrase is that, the person who is paying someone to do something, can decide how it should be done. This is the norm.
Jextapauze the ambition of that phrase with the ambition of democracy, which is a system of government by the people, where power is vested in the hands of the majority, through representation, the answer would say, those who give the most, would get the most. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s democracy today, or better said, the system in operation in Nigeria today, is heading for collision with those norms and ambitions.
Our memories are still fresh about the role played by the north, that made former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, to become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria. Buhari beat the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by more than 2.5 million votes, to enter the villa in 2015. Again, in the 2019 presidential election, Buhari won with more than 15 million votes, the bulk of which came from the north.
No leader, in Nigeria’s political history, had gotten the kind of solid support and goodwill given to President Muhammadu Buhari by the north. But that is the past, which would be dealt with by history. The reality now is that the north, which paid the piper, is now the whipping boy, because it had long been turned into a scapegoat, by unjustly making it to bear the blame for the mistake of which it didn’t do.
“Bandits kill another traditional ruler in Katsina”. That is the latest update from the Dailytrust this evening. “Northern lives matter, where is the commander in chief”? That is the trending story on the social media today. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un”, meaning, Verily we belong to God, and verily to Him do we return. This is the phrase commonly recited by Muslims in times of difficulty, and now being recited by some women volunteers, feeding refugees that fled their homes, after they were attacked by bandits in Katsina.
All over the north today, the feeling is same, the north is abandoned. There seems to be a consensus on the fact that, the man who paid the piper, is not the one dictating the tune. Either the flute is faulty, or those blowing it have flawed conscience, or both. Otherwise, there is no justifiable reason for the north to be subjected to such insult, indignity and ignominy, after chesting out for the man that was adjudged to be fair, and who promised to be fair.
Like the north east, which suffered unfair degradation in the hands of the insurgents, the north west, in particular Katsina state now, is taken over by bandits, who seem be having free days and nights to themselves. It’s either they have reliable intelligence on the weakness of the commander in chief, or they are working in concert with some strong saboteurs near the president.
Every day we hear, the military have been given matching orders to flush out the bandits, but the bandits always wax stronger against the military. Making some wonder if actually the country is not subjecting itself to international ridicule. While the north is not asking to be treated to the disadvantage of the rest of the country, it is also saying, it shouldn’t be treated in the reverse
According to the Dailytrust, “The Village Head of Mazoji and Sarkin Fulanin Fafu, Alh. Dikko Usman was reportedly killed by bandits last night. Usman was attacked at his country home in Mazoji Ward in Matazu LGA in Katsina state. His assassination was coming few weeks after a traditional ruler and district head of Yantumaki Atiku Maidabino was killed in his palace in Yantumaki village of Danmusa LGA.
The home state of the President is now virtually under the control of the bandits, and the country is being assured regularly of getting protection. There is a hausa adage that says, if someone promised to give you a dress, look at the one he is wearing. If the President cannot provide security to his home state, how sure is the rest of the country about getting security.
The most painful aspect of the whole saga is the President’s style of leadership in silence. While all these killings are happening in his immediate constituency without a word from him, another crisis is reportedly brewing with members of his immediate family in the villa.
Mr. President is in the habit of keeping mute on matters that require loud and unambiguous admonition. Many atimes, his allies, or those who stand for him would be touched, but the President would not show any sign of being touched. He may even refuse to recognize the anomaly.
From the look of things, those who know the shortcomings of the President are the ones exploiting his drawbacks, to the detriment of the north in particular, and the country in general. They have since begin using some security operatives to instill fear in the minds of those that dare to challenge them. They may succeed for some time, but they would not succeed for long.
The instruments of power are suppose to be in the hands of those constitutionally empowered to use them. Any person that attempts to abuse them because of association, must be reminded of the consequences, which would inevitably and inescapably come. A person may be powerful in one context today, and be completely powerless in the same context tomorrow.
The circumstances under which the president came to power in 2015, are not monopolistic, nor under any exclusive possession or control of anyone, that would make them unrepeatable, I think.
The north is bleeding, but it the blood would carry some repurcussions.
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