THE SLEEPING GIANTS OF THE SOUTH

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Nigeria is a country of over 180million people and has earned her place as the most populous nation in Africa and most populous black nation in the World. Therefore, If population were to be a measure of wealth, Nigeria would probably be the richest country in Africa, though we however had the largest economy in Africa as at 2015 and the 20th largest in the World.

Nigeria is divided into 2 major regions of South & North, with the South occupied predominantly by Christians and with a leading edge in education and exposure while the North is occupied by a sizeable predominant Muslim population that holds the edge in political power and control of the civil work force.
Even with the near average literacy rate of the country, the South holds more than 90% of persons who have learnings higher than high school grade. In many National examinations
and academic privileges, the North is always easily favored because it has become a National truth that they are academically disadvantaged; the reason for this is majorly as a result of firm use of religion and abstract norms by the few political elites of the North to continually keep the teeming population under their political control. This is not to say that Northern Nigeria have not produced sound intellectuals worthy of their studies but the fact remains that Southern Nigeria occupies a bigger academic space.

Southern Nigeria by geopolitical classification is made up in no preferential order of the South South, South West & South East. This means that of the 3 major tribes in Nigeria as a Nation, 2 are in the South (Igbo & Yoruba) and one in the North (Hausa). Southern Nigeria as at the last population census cumulatively contributed 48% percentage of the Nation’s population and have 90% of its literate population; yet from 1960 till date, we have had more persons from Northern Nigeria at the helm of affairs leaving the South with compensatory positions. This will leave inquisitive minds googling; the South has all the advantage in terms of economics, literacy and liberal norms yet it always ended up as the beggarly section when it comes to political power; the answer as to why this is so, is what this opinion piece tries to address. This attempt must not be seen as an opinion to drive a wedge between these two accidental couple but a clarion call to awaken a sleeping force of development of this Nation.

I am an unapologetic believer in the role of education and knowledge in leadership and development of any Nation. The South has been richly blessed with this quality, yet when it comes to deploying this arsenal in leadership, it almost seems we delight in taking the back seat. With the bank of knowledge in the Southern elite space, one would wonder why the Nation is still wallowing in the wilderness of National Debt, Infrastructural deficit, stunted development in virtually all sectors of the economy. We rather prefer to export our brilliance to foreign countries to make hard currencies rather than get involved in the Nigerian project.

I am certain that over 60% of persons running out of the country legally or illegally are from the South. Where are we running to with all our knowledge when our Nation needs it more? We need quality judgement in our courts yet you will find very few Southerners on the bench despite the legion of brilliant legal luminaries we have; they rather embrace the bar than invest in the bench and when appointments in the Judiciary tend to favor the North, we then begin our litany of big grammar to protest an injury brought on ourselves. The recent INEC figures of persons eligible to vote has again shown the apathy of the South in the political process yet if you want to hear rational analysis spiced with up to date grammar and diction on how the Nation can grow, you can get them on every radio/TV frequency in the South.

English alone will not count for us all; the brains of the South must throw in all their tools as one South into the Nigerian project.
Nigeria as a Nation needs a United South with all its knowledge bank to participate actively in the political process. A South that is conscious that it has the required number to make a huge difference in any democratic process; a South with the consciousness that its unity will electrify the cords of National Development. A United South whose foot prints can lead the Nation to Canaan. They must put behind the years of destructive brainwaves; feelings of perceived oppression by the North; Political nonchalance and Financial patriotism because in the end Nigeria is our home we must nurture and develop her with the best we have got.

esohwode.ezek@gmail.com

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