The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party recently was recently a guest on Arise TV to discuss shis chances in sthe forthcoming elections. Unwittingly, he wandered into a blunder when he admitted that 90% of the people in Northern Nigeria do not use Social media.
A querulous question.
Mr. Atiku was reacting to the presidential prospects of Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, whose popularity continues to grow by the day even as his main challengers shrink into unpopularity as one damning allegation follows the other about their malfeasances.
It was while reacting to the question about Mr. Peter Obi`s chances that Mr. Atiku repeated the now cliches about how the former Anambra State Governor lacks political structures, and how most of his supporters exist only on social media.
Mr. Atiku was to cast the cat among the canaries when he went further to declare that 90% of people from the North don’t use social media.
A Social media firestorm
When asked about the chances of Mr. Peter Obi who was his running mate under the PDP in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Atiku said, “ Peter Obi is not a threat. I really don’t expect the Labour Party to take as many votes from the PDP as people are suggesting. We could have seen it in the last election in Osun State. What was the performance of the Labour Party?
“ Then again, they( Obi`s supporters) are talking about social media. Mind you, in the North, 90 per cent of our people (who will be voting) are not on social media.”
The backlash drawn Mr. Atiku`s way by the above statement has been quick and cutting. On social media, many have criticized him for his views, with many openly expressing outrage at what they described as a deliberate attempt to trap the North in vicious cycles of poverty and illiteracy.
A wall of poverty and ignorance
If as the Giant of Africa continues to ail, there is any one part of it that can be described as its most afflicted path, it is the North.
While it is by far Nigeria
s most populous region, largest in terms of size, it has over many years become a big part of Nigerias problems.
If today, Nigeria`s security architecture stands significantly weakened by the activities of Boko Haram, it was firstly from the North that the terrorist group became a scourge.
If bandits and other criminals who are now threatening to overrun Nigeria have today borrowed a leaf out of Boko Haram`s playbook, it is because the group found the North a suitable breeding ground for its nest of snakes in the first place.
The North supplies many of the 91 million Nigerians living in abject poverty. Majority of Nigeria`s 10.5 million out-of-school children are found in the North.
Today, many Nigerians are in no doubt that the darkness that is fast enveloping Nigeria is rising up out of Northern Nigeria.
A deliberate design
What remains debatable is to what extent this darkness is deliberately designed. A recurring allegation is that the Northern elite has till this day deliberately refused to work hard enough to break age-long patterns of poverty and illiteracy so that the majority of people remain trapped and consequently pliable.
Whatever is the case, something urgent has to be done to ensure that the North Nigeria up with other parts of the country in terms of human development so that Nigeria can be better for it.