This article brings to the fore a prognosis of how the Northern part of Nigeria is in a unique position to experience an effectual and positive social change that would pull it out of its quagmire and the many challenges that could serve as a deterrent to achieving this goal. It also gives a piece of phenomenal and explicit information about the region.
Northern Nigeria is Nigeria’s most densely populated region with more than half of the country’s population inhabiting the region. It is the most culturally and religiously diverse region in the country unbeknownst to many Nigerian citizens.
It has been often regarded as one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. There is a high level of poverty, insecurity, economic underdevelopment, and inequality in the region, and the North-West, which is a core area in the region, somewhat doesn’t seem to be getting it right in the area of education. For over decades, there have been ethnoreligious tensions in the region, which exist between the various Muslim sects, as well as between the Christians and Muslims. All of these have made the positive social change to be unattainable in the region.
The series of events in the north would make one wonder if the region would ever experience positive social change, but there is always light at the end of a tunnel. From my observations, and with utmost optimism, there is a possibility that it would experience positive social change, and here are some reasons why:
1. There is an increasing awareness among the people of the various predicaments that continue to bedevil the region.
Some have begun to realize the factors that have contributed to the significant number of social problems in the region, such as the lack of education, ethnoreligious tensions, and a high level of corruption. It is also important to note that a few have been able to acknowledge the fact that children have been exploited socially and economically in the name of almajiranci, and have called for regulation of the system.
2. There has been increased activism in the region, with demands for a positive social change.
In the past, there used to be much reluctance toward being involved in social activism, but things are gradually changing. If more people are involved in activism, they will be aware of social issues plaguing the region, and this would bring about the needed social change.
3. There has been an increased enrollment of girls into schools within the region.
In the past, cultural practices and traditions served as a drawback to girls receiving western education, and this eventually paved way for child marriage which is gradually decreasing now. Today, the challenge of gender inequality in education has been fully addressed ever since it became a topical issue of global concern.
Just as the North may be tilting towards positive social change, there are major obstacles that could deter them from achieving this.
Poverty is highly prevalent in northern Nigeria and is one of the major threats to positive social change in the region. The high level of poverty led to an increase in criminal activities (banditry and kidnapping), which further gave rise to violence and insecurity that is destabilizing the region. It is also the reason for the poor educational and health system in the region. Addressing poverty is very essential if the region is to experience positive social change.
Extremism is a primary cause of violence and conflict and is also a serious obstacle to peace and stability in the northern region. A lack of education in the region has made some people susceptible to being indoctrinated with extremist ideologies, making it possible for them to be radicalized insalubriously, thereby propelling them to engage in violence.
Insecurity is another major obstacle to positive social change in Northern Nigeria. It has impeded socioeconomic development, increased social tension, and created an environment of fear and violence, making it extremely difficult for the region to develop and progress, due to the ruinous effects it has had on the inhabitants of the region.
Much needs to be done by the government in collaboration with the people of Northern Nigeria to ensure that the region progresses positively.