On a last visit to Kano, I was walking on a street in Kano and saw these young helpless and hopeless, gifted but untrained and misguided youthful souls called Almajiri. I spoke to one them after giving a token.
“What is your name?” and he replied, “My name is Rabiu.” I further enquired, “Why are you not in school or are you a student?” He replied, “I am a student, I attend Quranic school.” I asked again, “have you been to a hospital before?” he sharply remembered the day he was knocked down by a motor bike and was rushed to the hospital. I then asked him, “don’t you want to be like those doctors and nurses that treated you at that hospital but for about five minutes, Rabiu could not give me a response. I looked into his eyes and saw confusion. He suddenly asked me “Am I a human being like those Doctors and Nurses?” And I gladly replied “Yes, you are like them. They were kids like you, who grew up, went to school and now became doctors, yet they also serve God and know Quran that you said you are learning.” Looking into his eyes, he asked again “How can I become one like them?” Then I said, “Go to school along with your learning of Quran and in no time, you will become like one of them and better than them.” I saw renewed hope in the young man and he smiled as his spirit said “God bless you” without opening his mouth. I handed over additional five hundred naira to the fifty naira that I first gave him but to my surprise, he rejected it and and also brought out the first fifty naira that I gave him stretching his hands to me, “Take your money, please send me to school instead. I want to become like those Doctors and Nurses.” I had to hold back tears of pity for this young man who is intelligent but wasting as a mere street boy, Almajiri. I looked into my purse, what is my income as a Journalist, who doesn’t have stable income. My spirit sent me a strong warning, “don’t start what you cannot end.” Then I asked Rabiu, how can I see him when next I come but he said “I am following you right away.” “Following me, what about your parents?”, I asked but his reply almost made me fall off the ground, “Who cares about my welfare is my father and mother. Please, let me go with you.” I became confused because I know the implication of taking him away, apart from the legal implications; can I feed him and take care of his welfare as I would have loved to? I became more confused as to how I would leave Rabiu without becoming a liar? I raised his hope and suddenly dashed it. I saw his level of intelligence and his expectations from a society whose leaders are not only selfish but careless about subjects. I eventually lied to him that I came for a meeting and would come back for him after the meeting and that I would come back to eat at a particular Restaurant. He trusted me and went away. For about thirty minutes after he had gone, I could not leave where we stood because guilt took over my heart that I told a pathological lie to a hopeful soul.
We got back home and I had a terrible dream in which I saw several youths and kids like Rabiu take to the streets, with whatever was available, fighting and chasing their leaders about. They chased, fought and beat hell out of the leaders. At another phase of the dream, I saw my Rabiu putting on a Doctors overall with stethoscope round his neck. In that dream, I called him Rabiu and he said, “Point of correction, sir,now I am Dr Rabiu.” Then I woke up.
I have been thinking about my dream and the short conversation that I had with the youngman, I visualize a day when Northern youths and the almagiris will start up a revolution against their leaders after discovering how the common wealth of the people made just a few elite rich and using same to oppress them.
Though Chief Obafemi Awolowo was not a saint but the little he was able to do as a leader for his people make him a hero never to be forgotten. Northern leaders had fed fat on the wealth of their people and also brought insecurity to the land. Many of these youths are misguided to join in banditry and other forms of social vices. Some of them are used as political thugs and some others for some evil jobs that their children will never do. We see how some of these northern elders kids spend money lavishly in their schools and universities down south and outside the country, but children of the poor, Almajiris are those they give their miserable peanuts in the name of alms at different junctions.
I fear that day and my dreams come, when this dream would come through and the whole north would boil from one corner of the north to the other in a revolution. It will be a day of reckoning because the youths, now enlightened will ask questions. “What have you been doing with the allocations you got from federal allocations? What have you done with the opportunities to build bridges with the rest of Nigeria but instead, cry of session rends the air?” It is an unfortunate scenario that a nation destined to be one is been threatened by selfish leaders. Without sounding sentimental, the conduct of our leaders divide us more than what agitators are doing. Injustice, nepotism, favouritism and other divisive tendencies are issues that need be addressed to avert the fulfillment of this dream.