The search for a more nuanced understanding of the insecurity crisis enveloping Nigeria is moving to the premises of the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria Monday when the topic “From Farmer-Herder Conflict to Generalised Insecurity in the North West” will be the subject of engagement. Organised by the ABU, Zaria Chapter of the Nigerian Economics Students Association, (NESA), the occasion is the Professor Mike Kwanashie Annual Public Lecture.
Aside from the topic, the two leading names around and about the event is bound to draw attention to it. Dr Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, the lead paper presenter is about the most active of those generally called the Bala Brought Ups, (BBU) in ABU, Zaria‘s language of tendency politics. Central to the BBUs is a certain ability to domesticate Marxism or critical scholarship in analyzing especially Northern Nigerian politics, from fractional class profiling to standpoint politics such as their thesis of manipulation of religion in Nigeria. In most cases, it gives them the status of being bold or good at calling a spade a spade even as their critics frown at such Marxian realism. So, when Dr. Siddique mounts the podium Monday, the debate about what exactly Nigeria might be going through may no longer be the same again. A game changing framing of it all may not be ruled out.
The second big name factor here is the person the Annual Lecture is named after – Prof Mike Kwanashie, a classical ABU, Zaria export. Not only did he obtain a First Class in those days in a first generation Nigerian university such as ABU, he has, until recently, been the Vice-Chancellor of Veritas University, Abuja. He is thus a major contributor to the ABU stock of knowledge, from being the class of student he was, to his experience as a Nigerian graduate student in the United States and Canada; his years in the service of the Federal Government of Nigeria as an economist and, of course, his lessons from running a much younger, faith based university in contemporary Nigeria.
It must be this background that NESA is celebrating by putting together the conversation ahead as Prof Mike Kwanashie Annual Public Lecture, featuring civil society, business and the university administration. As it is, there is something of a two-in-one occasion because there is no way the Director of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation speaking on the premises of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at a time like this will not have a story to tell. All roads might not lead to Samaru next Monday but many roads will certainly lead there as former students of Prof Kwanashie, ABU enthusiasts, knowledge lovers and critics are bound to be keen to be part of it all.