Tuesday, February 18, 2020


 Tope Adaramola

You may call him a stormy petrel, a gadfly or whatever adjective you perceive suits his controversial personae, but Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is one of the voices that could not be ignored in Nigeria’s national space. The respected Emir had often been in the news, most times for steering the hornet’s nest due to his radical views on issues of economy, social orientation, and political development and gender balance. He has a reputation for being an indomitable voice, right from his days as the Governor of the CBN where he turned the Augean stable through the banking reformation “holocaust” that swept many men of means and power yesteryears in the industry into outright irrelevance. Although typical of many of us, his actions as the CBN Governor were gravely interpreted through the sentimental lens of religion, ethnicity and other uninformed rationalisations. The iconoclast remained unfazed. 
It is quite a drift that the Emir of Kano being  a leading aristocrat and supposed feudal lord, who should at all times justify the hegemonic stance of the northern feudalist over the ever deprived serfs has often not behaved to type. His voice and penchant for being brutally frank has made him an irritant to the core conservatives in the region, who are not ready to come to terms with the changing dynamics of human existence, especially in the northern part of Nigeria. Coming on the heels of his recent statement on the need to put in drastic control to childbirth and procreation as a way of controlling the ballooning population of the region-which was viewed as not commensurate to the productive capability of the people- is his recent profound analysis or x-ray of the endemic problems facing the region and the way out when he took the centre stage as the Chief Speaker at the 60th birthday of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El-Rufai in Kaduna. The traditional ruler took a periscopic view of the challenges facing the north, underscoring the region as the “arse of the country” as indexed by increasing poverty, uncontrolled population growth, almajiri issues, the poor girl-child education and the impropriety of sustaining the quota system that had seemingly been in favour of the region. Latching on the recent World Bank report which disclosed that 87 per cent of the Nigerian poor or have-nots are domiciled in the north, with 13-14 million out of school youth population,  Emir Sanusi said if nothing drastic was done the region was on the path of self-destructing. He noted that nothing speaks louder on the metrics of regression in the north than the rising cases of poverty, insecurity, drug abuse by the youth, malnutrition, menacing Almajiri issue and uncontrolled population. He harped on the need for the leaders in the region to retool their minds and come to terms with the need to provide selfless and visionary leadership to the people, especially to the younger generation to prevent them from being consumed by the monster that is already being groomed. According to him “if we have been spending time and money all these years on physical structures, the time has come to invest more in the education of our children”. There could not be a greater truism than this, going by the submission of Alax Mans, that an unbuilt mind will someday damage a built physical structure! Aside from providing education for all, greater attention for the girl child education in the region was advocated by the emir. Better education will give the women folk, who have preponderant population in the region greater opportunity for better life for them and the  children, accelerate their constructive participation in governance and leadership, leading to a changed narration of the region. Definitely, there is no nation or region that could be great in the future leaving behind such a huge population of women at the backwaters of development. For instance, a rough statistics from the region show that women constitute the greatest chunk of the voter’s population, yet they are deprived of involvement in the actual running of the government. This should change. 
Anyway, it appears all hope is not lost as the Emir singled out Governor El-Rufai’s pragmatic 2020 budget of Kaduna State which devoted 40 per cent to education for commendation. He admonished other governors in the region to emulate the action. The Emir also perched on the touchy issue of quota system, calling for its abrogation. He must have seen the indulgence tendencies that the system, which was purported to be an advantage, has foisted on the drive and passion for competition and excellence by the northerners. There is a way competition which is one of the “babies of nature” triggers the inner drive to excel by human beings. The leaders of the north must henceforward prepare their citizens to be competitive and do away with occupying national positions on the grounds of where they come from, as against merit which is the ingredient for excellent value delivery, regardless of the diversity of religion, tribe or race. 
It may be concluded that although the consistent views of Emir Sanusi on the situation in the North today may be unsavoury to the hears of many, especially leaders, who are still cocooned in self-deceit and delusion in that region, but like the biblical John the Baptist, who was a lone voice crying in the wilderness, the Emir’s position just like those of some few forward-looking ones in the region would continue to hit at the core of the truth. It will only take a little while for his predictions to come to pass and I wish that those who could see beyond now will join him to avert the looming self-destruct of the region.

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