By Dr. Dons Eze
Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi ll, audacious, courageous, fearless and outspoken, is not a happy man, and he was not afraid to say so.
Sanusi was not happy, not only with the existing state of affairs in North, but also with leaders in the North who, he accused of abandoning their people in penury and poverty.
He was not happy because, though the North had held on to power for too long, yet about 87 percent of poverty in Nigeria had remained in the North.
Speaking at the 60th birthday party organized for Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El Rufai, Sanusi emphatically stated that “if the North does not change by tackling some of its social problems, it will destroy itself”.
While bemoaning the rate of poverty in Northern Nigeria, the Emir lamented: “You can’t be happy with millions of Northern children out of school. You can’t be happy with nine states in the North contributing almost 50 percent of the entire malnutrition burden in the country.
“You can’t be happy with the drug problem; you can’t be happy with the Boko Haram problem. You can’t be happy with political thuggery. You can’t be happy with all the issues; the Almajiri problem that we have.
“We have been saying this for 20 to 30 years. If the North does not change, the North will destroy itself. The country is moving on. Quota system that everybody talks about must have a sunset clause”, he stated.
Emir Sanusi has told truth to power. He did not mince words. He was forthright, honest. Since Nigerian independence in 1960, the North has produced more Heads of State, and has also ruled the country for an aggregate of more than 42 years, leaving the entire South to grapple with the remaining 18 years.
From Tafawa Balewa, to Yakubu Gowon, to Murtala Muhammed, to Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Umaru Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari again, all Northerners, they have collectively ruled the country for 42 years, and still continuing.
But what did the North do with the political power in their hands? What did they do for Nigeria, and even for their own people, in particular, with the political power they grabbed? Do they grab political power just for its own sake, and to feather their nests?
The North has more State Governors, more Local Government Chairmen, more Senators, more Members of the House of Representatives, more Ministers, more Ambassadors, more Heads of government agencies, etc.
The richest man in Africa is from the North. The North also has more religious men, men and women who go on annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, using taxpayers’ money.
Conversely, as Emir Sanusi has now told us, the North has more poor people, more malnourished children, more out of school children, more criminals: Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, political thugs, and perhaps, more looters of government treasury, etc. What an irony!
The North has nobody to blame for the level of poverty in their area. They have no excuse to give to anybody, but to blame themselves, for their incompetence and for their selfishness. Their leaders merely grab power to better themselves, their families, and their cronies.
For the past twenty years they have been telling us about the “Abacha loot”, which they alleged, the man carted away from the Nigerian treasury and deposited into various banks in Europe and America. Had Abacha used even a fraction of this money in his own local government area, it would have made a lot of difference in the lives of his people. But he preferred to keep the money for himself, his family, and for his children’s children, those yet unborn.
Perhaps, Abacha might not have been the only Nigerian President who looted or who stole government money. But he has become the only hief, because he is is dead!
Unfortunately, those who suffer most from the effects of the misrule or incompetence of their leaders, do not know that they are suffering. Like Plato’s prisoners in the cave, they continue to see everything as normal. They will even vent their spleen on anybody who attempts to bring them out from the cave, who tries to liberate them.
When former President Goodluck Jonathan built Almajiri schools in different parts of Northern Nigeria, the North saw this as abnormal and rejected it. Like Plato’s prisoners, they preferred to remain in the dark. Some leaders in the North even organized some miscreants to stone Goodluck Jonathan and his campaign team.
We hope that Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, was not among those Northern leaders who organized miscreants to stone Jonathan, who built Almajiri schools, in his desire to liberate the North from poverty and ignorance.