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Nigeria’s pursuit of federal character at expense of merit hampers development – Sanusi

Why Nigeria is in far worse economic mess by Sanusi

Pursuing the federal character policy of drawing representatives from respective states of the country at the expense of merit and competence will continue to hamper Nigeria’s development, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Emir of Kano, said on Thursday.

Sanusi, who spoke at the October 1, 2020 edition of The Platform to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary, said despite the constitution providing for ministers to be appointed from each state, it does not require qualifications that demonstrate their capacity to deliver their mandate.

The Platform is organised by Poju Oyemade, senior pastor and founder of The Covenant Nation.

This trend, Sanusi said, profits individual interests and pushes the collective development of the country into jeopardy.

“When someone is appointed to a public office, what are the expectations and deliveries? There must be a periodic assessment which should be public and transparent. What do you need to do to remain in an office? Is it to deliver or to just be loyal?” Sanusi asked.

“So if you take a minister from Kano, it doesn’t matter. He could be the most uneducated human being. So long as he is from Kano, you tick that box,” he said.

The former Central Bank (CBN) governor noted that the elephant in the room is the destructive trend of decimating institutions into tools that serve the interest of whoever occupies the executive position.

Christopher Kolade, a diplomat and academic, speaking earlier on why lack of public trust in government is rife 60 years after independence, said representatives of the people often fail to give an account of their stewardship.

The country, according to him, is not sensitively appropriated by individuals and politics is prioritised over good governance as political parties derail from their objectives.

“If you represent somebody, you find out what the person really wants and you have an obligation to give an account of what you have done with the opportunity to be a representative. But they represent themselves and do not account to stakeholders,” Kolade said.

If the nation must forge ahead, Sanusi urged that the politics of identity wielded by Nigeria’s elite in competing for the ‘national cake’ must be deemphasised.

Economically, he commended the government for discarding the anachronistic fuel subsidy funding which he described as a decade-old scam.

However, he said, the country needs to encourage the movement of capital into production, explore diversification, invest in human capital development among youths and cater to the needs of girls’ education.

According to him, creating opportunities for girls to escape poverty could solve intergenerational poverty and even maternal and child mortality.

Having a progressive attitude to the rights of women, more than half of the population, helps the country, Sanusi said.