BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Sanusi bemoans state of nation, says Nigeria stagnated in 40 years

Muhammadu Sanusi ll, former Emir of Kano State, has lamented the state of the nation, saying that Nigeria as a country has made no progress in the past 40 years.

Sanusi, a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, noted that all indices show that the purchasing power of Nigerians had plummeted, while income had also fallen to 40 years low.

“In 1980, Nigeria’s GDP per capita on purchasing power parity basis was $2,180. In 2014, it appreciated by 50 per cent to $3,099. According to the World Bank, where were we in 2019? $2,229. At this rate in the next two years in terms of purchasing power parity, the average income of a Nigerian would have gone back to what it was in 1980 under Shehu Shagari. That means, in 40 years, no progress, we made zero progress. 40 years wasted,” he said.

The former Emir spoke at a colloquium in Kaduna on Saturday to mark his 60th birthday anniversary.

Sanusi blames Nigerian leaders for the state of the country, saying that successive leaders had not shown the zeal to lead the country on the pact of progress.

Speaking further, he blamed the state of insecurity and various socio-economy issues plaguing the North to the long years of bad governance and neglect of the people by leaders.

Read Also: Emir Sanusi’s deposition: What politics gave, politics took back

Speaking on his tenure as the CBN governor, Sanusi said the reforms he and his team embarked upon in the banking sector transformed the economy and were critical to the sustenance and progress the sector has made today.

The event which was moderated by ace journalist, Kadaria Ahmed, had in attendance Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, former Deputy Governor of CBN, Kingsley Moghalo, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Emir of Zazzau, other Emirs and chiefs, University dons, other distinguished Nigerians, among others.

According to the former Emir, “So, what I will say briefly in all these 60 years is that my dream in life has always being to remain the same person to live by the values I set for myself, stand by those values and be ready to face the consequences.”

‘But if there is anything that I have to share with the younger generation especially that I now consider myself getting old is that the fears that we have are grossly unfounded. As Kingsley said when we started the banking reforms. On the eve of the banking reforms, every day, on the front pages of newspapers, the bank’s CEOs were at the Villa. They were the friends of the President, they were oligarchs, they were untouchables.”

“I remember when we started going after the bankers, someone called me and said, you know you are young man, you don’t know what you are doing, you will not succeed. What have we done today? So far, three or four of the wealthiest and powerful bank CEOs in this country have gone to jail and nothing happened.”

“You can fight any system; you don’t need a large number. People can have temporary powers to use but the truth will always prevail. So, when I was suspended as CBN Governor, I made a famous statement that you can suspend a man, but you cannot suspend the truth. And this is the truth that has come out.”

“As His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto said recently, this country has a problem. We cannot ignore the fact that things are not working. When you are in a society that is so abnormal, you cannot afford to be a conformist, because if you all conform things will not change.”

“Many years ago, when I was screaming about the billions being spent on fuel subsidy, I remember there was an attempt to arrack my house in Kano, then I was in the CBN. Where are we today? We are made to face reality. That fuel subsidy is unsustainable. Now when the decision is taken, it will be more painful than if they had removed it five or 10 years ago.”

“I only speak to the best of my understanding what I see about the country and I have paid the price, but Nigerians are the ones paying the real price. It is the price you see in increased poverty, it is a price you see in insecurity, in a high rate of inflation, in loss of values of our currency, in the numbers around malnutrition, unemployment, out-of-school children, maternal mortality and infant mortality.”

“Calling me controversial or calling me an enemy or critic, will not make those facts go away. So, anywhere we go, we must face these facts. Am I happy about it on my 60th birthday? No. Because, 60 years ago when I was born, the United State government advisory was telling investors that Nigeria has a better economic future than Japan. Today where are we and where is Japan? “

“It is not about one or two governments, it is about decades of a people throwing away opportunities and every time we are given a chance to make a change, we go back to the same old things.”

“And you know, when I have a platform like this, I have to talk. I have tried not to say much not because there is nothing to say or because I am afraid of speaking. The reason I have not spoken much in the last two years is that I don’t even have to say anything anymore, because all the things we were warning about have come.”

“In 1980, Nigeria’s GDP per capita on purchasing power parity basis was $2,180. In 2014, it appreciated by 50 per cent to $3,099. According to the World Bank, where were we in 2019? $2,229. At this rate in the next two years in terms of purchasing power parity, the average income of a Nigerian would have gone back to what it was in 1980 under Shehu Shagari. That means, in 40 years, no progress, we made zero progress. 40 years wasted.”

“Between 2014 and 2029, on the basis of this index of the purchasing power of the average income of an average Nigerian, we have wiped out all the progress made in 35 years. We have a responsibility as a people to rise and improve the lives of the people of this country.”

“It is no longer about government, political parties, traditional rulers, Emirs. The days are gone of saying one class of people whether they are Emirs or civil servants cannot talk. When there is a fire, everyone has to go with a bucket of water.

“We need to understand how our economy works as a people; we need to understand our choices. 70 per cent of our challenges in this country from insecurity to herder/farmer clashes, all have their roots in the economy. Even this shout about restructuring is about economics, it is about resources. We need to grow this economy and make it work for the poor people.”