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Sanusi to Nigerians: Don’t pursue federal character at the expense of merit

Sanusi to Nigerians: Don’t pursue federal character at the expense of merit
October 01
17:17 2020

Muhammadu Sanusi, the former emir of Kano, has asked Nigerians not to pursue achieving federal character at the expense of merit and competence.

Sanusi advised Nigerians to respect merit and performance rather than the doctrine of federal character, which according to him, has not made the country better.

Speaking on Thursday at The Platform, an annual conference organised by Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th independence, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Nigeria would grow if she shunned the politics of regionalism and ethnicity.

“We should have federal character but why do we have a minister that can deliver but another that cannot deliver. Why is federal character always pursued at the expense of merit and competence?” he questioned.

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“What are our national values? Are we a country that respects merit? Are we a country that rewards performance? Are we a country that places the people at the heart?”

Sanusi said the federal character doctrine has not solved the problem of marginalisation which has been a subject of intense debate in the country.

“If you ask people why they are being marginalised, they would look at the composition of political offices. When you go down to the masses and find out who the poorest people are.

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“Where do you have the highest number of out of school children? Where do you have the highest level of malnutrition? Where do you have the highest level of underemployment? Those are what affect the vast majority of Nigerians.

“Then you begin to know who the truly marginalised people are. And you would be surprised to know those who have been – quote and unquote, marginalising others politically. If you look at political officers, they actually come from areas where people are most marginalised when you look at real economic indicators.

“So if there is any proof that being from one part of the country in government does not necessarily translate to better effort, that country is Nigeria.

“So until we get out of this almost juvenile obsession of where is this person from, what religion does he have and actually begin to ask those who wants to be president, ministers and governors – what are your credentials? What do you bring to the table? What do you have to offer the people.”

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Sanusi said the country has to focus on building human capital given that more than half of Nigeria’s 200 million population are under the age of 20.

He warned that Nigeria would have bigger problems in the next 20 years if its working population lacks the skills needed to build an economy.

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