The Sun News

Poor North: Ango Abdullahi slams Sanusi

…Says he should go and read the history of Nigeria
■Listen to the Emir, eminent Nigerians tell northern leaders

By Onyedika Agbedo (Lagos), Noah Ebije and Abdullahi Hassan (Kaduna)

the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, is not new to controversies. In fact, he often courts them with candour. As such, his recent statement that if Nigeria were to be divided, the North-east and North-west zones would be poorest globally, if they were countries, has put him at loggerheads with northern elders.
Spokesman of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abadullahi, who reacted to the statement in a chat with Sunday Sun in Kaduna, not only faulted the Emir, but also declared that “he is a very young man that should go and read the history of Nigeria” before making certain statements about the country.
Meanwhile, some eminent Nigerians have advised leaders in the North to face the truth and work towards the development of the region instead of taking up issues with the monarch.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (CBN) had while speaking at the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, with the theme “Making Kaduna Investment Destination of Choice”, last Wednesday, said the North-east and the North-west of the country were among the poorest parts of the world.
The monarch, who presented the keynote address at the event, also lambasted northern leaders for their complicity in impoverishing the region. He said:  “We are in denial. The North-west and the North-east, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population. But, look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the North-east and the North-west Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world.

 

“As far back as 2000, I looked at the numbers, Borno and Yobe states, UNDP figures… Borno and Yobe states, if they were a country on their own, were poorer than Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Nobody saw this because we were looking at Nigeria as a country that averages the oil-rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial-rich Lagos, the commercially viable South-east, and you have an average. Break Nigeria into its component parts and these parts of the country are among the poorest, if it were a country. And, we do not realise we are in trouble.”
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, re-echoed Sanusi’s argument at the same summit last Thursday saying: “The truth of the matter is when you look at human development in the indices of Nigeria, they hide a lot of information. They saw us as middle-income country; they saw that we are making progress in terms of education and health care. But when you disaggregate this number and look at them from zone to zone, from state to state, it is very revealing. It shows for, instance, that some states in Nigeria are as backward as Afghanistan in terms of education, health care and opportunities. And many of the states in the North-west are afflicted with these challenges.”
Abdullahi, however, told Sunday Sun that the North spearheaded the development of the country ab initio and has the capacity to develop very fast if let go from Nigeria.
The former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who had recently declared that the North was ready for the breakup of the country, stressed that the North could still stand on its own as an independent entity as it has both the land and the population.
He explained: “With due respect to the Emir of Kano, the statement he made was misleading and misrepresentation of facts about the true state of northern Nigeria. You see, what I have been saying for a long time is that the North has advantage over other parts of the Nigeria in terms of population, proportion and resources. What I am saying is that Northern Nigeria should wake up to its challenges like others part of the Nigeria. Of course, every part of Nigeria has its peculiar challenges and problems in terms of development likewise Nigeria as whole.  I am an advocate of dividing Nigeria at the different levels and I disagree with the Emir’s position.”
“The North sustained and can still sustain this country,”Abdullahi insisted, adding: “The greatest advantage of the North over other regions is that 75 per cent of land in Nigeria comes from North; agriculture contributes 45 per cent of the GDP against oil, which contributes 14 per cent. Apart from the foreign exchange which oil provides, which in fact has always been stolen by the leaders, there is nothing much to talk about. Presently, there is potential of oil in many parts of Northern Nigeria. Let me tell you that oil money is idle money, which Nigeria has not worked for. The only place where there is availability of work is the North because it produces a greater percentage of the food we eat as well as those used by some of our industries. In any case, there are countries that said they are not moving forward and decided that the best thing to do was to divide. So, what is wrong in dividing the country?”
He added: “You see, the Emir of Kano is a very young man; he should go and read the history of Nigeria. He is an economist; he needs to go and do a little more research in terms of factors for economic development. North possesses all what it takes to develop faster now.”
The former adviser on food security to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo further said: “Northern Nigeria has land, population and can generate capital. His views are his own, not that of northerners.  I believe many northerners would disagree with him. There are many documented research that northern Nigerian sustained the entire Nigeria state from 1914 up to 1974. Apparently, the Emir ignored the historical fact of this country. It cannot be contested that right from the colonial masters to the late Sardauna of Sokoto’s time, northern Nigerian supported the economic growth of this country.  The economic strength of the North was the thing that sustained the Nigeria state in the early days of its existence from 1914 to 1944. Take it from me; the budget of western and eastern Nigeria was derived from resources and revenue from Northern Nigeria earned right from colonial government, which was meant to provide resources to balance their budget. So, I don’t see the fact about poverty and under development the Emir was trying to establish in his argument. There are people living in the North-east and they are doing very well.”
Abdullahi argued that virtually every part of the country was facing challenges at the moment, the North not being an exception. “If one tells me that there has been irresponsible leadership in the North, I can accept that.  But that one is a universal problem in Nigeria today. Yes, there is the argument that Northern leaders should have done a lot for their people despite the abundant resources in their areas. In 1960 there were only two secondary schools in Northern Nigeria — Government College Keffi and Barewa College Zaria. How many do we have today? So, the problem of illiteracy was caused by some factors like the issue of quality or approach, rather than the premise that instead of building more classrooms the money was squandered.
“There is also issue of the growing number of children begging on the streets. It is true that there should be an effort in each state that will engage the youth in something to encourage them not the so-called feeding programme where a lot of money is being stolen instead of using it to build more classrooms, improve the welfare of teachers and bring more children to school.
“I support this argument but the overall problems of Nigeria today hinge on leadership. So, by the time people have their government within themselves, people would check the excess of waste. That is why we are advocating for the division of the country.
Speaking with Sunday Sun on the issue, former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, noted that the Emir was truthful in his comments and urged northern leaders to listen to him.
“Sanusi has been very truthful in his comments. When Prof. Ango Abdullahi said sometime ago that the North was ready for the disintegration of the country, I was wondering which North he was talking about or whether he was referring to his clan — the feudal elements in the North. But the truth is that the North loses most if Nigeria should breakup today. What is the literacy level in the North? What is the income per head demographically in the North? When did education stop being a major resource for economic development? So, Sanusi is saying something people should listen to. I do not see anything strange in what Sanusi said because I knew it and I had written about it.
“For him to say it, it means he is committed. He is a true northerner who is committed to the long-term interest of the North, which is tied up with one Nigeria. With a breakup, the North will be worse off while the South will survive even with more improvement. But we prefer One Nigeria and one market for all of us. Any group that has intelligence guiding its actions cannot walk away from One Nigeria. But there must be equity and justice. No section of the country should be treated as if they are being pushed out of Nigeria like the Igbos are being treated today,” Ezeife said.
Ezeife called for a return of the country to the foundation laid by its founding fathers. “The Nigeria we have today resulted from a desire by federal troops to win the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. And the military leaders that followed continued with the same pattern and made things worse by creating more states, giving more to the North. A return to the regional structure is what Nigeria needs to move forward.”
Speaking in the same vein, Second Republic politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, said: “Sanusi is looking at the Nigerian situation holistically and that if the country is founded on justice, fair play and equity, certainly the whole of Nigeria will prosper. And Nigeria’s prosperity will only come by restructuring the system of governance we have. The system of governance we have at the moment promotes indolence. It does not give room for initiatives; it does not give room for various sections of the country to try and capitalise their own God-given resources. If the country is fully returned to a truly federal structure as our founding fathers gave us during independence, you can be sure that the federating units will be more viable than any other West African country today.”
Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, in his comments, noted that the dynamics of the country has changed and urged northern leaders to work out ways of improving the economy of the region without depending on oil revenue. “Sanusi has expressed an opinion and I expect him to hold an opinion under a democracy. What I know is that Nigerians have opted for unity and when we have the unity, we are going to ensure that we solve all the problems facing Nigeria together. I think the northern people should be able to sit down, speak and plan for themselves. The Niger Deltans would not accept to be ruled without seeing the impact of the oil revenue in their region. They have made up their mind on that. So, if the North continues to depend on revenue from Niger Delta oil and the commercialisation of Lagos, they are wasting their time,” he said.
It remains to be seen how the two zones in the North, which served as case studies in the Kaduna summit, would react to this discourse. But what is clear is that the North has realised its mistakes and is now talking to itself. Recall that the Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) and Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, had earlier this year declared that “the North is a poor, pathetic shadow of its former self” at a forum where the creme-de-la-creme of the region were assembled. How far these efforts in self-awakening would go is left for time to tell.

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11 Comments

  1. Dr. Uche Kalu 9th April 2017 at 12:48 pm

    If that quota Professor,Alhaji Ango Abdullahi faults the candid and honest assessment and prognosis of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi ll,
    for the North East and North West, then he is a very very dishonest man and also he is in denial.
    On Demography; Old Western Nigeria and Old Eastern Nigeria
    have respectively, more than hundred times the number of
    people per a square mile than Alhaji Ango Abdullahi’s empty and
    sparsely populated North.
    However, the Fulani Caliphate of Sokoto is yet to allow a proper
    taking of census figure in its domain for once.Right from our Colonial era,the Northern Oligarchys had always manipulated the
    Demography of the North by issuing an arbitrary and cooked up
    census figures.The Alhaji’s claim on Northern population is blantantly and speciously mendacious.
    On Agricultture;Alhaji Ango Abdullahi seems to have forgotten
    the Green Revolution of President Shehu Shagari’s Era,when
    billions of Nairas of our N’Delta oil money was spent on irrigations,
    damms and agric- equipments through out the North, in order to boost the Agricultural potential of the Region.
    Our entire South got not a kobo from that Green Revolution Funds, even though our Southern cash crops; Cocoa,Palm oil and Palm Kernels, Rubber and Timbers, generated more revenues than the Cottons, Peanuts,Hides and Skins of the North.
    In my Eastern Region,our Old Ogoja Province with its surplus Agricultural Products,fed not only our entire Eastern Region but West Cameroon too.
    Prof Ango Abdullahi should please come down from his platitude and confront the reality in his Daura North.
    The streets of Cities and Towns through his Daura North is teeming with street urchins and almajiris,who clog the traffics and
    menence pedestrians and motorists from sun rise to sun set and
    throught out the night daily.
    The appalling sights of multitudes of street,gutter and overpass
    dwellers through the North is a disgrace to Prof.Ango Abdullahi
    and his fellow Northern Leaders.
    Their criminal neglect of the Northern masses is a blot on the escutcheon of human kinds.
    They the ruling elites, of the North own the oil wells in our Southern backyards, fishing ponds and waters and besides,the Northern States get more allocations from our oil revenues,yet the North still has lots of destitutes and beggars on the streets.
    However, trips to other Fulani or Fulbe countries like Chad,
    Gambia,Mali,Niger, Senegal et al,where the Fulani cattle drivers
    aliens of the North originally came from,the story is not different.
    There are also teeming lazy beggars ,streets and gutter dwellers
    all over those countries.
    The Fulanis or Fulbes seem to be a cursed folks amongst the
    dwellers of our Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Our Fulani Overlords of the Caliphate of Sokoto seem to be the
    lucky ones mongst the other Fulni/Fulbe folks of our Sub-saharan
    Africa.
    But if Prof. Ango Abdullahi and his Fulani/Fulbe don’t want to live in Rome and do like the Romans,they might be overstaying their welcome here in our Fatherland.
    Down with the status quo of Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemony!
    Hail Biafra!!

  2. Hinds Peter 9th April 2017 at 4:55 pm

    About teaching simultaneous equations.I merrily teach what is in the text book.Besides science is full of simultaneous equations.The idea of finding the optimal value.Peter Carlos Hinds.Commander.Barbados.

  3. Hinds Peter 9th April 2017 at 5:07 pm

    About that accounting exam.The white man’s fools can not believe that some one who is not Afroindian.Could do so brilliantly.The same way the jack asses can not understand how Pythagoras who lived 2000 years ago could be so relevant.Peter Carlos Hinds.Commander.Barbados.

  4. Hinds Peter 9th April 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I would like to ask the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago .What is his policy on the Afroindian population.And if he (the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago) would be prepared to hang A guilty Indian or Afroindian.Peter Carlos Hinds.Commander.Barbados.

  5. Onyewuchi Nze 9th April 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Prof Ango Abdullahi and Emir Sanusi were not saying the same thing. The professor was right, the whole North can easily be prosperous as a nation, if left alone. Emir Sanusi was right, the NE and the NW would not be easily prosperous if left alone as a nation. The NE and the NW are not the whole North.

    The peoples of the Christian parts of the NE and NW were the most oppressed people in Nigeria, particularly those of Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Gombe, Bornu, and Kaduna. These people are oppressed by the Muslims, simply because the Koran says, they as unbelievers, should be oppressed, and not because they committed any crime. But if you to remove these parts from the NE and NW, the zones case, would be more hopeless.

    Chief Ebenezer Babatope said something about the unity of the country. I first heard of Babatope in connection one students’ union election at Unilag during the 70’s. At that time Babatope was a staff of the university. I heard about him in UPN, in Abacha’s governments, etc. At least, I know the type of politician he is. He is one of those who made this country and it’s politics what it is today. I know how serious to take him.

    Nobody should be against the unity of a country, where there is equal treatment of all citizens, fairness and justice. But Where there is unequal treatment of citizens, and it is too difficult, or impossible to overcome the forces responsible for the unequal treatment, then those on the wrong side of the situation, would be foolish to support the system that treats them unequally.

  6. Hinds Peter 9th April 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Teaching is such a respected and honored profession.Yet Archimedes Who ran naked through the streets shouting “eureka eureka”(which means I have found it)is part of the children’s syllabus.Be it density the volumes of certain objects flotation and other mathematics.Am I to accept that teachers take credit for such immorality.What about sir Isac Newton who was a farm laborer.To who we owe much of the space program.Or George Boole to who we owe Boolean algebra.Who had no education at all.And incidentally died walking through the rain to a lecture.Contracting pneumonia.And Faraday who was a book binder.Sneaking out at lunch to attend lectures given by Humfrey Davy.To who we owe all of electrical engineering.And Einstein who barely passed his exams.And would not get a scholarship in todays academia.And Alexander Graham Bell.Who was a teacher of the deaf and dumb.Who invented the telephone.And many such others with a humble past.Why do not teachers and lectures leave out the out ward appearance of their students.And concentrate on getting the exact answer to physical problems.Instead of turning the school in to a dog show.Peter Carlos Hinds.Commander.Barbados.

  7. Alabi 9th April 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Hmmmmm the elders in d north are not afraid if d country break because they have their fair share of d common wealth. The youths are pleading througth d Emir for nigerians to see their plight and try to understand d emptiness thier elders left. This is d beauty of democracy in action had been during d military era who dear look at lion’s eyes. My humble opinion God have reasons for bringing us together we need to have an honest and sincere dialogue to chart a new direction for Nigeria to move forward. God bless Nigeria.

  8. Hinds Peter 9th April 2017 at 7:51 pm

    ERRATA.Let it be expressly stated for histories sake.That it was Faraday that gave man kind the gift of electrical engineering.Because while other scientists discovered certain aspects of electricity.Faraday made electrical engineering a part of the economy.So much so that many companies paid him(Faraday) to solve their electrical problems.Faraday starting work as an unqualified book binder.Sneaking out at lunch to attend lectures given by Humfry Davy.George Boole Uneducated.Who invented Boolean algebra.Going through the rain to give a lecture.Caught pneumonia and died.Peter Carlos Hinds.Comander.Barbados.

  9. Mizch 9th April 2017 at 9:42 pm

    “We are in denial. The North-west and the North-east, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population. But, look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the North-east and the North-west Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world.” Emir Sanuni of Kano. This is true, write it on gold.

  10. maduagwu nkemakolam 10th April 2017 at 2:28 am

    “Any group that has intelligence guiding it’s actions cannot walk away from one Nigeria” This statement from Okwadike is very instructive. His Royal Majesty, The Emir is very correct in his assessment of the socioeconomic status of some parts of Northern Nigeria. You can read all the books in the world, but what your reading does not have anchorage in you, it makes no meaning. We have a lot of highly literate fellows who are unfortunately not educated.
    A well educated person will see things from a broader perspective, not from a narrow tribal confinement. The North just like any other part of the country has all the potential for development, but to actualize that will need a well educated, liberal and open society. That means the ability to be able to tap and make use the expertise of other fellow country men who can help irrespective culture and religion. This applies to every section of the country.
    Nigeria as a country has all it takes to be one of the greatest nation on earth. One can understand the ranting of the ordinary man in the street for the country to split,due the frustrating circumstances that envelopes the state. But when some of our elites, who are supposedly educated and should understand what the nation and it’s people stand to gain from a federally democratic Nigeria,are echoing the words of the man in the street, it could be disturbing. That means all the national assignments such individuals have participated in are all skewed towards tribal and religious sentiments.
    If our leadership have the interest of the country at heart the should be courageous enough to start the process of True federalism, by restructuring the the country. We may move at equal pace but we can help each other.
    Let us be warned that if Nigeria splits, is not going to benefit any section, if those who are talking about reading the history of the country understands the sociopolitical dynamics of this entity, they would understand splitting the country would be disastrous to this part of West Africa. The whole place would go into pieces.
    Once one section goes others would follow and there would be crisis all over. One united indivisible Nigeria would benefit all.

  11. maduagwu nkemakolam 10th April 2017 at 2:35 am

    ………We may not move at equal pace but we can help each other

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