Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II response to Sir Olaniwun Ajayi’s book titled “Nigeria , Africa ‘s failed asset?”


“Let me start by saying that I am Fulani (laughter).
My grandfather was an Emir and therefore I
represent all that has been talked about this
afternoon. Sir Ajayi has written a book. And like all
Nigerians of his generation, he has written in the
language of his generation.
“My grandfather was a Northerner, I am a Nigerian.
The problem with this country is that in 2009, we
speak in the language of 1953. Sir Olaniwun can be
forgiven for the way he spoke, but I cannot forgive
people of my generation speaking in that language.
“Let us go into this issue because there are so
many myths that are being bandied around. Before
colonialism, there was nothing like Northern
Nigeria, Before the Sokoto Jihad, there was nothing
like the Sokoto caliphate. The man from Kano
regard himself as bakane. The man from Zaria was
bazazzage. The man from Katsina was bakatsine.
The kingdoms were at war with each other. They
were Hausas, they were Muslims, they were killing
each other.
“The Yoruba were Ijebu, Owo, Ijesha, Akoko, Egba.
When did they become one? When did the North
become one? You have the Sokoto Caliphate that
brought every person from Adamawa to Sokoto and
said it is one kingdom. They now said it was a
Muslim North.
“The Colonialists came, put that together and said it
is now called the Northern Nigeria. Do you know
what happened? Our grand fathers were able to
transform to being Northerners. We have not been
able to transform to being Nigerians. The fault is
ours. Tell me, how many governors has South West
produced after Awolowo that are role models of
leadership? How many governors has the East
produced like Nnamdi Azikiwe that can be role
models of leadership? How Many governors in the
Niger Delta are role models of leadership? Tell me.
There is no evidence statistically that any part of
this country has produced good leaders. You talk
about Babangida and the economy. Who were the
people in charge of the economy during Babangida
era? Olu Falae, Kalu Idika Kalu. What state are they
from in the North?
“We started the banking reform; the first thing I
heard was that in Urobo land, that there will be a
curse of the ancestors. I said they (ancestors)
would not answer. They said why? I said how many
factories did Ibru build in Urobo land? So, why will
the ancestors of the Urobo people support her?
“We talk ethnicity when it pleases us. It is
hypocrisy. You said elections were rigged in 1959,
Obasanjo and Maurice Iwu rigged election in 2007.
Was it a Southern thing? It was not.
“The problem is: everywhere in this country, there
is one Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba and Itshekiri man whose
concern is how to get his hands on the pile and how
much he can steal. Whether it is in the military or in
the civilian government, they sit down, they eat
together. In fact, the constitution says there must be
a minister from every state.
“So, anybody that is still preaching that the problem
of Nigeria is Yoruba or Hausa or Fulani, he does not
love Nigeria . The problem with Nigeria is that a
group of people from each and every ethnic tribe is
very selfish. The poverty that is found in Maiduguri
is even worse than any poverty that you find in any
part of the South.
The British came for 60 years and Sir Ajayi talked
about few numbers of graduates in the North (two
at independence) . What he did not say was that
there was a documented policy of the British when
they came that the Northerner should not be
educated. It was documented. It was British colonial
policy. I have the document. I have published
articles on it. That if you educate the Northerner
you will produce
progressive Muslim intellectuals of the type we
have in Egypt and India. So, do not educate them. It
was documented. And you say they love us
(North).”I have spent the better part of my life to
fight and Dr. (Reuben) Abati knows me. Yes, my
grandfather was an Emir. Why was I in the pro-
democracy movement fighting for June 12? Is
(Moshood) Abiola from Kano ? Why am I a founding
director of the Kudirat Initiative for Nigerian
Development (KIND)?
“There are good Yoruba people, good Igbo people,
good Fulani people, good Nigerians and there are
bad people everywhere. That is the truth. “Stop
talking about dividing Nigeria because we are not
the most populous country in the world. We have all
the resources that make it easy to make one united
great Nigeria . It is better if we are united than to
divide it.
“Every time you talk about division, when you
restructure, do you know what will happen? In Delta
Area, the people in Warri will say Agbor, you don’t
have oil. When was the Niger Delta constructed as
a political entity? Ten years ago, the Itshekiris were
fighting the Urobos. Isn’t that what was happening?
Now they have become Niger Delta because they
have found oil. After, it will be, if you do not have oil
in your village then you cannot share our resources.
“There is no country in the world where resources
are found in everybody’s hamlet. But people have
leaders and they said if you have this geography
and if we are one state, then we have a
responsibility for making sure that the people who
belong to this country have a good nature.
“So, why don’t you talk about; we don’t have
infrastructure,we don’t have education, we don’t
have health. We are still talking about Fulani. Is it
the Fulani cattle rearer or is anybody saying there
is no poverty among the Fulani? Nigeria is ours to
make!” Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

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