Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has noted that Nigeria is currently more divided than it was during the civil war between July 1967 and January 1970.
Sanusi said Nigeria has been “divided dangerously” along ethnic and religious lines, putting the integrity of public institutions in question.
Sanusi spoke on Tuesday at the Third Nigerian Leadership Colloquium in honour of the senior pastor of Trinity House, Lagos, Ituah Ighodalo, who turned 62.
“I don’t think Nigeria has been in a place as difficult as this since the civil war. We have a challenge of nation building,” he said.
“We have a country that has been divided dangerously along ethnic and religious lines.
“We have an economy that is in the doldrums, and unfortunately, we seem to be having a dearth of leadership among political leaders.”
The former CBN governor said, “In October 2022, speaking at the Kaduna Investment Forum, I told Nigerians that if anyone told them that dealing with Nigeria post-2023 would be easy, they should not vote for that person and I meant it.
“No process is perfect as we have seen in the United States and the United Kingdom that they have made mistakes in choosing their leaders. But at the very least, the people know who they are voting for. I think we need to begin to look at the Electoral Act much earlier than elections.
“We need to have a system where you cannot just go to participate in party primaries without exposing yourself to public scrutiny. This is what happens in the UK Labour Party, others, the US Republican and Democratic parties. People need to know who they are voting for. In other climes, they are compelled by law to participate in public debates to discuss issues of policy.
“You can actually get to the presidency without Nigerians knowing whether you have the capacity or the vision to do the job,” he added.
Sanusi also canvassed for more transparency in the electoral process, adding doing so will encourage political parties to select best candidates capable of doing the work.
“We need to also begin to look at the electoral process and the voting process which is very flawed and which can be improved upon in the Electoral Act. The important thing is there must be an improvement in the transparency.
“INEC must be compelled to discuss their issues and their vision. I think when we do that the parties will be forced to give us candidates that can do the work.”