Saturday, 29 April 2017

Emir Sanusi Vs Northern Political Elite

During the week, what looked like a fight back from the northern political elite against the Emir of Kano, HRM Mohammadu Sanusi II, was registered when the news was released by the Kano Emirate Council that it had spent N3.4 Billion in the last three years. The state government had claimed that the Emirate council had spent N6 billion within the same period. The same state government had claimed that Emir Sanusi inherited N4 billion from his predecessor, and not the N2.9 billion the Emirate Council said it inherited.
It is surely a cruel response to the punches thrown at the political elite by Emir Sanusi during the recently-held Kaduna Investment summit.
As he often does, his speech ruffled many feathers. And this unsettled the northern political elite. The brickbats had started with the vitriolic letter the Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari wrote to Sanusi calling him a hypocrite and one who was a threat to Islam, admonishing him to literally respect himself. Sanusi’s offence was debunking as “unIslamic” the theory of Gov Yari which says fornication breeds meningitis. Yari had blamed the outbreak of meningitis on the tons of sins of his people. The death toll on the meningitis as at last Thursday had hit 813. The governor just didn’t have vaccines and rather than admit so, he blamed it on the fornication of the people. It was as unIslamic as it was unscientific. We have long found out that in Zamfara State, for instance, there are 21 medical doctors in the 24 state-owned hospitals. That means that at least three state hospitals do not have medical doctors. Is this the result of the people’s sin too? Need we say more on how decrepit Yari’s theory is?
Emir Sanusi dared to speak truth to the people, saying what everybody has always known but hardly expressed openly.
The feudal system which still operates in the north mixed with the high level of illiteracy helps to promote mass ignorance and blind adherence to religious dogma.
Many of the big men in the north are just pedophiles, in the name of the religious permit to marry many wives. We see men of over 60 years of age squaring up in marriage with teenagers and even minors. That explains why the Emir’s comment on the girl child education rankles the political elite in the north, most of whom are the worst perpetrators of the act especially as they can easily intimidate the poor rural folks with their money.
But if they discriminate against the education of the girl child, how well do they do with the boy child? Is it not the same boy child that constitutes the despicable practice of Almajiri?How can they be encouraging poor people to keep marrying more wives and procreating without caution or adequate financial backing, all in the name of religion and culture?
Is it not true that the northern political elite nurture and protect the almajiri system because it helps them to feather their political nest during elections?
It had to take the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to build special schools for the almajiris. Jonathan it was, who also established nine universities in the country, six of which were located in the north.
Are these not the same people that academic standards are often lowered during admissions into federal institutions—be it secondary or universities?
How well do the northern elites care about education? In this time and age, we still have schools where teaching and learning take place under the trees in the north. And any day it rains, such a school is on holiday.
How many of the children of the northern elite attend such schools?
How many scholarships do they award per year?
Is it untrue that the highest numbers of uneducated folks in the country are in the north? What is the average budget on education in the north and what is the annual budget on pilgrimage and religious activities/projects like building of mega mosques?
Is it not true that the more uneducated the people are, the less critical they will be and the more vulnerable they will be for political manipulation?
But these same governors who refuse to build and equip classrooms make heavy annual budgets to sponsor people on pilgrimage as a matter of priority. These same governors who would not build schools, build big mosques.
How does that impact on development?
Why should that be the concern of a responsible government? Why should government money be used to pursue and sponsor such religious programmes while we claim we operate a policy of secularity in government?
This is simply because those sponsored to such pilgrimages—be it Christians or Muslims, will often pay back with their support to the governor during elections.
The north has held on to political power longer than any other part of the country. What has that translated to in terms of the socio-metrics of development? Is it not clear that without education, there can be no development? Does that not explain why despite everything the north, the core north, that is, is yet wearing a rustic and pristine look? Indeed, Emir Sanusi was right when he said if Yobe and Borno States were to be countries, they would be poorer than Niger and Chad. How true!
Why are the northern elites angry with Emir Sanusi for daring to tell them what the rest of the nation have always known and talked about?
Even on health care, the north is still tottering behind. There are several diseases in the north which are largely caused by poverty and malnutrition. I once visited a hospital in Sokoto township where all the patients—young and old, have terrible ugly infections that eat up their upper or lower lips thus exposing their dentition. I cannot remember the technical name of the disease. Doctors say it is mainly caused by malnutrition.
Just last Sunday, a doctor was speaking on 92.3 FM radio in Lagos and was relating an experience of medical practice in the north. He recalled a particular case where an illiterate mother who had just lost her set of twins to poor medical attention was almost losing another child within one week all because the husband (who has three other wives and dozens of children) did not give the permission for the sick child to be taken to hospital, all because there was no money even for the most basic medical procedure. The doctor said they had to task themselves to donate some money to enable the woman’s child to be treated and saved. Is that not why infant and maternal mortality is still very high in the north? But the governors of such states would have the presence of mind to sponsor people on pilgrimage. Imagine the plight of the 21 medical doctors in the 23 hospitals in Zamfara State, where the governor literally governs the state from his cosy Abuja castle. There are times the doctors in such hospitals will helplessly watch patients die because of no drugs and equipment.
Truth hurts the heart of the wicked, hence the northern political elite are ganging up against Emir Sanusi. Reports have even said there are plots by the same northern elite to dethrone him, as if that is what will change the ill-narrative of the north.
To kick-start the plot, the Kano State government has set up a plan to probe the finances and operations of the Kano Emirate Council, as if it is a government parastatal.  What has the government got to do with the running of a traditional institution?
How many times does the Osun State Government probe the budget and finances of the Ooni of Ife? Or the Edo State government probing the Oba of Benin’s financial books?
How come this financial efficiency of the Kano State government is coming just after the Emir’s keynote address at the Kaduna summit?


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