“We’re all victims of colonization” — debating the history of Northern Nigeria domination. Remarks by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2009- )
The insightful and provocative comments by Nigeria’s new Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi continue to draw responses by many. Most of the published ones seem in support of his sweeping but well argued statements about the fact the citizens of Nigeria, from all ethnic and social groups, suffer as “all victims of colonization”. Continuing that internal and external forces have impoverished the North and Nigerians, as a whole. Adding, too, that regional arguments reflect 1953 mindset instead of 2009 and the options of the future.
USAfricaonline.com publishes the detailed text of Sanusi’s comments/speech, November 19, 2009, titled: ‘We’re all victims of colonization’ made at the Muson Centre in Lagos during the launch of the book “Nigeria, Africa’s failed asset?”. The book is by Sir Olaniwun Ajayi.
For context and clarity, USAfricaonline.com has added some first/full names/titles/dates in brackets. Plus, USAfrica adds the sub-title to Sanusi’s valuable views. We welcome your responses. Thanks. Chido Nwangwu, Publisher, USAfricaonline.com :
‘We’re all victims of colonization — debating the history and myths of Northern Nigeria domination.’ By Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
“Let me start by saying that I am Fulani. 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 can not 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 Abakani. The man from Zaria was Abazasage.
The man from Katsina was Abakani. 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 (the) South West produced after (the region’s leader Obafemi) Awolowo that are role models of leadership? How many governors has the East
produced like (Nigeria’s first ceremonial president from the area) 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 (former military President of Nigeria, Ibrahim) 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 Urhobo 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 (Cecilia) Ibru (of Oceanic Bank) build in Urhobo land? So, why will the ancestors of the Urhobo people support her?
“We talk ethnicity when it pleases us. It is hypocrisy. You said
elections were rigged in 1959, (former military ruler and later civilian President Olusegun) Obasanjo and (INEC Chairman) 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, Igbo, Yoruba and Itshekiri man whose concern is how to get his hands on the pie and how much he can steal.”
Whether it is in the military or in the civilian government, they seat 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 Urhobos. 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 can not 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?”
A response to Sanusi’s comments by Benjamin Aduba is here, titled Is Sanusi excusing Northern Nigeria’s failings and domination?
Nigeria, a terrible beauty. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica
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