Is Sanusi excusing Northern Nigeria’s failings and domination?
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
The November 2009 insightful and provocative comments by Nigeria’s new Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (published below on this web site https://usafricaonline.com/sanusi-debating-colonization-northern-nigeria-domination/ ) 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 what the CBN chief calls a “1953” colonial era mindset instead of 2009 progressive language and the options of the future of Nigeria.
But USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine Boston-based columnist Benjamin Aduba, thinks differently in a provocative piece for. Aduba, asserting to the contrary, writes essentially that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a Northern Nigerian! – no matter how impressive his speech. The debate:
Lamido Sanusi is a Northern Nigerian despite his protestations.
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine and Nigeria360@yahoogroups e-group
Nigeria’s Central Bank governor Lamido Sanusi’s outburst would have been a statesman like contribution if he had limited himself to demonstrating his knowledge of Nigerian history which seems profound. It would still have been the truth if his analogy of how all Nigerians have contributed and are contributing to the destruction of Nigeria. His speech would have been the “speech of the year” if he had ended it with his call for us to come and build a one united Nigeria.
His speech had many parts that would have served as a great expose of what the enigma called Nigeria is if he had not added two arguments.
These two positions exposed Mr. Sanusi for who he really is.
The first of these is this: “…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? …”
Sanusi is saying in effect that the failings of retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s regime ought to be laid at the foot of Igbo and Yoruba. I beg to disagree. The failings of the Babangida regime should be laid at the foot of Babangida and nowhere else. Here are the reasons:
- Babangida was a military dictator. He chose who ever he wanted to implement HIS policies. There was no confirmation or vetting of his choices and they had no other supervisors. Mr. Sanusi for example, cannot be removed his current job without a trial by the Senate (60%) approving. So if he fails in this job there could be a case of shared responsibilities. Falae and Kalu did not have this protection.
- Nigeria, under Babangida was governed by the Supreme Military Council. Falae and Kalu were not members of the Council and did not have to attend their meetings. They could not even lobby the Council for their positions assuming they disagreed with their commander. The gentlemen were in the third rung of the ladder below Supreme Military Council, below Babangida.
- By this statement Mr. Sanusi was merely defending the North and is therefore a Northerner, not A Nigerian as he purported to be saying.
The second of Mr. Sanusi’s position is reflected in this: “…What he (Sir Ajayi) did not say was that there was a documented policy of the British when they came that the Northerner should not be educated…”
Once more we find Mr. Sanusi defending the North. It was not the fault of the North that they did not advance as much as the South in education because the British held them down while allowing the South to advance.
Again I beg to disagree. The British did not have two education policies. They had one. The same one they had in India, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Southern Nigeria and all the other places they ruled. It was best stated in the “purpose of Bantu (South Africa) education.”
A brief summary of this policy would be that the purpose of Bantu education was to provide him (the Bantu) with enough education to serve the White man. Here is how it worked in practice in Nigeria:
- The missionaries were allowed to build and run primary schools at their own expense. Southern Nigeria had only traditional religions and therefore was easy for the missionaries to penetrate. The North already had a strong Muslim presence and had Islamic school education going on and needed to be tackled differently. So, the South got European education and the North got Arabic (Islamic) education. Both levels were actually equal at the time. The only difference was that the European education suited the British better.
- When the British felt the need for servants with a little more education, they built secondary schools in each of the three Regions. They did not favor any part above the other. And as the need for higher education was felt they built the Colleges of Art Science and Technology in all the three Regions. The only difference was that the Southern people took advantage of the opportunities while the North was slower to take such advantages. So Zaria had many Southerners on the campus of it’s College of Arts. But there was not a comparable number of Northerners in Enugu or Lagos Campuses. So the conclusion would not be that the British held the North down for they did not do that. Or rather the British held everybody down equally. It was a non discriminatory bad policy.
Mr. Sanusi’s thesis could then be summarized as follows:
Before colonialism, some of the groups which later made up Nigeria were ethnically known as Bakane, Bazazzage, Bakatsine, Ijebu, Owo, Ijesha, Akoko, and Egba. They were killing each other. The Colonialists came, put that together and said it is now called the Northern Nigeria, Western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria and eventually Nigeria. While our fathers and grand fathers were able to adjust to being Northerners etc we have not been able to transform to being Nigerians.
Sanusi’s second point seems that to blame the North for Nigerian failings is futile because the British held down the North while allowing the South a free hand in education. The Northern leaders who led Nigeria such as Babangida were actually guided by southerners. Do not blame the North.
The first half of Mr. Sanusi’s thesis would have stood on its feet against all winds but the Achilles foot was the second half which brought down the entire edifice. Mr. Sanusi is a Northerner. I believe that he is yet to transform to a Nigerian.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, is a columnist for USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
“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. – USAfrica adds the sub-text to Sanusi’s valuable views:
‘We’re all victims of colonization — debating the history of Northern Nigeria domination’
“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 course 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?
Nigeria, a terrible beauty. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston.
USAfricaonline.com goes richly interactive with new look, content….
By Alverna Johnson. Corporate Affairs, Houston:
On 10/10/09, the major redesign and addition of richly interactive options will go fully live on the award-winning web site of the first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet, www.USAfricaonline.com
“The importance of this latest interactive re-positioning of USAfricaonline.com is to fully tap into the advantages of the digital world to benefit our community and readers. Especially, the key issue and leverage is that we have and own unique content; and with this initiative, USAfrica advances, further, the immigrant African views and news into the international media and public policy mainstream. It leverages the global resources of USAfrica, again, into the electronic frontline of critically informed, responsible discourse and seasoned reportage of African and American interests as well as debating relevant issues of disagreement”, notes Chido Nwangwu, the Founder & Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, AchebeBooks.com, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica.TV and CLASSmagazine.
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Chido Nwangwu, recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009 and analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, highlights other advantages as “live RSS feeds and e-syndication of the USAfrica reports and premium content. In terms of graphics and structure, the new USAfricaonline.com has visually refreshing headers and crisp pictures. We’ve also added more columnists, regional news correspondents and incisive special features writers. The site will be updated regularly, especially for significant breaking news.”
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