Nigeria now more divided than civil war era, says Sanusi

Lagos—Former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi has said that Nigeria has not been this divided since the end of the civil war.

The former CBN governor spoke on Tuesday, April 4, at the third Nigerian Leadership Colloquium in honour of the senior pastor of Trinity House, Lagos, Ituah Ighodalo, who turned 62.

Sanusi spoke at the event alongside the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; wife of Lagos State governor, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, and other dignitaries.

The speakers stressed the need to make Nigeria’s institutions independent enough to protect democracy and the economy.

Specifically, Sanusi noted that any candidate vying for office must be compelled to face the people and discuss issues.

Sanusi pointed out that because of the elections, the country is now “dangerously divided along ethnic and religious lines”, adding that it had put the integrity of public institutions in question.

“The people now have suspicions about policies, policing, judiciary and the election umpire,” he said

Sanusi, who gave his address via Zoom, 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. I meant it.

“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.

“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.”

He added that Nigeria needs to look critically at the process through which the leaders emerge.

He said: “No process is perfect. We have seen so in the United Kingdom and the United States. At the very least, the people should know who they are voting for. 

“I think we need to begin to look at the Electoral Act, 2022 much more earlier than elections.  We need to have a system where one cannot just go to participate in party primaries without being exposed to public scrutiny.

“This is what happens everywhere. People need to know what they are voting for. In other climes, they are compelled by law to participate in public debates to discuss issues of policy.

“This is the only country I know where we elect a President first before knowing if he knows what he is doing or whether he understands what the job is.”

He also said the process through which Nigerians choose their leaders must be more transparent.

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