Sanusi, social reality vis-

Garba Shehu

I have no defence to give, neither do I have obligations to offer explanations for the donation of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000) given to the victims of the multiple bomb attack a month ago in Kano, by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The bank is today under the governorship of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a man from Kano, and for which reason he has been accused of so many ills, among which are that he is “clannish”, a “nepotist”, “chauvinist” and a “fanatic” who cannot ‘see’ any other view.

There could be some deeper reason to these rash of attacks. Let it not be forgotten that Lamido is a suspect, if not a convict, in the court of many sections of Nigeria for “unilaterally smuggling in the Islamic Banking System,” which has since gone into operation in spite of vehement opposition by an outspoken Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN. A truly objective stand on the donation to Kano by the CBN would be to question it on the basis that one, this is the first of this size by the CBN and to ask where this large amount of money is coming from; two, the question also arises as to why now, and why Kano, Sanusi’s home state when crises and disasters of alarming magnitudes have struck in many parts of the country without the CBN Governor dipping his hand in the treasury to make such outlandish donations.

In particular, I have in mind states that have continuously experienced this type of crises like Plateau, Borno, Yobe and to some extent Kaduna. I have been reading particularly angry reactions on-line by the Igbo people, both at home and the diaspora, and what they are saying is Igbos had lost lives and property in many places in the North, the most recent one in Mubi, Adamawa State, where 13 family members were killed by the Boko Haram. Sanusi did not send a penny. Some of the criticisms are specific and vociferous, saying that Sanusi is playing politics with CBN, using its funds to promote his aspirations for the emirship of Kano – an ambition that he barely keeps secret. Those who back him say that nothing of the magnitude the Kano incident has happened anywhere in Nigeria. For its part, the CBN has issued a statement saying the donation to Kano is one of many in the pipeline that are being processed, which to me sounds belated and unconvincing.

Having said this, my real problem with the drift of the debate is the double standard on which Sanusi’s critics have anchored their arguments. In today’s time, Nigerians worry more about what others do rather than what they themselves are doing. No fraud, cheating or injustice can ever be justified. No religion teaches you to cheat another man. This notwithstanding, Nigerians in positions of authority everywhere are doing everything they can to play up their section, state or even religion over the other. As it is, terror, nepotism, clannishness and chauvinism are not a monopoly of any part of Nigeria. They are all doing it. But this doesn’t mean it is right.

The Yar’Adua-Jonathan PDP governmen may have enunciated the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta in absolute good faith. But sneaky doubts still remain as to whether that government had actually caved in to troublemakers. Politics aside, not many Nigerians would have thought that a noble policy as that of amnesty would turn to be a tool to undermine the constitutional guarantee of equal rights and protection for all citizens. A few months ago, the Daily Trust laid before the nation the shocking report that 84% of all capital budget within a six month period was being spent in the President’s home region, the Niger Delta. In the name of amnesty, thousands of youngmen and women are being sponsored overseas for various professional training, to the exclusion of other parts of the federation. In this regard, Niger Deltans and in particular Bayelsans are making a hay carting away sensitive and lucrative government jobs while the rest of the country watches helplessly. Recently, a N16billion contract for maritime security and patrol was awarded to a company owned by a former militant, Mr. Tompolo merely on the grounds of pacifying the Niger Deltans at the expense of competence and competitive bidding. This multi-billion naira contract, which was hurriedly and uncritically approved by the Federal Executive Council, is already greeted with controversy and outrage by other Nigerians.

It is unfortunate that leaders abandon their national obligations and degenerate to sectional champions. Sanusi’s controversial donation is a sad reflection of this ugly Nigerian reality. This country is full of contradictions and we are all at ease with it because of our ethnic, religious and regional differences. I have lately been picking grumbles in the North that the Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo has no qualms cornering important appointments for his own people in Kaduna State. One example that was cited in this regard is the recent appointments into a big federal government corporation were two key posts of a Commissioner and a Director, earmarked for the North-West were snatched by two of Sambo’s nominees from Kaduna State. In the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA there is a vacancy for an executive director earmarked for the North, and for which position there are at least three qualified professionals who are angling for the job. But the story going round in the industry is that with Sambo’s two candidates, both of them outsiders and from Kaduna State waiting in the wings, no insider, no matter how qualified stands a chance of clinching that position.

If there are friends you have among the Tivs in Benue State, ask them about the raw deal they are getting at the federal level from Idoma, the ethnic group of the Senate President. The local power rotation deal between the majority Tiv and minority Idoma crashed in 2007 because the Tivs determined that they can not lose to Idoma in Abuja, then surrender the home turf to them at the same time.

So I do not say that the Governor of the Central Bank has done no wrong. The thing that ought not to be missed is that in the general atmosphere of permissiveness, if not licentiousness reigning all over the country, his sin, if I would say it is on a kinder note, pales into insignificance compared to the magnitude of transfer of jobs, capital and resources to Niger Delta which today rules Nigeria like a conquered people. Sanusi’s donation is a mere reflection of social reality vis-à-vis the hypocrisy among all sections of the country. The complete atmosphere has been spoiled by no other thing than selfishness and greed and there cannot be another reason for this. Those who think this is a wrong direction in which to move Nigeria should tell those who lead us to submit themselves to equal opportunity test. The day our leaders start defending and standing up for the constitution and the laws of the land, and have a clear view and conscience on this, unbiased towards ethnicity, religion or region, the problems of this country will simply evaporate through the windows.

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