sanusi lamido

OP-UNEDITED | Emir of Kano, the Northern Elite and Boko-Haram – By @DonTeeWrites

By Adesina Tosin Nathaniel

The Emir of Kano Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is no doubt one of the most powerful and respected traditional rulers from Northern Nigeria, being the leader of the Kano Emirate and also a first class king in Nigeria. Since his days at the Central Bank of Nigeria he has been vocal on national issues as needs arise. At the CBN he combined the work of an activist and CBN Governor together – a combination that led to his untimely exit from the Apex Bank due to his exposure of the mind boggling financial mismanagement of the Jonathan led government. As fate would have it, he ascended his father’s throne following the passage of the late Emir Ado Bayero. Since his ascension not much has changed about him, he has been travelling the whole length of Nigeria and beyond as guest speaker at events and symposiums.

Of recent, the Emir has been speaking his mind on a burning issue which has been the concern of many Nigerians, to wit the rate of illiteracy in the North as it affects both sexes. UNESCO in its 2016 report described the region as the most educationally disadvantaged region in Nigeria, explaining that it will take years for the gap to be covered in the midst of the lingering Boko Haram Crisis with its attendant effect on educational enrolment in the region. The situation has degenerated to a level that some states in the North had to pay parents to send their children to school. The issue of illiteracy in the North is an irony to a discerning mind as the Northerners have ruled Nigeria more than any other region and it’s worthy of mention that the richest man in Nigeria Aliko Dangote is a Northerner. As a result, the educational backwardness of the region should not have happened in the first place but that will come to an end very soon.

In 2017 alone, the Emir has addressed the issue of low school enrolment on three consecutive occasions. On the 19th of January the emir spoke against the proliferation of mosques in the North declaring, “I’m just tired of people coming to me to say I want to build a new mosque. You know, we keep building mosques and our daughters are illiterate. So, my appeal is that if you really want to help Kano, don’t come to me with a request to build a N300 million mosque because I have enough mosques everywhere. And if I don’t have a mosque, I’ll build it myself. If you really want to help, go and educate a girl child in the village” His stance was also re-echoed on the 28th of January at FUTMINNA and 7th of February at a graduation event for teachers with Nigerian Certificate in Education sponsored by the Kano state Government.

However, the Emir of Kano may soon enter the bad books of Northern Elites who have prioritized the construction of mosques as a philanthropic gesture over the provision of education. A journey around any Northern state will prove the Emir right as what you see left, right and centre are places of worship; you find mosques in schools, on farms, at hospitals, petrol stations and markets.Mosques are needed for worship Same way schools are needed for intellectual Purposes.  Some legislators in the North have even used erection of mosques as constituency projects!  They’ve been using that to play the religious card and have left the welfare of the electorate unattended to. The individuals involved in massive construction of mosques have PhD and some are educationist so why can’t they expose their wards to Education?

Now that the emir is de-marketing their enterprise I know they won’t enjoy his bitter truth. That an individual is ready to spend over 200 million naira on mosque construction instead of building school speaks a lot about the way of life of the Northern aristocracy.

Despite the mass construction of mosques in the North the region has not been immune to violence. From Kaduna to Yobe, to Borno, Adamawa to Kano, it’s been all shades of violence and terrorist attacks. The Boko-Haram crisis started at a mosque led by Mohammed Yusuf in Borno state, as an ordinary movement which has turned out to be Nigeria’s worst nightmare with the North being the region most affected by activities of Boko-Haram insurgents. From 2009 till date over 100,000 Northerners have been killed in various attacks by the Boko-Haram sect, and even the Elites haven’t been spared. A Nigerian Civil war veteran, General Shuwa, was killed by Boko-Haram when he was observing his prayers, a former Minister of Mines and Power Alhaji Shettima Ali-Monguno was also kidnapped by Boko-Haram members and never remained the same till he died in the year 2016. In addition, when the late Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero was attacked by Boko-Haram, he survived the attack but his aides were not lucky. He never recovered from the shock till he died on the 6th of June 2014, the Chibok Girls are still in Boko-Haram captivity after 3 years.

As a result, the Emir’s calls must be followed with action as an initial step in stemming the tide of the Boko-Haram crisis, which is an after effect of the low level of education in the North. Schools must be built in addition to mosques to redeem the backwardness of the region academically.religion as a way of life must be encouraged to instill morality in people but not at the expense of Education.  Education is not a sin and the Holy Quran chapter 96:1-5 lays emphasis on the importance of education for Muslims. The Northern Elites must support the Emir massively in his campaign against illiteracy by building schools and offering scholarships to the people. We’ve seen examples of people that achieve greatness in the North through education, such as Alhaji Abdulmutalab a successful Banker from the North who mentored The Emir of Kano in his banking career, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Jelani Aliyu, Justice Mariam Aloma Muktar, and Professor Attahiru Jega among others. They are embodiments of the merits of sound education.

Education must be made accessible to every Northerner!

Adesina Tosin Nathaniel is a Forward Looking Nigerian Youth

For more of his writings visit

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