Muhammadu Sanusi, the former emir of Kano and one-time Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, said in an interview on Arise TV on Friday that Nigeria must worry more about the competence of the next President rather than his region.
According to Sanusi, the economic challenges Nigeria faces, from rising unemployment to deepening poverty, are not confined to only one region and so the country needs a leader that can deliver irrespective of whether he is from the north or south.
“Zoning is not the problem of Nigeria. A leader that can deliver is what the country needs,” he said.
“Institutions have failed. National Assemblies are not doing their jobs as required; that is the problem,” Sanusi stated.
Sanusi said that progressive countries like the United States of America do not worry about where the president comes from. All they ask for is the track record of the competency of the candidate presented.
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He wondered why Nigerians were locked in debates over where the next president should come from, instead of demanding the character.
“Obasanjo from the South-west was a president for 8years, did the northerners die?” he asked.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north of Africa’s most populous nation, is due to step down after elections in early 2023. Before selecting their candidates next year, Nigeria’s two main political parties have to decide where they should come from. Nigerian state governors are divided over whether to uphold a convention of rotating the presidency between the north and south of the country.
With 18 months to go, the governors of Nigeria’s 36 states are adopting public positions along regional rather than party political lines: the southern leaders say it’s their turn to field the next president, while their northern counterparts argue they shouldn’t be excluded from the contest.
Sanusi urged Nigerians to insist on character and competence and not the region the next president comes from. However, he sounded a warning that if the country should continue to rely on numbers of votes to determine its president, then Nigeria will end up having unqualified leaders.
The one-time CBN governor also said that the failure of the country in the last 61 years can be traced to the fact that the institutions set for the smooth running of the country’s affairs have failed in their responsibilities. He pointed out that most of the people in authority are merely pursuing personal agendas.