We do not know the Emir to speak often about the Niger Delta/Biafran struggle for secession; both as Central Bank Governor and now as the Emir of Kano.
This is a man who prides himself as someone who is “never going to stand here and tell people what they want to hear.”
So it came as a shocker when in the middle of a conversation that centered on ethnic divides and the threat to Nigeria’s continued existence as one country, someone dropped a bombshell- that the Emir has publicly declared that Nigeria will do well without the Niger Delta.
This was a direct reference to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s most recent public speech titled: “Nigeria: The Search for a New Growth Model”.
This is no allegation to take with levity. It was obvious that there was need to revisit the speech and dissect it.
You’d recall that much of the publicity that surrounded this particular speech had a lot to do with the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria warning President Buhari not to toe the line of mistakes made by the past administration.
It turns out that there was a lot more to this speech than the usual straight-shooting sternness with sitting governments that we know Emir for.
What then exactly influenced this notion that a traditional ruler in Nigeria was supportive of a mostly violent strife for disintegration of Nigeria?
He did say that “This country is better off with Lagos than with the Niger Delta.” But then, there was more. In fact there was a caveat.
This country is better off with Lagos than with the Niger Delta. Let’s not make that mistake. We should be together as a country. Every part of the country is important.
The Emir admonished the government on turning the economy around by being an investment nation as opposed to being focused on commodity. He then turned to Lagos as an example. He said the state had done very well and without oil too and as such, Nigeria, can too. His opinion is based on the fact that oil only amounts to 15% of the country’s GDP.
According to him, “The Lagos story is a story of what Nigeria can do with itself – transparency, consistency, regulations. That’s why today Lagos state is 30% Nigerian non-oil GDP, and Lagos can do without oil.
“This country is better off with Lagos than with the Niger Delta. Let’s not make that mistake. We should be together as a country. Every part of the country is important. But, let us not be so obsessed by a resource, because we have had the commodity driven model, and we are blind to the potentials of an alternative model.”
Lagos doesn’t need oil. What is oil anyway? It is a raw material. You don’t drink it. You need it to move your vehicles. Now, you have electricity. You need it to fill your generator. Now you have solar power, and biomass. The future of oil is not there. So, those few people who are trying to break up this country over oil, after sometime that oil will be worthless.
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.