Federal character not an excuse for nepotism, should be based on merit – Emir Sanusi

by Dolapo Adelana

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has weighed in on the ongoing debate on Federal Character.

Sanusi, who spoke at the 10th memorial lecture of Kehinde Sofola with the theme: “The Role of the Legal Profession in Nation Building: the Nigerian Context,”, said government at all levels should ensure that people are put in positions based on their qualifications and not on ethnic considerations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Character Commission Act was promulgated in 1995 and later fused into the 1999 Constitution in the wake of agitations for fair share of political positions across the country.

In the guiding principles and formula for the distribution of all cadres of posts across the country, the Act stipulates in its Part 1 that (1) “Each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory shall be equitably represented in all national institutions and in public enterprises and organisations. (2) The best and the most competent persons shall be recruited from each state of the federation to fill positions reserved for the indigenes of the FCT.”

The Act was introduced to promote national unity and foster national loyalty instead of regional interests and eventually give every Nigerian a sense of belonging no matter anyone’s religion, language or ethnic group.

Sanusi said, “The issue of federal character should not be an excuse for nepotism; it should be based strictly on merit and not on family or ethnic sentiments.”

According to the traditional ruler, a true application of the federal character principle will help to preserve the rule of law in the country.

“As we live today, we must understand that it is our duty to respect the various institutions of our country.

“We cannot sit and watch as spectators as our institutions are being destroyed; to be a true Nigerian we must learn to look at our leadership and tell them where they are going wrong,” Mr. Sanusi said.

Speaking on human rights and liberty, the emir urged the society to pay attention to child rights.

“No religion permits infringement on the rights of any child. You find children in the streets hawking when they should be in school while some female children are even forced into marriage.

“Even the Sharia Law requires you to first seek the consent of your female child before giving her out in marriage and so the rule of law expects us to be law abiding,” he said.

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