Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano, says the north will “destroy itself if it doesn’t change”.
The emir spoke on Monday at the Kaduna state government house during a programme to commemorate the 60th birthday celebration of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna.
He noted that the real change can only occur in the north through those who do things differently.
He commended el-Rufai’s reforms in the education sector, noting that what the governor is doing in the sector is what will save the north.
“It is almost correct now to say that, if you are seen as normal, if you are a governor in the north or a leader in the north, and you are seen as normal in the sense that you continue to do what your predecessors have been doing, doing the same thing, which has been normalised, then, there is something wrong with you. You are part of the problem, ” Sanusi said.
“The real change in the north will come from those who are considered mad people, because you look around and say if this is the way we have been doing things, and this is where we have ended up, maybe we need to do things differently.
“If the north does not change, the north will destroy itself. The country is moving on… If we don’t listen, there would be a day when there would be a constitutional amendment that addresses these issues of quota system and federal character.
“The rest of the country cannot be investing, educating its children, producing graduates and then they watch us, they can’t get jobs because they come from the wrong state, when we have not invested in the future of our own children.”
The emir said no northern leader can afford to be happy in the midst of problems facing the region.
“Nobody who is a leader in northern Nigeria today can afford to be happy,” Sanusi said.
“You cannot be happy about 87 percent of poverty in Nigeria being in the north. You can’t be happy with millions of northern out-of-school children. You can’t be happy with nine states in the north contributing almost 50 percent of the entire malnutrition burden in the country.
“You can’t be happy with the Boko Haram problem. You can’t be happy with all the issues.
“So, we wish Nasir a happy birthday, but we do not want him to be happy as a leader. Because you are happy when you think you have reached a state of delivering and taking your people to where you want them to be.”
“If you look at what Nasir is doing in Kaduna, with 40 percent of his budget in education, that is the only thing that is going to safe the north. I know that, when we say these things, they don’t go down well,” he said.