Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and immediate past Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, has urged likely candidates that are to contest in 2023 presidential elections to come out and declare their intentions, asking Nigerians to assess them in good time.
Sanusi said this is the right conversation Nigerians should be having rather debate the zone to produce the next president.
The former CBN Governor described the zoning controversy as an attempt by politicians to maneuver their way through power.
The Southern Governors’ Forum had demanded that the country’s next president should emerge from the south, a position which their northern counterparts had since rejected, saying zoning is not a provision enshrined in the constitution of the country.
Commenting on the zoning debacle, Sanusi knocked politicians for not channelling their efforts in the right direction. According to him, politicians should embark on building a reliable electioneering process that will produce capable leaders for the country rather than discuss the region which the next president should come from.
He noted that though zoning could ensure political stability, however it could spell danger for the country. He explained that zoning is a ploy by some ‘big masquerades’ to corner the presidency to their region.
Sanusi made this position known while speaking on National TV, Friday.
He said: “Who are the southern candidates? who are the northern candidates? Why are people concealing, I mean, there is somebody, there are some people who want to be president, either from the north or from the south. Come out first of all and show us your face, who are the people who want to be the president of Nigeria and let us choose.
“This goes back to what I was saying at the beginning that this whole thing is about maneuvering ethnic sentiment and maneuvering regional sentiment, basically, to corner the presidency to one part of the country, and then the big masquerades who are behind it now come out. This is why at the end of the exercise, you end up as Nigeria, being presented with two equally candidates- and you know you have a choice between candidates, and you know that none of them are capable.
“Those who want to be the president of Nigeria, show your face, whether you’re from the north or the south. I believe that politicians can rule themselves to have rotation if they feel that it’s going to be good for stability. But at the end of the day, you need to have a system where if I’m a southern Nigerian, I do not feel in any way worse off because the President is from the north and if I am a Northerner I don’t feel worse off because the president is from the south.
“In any case, what is North? what is South? if you say South, we have southwest, the man from the southeast. Right now we have the Igbos demanding for presidency that the Yorubas have had it. And when you go to the Niger Delta and you say the Niger Delta has had it somebody will tell you Jonathan is Ijaw. Edo has not had it. When are you going to stop?”
Sanusi also criticised the National Assembly for rejecting the electronic transmission of result provision in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
Recall that during the bill hearing, the Senate rejected the electronic transmission of results by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Senate, however ruled that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly be given exclusive powers to determine the use of electronic transmission in an election.
Similarly, the House of Representatives voted against the electronic transmission of results in the bill, claiming that INEC does not have the capacity to transmit results electronically in remote areas of the country.
Sanusi, in his reaction lamented the rejection of electronic transmission of results provision by the federal lawmakers. He berated the lawmakers for not accepting the provision which was designed to improve the electioneering process of the country.
“Meanwhile, we have before us very serious issues like electronic transmission of results, which is designed to make the electoral process, fair and clearer, and you have people who are saying they do not want it, I mean shamelessly announcing that they plan to rig. Why are we not discussing those issues? We have elections in which the police, security services are partisan.
“When you go for an election in Nigeria you are not just contesting against your opponent, you are contesting against political thugs, against the security services, against INEC, against the judiciary. Why aren’t we talking about them, why are politicians not talking about how they can give us a more reliable, more transparent process for selecting a leader?
“Why are they focusing on where the president should come from? Why is that critical? why is that the most important thing to discuss at this point in time, when we’re heading towards an election. For me, the greatest weakness that we have as a country, is that we do not think. Yeah we are very smart, when it comes to making money or doing our work, but we do not apply critical thinking to basic things. These guys just take the entire country for a ride,” he added.