Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has disagreed with advocates of a return of power to the Northern part of the country in 2015 saying leadership should no longer be based on ethnic or regional considerations.
Delivering a lecture Friday to commemorate the 78th birthday of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (RTD), Sanusi said basing leadership of the country on ethnic or sectional considerations promotes mediocrity and slows down the progress of the country.
The lecture held at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru was entitled, “Nigeria’s Economic Development Aspiration and the Leadership Question: Is there a Nexus?”
According to him, “If we believe in turn by turn or a president should come from a particular section of the country, it means we are promoting mediocrity. This is the time for us to retrace our steps and ask ourselves fundamental questions as to what kind of leaders we want. We need to promote transparency and credible election; it is not just free and fair voting but also free and fair election”.
He came down hard on the political class whom he said cling to ethnic and tribal sentiments to further their political interest adding, “It is irresponsible to frame election on ethnicity but the political class has failed to realize the consequences of this”.
”The ethnic and socio-cultural associations like Arewa Consultative Forum, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum South-South Forum, Christian Association of Nigeria, Jamatul Nasir Islam among others are created by the political class to champion their interests.
"How do you grow a nation on ethnicity and expect it grow without problems, cultural organizations have become political institutions. I am of the opinion that they should be abolished. If it is not possible, there should be law banning public office holders from being part of such organizations. The activities of such cultural organisations are diversionary”, he said.
Sanusi added that any nation wishing to catch up with the rest of the world in development should not be bogged down by which section of the country should produce the next president at a time many nations choose their best to lead them.
He advocated the strengthening of civil society groups to move for change and task those in government to be more responsive to the needs of the people. He urged General Gowon to come up with his biography and his perception of Nigeria to correct misconceptions and put the country’s history in proper perspective for posterity.
Also speaking, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State blamed the country’s problems on leadership arguing that the country cannot be using the wrong key on a door and expect results. He said there is need for devolution of powers from the federal to other tiers as over-concentration of power at the centre has retarded the country’s growth.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim who represented President Goodluck Jonathan on the occasion described Gowon as a detribalized Nigerian, a bridge builder who was committed to the unity and development of Nigeria.
The occasion was also attended by Governors jonah Jang of Plateau State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State Chief Ernest Shonekan, the Ponzhi Taroh,General Domkat Bali (RTD) and several other dignitaries.