It Is Because I Can Say It, By Nasiru Suwaid
The time was a day after Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (as he then was) has been announced as the new Emir of Kano, the town was so tensed up, as since the previous evening, it had a been a litany of riots inside the city wall, although, to many discerning observers, it looked like an orchestrated exercise from the house of the royal princes, who might have lost out over the appointment of the new ruler.
But, some were truly genuine on their opposition, because of an erroneous myth, which is not backed by the scripture in an Islamic governing kingdom, that any ruling house that spend over fifty years on the throne, deserves to be succeeded by its chosen anointed heir to the throne, however, choosing a Lamido Sanusi, would directly contradict such a belief.
One of the many things I observed that morning was the fact that our struggle to install the emir has succeeded, which included strenuous campaigns and repetitive encouragement of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to do the right thing. Even though, because of the politics of the time, those who lost out on the traditional enthroning of an emir immediately pitched their tent with the People’s Democratic Party led federal government, to aid them in a struggle that exclusively concern the people of Kano.
To gauge the mood of a city evolving into chaos, by the actions or inactions of highly compromised federal security agencies, I tuned on the city’s premier morning show program, Barka da Hantsi, a hausa interactive show anchored by Ado Saleh Kankiya. By his reaction, as a custodian and temperamental thermometer of the revolving mood of the Kanawas, despite the seeming social disagreeability, the greater majority of the community, have agreed that what happened is the will of the Almighty Allah.
However, one note of caution he repetitively offered, was whether the new emir as a famous public commentator, would be able to reconcile his character of literary punditry with that of his new status as a spiritual authority and traditional ruler of Kano people, one whom you can silently disagree with but you dare not argumentatively dismiss, without offending the image of a whole community.
Most especially, as in a Nigeria of today, where public commentary and responses has become so uncouth, that it is threatening media and interactive online social discussion, so much so that the likes of Simon Kolawole of Cableng and Thisday Newspapers, had to openly come out and complain in one of his many incisive and nation building efforts, which features as a weekly column.
It is within this context of thought that I find it as a needless controversy, regarding the paper presented by Amir Muhammadu Sanusi [II] at a national planning conference in Kano, because, most of the suggestions were positively good and economically stimulating, in fact, most of the advices had already been implemented, even before he spoke, like the deregulation of the upstream sector of the petroleum industry and the liberation or rather, the floating of naira in a free market environment, basically, to attract foreign remittances that would augment foreign exchange receipt from crude oil sales.
Also, even before the recommendations of last week, where the emir had cautioned the government, about allowing Nigeria to become a dumping ground for cheap Chinese goods, the government has already began reviewing its policy of Naira versus Yuan Swap deal, because of its negatively implication to the Nigerian economy. After all, while President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) was in China for the signing of the deal, he clearly urged the Chinese investors as a caveat, to use the agreement as an avenue to come into Nigeria and set-up manufacturing bases, rather than merely importing finished products, which does little in encouraging growth in the local economy.
It is worth noting, that most of the criticisms of the emir are premised on what happened before those past actions were taken, the rigidity of the government and the time it took to liberalize the market. But, the debate about having a free market and allowing the market forces to reign supreme in a distorted economic environment is continuous one, which cannot be concluded without definite and definitive results.
As, while deregulation of the upstream sector of the petroleum industry has worked with the availability of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), because of the fact of lack refining capacity of the Nigerian market, availability and cost of diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel is causing havoc in the Nigerian economy, in term of high inflationary trend, consumer confidence and manufacturing sector growth indices.
Also, the volatility free floating of naira causes, in terms of depreciation, devaluation and constant movement in pricing of the currency, makes planning for the manufacturing sector, directly, a virtual impossibility and indirectly, a dampener to industrial growth, business confidence and national economic planning. Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) duly accepted this recommendations, after due diligence which is expected of any responsible government, more so as, within the realm of economic thought, there is more than neo-liberalist prescriptions on economic policy development.
Perhaps and in recent memory, it is the government and person of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), which had democratized economic policy formulation, planning and management, by asking for people with superior argument to convince him and Nigerians, over any policy being debated upon.
Certainly, this is not the characteristic of an un-listening government or the one that would cause a probe, merely because a leader is engaging in productive national discourse, after all, even if there is any disagreement, it is merely ideological centered, between those who believe in the sanctity and superiority of market determining forces, even when it is operating in a distorted environment, that demand would always outstrip supply.
I know many would wonder, whether by responding in this fashion, I am pointing a finger at my emir, far from it, I wrote this opinion-editorial to protect my king, because I can say it, just like the Fulani merchants who came to Kano many centuries ago and found all the gates in the city locked. They just broke the wall and created a path of entry for themselves, which is called Kofar Na’isa, when they were interrogated why they did it, they simply said: it is because we can do it.
Follow me on twitter: neeswaid