The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, surprised guests present at the Muson Centre for the launching of the book of Sir Olaniwun Ajayi at the Muson Centre in Lagos.
The book titled: “Nigeria, Africa’s failed asset?” attracted many important dignitaries, intellectuals and some governors. The argument by discussants centered on whether or not the colonial masters laid the foundation for the problems Nigeria is currently facing. Many argued that the British loved the North and that was why it gave more than 50 percent of the National Assembly seats to the North at independence.
Sanusi, however, stole the show when he spoke. His speech was anchored on the plank that the British and Nigerian rulers are responsible for the state of the situation Nigeria finds itself today. Below is his unedited speech.
“Let me start by saying that I am Fulani (laughter). My grandfather was an Emir and therefore I represent all that has been talked about this afternoon. Sir Ajayi has written a book. And like all Nigerians of his generation, he has written in the language of his generation. “My grandfather was a Northerner, I am a Nigerian. The problem with this country is that in 2009, we speak in the language of 1953. Sir Olaniwun can be forgiven for the way he spoke, but I cannot forgive people of my generation speaking in that language.
“Let us go into this issue because there are so many myths that are being bandied around.
Before colonialism, there was nothing like Northern Nigeria. Before the Sokoto Jihad, there was nothing like the Sokoto caliphate. The man from Kano regards himself as bakane. The man from Zaria was bazazzage. The man from Katsina was bakatsine. The kingdoms were at war with each other. They were Hausas, they were Muslims, and they were killing each other.
“The Yoruba were Ijebu, Owo, Ijesha, Akoko, Egba. When did they become one? When did the North become one? You have the Sokoto Caliphate that brought every person from Adamawa to Sokoto and said it is one kingdom. They now said it was a Muslim North.