Emir of Kano speaks: ‘Corruption is when you appoint people to do what they’re not capable of’

The Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Sunday, has described the inability of Nigeria to save money from oil revenue when the cost of the product was high and the accompanying wastage of public funds – as a huge disservice to the next generation.

This is coming on the heels of last week’s disclosure by former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the governors in the administration of ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan lacked the political will to save money when oil price was high.

Sanusi, who is a former Governor of Central Bank of NIgeria, stated this at the 30th anniversary of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni in Lagos.

“On fiscal responsibility, when you look at where we are today and look at all the waste and the looting and the lack of savings that has happened in this country when oil prices were high, everybody talks about excess crude and new theories of fiscal policy.”

“These are not new. We blow up our oil revenues, no savings; and we have nothing when oil prices fell to $40 per barrel. You don’t need any kind of economic theory. Any government that does not know that in times of plenty, it should save for the next generation is simply acting against what is a clear injunction.”

Speaking on corruption, Sanusi stated that: “But where does corruption begins? Does it begin with the person who is stealing or somewhere else? Corruption begins when you appoint a person to a position he is not qualified to handle.”

“The scholars are united that if you appoint someone to a public office, the first consideration is that the person must be capable of handling the responsibility you have given him because his incompetence comes back to hurt the people. I’m not one of those opposed to federal character.”

“The problem with our country very often is that people are entrusted with responsibilities they are not capable of handling. And that is the worst form of corruption. It doesn’t matter if they are honest people. Ideally, we should have very good and religious people who are also competent. It’s good to look for honest people but they should be first of all competent.”

“We should look for competent, honest and religious people. But if you can’t find and you have to choose between an honest religious man who is not competent and someone who is less honest and less religious, but who is competent, take competent one.”

“When you are consulting on economy, you consult people who understand the economy. And we spend too much time looking where these ministers come from; whether he a nice and religious man and too little time at capacity to deliver service to the people. And honestly, this is where everything begins. We have to change the way we look at public office and merit in this country.”

Sanusi also spoke on the need for government to gear its attention towards agriculture, infrastructure and urbanization.

“If you go to America, and you travel from New York to Atlanta, after every few hours, you have towns, you can stop and refuel, enter hotel or enter the bathroom. There is infrastructure in place. And when a nation ignores agriculture, urbanisation and infrastructure, it simply cannot progress and it is the greatest punishment in this world at least.”

“What do we have today? Our industries have become ghost towns, our roads have become death beds, our farmlands produce nothing.”

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