28, 2021 / 01:57PM / Op-Ed by Wasiu Adekola/ Header Image Credit: National Daily Newspaper
In a widely reported news on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, some Nigerian newspapers reported that the 14th Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari. The Emir, according to the news, allegedly made the statement in a plenary (SDGs and The Quality of Life: Pathways for Accelerated Progress) of the 27th Annual Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NES27) held this week. The news reports implied that the Emir called for the impeachment of the president against the backdrop of the perennial subsidy payments which were mostly paid without budgetary appropriations, and therefore, constituted a clear constitutional breach by the executive arm of government headed by the president.
The Emir has recently been in the eyes of the storm on many national issues and many of his adversaries are keen to draw first blood to misrepresent whatever he says to the Nigerian public and especially the current administration through the social media. Notwithstanding, he fosters a continuous interrogation of policies over politics, buoyed by the desire to uplift governance through the intelligent dissection of our socio-economic issues, which has impacted policy shifts in our polity.
It is therefore appropriate to interrogate the statements made at the plenary, within context to enable a proper appreciation of the literal and implied meaning.
At the NESG plenary, well attended by equally eminent Nigerian professionals, including the governor of Ekiti State; and Chairman of the Governors Forum; Sanusi Lamido was requested to share his thoughts on the poor foundational literacy and numeracy of the Nigerian child and the challenge of constitutional accountability of government at all levels, for the provision of quality education, healthcare, and all other basic rights of citizens.
Sanusi responded thus:
"One of the big issues is the people who are responsible for holding people accountable are the ones who are themselves not accountable. For example, take the fuel subsidies. Very often they are not provided for in the budget. There is no appropriation for them. Yet every year, we spent billions and billions of dollars out of NNPC. I mean, it's one of the reasons I lost my job, right? They spent billions and billions of dollars, okay, on fuel subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly. Now, under the Constitution, these are grounds for impeaching the president. Because this is spending without appropriation. But every president has done it. No one holds them to account. The National Assembly does not hold them to account."
Emir Sanusi did not explicitly call for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari. The recorded plenary is in the public domain for verification. Quite right, he is vociferous against many socio-economic ills lately, especially in the Northern part of the country vis-a-vis dearth of economic development amidst rising poverty.
Transcript of HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II's Direct Response to the Second Question
"I want to request please that His Royal Majesty should answer this and then I want you to come through to that. Which is about the constitutional accountability of government at all levels for the provision of quality education, healthcare and other basic rights of citizens. Royal Highness, what do you, what would you say is the challenge after that, please your excellency, I'll like you to handle both that gap that you pointed to which now Alero has brought up and then His Excellency now outlining for us what he believes or what seen to be the challenge of constitutional accountability of government at all levels for the provision of quality education, healthcare and other basic rights of citizens? Thank you."
ANS (HRH Sanusi II):
"One of the big issues here is that the people who are responsible for holding people accountable are the ones who are themselves not accountable. So, take a simple example. Take these fuel subsidies. Very often, they are not provided for in the budget. There is no appropriation for them. Yet every year, we spend billions and billions of dollars out of NNPC. I mean, it's one of the reasons I lost my job, right? They spent billions and billions of dollars, okay, on fuel subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly. Now, under the Constitution, these are grounds for impeaching the President. Because this is spending without appropriation. But every President has done it. No one holds them to account. The National Assembly does not hold them to account.
I never spoke about how much you're spending on food. What when you have food inflation at 21% per annum, the price of food doubles every three years, it's no brainer. It's like it's simple. Now, somebody is responsible for ensuring we have price stability. And we don't have price stability. Now, these are the kinds of issues as a country that we do not focus on. But I mean, before today, as I think I would like to say something, I like to put the governors on the spot. Okay, on one more thing. Not everything with the SDGs is about money. Okay, so look at look at the numbers of the poverty numbers, okay, then you've got this huge concentration of poverty in the northwest and the Northeast, these concentrations are reflected in all sorts of human development indices, including per capita income, life expectancy, maternal mortality, and so on. But what is the driver of poverty in the north rapid demographic growth that cannot be supported by the underlying resources?
Okay, you've got fertility rates in the Northeast, and the northwest has over seven, a woman on the average, where the rest of the country is about four, which is still high compared to other countries, but so below seven Poland, and then these societies that have largely polygamous you cannot address poverty in the north. Without a proper population policy. You can't address population policy without the right social policies around the Asia which goes get married regulations around polygamy, responsibility for the child. Now, as a Mia, I said, Okay, look, people are refusing to this because of religion.
got together, a group of religious scholars who worked for three years to
produce a code that seeks to address these issues, seems to put some sense some
sensibility around the age at which you marry those, okay? The about the about
the way, the way the way you would divorce woman, the rate at which poor people
can just go marry 2, 3, or 4 wives, have children, and drop them on the streets
until you address those from a legal perspective and of sanctions and change
those attitudes. Even if you have a fancy formula and teacher forbidden, new
romance and last five years, okay, how many more children were born in those
five years." - Source: NES27 / NESG
Related News - NESG
Related News - Economy & Politics