Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
The bloated size of governments at different levels of
Nigeria’s political system is unsustainable, and the country
urgently needs restructuring to make any appreciable
development, the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, said Thursday.
Mr. Sanusi, who was speaking at the inaugural lecture and
launching of a N250 million endowment fund for the Oba
Sikiru Adetona Professorial Chair in Governance, Department
of Political Science, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,
Ogun State, said it should be obvious to everyone that the
country can no longer afford to maintain the number of
political office holders in the country, especially in the
face of current economic downturn.
“If you really reflect on the problems of this country, it
seems to turn common sense on its head,” he said.
“You sometimes wonder if anyone needs to tell any group of
people that if you are a poor country, you do not need 36
governors, 36 deputy governors, with members of house of
assembly, commissioners and advisers, Special assistants, a
president, a vice president, 36 ministers, special advisers,
federal legislature and so on.
“Simple arithmetic will tell you that if you have that
structure, you are first of all doomed to spending 80 or 90
per cent of everything you earn maintaining public officers.
It is really common sense but it seems to be a problem for
us to understand it,” he added.
The emir called for a reform of the country’s political
system to encourage a lean government to save resources for
projects that benefit the people.
“If you don’t free up the resources and put them up for
capital projects, you are laying the foundation of what we
are seeing today. We need to have structural reform.
“Kano State today is much smaller than Kano emirate, because
there are two other emirates in Dutse and Ringim which were
carved out from what was the Kano emirate just to create a
new state. There are two governors in Kano and Jigawa, two
deputy governors, maybe 40 members of the House of Assembly,
40 commissioners and advisers, 70 local governments,
chairman and councillors but for nine years, Governor Audu
Bako with nine commissioners, one governors and nine
commissioner managed the entire territory and they were
doing much better services than we are doing now. Is it not
time to face reality?”
Also, the guest speaker of the lecture, Akin Mabogunje, a
professor of urban and regional development, while
delivering a lecture titled: “Issues and Challenges of
Governance in Nigeria”, said the abundance of free oil money
has created a culture of imprudent spending by successive
He said this free money which he described with the pidgin
English term “awuff”, encouraged laziness and corruption in
“[Awuff] is a word used commonly in pidgin English to
signify “free” money or unearned income which is not the
product of a person’s labour and therefore can be squandered
or spent imprudently,” he explained.
“In applying it to governance, it is meant to describe a
situation in which fiscal resources accrues to government
not from tax revenue assiduously and diligently collected
from citizens but from royalties and rent from the
exploitation of mineral resources particularly petroleum
which can therefore be squandered, spent imprudently or
unaccountably or simply misappropriated into personal
He said instead of the government to invest the oil windfall
of the 1970s, it declared a bazaar for civil servants who
spent the money on expensive household items.
He explained that the “awuff” mentality festered and led to
a culture of corruption and lack of accountability, fest in
the public sector but later spreading to every part of our