In a recent video message to the Nigerian public, the former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, did not mince words as he criticized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), expressed his views on what he perceived as the government’s shortcomings and the state of the nation’s economy.
Sanusi alleged that the Buhari administration was rife with sycophants and inexperienced officials who had exploited the system. He claimed that a certain government official even owned a private jet during the previous administration. He went on to criticize the government for its handling of the economy, accusing it of ignoring expert advice.
One of the major issues raised by Sanusi was the significant borrowing undertaken by the government, which he argued had severely strained Nigeria’s economy. According to him, the country had borrowed approximately N30 trillion from various sources, including the Central Bank. Sanusi pointed out that the government’s debt service obligations had surpassed its revenue generation, exceeding 100 percent. He warned that such a path was unsustainable and that there would come a time when the country could no longer borrow and would struggle to meet its debt obligations.
He said, “For the last eight years, Nigeria led a false life, the government borrowed from within and without. About N30 trillion was borrowed from the Central Bank.
“All the revenue the country generated in the last few years couldn’t service debt. Debt service exceeded 100 per cent. The government borrowed to service debts. No country can grow this way. Time will come when one cannot borrow any more. Additionally there will be nothing to pay debts.
“Those writing, demanding that we speak on the current situation in the country; this is not the right time for me to speak. It was like a driver on the road driving recklessly despite a wise counsel telling him of a crater ahead. What will you tell after plunging the car into the hole?
“People refused to listen to us then. We will only now advise them to be patient. I will never say Tinubu has pushed Nigeria into difficulty. I am not saying he is flawless or flawed. We will speak when he goes astray. The government can’t pay subsidies since it doesn’t have the means.
“If they add tax, we have to pay since borrowing is impossible. If the CBN printed more naira, the dollar would jack up to N1,500. We must suffer. When I was the CBN governor it was N150. Today it’s somewhere around N900.
Sanusi acknowledged the difficulties faced by Nigerians but indicated that it was not the right time for him to speak on the current situation. He likened the government’s actions to a reckless driver who ignored warnings about a pothole and ultimately found themselves in a precarious situation.
Despite his criticisms, Sanusi urged Nigerians to be patient with the current administration led by President Bola Tinubu. He emphasized that he was not implying that Tinubu was either flawless or flawed, but rather, he would speak out if the government went astray.
Sanusi also commented on the issue of fuel subsidies, stating that the government lacked the means to pay them. He suggested that the Nigerian public would have to bear the brunt of any decision to increase taxes or print more currency, which could lead to further economic challenges.
The former Emir’s remarks have ignited discussions and debates among Nigerians about the state of the nation’s economy and the role of leadership in addressing these issues.