Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says there is a need to ensure that the country records growth in its economy.
Speaking on Saturday at a colloquium to mark his 60th birthday, Sanusi said the responsibility of ensuring economic growth will take collective efforts.
The former Emir of Kano, who said he had paid the price for speaking out about socioeconomic and security issues, noted that Nigerians are the ones paying the real price in increased poverty, insecurity, and high rate of inflation.
He said if there isn’t much turnaround soon, Nigeria will get to a point where the average citizen’s income will be similar to what was earned in 1980.
“When you are in a society that is so abnormal, you cannot afford to be a conformist, because if you all conform, things will not change,” he said.
“Many years ago, when I was screaming about the billions being spent on fuel subsidy, I remember there was an attempt to attack my house in Kano. Then I was in the CBN. Where are we today? We are face to face with the reality — that fuel subsidy is unsustainable.
“Calling me an enemy or critic will not make those facts go away. So, anywhere we go, we must face these facts.
“I have tried not to say much, not because there is nothing to say or because I am afraid of speaking. The reason I have not spoken much in the last two years is because, I don’t even have to say anything anymore, because all the things we were warning about have come.
“According to the World Bank, where were we in 2019? At this rate, in the next two years, in terms of purchasing power parity, the average income of a Nigerian would have gone back to what it was in 1980 under Shehu Shagari. That means in 40 years, we made zero progress; 40 years wasted.”
Sanusi said between 2014 and 2029, on the basis of the index of the purchasing power of the average income of Nigerians, “we have wiped out all the progress made in 35 years.”
“We have a responsibility as a people to rise and improve the lives of the people of this country. When there is fire, everyone has to go with a bucket of water. We need to understand how our economy works as a people; we need to understand our choices,” the former CBN governor said.
“Even this shout about restructuring is about economics; it is about resources. We need to grow this economy and make it work for the poor people.”
Sanusi also lamented the population growth, including the almajirai system in the north, adding that steps need to be taken to address the situation.
“If you cannot maintain one wife and you marry three, and if you cannot maintain three children and you have 17, if you leave those children on the streets without education, without training, you are going to have young men that would be problem to our society,” he said.
“The youths that you see on drugs, those stealing and kidnapping are all products of that social system. And we need to ask ourselves, ‘is this what Islam said we should have? Are these the children that Islam said we should have?’”