The House of Representatives on Tuesday supported the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi’s warning to the North over the region’s poor attitude to education.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the North had not fully taken advantage of the quota system to develop itself.
He said the North should embrace education in order to compete with other regions and stop relying on the quota system.
Kalu stated this just as northern youths, under the aegis of the Coalition of Northern Groups, said the quota system and federal character should be removed from the constitution.
Sanusi, at the 60th birthday of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in Kaduna on Monday, said by failing to address its numerous challenges, the North was gradually destroying itself.
He listed problems facing the North as poverty, millions of out-of-school children, malnutrition, drug abuse, Almajiri, and the Boko Haram insurgency.
The emir, who said no “true Northern Nigeria leader” was happy with the problems, said the North should stop relying on the quota system and federal character.
The monarch stated, “We have been saying this for 20 to 30 years. If the North does not change, the North will destroy itself. The country is moving on. The quota system that everybody talks about must have a sunset clause.”
Admonishing young men and women from the North, Sanusi had said, “We need to get northern youths to a point where they don’t need to come from a part of the country to get a job. And believe me, if we don’t listen, there would be a day when there would be a constitutional amendment that addresses these issues of quota system and federal character.
“The rest of the country cannot be investing, educating its children, producing graduates and then they watch us, they can’t get jobs because they come from the wrong state when we have not invested in the future of our own children.
Supporting the emir, Kalu said, “The purpose of the federal character element of the constitution is to ensure the distribution of projects and opportunities in the country. If the implementation is faulty, that is where complaints should come.
“If you benefit from that particular provision of the constitution without being fully prepared for it, you are under-developing yourself. The problem is not with the law, the problem is with those who are accessing the benefits of the law.”
The House of Representatives spokesman said federal character did not mean that those who were not qualified should occupy positions.
Kalu stated, “I agree with him (Sanusi). If you access any opportunity that you are not qualified for, you are under-developing yourself and the country. One, you will not be able to fulfil the demands of that office. Two, you will deny those who are supposed to benefit from that office, what they are entitled to.”
The House spokesman noted that what Sanusi said was in the interest of the North and any other region where the issues he raised were.
He said, “The benefit of what the Emir is suggesting, to be sincere, is for the growth of the geopolitical zones in the North. I fully agree with him that the net gift we can give to any underdeveloped or undeveloped region in this country is education.
“Equip yourself in a way that you will be competent to rub shoulders anywhere in the world because of your qualifications; not just your certificate but that you know what you are talking about. We should not be local champions, depending on all the opportunities available. He is trying to raise great minds that will be able to walk outside, and I agree with him.”