Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II yesterday warned President Muhammadu Buhari against praise singers and sycophants.
He said they were the real “enemies” of the government who could “destroy” his efforts.
Urging the President not to resist criticisms, Sanusi said: “I feel sorry for the people in government because they are surrounded by enemies.”
He said the President needed people who will tell him where he goes wrong.
Sanusi said he defied a directive by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to resign as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor after he blew the whistle that $20 billion oil money was missing.
The Emir, who chaired the 10th Kehinde Sofola (SAN) memorial lecture in Lagos, said he was not surprised when he was suspended by former President Jonathan.
According to him, in blowing the whistle on the missing money, he was not afraid because he knew he was not going to remain CBN governor forever.
The emir said because he knew power was transient, he spoke the truth, no matter the consequences.
He said some were afraid to speak out against evil because they were afraid of losing their jobs.
“All the people they were afraid of years ago, where are they today? For those who are still in power, remember that it is transient,” he said.
He spoke of praise singers in his palace who always tell him he would rule “forever”, but that he would never consult them for advice on serious issues.
The emir said he refused to join those who abuse Jonathan after he had left office, adding that the best time to criticise a leader is when he is in power.
“If you want to be a true Nigerian, tell the present government where they’re going wrong,” he said.
According to Sanusi, those who loot public funds and steal the commonwealth forget that there is a limit to the amount of food they can eat at any given time; that they can only ride in one car at a time, even if they have a fleet of cars, and can only sleep in one bed even if they have so many houses.
Recalling his exit from the CBN, he said: “At the end of the day, this job, Central Bank, I’d leave it someday. I could die, or my tenure expires, or I’d be sacked. I had no control over it. But I have a control over how I live.
“I wasn’t surprised about my suspension; I knew it would happen, because I had been called and asked to resign, and I said ‘no’. I was not going to make it easy for anyone.
“My answer was simple. You asked me to resign for telling you money has been stolen. Ask the minister to resign first.”
The emir said fear holds those in government back from speaking truth to power.
“You forget that the person, either the president or the governor, is also occupying a transient position. All the people that people were afraid of two, three years ago, where are they today?
“Power is transient. The only thing that is permanent is what you do for people when you were alive. If you’re a governor or a president or a minister, it does not matter how much you have; you will be remembered for service, not the amount of money you have that you cannot even announce,” Sanusi said.
The theme of the memorial lecture, delivered by Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), was: The role of the legal profession in nation building: the Nigerian context.
The Emir said judiciary could play more roles in nation building if there is more emphasis on merit rather than federal character.
“The idea of federal character should never be pursued at the expense of merit. Sometimes it’s an excuse for nepotism. Someone is claiming to represent Kano but is actually representing his family.
“The people that we choose to run our country are never our first team, second team and third team. That needs to change,” Sanusi said.
A justice of the Court of Appeal, Mrs. Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo, expressed regret that sometimes judges were wrongly blamed for judiciary’s woes.
She said judges work in difficult circumstances, such as writing in long hand and having to adjudicate on too many cases.
According to her, those responsible for enforcing judgments sometimes fail to do so, thereby undermining the judge’s powers.
“What do you want us to do? No one protects us. You spend the whole day writing, and when you get home your fingers are numb,” she said.
According to her, there are fewer than 1,500 judges of the courts of record, which she believes is not enough to deal with the number of cases filed in court daily.
Justice Obaseki-Adejumo said efforts should be made to reduce the number of cases that go to court, adding that some cases ought to be resolved out of court.
She said more courts needed to be built while corrupt judges should be singled out and dealt with rather than tarnishing the image of the Bench.
Source :The Nation