The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, says the northern part of the country risks collapsing soon if it fails to present socio-economic challenges facing the region.
The Emir said this while speaking at the 60th birthday of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in Kaduna on Monday.
According to him, such challenges as surging poverty rate, out-of-school children, malnutrition, drug abuse, Almajiri and the Boko Haram insurgency which are endemic in the region pose serious threat to its chances of survival.
He called on leaders from the region to brace up to the challenges facing the north, arguing no concerned northern leader would be happy with the situation of things.
Sanusi also urged the region to stop its dependence of quota system and federal character.
His words: “When we talk about birthday, we talk about happiness. Just last week, someone asked me, ‘ are you happy?’ And I said, ‘ I am not’ . And the person was surprised. The truth is, nobody who is a leader in the Northern Nigeria today can afford to be happy.
“You cannot be happy with about 87 per cent of poverty in Nigeria being in the North. You can’t be happy with millions of northern children out of school.
“You can’t be happy with nine states in the North contributing almost 50 per cent of the entire malnutrition burden in the country.
“You can’t be happy with the drug problem, you can’t be happy with the Boko Haram problem. You can’t be happy with political thuggery. You can’t be happy with all the issues; the Almajiri problem that we have.
“So, we wish Nasir a happy birthday, but we do not want him to be happy as a leader. Because you are happy when you think you have reached a state of delivering and taking your people to where you want them to be.
“Now, because of the condition of Northern Nigeria, it is almost correct now to say that, if you are seen as normal, if you are a governor in the North or a leader in the North, and you are seen as normal in the sense that you continue to do what your predecessors have been doing, doing the same thing, which has been normalised, then, there is something wrong with you, you are part of the problem.
“The real change in the North will come from those who are considered mad people, because you look around and say if this is the way we have been doing things and this is where we have ended up, maybe we need to do things differently.
“If we have populated the government with middle-aged men, maybe we need to try younger people, maybe we need to try women. If we have spent our money and time on physical structures, maybe we need to invest more in the education of our children. Maybe we need to invest more in nutrition. Maybe we need to invest more in primary health care.”