Muhammad Sanusi II, the emir of Kano, made a curious case for the separation of state and religion (or did he?) when he spoke on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at a Mo Ibrahim Forum on leadership in Africa.
According to TheCable, the emir said that after Zamfara State was the first to start the implementation of sharia law in Nigeria, it also has the highest poverty rate in the country.
Sanusi, while speaking at the forum in Marrakesh, Morocco, also said that those who “see religion as a tool of getting power”, are not necessarily better than the rest of the people.
He said they should, however, be given a chance to participate in a democracy, so that they do not go on “pushing a myth, that they were not given a chance”.
“I think the ability to give these groups a chance, you know people come and say they want to establish Islamic law, and they are elected,” he said.
“Give them four years, after some time people find out that they have not improved education, they have not put food on the table, they’ve not provided healthcare, they vote them out.
“So long as you don’t give them a chance to try and succeed or fail, you have a myth of people being denied an alternative, that would make their lives better. I think the mistake that many people make is that they simply don’t have the patience to wait four years.
“We have had it in Nigeria; people came and said they were implementing Sharia. Zamfara state started Sharia in Nigeria, yet it has the highest rate of poverty in the country today.
“It’s a matter of time before people realize that this is all deception, this is all politics, this is not religion; it is about politicians appropriating religion as a discourse for getting into power.”
Zamfara State implemented Sharia in 1999 under then Governor Sani Yerima. Kano followed shortly after. By 2012, nine states – Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Yobe, in addition – had implemented Sharia.
Three Nigerian state, Kaduna, Niger, and Gombe, instituted sharia in some parts with large Muslim populations.
Sanusi is one of several northern politicians who are intensely lobbying to be appointed vice president by Professor Yemi Osinbajo in the event of President Muhammadu Buhari’s demise.
The emir, an inside source revealed to The Trent, has taken steps to strengthen his candidacy by becoming more visible in the media of recent and making comments that would appeal to the a national audience, for example, his recent comments on educating the girl child, replacing mosques with schools, and restrictions on polygamy for poor Muslim men.
“Essentially, what you have heard Sanusi say in recent times would irk his Muslim fundamentalist base but appeals to Christians and moderate Muslims,” one source said.