The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammed Sanusi, has said Nigeria has never been this divided since the Civil War of 1967 to 1970.
He said the country, because of the elections, was now “dangerously divided along ethnic and religious lines”, adding that it had put the integrity of public institutions in question.
“The people now have suspicions about policies, policing, judiciary and the election umpire,” he said.
Sanusi made the remarks on Tuesday at the third Nigerian Leadership Colloquium in honour of the senior pastor of Trinity House, Lagos, Ituah Ighodalo, who turned 62.
The event, which held on Tuesday in Lagos, was tagged “A new Nigeria: Leadership imperatives for radical growth and transformation”.
Sanusi, in his address via Zoom, stated that the country now had a challenge of nation building, adding that the economy was now in the doldrums.
He said, “In October 2022, speaking at the Kaduna Investment Forum, I told Nigerians that if anyone told them that dealing with Nigeria post-2023 would be easy, they should not vote for that person. I meant it.
“I don’t think Nigeria has been in a place as difficult as this since the civil war. We have a challenge of nation building.
“We have a country that has been divided dangerously along ethnic and religious lines.
“We have an economy that is in the doldrums, and unfortunately, we seem to be having a dearth of leadership.”
According to him, beyond defining the kind of leaders the country needs, it also needs to look critically at the process through which the leaders emerge.
“No process is perfect. We have seen so in the United Kingdom and the United States. At the very least, the people should know who they are voting for. I think we need to begin to look at the Electoral Act, 2022 much more earlier than elections. We need to have a system where one cannot just go to participate in party primaries without being exposed to public scrutiny. This is what happens everywhere. People need to know what they are voting for. In other climes, they are compelled by law to participate in public debates to discuss issues of policy.
“This is the only country I know where we elect a President first before knowing if he knows what he is doing or whether he understands what the job is,” he added.
He also said the process through which Nigerians choose their leaders must be more transparent.