Speaking in Lagos on Thursday during the inaugural lecture and launching of a N250 million endowment fund for the Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu land, the former Central Bank governor and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, lamented that about 80% of the country’s resources is spent on government officials.
He added that it is obvious to everyone that the country can no longer afford to maintain the number of political office holders in the country, especially in the face of current economic downturn.
“If you really reflect on the problems of this country, it seems to turn common sense on its head. You sometimes wonder if anyone needs to tell any group of people that if you are a poor country, you do not need 36 governors, 36 deputy governors, with members of house of assembly, commissioners and advisers, Special assistants, a president, a vice president, 36 ministers, special advisers, federal legislature and so on.
“Simple arithmetic will tell you that if you have that structure, you are first of all doomed to spending 80 or 90 per cent of everything you earn maintaining public officers. It is really common sense but it seems to be a problem for us to understand it,” he said.
The emir called for a reform of the country’s political system to encourage a lean government to save resources for projects that benefit the people. “If you don’t free up the resources and put them up for capital projects, you are laying the foundation of what we are seeing today. We need to have structural reform.”
He stated further, “This is really is a big problem in Nigeria. I remember as the CBN governor when I raised the point that 80 per cent of government revenue was being used to maintain 1million public officers, leaving 20 per cent for over 160 million Nigerians, my state governor reacted by saying the federal government was planning to recruit more people.
“The situation we are in isn’t an unforeseen one so we need to go back to the basics and basic common sense by tailoring our political system to the level of development and resources of the country. We need to free up the resources and invest them so as to free ourselves from these problems we are having.”