Muhammadu Sanusi II, has described placing people in positions they don’t have competence to manage as the worst form of corruption.
Delivering an address, in Lagos, at the grand finale of the 30th anniversary of University of Lagos MuslimAlumni (UMA), Sanusi decried the situation where incompetent people are saddled with public offices in the name of the federal character principle.
According to him, “the problem with our country very often is that people are entrusted with responsibilities they are not capable of handling, and that is the worst form of corruption.
“I am not one of those opposed to this thing called federal character. It is very good. But it is not enough to say I have Hausa, I have Yoruba, I have Muslims and I have Christians in my cabinet; which particular human being have you selected? Can he do the job you have given him?”
Sanusi emphasised that the first consideration in appointing a public officer should be whether the person is capable of handling the responsibilities or not “because his incompetence comes back to hurt the people.”
The Emir also charged policy makers to focus developmental efforts on the appropriate sections of the society and avoid cosmetic approach to national progress and development.
“You have to ask whom development is for. Is it for the elite? When we talk of development, we think of skyscrapers and roads and bridges and we say we are developed.
But if you move out of town, after just one hour drive, you find people who are scavenging; they don’t have primary healthcare centres; their babies are born out of hospitals; there is high maternal morbidity and thechildren are dying of malnutrition. So, what really is development and whom is development for?
“We all have a responsibility to talk about this, to ask what should be our priority. Should we be building large, sophisticated, IT-enabled infrastructure for us to go for our urban class diseases like stress and depression? Or are we looking at basic primary healthcare facilities that allow babies to be born safely, to get vaccination, to get primary education? What is development?” he said.
“You live in Abuja [but] Abuja in not Nigeria [because] you don’t see the darkness, you don’t see the poverty; you have paved roads, you have skyscrapers and you have flyovers.
“It is funny but I have always known that that people who live in Abuja basically live in a world of their own, not the world of the people they are serving,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Emir commended UMA for making fundraising for scholarship the highlight of the celebration, appealing to well-meaning individuals to identify with the association.
Oladokun said the association equally identified with the fight against corruption and corrupt public officials and enjoined the government and agencies established for this purpose to spare no one in the crusade.
He also charged rulers to see public offices as positions of trust which should be deployed for the benefit of the citizenry.
The UMA, which was established in 1985, has so far awarded scholarships to 93 students for mainly post-graduate programmes.