The former Emir of Kano said that the federal government must be determined in its insistence that anything the country could produce locally, with some level of comparative advantage, should not be imported in order to boost the economy, create employment and reduce poverty.
He advised the federal government to mobilise West African countries to have a uniform high tariff that would discourage importation of products like rice and textiles.
This, according to him, would be more reliable than the current border closure the federal government imposed since August 2019. “The closure of the borders can only be a temporary solution. We need to engage our neighbours and agree that all of us in West Africa need to create a situation where we do not import that which we can produce locally. So that our farmers are not wiped out by farmers in Thailand and India and our textiles are not wiped out by textiles from China.
“Why do we need to import shoes? We have factories in Aba where you can produce shoes. So why can’t we have that too in Kano so we can produce all the shoes and bags we need in Nigeria and have the entire West Africa market closed to foreign shoes and bags and if the international brands want this market, they can set up locally, use the same leathers we export to Italy and Spain to employ labour here to produce.”
The former Emir of Kano said that his eyes are not on political appointments or electoral office because they are not the only ways of rendering public service.
He said: “People have been talking to me about politics even when I was at the CBN in 2011; that they wanted me to be presidential candidate. I have never had an interest in partisan politics. The nature of my family is that we consider ourselves as leaders of all people and politics can be very divisive. You can join one political party and then alienate yourself from others.
“All I can say is that this is not something that is for me as an objective. I think there are many ways of being of service to the nation. If you look at my CV, I started off as an academic. I was teaching economics at Ahmadu Bello University and after just two years before I could complete my Master’s thesis I decided to go into banking for just no reason. And I have made a success of my career as a banker, as a regulator and as an Emir.
“Maybe it is time to publish some collections of my articles that have no relationship with economics at all. They are about Sharia, identity etc. I had written some of them between 1999 and 2005. It may come out in a few months. Then the book on central banking will come out.
I still will like to write a book on the impact of certain interpretations of Moslem family laws on the development of Nigeria. It will deal on the interpretation of the law and certain cultural practices around child marriage, child rights and how they have contributed to poverty and underdevelopment in Northern Nigeria.
“And in the process I am thinking that maybe I could get a Ph.D and maybe go back to my first career that I never concluded and just be a professor in different universities abroad. And the great thing with the life I have led is that if I complete that Ph.D, how many universities would have someone with a PhD who has been a bank CEO, Governor of Central bank and Emir? So, it is a kind of CV that would give you any university in the world, whether it is Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge and anywhere you want because it is now about my entire life experience.
“I am going to take life as it goes. I am in no hurry. I have enough on my plate and I see my life as life of service and I don’t think that public service is limited to elected office. Any opportunity I have to serve, I would take it if it is something I think I am capable of delivering. I have no immediate plans to go into politics.”