The gospel of Islamo-development

“We can have all the theorization … at the end of the day, we have got to address the question that we have systems in which the government have not made it a priority to put food in people’s stomachs, drugs in the mouths of children and (create) jobs for the youth …” *

“The state has abdicated its responsibility and left it to the society.”*

I got the opportunity to attend one of the debates organized by LeMonde Afrique solely focused on Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano who is definitely a force to reckon with. I was absolutely glad to have attended. He shares his incredible insights and discusses the role of Islam in countering radicalism and the importance of inclusive development for Nigeria.

There has never being a time when society has conformed to what people think it should be…” *

The debates open up with the Emir speaking on the challenges of a Muslim in the 21st century. The individual is thus faced with the need to navigate between two worlds – reconciling Islam and modernity. I think this challenge is one that is quite universal due to the complexities present in the world today. Individuals regardless of religion, race, gender continually strive to navigate multiple worlds attempting to find a balance.

“The only reason Boko Haram became what it became… was the lack of political will to confront them…” *

As the Chairman of Black Rhino which strategically implements transformational projects using in-depth country knowledge across the African continent, His Highness Emir Muhammad Sanusi II concentrates on structural reforms within Nigeria and across Africa.

“You can do something with a desire to help the poor which actually hurts the poor.” *

Key points made by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi:

  • Religion should not be thought of as a category, this increases the tendency of attributing issues which stem from secular and social reasons to religion hence referring the failure of government to as a religious issue.
  • Within religious, political spheres of interaction, certain languages of intolerance could breed a form of identity politics and the phenomenon of othering which could be problematic.
  • There is a risk of appropriation of religious principles such as the Sharia law as political tools wielded by detached lawmakers.
  • There is a tendency to have a ‘helicopter view’ of Boko Haram which results in little appreciation of the case-specific nuances.
  • Strategically and economically, Lake Chad is important. Get the water back into Lake Chad. Water is the life-source of the surrounding communities.
  • No country can afford to leave a part of its region or population marginalized.
  • To have a real impact on the behaviour of people at the grassroots, it is important to address the issues from their points of view. Imploring local populations in the name of the United Nations may not have as much of an impact as advising them from their religious or cultural angles.
  • It is important to focus on education. When people have education, their life chances are improved.
  • Nigeria is clearly influential due to its economy, population and military. Nigeria has to set a good example in terms of good governance. “South Africa is not a competition, Africa is big enough for all of us, if Nigeria gets its act together, South Africa would be nowhere.”*

Tweets from the event:

On Islam in Nigeria and the influence of Saudi Arabia and Iran:

On the gender conversation and Western values:

On subtle jabs:

On measures that could be taken by the World Bank:

On labels:

*All quotes were made by His Excellency, the Emir of Kano – Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

What do you think about the Emir of Kano? Please share in the comments below.