Nigeria’s most erudite Islamic religious leader, Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said north is backward in education because the British colonialists did not want northern Muslims to be educated, for obvious reasons.
Sanusi, however, noted that the backwardness neither had anything to do with the popular notion that northern Muslims did not want to embrace western education nor due to hatred by British, for Islamic religious reasons.
Speaking at the 60th Anniversary of Kaduna Capital School and Founder’s Day Lecture as well as magazine launch in Kaduna weekend, Sanusi said the fear of the British was to avoid the replica of what happened in India and Egypt:
“The British were not trying to bring down the Northern Muslins because of their hatred for Islam; they were trying to let them down because they had a very bitter experience with the Muslims in India and Egypt, who led the Anti-Colonial movement,” he said, adding that it was purely a political interest and not religious one.
He noted that, “A people with the history, civilization and tradition are the most potent force when given education,” urging the north to invest heavily in the education of their children.
While he emphasized on the need to do more in education of the northerner, especially the girl-child’s education, Sanusi advised northern leaders to also invest in healthcare, diversify into agriculture and build roads, instead of building Mosques.
Quoting the Koran, he said, in northern Nigeria, “the jihad of Usman Dan Fodio set up a society that was far ahead of all neigbouring society.”
He also enjoined Northern leaders to introduce social policies that would checkmate procreation and/or marriage of too many wives and bearing of many children without enough resources to train, resulting to demographic explosion.
Sanusi noted that “a situation now arose that, if you build classes for 2 million children today, for N1 million, next year, it will increase to N1.5 million to build school because of population growth arising from people, who kept on marrying and producing children without the capacity to train them.”
According to him, the first secondary school in the north was built in Kano, stressing that some northern Emirs had to forfeit their salaries to pay for female teachers for girls’ secondary schools founded in the North during the era.
The Emir, therefore, strongly dismissed and rejected the popular believe that northern Nigerian Muslims refused to accept western education, otherwise known as “Boko Haram”.