Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says there is a disconnect between political and economic elites in Nigeria,TheCable reports.
El-Rufai disclosed during a panel discussion titled ‘Mobilising for Political Economy’ at the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) on Tuesday in Abuja
The governor said nation-building is a deliberate exercise, and everyone must work together to build a nation.
“I have seen a level of disconnect between the political and economic elite. We discovered that those in the economic class just want to do their business, make money and live in Banana Island,” he said.
But however strong your business is, without a functional political system and competent public service, that business will collapse.
“There should be a level of consensus between the economic and political elite about what are the basic minimum and work on them continuously.
“We must come together and decide to build our nation — no one will do it for us. Our best and brightest must get involved in politics otherwise things will continue to grow worse.”
Speaking further, the governor explained that our founding father focused on nationalism, not nation building.
“Our founding father focused on nationalism and a lot of national competition, but it did not serve us well,” he added.
“If Awolowo once said that Nigeria is a mere geographical expression, it is true but what he didn’t add is that most nations were at one time or another mere geographical expression.
“The orientation and level of sacrifices of the political and economic elites are the combinations that more or less determine the trajectory of nations.”
El-Rufai added that Kaduna state managed to improve its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) because his government was deliberate in appointing only the best and brightest into public service rather than rewarding politicians with appointments.
“We need competent people in political and public services, but this is not the case in Nigeria, and things will not work. Unless the best and brightest hands are in the political system, the outcome will be sub-optimal and terrible,” he said.
“This is why I keep appealing to the educated, the experienced, and the accomplished in Nigeria to please come into political parties. Let us have a mass of decent people in politics, everything else will follow. But if we allow our political system to be populated by people with nothing to lose, this country will never achieve its potentials.”