The Emir of Kano, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, has blamed the educational backwardness of the north as a deliberate decision of the British.
The Emir said that the northern region was defined and stereotyped as conservative and against western education.
“The purpose of the British administration in Northern Nigeria is not to promote education and material development.
“The Sokoto caliphate was more literate than its learned pre-colonial neighbors.
“The caliphate had a social welfare system that supported scholars and students across the caliphate.
“If many people can remember, Sultan Bello and Shehu Danfodio set up the first university in this part of the world.
“Bureaucrats who ran the emirate were trained in fields including Law, Hadith, Quran, Linguistics, and Administration.
“By the end of the colonial rule, the society became so backward that it could no longer compete with other parts of Nigeria.
“This is why the NW and NE are the most educationally disadvantaged areas in the country and the world.
“The British established indirect rule and used local rulers to administer the colony.
“It was successful in northern Nigeria; hence, there is this false notion that emirs supported every colonial policy.
“In Kano, the Emir Abbas tried to maintain the Islamic character of the Emirate despite colonial onslaught.
“He refused to compromise his Islamic position.
“Because of that, many people thought Emir Abbas was opposed to western education.
“This was an emir who removed his son Abdulkadir who was the Ciroman Kano and sent him to a western school.
“Even on girls’ education, all the daughters of Emir Abdullahi Bayero were enrolled in Gidan Makama School in 1930.
“The princesses in Ilorin went to school before the princesses in other parts of the North.
“The families also never objected to the Catholic Schools. I went to a Catholic school.
“Emir Abdullahi Bayero pioneered many of the projects transiting Kano into the modern era.
“He established the first independent power plant and first water works in Northern Nigeria.
“Aside from this, he was the first leader who had the vision of integrating Islamic and western education.
“In 1928, he established the first school in the North that began the integration of Islamic and Western education.
“This happened under the leadership of Alhaji Suleiman who became the Wali of Kano.
“The only thing that can unlock all the problems of the North is education.
“In fact, God will reward you more for educating the people than building mosques for them.
“The northern governors must begin to think of the 19 northern states as one economy,” emir Sanusi said.