Muiz Banire, a former chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), has given his opinion on how the federal government can curb ethnoreligious tension.
Speaking at the 11th annual zonal symposium organised by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) B-Zone on Sunday September 18, Banire who revealed that 70% of voters in 2019 presidential poll were illiterates, averred that there is need to address the widespread illiteracy in the country.
In his presentation titled ‘Ethno-Religious agitation and imperative inclusiveness’, the former AMCON Chairman said mass illiteracy is why the electorates are unable to choose the right leaders.
He also said that getting the census right will ensure equity since “everybody knows that most of the entitlements in Nigeria are based on the census figure”.
“There are some prerequisites that must be addressed. As of today, Nigeria has no reliable census. We don’t even know how many we are; the same manner we don’t know how much oil we produce.
‘So, we need certainly to get our census right, but I’m not too sure that that can ever be gotten right, because except there is a nationalistic conviction in all of us, we can’t get it.
“Everybody knows that most of the entitlements in Nigeria are based on the census figure — revenue, location of infrastructure, employment. So, everybody strives to manipulate it from one to the other and without it, no progress for the nation. We must get our census right.
“We must get the election right. Of course, we are making progress but we are not yet there. When INEC improved in technology and everything, now it’s vote buying. We have to tame that. We have to tame illiteracy.
“The last election, only 35 percent of Nigeria’s eligible voters voted Nigeria’s president, and out of this 35 percent, 70 percent of them are illiterates — those who do not know why they are voting; ‘they said we should go and vote’; ‘they said that man is in our area’; ‘he’s our town man’; ‘we attend the same mosque’; ‘he’s our pastor’ — and all manners of primordial considerations.
“So, at the end of the day, those who do not know are the ones showing us the road in Nigeria.”