In Kano, the Royal Baton Changes from One Brother to Another

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Former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi Lamido

Ibrahim Shuaibu writes that devoid of all its intricacies, the dethronement of the former Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, may have benefitted one more member of the Sanusi family

There is no doubt that the confrontation between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and the former Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II had led to a series of events that whittled down the power of the Emir even before he was dethroned last week.

Sanusi had been demystified and the bubble of inviolability around his person and office punctured before his eventual removal as a natural ruler. The biggest evidence that Sanusi’s elevated stature had been substantially reduced was the balkanization of Kano Emirate in October 2019 by the Ganduje government. By that action, Rano Emirate, Gaya Emirate, Karaye Emirate and Bichi Emirate were created out of the existing Kano Emirate. For a brief period, the courts nullified the creation of the emirates, but the Kano State House of Assembly went ahead to formalize the new emirates with a law. That sealed it!

The once monolithic Kano emirate had been split into five parts, destroying thousands of years of history of the traditional institution in the state.

Kano Emirate has been reduced to only eight local government areas including the Kano Municipal, Dala, Nassarawa, Fagge, Gwale, Kumbotso and Ungogo, according to Kano State Emirates Council Law 2019.

Before the creation of four additional emirates, the Kano Emirate had 44 local government areas under its control.

Ganduje may have unwittingly made history with a first-time creation of five first-class emirates.

The crisis between Ganduje and Sanusi became public knowledge, when the former Emir was alleged to have supported the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Abba Kabir Yusuf in the 2019 Kano State governorship election against the incumbent who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Months after he was re-elected as Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje resumed his despotic style of leadership, starting with the removal Sanusi as the Emir of Kano over trumped-up charges.

Ganduje has been on Sanusi’s throat since 2017 when the deposed Emir criticized his corrupt manner of awarding contracts to Chinese companies, and his insatiable penchant for foreign trips.

It wasn’t long after this that the state’s anti-graft agency came up with the allegation of misappropriating ₦6 billion by the Kano Emirate Council “without the approval of the state government.” Amidst outbursts from all over the country, the probe was dropped, only to be reopened after Ganduje’s re-election.

The governor was alleged to have sworn to depose Sanusi, as he and his lieutenants believe the former Emir worked against his re-election during the March 2019 governorship poll.

Last week, Ganduje made good the threat.

Ganduje was alleged to have masterminded the downfall of Sanusi, as revenge to the former Emir’s open rejection of him in favour of the opposition PDP governorship candidate, a situation that not only embarrassed Ganduje but boxed him into a corner, as the incumbent governor of the state.

Ganduje started paying Sanusi in his own coins, when he allegedly influenced the state-owned Anti-Corruption Agency to probe the mission N3.5 billion Kano Emirate Council funds under the watch of Emir Sanusi, in his capacity, as the Emir.

In a swift move to scuttle the investigation of the Emirate Council funds, by the Anti-Graft Agency, Sanusi rushed to the court, where he secured an interim injunction, restraining the Kano State Government, the governor or its agents from probing the Emirate Council funds.

As the battle raged, counter court injunctions were issued, culminating in the final straw that has broken the camel’s back.

Many attempts to broker peace between Ganduje and Sanusi were unproductive. Even the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-led reconciliation committee failed.

Sanusi’s actions and his removal as Emir

From the first day Sanusi mounted the traditional saddle, as the 14th Emir of Kano, his six-year reign was cluttered with controversy. It was no surprise to many that it was abruptly terminated in controversy.

Sanusi made it no secret that his life ambition and age-long dream was to emerge as Emir of Kano. He eventually accomplished this in 2014. For him, it was the peak of a meteoric rise to stardom, culminating in his appointment as the 14th Emir of Kano. He had nothing else to accomplish in life. He said, “I have achieved my greatest ambition in life. Even if I am confined to my grave from here, I left nothing to regret in life. Becoming the Emir of Kano, is what I admired and revered most in my life. I have accomplished my mission in life. I have nothing to be proud of on this planet than to become the Emir of Kano.”

The immediate past Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, facilitated the accomplishment of his dream against all odds, despite some dissenting voices from the kingmakers, who were opposed to his ascending the throne.

The opposing kingmakers reasoned that that it was the turn of Alhaji Aminu Ado, son of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. As fate would have it, Ado has emerged the 15th Emir of Kano.

Justifying Sanusi’s removal, Secretary to the Kano State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji said the monarch was disrespectful to the Office of the Governor.

According to him, the persistent refusal of the former Emir to attend official meetings and programmes organized by the government without any lawful justification amounts to total insubordination was part of what had informed the decision of the state government to dethrone the monarch.

He stated that in so many instances, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi II breached Part 3 Section 13(a-e) of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and which, if left unchecked would destroy the good and established image of the Kano Emirate.

He said, “this removal is made after due consultation with the relevant stakeholders and in compliance with Part 3 Section 13 of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and other reasons stated above.

The Sanusi saga has brought to the fore the uncanny nature of history repeating itself. His late grandfather, Emir Muhammad Sanusi was removed and taken to Azare in Bauchi, before he was eventually moved to Wudil in Kano where he died.

The deposition was accompanied, with banishment of the Emir, same day, to a remote, unknown village, in Nassarawa State, where, it was reliably learnt that the Emir’s convoy arrived the sleepy village at about 2am.

It was indeed a traumatic experience, never imagined to happen to a 21st Century Emir, in the calibre of Emir Sanusi.

His grandfather, Sir Muhammad Sanusi Bayero, had ended his reign on the throne by hurriedly resigning, before the hammer will fall when he got wind that the then Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello had concluded plans to depose him, due to a dispute between the duo, bothering on insubordination.

Sanusi’s grandpa flouted a standing order by Sir Ahmadu Bello, who was the Premier of Northern in 1963 that nobody should park his car at a particular point but despite the directive, Sanusi’s grandpa, ordered his driver to park at the ‘No parking’ spot.

This situation ignited the crisis between Sanusi’s grandpa, who was on the throne for 10 years and the Sir Ahmadu Bello. This eventually led to his premature resignation.

While he accepted the elimination from royalty with his characteristic obduracy, he went to court to enforce his fundamental human right to freedom, refusing to have his liberty restricted within a certain area of Nasarawa State. His prayers were granted by the court.

The Kano State government had insisted that, “The removal was reached in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige of the Kano Emirate built over one thousand years.”

But Sanusi showed no remorse. From the time he received the letter of removal from the government, he acknowledged it with the Quranic verse, meaning, ‘all power belongs to God.’

In his acceptance of dethronement, Sanusi was recorded to have said that he accepts the dethronement as the will of God and was thankful to Him for that.

The former Emir also called on his family members and relations to declare allegiance to whosoever comes after him.

Sanusi who remained calm throughout the short speech also prayed for and thanked the people of Kano for the regard they had for him while he was Emir.

Monday, March, 9, 2020, may have rolled into the history books, but it will always be remembered, among other things, as the day the reign of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II screeched to a halt.

Simply, the royal baton had changed from one brother to another.

Kano Elders View

However, a group of senior citizens under the aegis of Advocates for a United Kano have issued a statement calling for preservation of Kano’s cultural inheritance. The group which includes Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Alhaji Abba Dabo, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Alhaji Bashir Yusif Ibrahim, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Bala Mohammed, Malam Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, Dr. Dalhatu Sani Yola, Lawan Audi and Prof. Farouk Sarkin Fada insisted that citizens of Kano State are against attempts to destroy their 1000 year-old heritage.

“We hereby express deep concern about the persistence of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the destruction of the Kano Emirate, a product of the efforts of our forefathers which has survived for centuries championing purposeful administration and scholarship in Kano State and beyond.

It is without doubt that the Kano Emirate has, for centuries, been a formidable force in shaping the character and economic outlook of the Kano society in particular and Nigeria as a whole.

Unfortunately, however, the actions of Governor Ganduje which, to a greater extent, border on personal margins are unequivocally bent on destroying that legacy.

“We hereby call on the governor to, in the interest of unity, peace and progress of Kano State, immediately cause the repeal of the obnoxious law creating the new emirates.

Our resolve in this regard was informed by careful consideration of the fact that the personal ambitions of the governor should not be allowed to jeopardize the overall common good and the harmonious relationship existing among the Kano populace.

“If, however, in the wisdom of the governor, that the new emirates are necessary in order to fast track development, then the law must be subjected entirely to the processes of the popular will.

This is a matter of strategic public significance that should be subjected to a referendum in line with established democratic ideals. The voice of people of Kano State must be heard and respected, too.”

However, another group known as the Committee for the Restoration of Gaya, Karaye and Rano Emirates, took a swipe at those antagonizing the creation of four additional emirates in Kano.

The group said the three upgraded emirates were forcefully annexed to Kano emirate by the colonial force. The group’s spokesman, Haruna Dederi said the creation of the emirates is the restoration of what they were deprived of several years ago.

Dederi who represents Karaye/Rogo Federal Consistency at the House of Representatives said the three emirates of Karaye, Rano and Gaya were forcefully coerced into Kano Emirate.

He also commended Governor Ganduje for creating the Bichi Emirate where he described as, “breeding ground for Kano Emirs,” adding that with rich cultural and economic potentials, Bichi has all it takes to stand as an emirate.

Dederi said the committee has been agitating for the creation of these new Emirates for over 10 years.

“The agitation for the restoration of Gaya, Karaye and Rano Emirates was originally started by a Committee of Concerned Indigenes of these emirates about 10 years ago. Because of logistics and operational reasons, the efforts by that Committee slowed down.

For about two years now, this committee under the patriotic and able leadership of Alhaji Jazuli Muhammad Gaya reignited the agitation.

The restoration of the three emirates was not by any means meant to despise Kano Emirate or any personality as perceived by some narrow-minded elements.

Our bond of brotherhood will continue to exist between the people of these emirates and those of Kano Emirate.”

Sanusi’s successor and his departure

The dethroned Emir was evicted from the ancient Kano Emirate palace by a team of security officials led by the state police commissioner, Habu Sani. His family was flown out of Kano to Lagos in a private jet provided by his friends while he was flown to Nasarawa state.

However, the deposition of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II elicited divergent opinions of notable observers and those keeping a constant tab on the entire saga with many supporting and applauding the decision taken by the State Executive Council to send him packing. But a handful of those who viewed his dethronement as a vendetta orchestrated to pull him down.

With the appointment of Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, a new chapter in the revered monarchy is open, considering his popularity and humble disposition. The Kano monarchy may be on a new pedestal.

The new emir of Kano Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero is married to dethrone Emir of Kano Malam Muhammadu Sanusi’s younger sister of same parents.

Howerer, two days after his dethronement, the state public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission says it would continue with the investigation on the deposed Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II.

The chairman of the commission, Barrister Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado said that the investigation was still ongoing. He said with the deposition of embattled monarch, the commission would now have what he described as ‘fertile ground’ to carry out its investigation without any interference.

A Federal High Court in Kano had restrained the Kano state Public Complaint and Anti-corruption Commission from investigating the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II on the alleged N2.2 billion land scam.

The day after Sanusi’s departure, it was business as usual in Kano. There was no breach of peace. Residents of the ancient city went about their normal activities and some were in joyful mood for the new Emir.

QUICK FACTS:

*In October 2019, Rano Emirate, Gaya Emirate, Karaye Emirate and Bichi Emirate were created out of the existing Kano Emirate

*The Kano State House of Assembly formalized the new emirates with a law

*Kano Emirate has been reduced to only eight local government areas including the Kano Municipal, Dala, Nassarawa, Fagge, Gwale, Kumbotso and Ungogo, according to Kano State Emirates Council Law 2019

* Before the creation of four additional emirates, the Kano Emirate had 44 local government areas under its control

* Ganduje may have unwittingly made history with a first-time creation of five first-class emirates

* Kano state’s anti-graft agency came up with the allegation of misappropriating ₦6 billion by the Kano Emirate Council without the approval of the state government

*In 2014, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II was appointed the 14th Emir of Kano by the immediate past Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

* Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi II was alleged to have breached Part 3 Section 13(a-e) of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019

*Alhaji Aminu Ado, son of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero has emerged the 15th Emir of Kano

* The new emir of Kano Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero is married to dethrone Emir of Kano Malam Muhammadu Sanusi’s younger sister of same parents

*The Sanusi saga has brought to the fore the uncanny nature of history repeating itself. His late grandfather, Emir Muhammad Sanusi was removed and taken to Azare in Bauchi, before he was eventually moved to Wudil in Kano where he died

*The former Emir has accepted his dethronement as the will of God, but successfully challenged his banishment and the curtailment of his freedom in court

*On Monday, March 9, 2020, the reign of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II screeched to a halt

*The Kano state public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission says it would continue with the investigation on the deposed Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II