By Toby Prince & Sylvanus Okpe
He has always found himself at cross-purposes with the establishment. His elevation to the traditional governance institution was enhanced by his romance with the progressives, whose causes are antithetical to the dictates of the feudal system.
And so, in the clash of the contrasting ideas that failed to coalesce with the emergence of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano, the deconstruction of Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II finds expression.
Perhaps, it has to do with his educational accomplishments or his background as a prince. The fact remains that in his 57 years on earth Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has combined the erudition of a public intellectual and the tenacity of a technocrat to affect his environment.
On account of education, being a Fulani from the core northern part of the country, his mission is suspect. Not that alone, being part of the elite, who have been at the receiving end of his verbal darts makes him a stranger to the Talakawas, whose cause and interest he seems determined to fight.
IF discretion is the better part of valour, Sanusi’s resort to verbal pugilism led him into myriad troubles. From taking on the fat cats in the banking industry, the former CBN governor took on the establishment, notably those in political authority including his own benefactor who appointed him governor of CBN, President Goodluck Jonathan.
From his vantage position as the nation’s number one banker, Sanusi threw caution to the wind when he raised the issue of diversion of funds by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without due cognizance of the internal reconciliation processes of the government.
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Sanusi was often accused of vendetta in his public posturing. For instance, at the time he raised the issue of missing $20 billion, it was also alleged that he made the wild allegation to spite the then Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezzani Alison-Madueke, for not assisting him to become the president of African Development Bank (AfDB).
While some of his public interventions are delivered in favour of the masses, most people doubt the sincerity of his populist bias. Sanusi remains one of the well-known critics of petroleum subsidy.
Kano Emirate Fall: Ganduje’s Fears of Ruling Kano with many influential enemies
There has been bad blood between Sanusi and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for some time now. In fact, it was envisaged. The moment Sanusi was made Emir, a new rivalry was born. Two captains can’t lead a ship. Save those with wholly diverse ideologies. Pride and ego clashed. However, the latest twist was unexpected.
Ganduje orchestrated the passage into law of a bill purporting to amend the existing law on the appointment and deposition of the Kano state emirate council. The bill, among others, created four more traditional institutions and emirate councils of Gaya, Karaye, Rano and Bichi in the state with each emirate council having a substantive first class emir. The emirate council is further expanded with new districts and domains under which the five independent traditional institutions will operate.
The governor in defence of this heinous act against the very insignia of the state’s culture and the epicentre of tradition in the hallowed chambers of the state assembly during the passage of the politically motivated bill told the disturbed crowd that the emirate council had been split to bring the traditional rulers closer to the grassroots. He opined that the concentration of the traditional powers of the states emirate council on one person who is resident at the Kano metropolis would hamper the Emir’s close rapport with the people in the remote areas of the state.
Prior, the governor reopened an investigation into the alleged case of financial impropriety on Sanusi. It took the intervention of the Kano-born billionaire, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar. One wonders what moral premises Ganduje who was captured on camera in a video collecting kickbacks from contractors to the tune of $15million has to launch an investigation into the financial spending of the Kano state emirate council, an autonomous traditional institution.
Ganduje believes Sanusi was part of the plot to end his political career. The very loquacious Emir kept quiet throughout the saga lasted and never condemned the attempt by his subject to blackmail one of their own, a sitting governor for that matter.
Although the extent is a bit extreme, the plot isn’t particularly strange. Sanusi openly backed Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the March 9 governorship election in Kano. Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the election after the first ballot. Sanusi never hid his disdain for the incumbent before the election and throughout the duration of the campaign. He made utterances in public functions which suggest lampooning some economic policies of the governor which led to their enmity.
Ganduje and predecessor Rabiu Kwankwaso are sworn political enemies in Kano. Whereas Sanusi sees himself as a creation of the latter and for that he can only be loyal to the former governor and not the current occupant of the seat.
Mr Ganduje may not have had it easy without royal help. Some high ranking Princes whom Sanusi allegedly snatched the seat from are not happy. The monarch’s style of leadership which has continued to expose the Emirate to western lifestyles and constant adulteration of the cultures of the Kano people didn’t help his course. He once sent his daughter to represent him at an event in Abuja whereas all the known Princes’ and district heads were available for such function. This analyst also considered as a sin.
Sanusi is considered a fugitive. He attended a Christian denominated primary school in neighbouring Kaduna State. Still, at his formative years, he went southwards and enrolled at the prestigious Kings College, Lagos, what is obviously an elitist school for children of the rich. Perhaps, feeling that the young Sanusi must have been acquiring traits alien to his original culture, his parents ensured that instead of the University of Lagos to which most of his peers migrated to for further studies, he was made to attend the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
On his part, Sanusi’s handling of the finances of the State has been a big burden. It has been alleged that HRH had managed the finances of the Emirate in a manner that the intervention of the EFCC is being sought. Worst, still, the Emir doesn’t delve into issues of governance unless invited to do so. Sanusi sees himself to be above a governor and cannot keep quiet.
Still, this will pass in history as the greatest political miscalculation of our time and the once powerful epitome of history and culture of the Kano people will be remembered with great nostalgia. The emirate council was instituted in 1805 after the Jihad led by Usman Danfodio. It became the only recognised traditional institution in Kano after the Hausa sultanate became subject to the Fulani caliphate. The history trespasses age and time and would have taken more than an inordinate ambition to change. Bastardizing the historic Kano emirate council just for political expediency will be doing a great disservice to both our ancestors who held dear to its practice and teachings and the posterity who deserves a place where culture and tradition, which stood Africa out is religiously upheld.