There seems to be total misunderstanding of the stand of the South, especially South-West, on very controversial national issues. There was, for example, the argumentation on the imperative of zonal security outfit, the lead of which South-West took in defiance of threats by Nigerian armed forces to protect the country’s territorial integrity. Amusing ones even went as far as assessing the need for zonal security out as a prelude to secession.
On the contrary, when the “come came to become” (some nostalgia for colourful Ozumba Mbadiwe of First Republic politics), other parts of the country embraced the zonal security outfit idea. Unfortunately, in the process of that acclamation, there was a further misconception that the zonal security idea, (Amotekun), materialised against the threat of federal authorities mainly because of the “political solidarity” of southwesterners. There was nothing of the sort. Any doubtful Thomas should wait till 2023. Since the advent of local rule in 1951, there has been nothing like sheepish political followership in South-West. The 1993 massive voting for Bashorun MKO Abiola was part of an unprecedented nationwide route for his opponent. Electorate in South-West is ever discerning with brother against brother, father opposed to son, or wife in a different political party from the husband’s.
What then happened on the battle for Amotekun? It was a struggle to ensure the security of all NIGERIANS resident in South-West. The situation in the country warranted it and continues to warrant it. There is no apology for that, as no interest of any other zone or power of any other government is threatened. Latest vindication for setting up Amotekun? Killings of seven mourners agonising on their bereavement in Benue State by yet-to-be-arrested culprits. Other zones or states still vacillating on establishing local security outfit will continue to lose their loved ones under daring circumstances. South-West has shown the light. It is up to other zones to find the way.
More importantly, after unleashing Amotekun to secure lives and property of all Nigerians in that zone, southwesterners have returned to their different political bunkers for the 2023 mother of all political wars. Any talk of political solidarity is, therefore, self-delusion. The much-vaunted grievances in the country diminish to child’s play compared to the political grievances in South-West, if the outcome of 2019 elections in that zone is anything to go by.
That brings us to the fresh misunderstanding of the support of southwesterners for purportedly deposed Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi against the unlawful action of Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje. The support of South-West and southern media was not for the person of an infallible, Mr. Clean Sanusi. Instead, the support was a matter of principle. Two issues were involved. Did Emir Sanusi deserve to be deposed? If so, did Kano State government, in all the processes, comply with laws of the land, in which Nigerian Constitution stands out supreme? Even when law courts pronounce on matters of Nigerian Constitution, careful and deliberate effort is made to limit such pronounceement to mere interpretation of the meaning and purpose of provisions in the Constitution, without in any way rubbushing the valuable document.
If, therefore, there was a basis for Kano State government to depose Emir Sanusi, such must be clearly established and explained to Nigerians. The impression should not be created that the Emir Sanusi matter was a private affair of Kano State. That was why when the illegality of purporting to depose Emir Sanusi was committed, the nation’s securrrity outfit, soldiers, policemen and state securities personnel, were deloyed obviously to intimidate loyal subjects of Emir Sanusi from protesting or even resisting. Till now, the only basis Kano State government and its cohorts are clinging to is that Emir Sanusi was disrespectful to the government, which, in plain language, means Governor Ganduje. This shows wrong idea of the relationship between governors and traditional rulers. Such misunderstanding portrays traditional rulers as slaves or some kind of zombie or demented fellow who is never expected to express awarenes of whatever the prevailing man’s inhumanity to man. This is completely wrong.
Disrespect for Kano State culture? Which culture? Culture of poverty against which Emir Sanusi spoke and should not have spoken? Admittedly, criticism could be laced in more than 10 ways. But the truth is that these state governors parade as gods who must be worshipped by everybody all the time. Over 10 years ago, in Ogun state, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, privately but harmlessly enlisted the support of an aide to Governor Gbenga Daniel to help draw attention to the poor roads in Abeokuta township. Oba Gbadebo’s plea was considered an affront for which plans were almost completed until I enlightened the governor that he had no power to depose the Alake on such grounds or he, the governor, would face the people’s wrath. That ended the silly idea of deposing the Alake. These governors don’t know the limit of their power.
In furtherance of this, deposed Emir Sanusi has not helped matters by claiming to have decided to move on instead of challenging his unlawful deposition. The issue involved is not personal but the rule of law. For how long will governors continue to harass and intimidate traditional rulers? It is not as if traditional rulers are above the law. If they commit rape, fraud, assault or grievous bodily harm, the law will be imposed on them and, if found guilty, will be deposed, stricly in line with Nigerian constitution and criminal code. This is not the case with Emir Sanusi. Does the deposed emir realise what he has done? There is nothing statesmanlike in his action. Rather, he has rendered reigning traditional rulers throughout the North (still) vulnerable to victimisation and deposition by state governors.
Who is emerging now as short-sighted and even if inadvertently unwilling to fight for security of tenure for fellow emirs? Sanusi seems not to bother with future entitlement of his children to the throne. By deciding to live with his unlawful deposition, Emir Sanusi may have consciously or unconsciously compromised the rights of the offspring to the royal dynasty. Furthermore, if Gwandu Emir Mustapha Jokolo had similarly sheepishly accepted his purported deposition without a successful challenge in law courts, would Emir Sanusi have been gifted with a legal precedent (Jokolo’s victory), which was handy to release Sanusi from mini-prison to where he was unlawfully thrown by Governor Ganduje? Emir Jokolo’s legal battle was not only for himself, but in particular his children, other emirs and their children.
Emir Sanusi’s purported deposition offered an opportunity for frustrated bank executives to exhibit persecution complex in a vain attempt to cover up their financial crimes, which Sanusi, as Central Bank governor, exposed and got them removed to face prosecution. These criminals were celebrating the purported deposition of Emir Sanusi on the ground that Sanusi ruined the career of “southern” bankers. The saving grace was that Sanusi’s predecessor as Central Bank governor, Charles Soludo, was similarly accused of witch-hunting Yoruba bankers out of their career.
To crucify Soludo, these bank looters planted stories in their ethnic sections of the media that Soludo targeted them for career annihilation. Fake pastors who would devote first three hours bank business every morning to prayers and still proceeded to bankrupt banks, taking unsecured loans and unrepaid loans in the names of themselves and their children as well as fake companies. The situation was even worse in two banks allowed to merge and indulged to be paying their debt instalmentally. Instead, they blackmailed Soludo through ethnic coloration.
There is, therefore, no surprise that these financial criminals are gloating over the purported deposition of Emir Sanusi on the excuse that he exposed the criminality of “southern” bankers. Soludo was not better treated as he was blackmailed for allegedly singling out Yoruba bank looters parading as bank executives. In any case, Emir Sanusi is not a perfect human being. Whatever his frailties before he became an emir would not justify his unlawful deposition. If the “southern” bankers felt unlawfully treated by Sanusi, why did they not seek legal redress? They dared not since any judge would, instead, order the arrest and trial of these crooks.
The fault is the Nigerian system, which allows these criminals free in society. Thanks to EFCC, Nigerian judges and fat-headed lawyers. Fellow travellers of these criminals in well-organised societies are languishing in jail for the rest of their life. What havoc did these thieves commit against society and humanity? Did southerners in truth not completely bankrupt the financial sector and shareholders? How did southern bankers become dollar billionaires and thousands of innocent investors in stocks and shares were sent to graves? See the bank executive dollar billionaires bragging they did not borrow one kobo to attain criminal status of dollar billionaires? Nigerians, what happened to your deposits/investment in stocks and shares in banks administered by these fellows? From shares of up to a minimumof N80 each, to which innocent investors were fraudulently lured to take loans of naira to buy or invest their millions of naira life savings only to be manipulated to crash to N2 or N3 naira per share? Those who took such loan and invested in the banks as shareholders have either died or are dying. Are the irritants known as bank executive dollar billionaires northerners or southerners? It was God’s blessing that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi tenured at Nigeria’s Central Bank during which he flushed out murderers parading as bank executives just as Jesus drove out shady characters from the temple.
Another hero of the moment is Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for the unprecedented courage and swiftness with which he decided the attempted deposition of Emir Sanusi. Justice Chikere is the type of judge Nigerians need to decongest our courts. Within days of the purported deposition of Emir Sanusi, and the attendant tension, Justice Chikere rose to the occasion by completely restoring calm.
For Justice Chikere, there was no fear. Neither was any delay nor ambiguity in his order to both parties to maintain the status quo. Other mischievous and cowardly judges would have left Emir Sanusi and Kano State government (still) arguing on what was the status quo. That was not Justice Chikere as he ordered the immediate release of Emir Sanusi from exile. God bless Justice Chikere.
Very lucky to escape so far is the government of Nasarawa State, an implied accomplice of northern state governments found guilty of unlawfully banishing of Nigerians by offering detention facilities. No law in Nigeria obliges one state government to offer such assistance to another state government. Only Federal Government can detain anybody in any part of Nigeria. Even then, such detention can be challenged in court by the detainee. When Emir Jokolo of Gwandu was purportedly deposed and banished, Nasarawa State government gladly joined in that unlawful act. And clearly because Emir Jokolo did not cite Nasarawa State government for aiding and abetting his unlawful detention with claims for aggravated damages, the same Nasarawa State government joined in the conspiracy with Kano State government to violate the freedom of movement of Emir Sanusi. Suit against Nasarawa State, still viable, for complicity in both crimes will discourage other state governments from being willing tools in future. With declaration by different courts that the banishment of both emirs violated their freedom of movement guaranteed under the constitution, damages can be awarded in a typical suit.