The similarities were too striking to be ignored. Even the blind would readily agree. The resemblance could not be hindered by space or distance.
Poles apart, yet they are in one accord. Separated by several hundreds of kilometres, they remain one in soul, spirit and body.
Governor Umar Ganduje in Kano State and Governor Abiola Ajimobi in Oyo State are two of a weird kind. They are yoked together by their queer actions and inactions.
Ganduje is learning fast from history the very wrong way. He is taking every inch after his in-law and governor colleague, Ajimobi. Don’t blame him. And he has not missed or mixed any step. He is calculating with ultimate precision.
He took a painstaking step to rubbish the Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (aka SLS). Just like Ajimobi’s failed attempt to put the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, in the dirty dustbin of history.
Ganduje appeared civil enough to go through a semblance of “due process.” He sent a bill on Kano State Emirates to the state House of Assembly.
Ajimobi did not deem that fit. He only set up a seven-man committee and told the members what he wanted. And with a fiat, he was graciously obliged.
But Ganduje was more daring and perhaps tactical than his in-law. He signed the bill into law the very day it was passed. By the stroke of his “mighty” pen, he arrogantly broke the emirate into five pieces like Ajimobi, destroying 800 years of history.
He then taunted the emir: “It is not vendetta, I am not against him. In fact, he is supposed to be reporting to the local government chairman, according to the Constitution of Nigeria. It is the local government chairman he is supposed to discuss issues with him and not the governor.”
That is the height of executive recklessness.
Ganduje crashed the 44-local-government-strong Kano Emirate Council. Sanusi now controls only 10. He lost 34 to the new Bichi, Rano, Gaya and Karaye emirate councils. He equally lost his prestigious permanent chairmanship of the Kano State Emirate Councils. It is now on rotational basis. Even more, Sanusi’s N180 million monthly allocation is to be slashed into five.
Hurriedly, like Ajimobi, Ganduje summoned his new emirs to a stadium. He caused them to line up to receive their letters of appointment one after the other.
His Oyo State counterpart did that earlier on Friday, August 25, 2017, at the House of Chiefs, Ibadan. There, he distributed letters of appointment to his eight Olubadan chiefs “elevated” as Obas.
The following Sunday, he did the same thing. He lined up the ‘Obas’ and handed them their “crowns” in an insulting manner to Yoruba custom and tradition.
All through, Ganduje picked useful tutorials from his in-law. And it paid handsomely for him. He chose to ignore the court order restraining him from implementing his reform.
He explained off his action this way: “The emirs have already received their letters of appointment and returned their acceptance letters early on Friday. The new law has already been gazetted by the state government printer on the same day.”
So? The deed is done. It is signed, sealed and delivered. Nothing can be added onto it, nothing can be taken out of it. It is a done deal!
Kano is no stranger to this type of royal rumble. It is surely on a familiar terrain. The characters are not the same, but the pattern is almost the same old story.
One Ali Mohammed, in his piece, History is Repeating in Kano, provided a perfect and apt flashback: “In 1963, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, dethroned Sarki Muhammadu Sanusi (I). He was banished to Azare (present-day Bauchi State). It was personal, it was political.
“In 1982, Governor Muhammad Abubakar Rimi returned the dethroned emir to Wudil. He also created four new emirates, the same ones that the Kano State House of Assembly has just created. Rimi did it to spite Sarki Ado Bayero. It was personal, it was political.
“In 1983, Governor Sabo Bakin Zuwo reversed the creation of the four new emirates. He did it to spite Rimi. It was personal, it was political.
“In 2014, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso appointed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Muhammadu Sanusi (II) to the throne of his grandfather. He did it to spite former President Goodluck Jonathan who had suspended SLS as CBN Governor. It was personal, it was political.
“Bear in mind that Kwankwaso and SLS were at daggers drawn. SLS had openly criticised Kwankwaso’s decision to spend N700 million to build a liason office in Abuja. Kwankwaso had in turn asked United Bank for Africa (UBA) to sack SLS who was a general manager with UBA. Never mind. In 2014 appointing SLS to the throne of his forefathers suited Kwankwaso.
“Sarki Muhammadu Sanusi (II) cannot on any account be called politically naive. He ought to have chosen his battles wisely. Amir Muhammadu Sanusi (II) is a reformist ruler, his subjects need him desperately.
“Almajiranci/bara (street begging), girl-child education, abuse of polygamy, abuse of divorce, drug abuse are issues the emir has placed on the front burner. His subjects need him desperately.
“By not balancing his actions and utterances with some circumspection, he has allowed his sphere of influence to be whittled down by politicians who have no scruples. If he is dethroned it will be a massive letdown.
“A brave and courageous General can only lead his troops to victory if he stays alive. Charging headlong into enemy lines is foolhardy, it will merely expose his troops to needless danger and defeat.
“That is where we are today. Sarki Muhammadu Sanusi (II) has played into the hands of Ganduje and his House of Assembly members. The well-being of the people means nothing to them. It is personal, it is political.
“This sacrilege on the House of Dabo may yet be reversed.”
Ganduje did his reform for the wrong purpose, vendetta, vengeance, hate and hatred. There is no viable reason to believe him otherwise. This is certainly not the best of ways to treat an emir, not even at Ramadan.
The comedy in the two instances is tragic. There was no basis for the reforms then and now. Instead of facing governance with the seriousness it deserves, the “twin in-laws” opted for frivolities, pettiness, vengeance and outright vendetta.
Ganduje is going too far and more deadly. He is not only taking a pound of flesh from Emir Sanusi, hei s skinning him, taking the whole flesh.
It is all about the 2019 governorship poll in Kano State. This is the real result of the election. The actual outcome of the intrigues and manipulations that characterised the poll.
For all intents and purposes, it is not strictly about Sanusi. It is all about the traditional institution established well over 800 years ago.
No good is intended with this reform. It is cannon fodder of what to expect in the nearest future. It cannot just end where it started. It is a long-distance journey.